The series revolves around the scientific-minded teenager Peter Parker who, after being bitten by a radioactive spider, develops amazing strength and spider-like powers. He decides to become a crime-fighting, costumed superhero; all the while dealing with his personal problems and the insecurities resulting from being a teenager. Spider-Man risks his life to fight super-powered criminals such as Doctor Octopus, Mysterio and the Green Goblin; however, New York Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson views him as a criminal, and continually writes front page headlines declaring him as such.
The first season of the show dealt primarily with Peter working at the Daily Bugle as a teenage freelance photographer, thereby capturing his relationship with the gruff, demanding J. Jonah Jameson and shyly romancing Betty Brant over the reception desk, while Peter was often being called into action as his crime-fighting alter-ego. Peter's life away from the Bugle's newspaper offices and Aunt May's Forest Hills home were almost never dealt with in these early episodes, and he was also never seen at college-—although he would sometimes visit various professors he clearly knew (such as the opening of "Sub-Zero for Spidey," where he went to see a professor by the name of "Smartyr"). Still, the character design for young Parker was spot-on, combining the conceptualizations of both Steve Ditko (right down to Ditko's design of Parker's primary-colored blue suit, yellow vest, white shirt, and red tie) and John Romita, Sr., who served as art consultant for the show.
Season 1 contained mostly stories involving classic Spider-Man villains from the comic book series, whose captures were often punctuated by a note signed "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man." Character creator Stan Lee served as story consultant for this season of the show.