Spider-Man (Cool Comic Covers #17)

It’s Friday! That means another Cool Comic Covers, a weekly (sometimes more!) look back at some of the most interesting, intriguing, and engaging artwork in pop culture. This week, well, we did it for Avengers . . . how could we NOT do it for Spider-Man?

And so, Strangers and Aliens’ favorite Spider-Man comic covers.

There’s something special about this character. Visually, he lends himself to some very dynamic images. Case in point:

Amazing Fantasy #15, penciled by Jack Kirby and inked by Steve Ditko, the very first Spider-Man comic ever. His first appearance, and he’s already looking iconic. This looks like an exciting character, and would still hold up today if it was on the shelf.
Amazing Spider-Man #68, by John Romita. This is one of those images that took the character, and created something that became an icon. This is the way Spider-Man is visualized in comics, movies, and TV. And I may be wrong, but I think this image was repurposed for a LOT of merchandise when I was a kid. If it wasn’t this exact image, it was something very similar. But that’s why it’s iconic — it’s used and reused over and over, representing the character.
Marvel Treasury Edition #1, by John Romita. Again, Mr. Romita gives an image that became a Spider-Man icon. Looking at this image, I feel like I’ve seen it in many places. And again, it highlights the character, the tone, and the powers. There’s a reason Romita is considered a master of the art form, and those reasons are highlighted here.
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21, by John Romita. I didn’t mean for this to spotlight Romita, but it’s hard not to when spotlighting awesome comic covers featuring Spider-Man. This one is the famous wedding cover, and what I love about this one is how it merges the Spider-Man iconography with other iconography. The Spidey heart warms my romantic geek heart.
Amazing Spider-Man #136, by . . . John Romita. You know, when I selected these, I wasn’t paying attention to who the artist was. Anyway, this comic is a perfect visual representation of two things: 1. An awesome, energetic battle scene; 2. The way the Spider-Man mythos works — his best enemies are people from his personal life as Peter Parker. This is possibly the best example of that. This is also a great example of something we don’t get on modern comic covers: a symbolic cover that uses both image and dialogue to great effect.
Amazing Spider-Man #579, by Marcos Martin. Here is a great battle sequence that, if I were an artist, I would study closely to see what I could learn from this. I’m not, so instead I just look at it and wish I was. I’m also a big fan of the logo getting destroyed by the action on the cover. This cover does it’s job: I’m curious about what is inside. (Fortunately, Martin does the interior artwork, too. Nothing irritates me more than a cover that captures my interest, and inside art does not match. Covers that DON’T capture my interest, well, I don’t care if that happens.)
Amazing Spider-Man #151, by (surprise, surprise) John Romita. This is a powerful comic cover using a superhero/Spider-Man trope that I love: the determined hero, desperately fighting against the odds. This is comic book cover art (superhero cover art, specifically) at its best.
Amazing Spider-Man #655, by Marcos Martin. I love the use of white space on this cover — something that, if I were designing covers, I would try to use often. I don’t know why comic covers don’t use this more often, because it really draws the eye. In this cover, we have the web motif as well as the “looking at my mask, considering if I still want to be Spider-Man” motif. (The whole “hero no more” trope is something we will be exploring in a future Cool Comic Cover installment.)
And finally, a cover from the New Yorker by a cartoonist named Barry Blitt, poking fun at the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark musical. Remember when that show was getting so much press not because of how awesome it was, but because the stunt men were getting wounded? I love this artifact from that time.

~ Ben

Previous Cool Comic Covers:
#16 — The Brave and the Bold #14
#15 — Creature from the Black Lagoon
#14 — Solitaire #1-6
#13 — Star Trek #25 and Top Dog #9
#12 — Aquaman #9
#11 — From Beyond the Unknown #23
#10 — Famous Funnies #214
#8 — AVENGERS WEEK: Captain America
#6 — AVENGERS WEEK: Iron Man
#5 — “Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction” Giant Size Special
#4 — “Fear” #1
#3 — “From Beyond the Unknown” #12
#2 — “Action Comics” #419
#1 — “Weird Science-Fantasy” #27

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