The Greatest Comic Book Covers #3
In the third installment of our ongoing series, our spotlight falls on Marvel’s flagship character Spider-Man and how a certain Canadian artist reinvented everyones favourite arachnid for a whole new generation.
In 1987 an up and coming Canadian artist took over the artistic reigns on Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man title. Neither the character, nor the wider comic book industry, would ever be the same again.
Todd McFarlane was an overnight sensation on Amazing Spider-Man. Ever since co-creator Steve Ditko left the book way back in the 1966 dated issue Amazing Spider-Man #39, the web spinner was fixed in a Marvel “house style” best depicted by John Romita Senior and Ross Andru. An acclaimed run by Ron Frenz took the wall crawler back to his Ditko days until McFarlane joined the book as its regular artist with issue #298.
McFarlane really put the spider into Spider-Man. Bigger bug eyes and a more wirey, athletic Spider-Man was introduced along with a more detailed “spaggetti” webbing.
When Amazing Spider-Man #300 hit the stands, McFarlane was on his way to comic book stardom. This was no standard bumper anniversary issue. This issue told a story that meant something and added to an already rich mythology. One of Spidey’s most implacable foes was introduced. Over 30 years later that character, Venom, is still one of comicdoms most popular characters and has even made his way to the big screen.
And then, there’s that cover. If you had to pick one cover that told you everything about Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man, this one has to be it. There are those big eyes and that super athletic pose. The webbing is detailed and Spider-Man jumps out of the cover. It had its admirers back when it was released and over 30 years later it continues to influence. Not a month goes by in the world of new comic book releases, than a string of “homage” covers hit the shelves, all honouring in their own way a most iconic comic book cover.