|If you didn't grow up playing the "Maximum Carnage"|
video game . . . I pity you more than you can imagine.
John Romita, Sr.
-John Romita, Sr. had to pick up where Steve Ditko left off. Nobody had seen Ditko’s departure coming, and Romita thought he’d just be the fill-in guy for a while. Instead, he actually ended up penciling more issues than Ditko, and introduced classic characters like the Shocker and the Rhino.
|He also got to draw this,|
which counts for a lot.
-Three words: “Kraven’s Last Hunt.” Although Zeck’s work is often a bit cartoony for my tastes, his illustrations of Kraven’s spider-covered acid trips and Vermin's feeding times were disturbing and visceral. Watching Kraven don the black Spider-Man costume and dispense his own brand of “justice” was equally unsettling, and Zeck nailed it.
|The original title was "Kraven's Last|
Pants," but it was deemed too icky.
-During the height of the ’80s “Gang War” story, Ron Frenz was the regular penciler on The Amazing Spider-Man. His work was dynamite, especially the skyline battles between Jack O’Lantern and the Hobgoblin. His rendition of the Hobgoblin was so good, it was he who got to pencil the (absolutely terrible) miniseries “Hobgoblin Lives,” and he got to revisit the (mediocre) character of Roderick Kingsley again in Spider-Girl. Frenz’s Spider-Man was classic and cool, and Sal Buscema’s inks in Spider-Girl only made a good thing better.
|At least the art was good . . .|
-The man who, in my opinion, draws THE definitive Venom, Erik Larsen had big shoes to fill when he took over Amazing Spider-Man from Todd McFarlane. Surprise-surprise, Larsen turned out to be even better. His work was edgier and less cartoony, and he drew a heck of a Sinister Six—in two great storylines, one of which had the Incredible Hulk getting his butt kicked by Doc Ock.
|And how can you not love this cover?|
-Without Steve Ditko, we would not have Spider-Man—at least not the Spider-Man we know and love. Ditko’s style was gritty and realistic, exposing the ugliness of Spider-Man’s urban environment but also spellbinding in its intricacy. Ditko’s design work, too, is timeless, and even though Spider-Man has gone through his share of costume changes over the years, he always winds up back in the Ditko original.
|Ditko also drew the most iconic, triumphant|
image of Spider-Man . . . ever.
-Fast, talented and reliable, Sal Buscema was one of the best in the industry, and his unparalleled run on The Spectacular Spider-Man was absolutely gorgeous. His sharp, angular style was perfectly suited for Gerry Conway and Steven Grant’s crime stories, and when inker Bill Sienkiewicz came onboard for a few issues, Buscema’s already-stellar art was made even better than ever. These days, Buscema mostly does ink work, but his pencils were by far his greatest contribution to Spider-Man's 50 years of publication.
|From "Spectacular Spider-Man" #221, my very first Marvel.|
John Romita, Jr.
-Nobody draws a better Spider-Man than John Romita, Jr. Nobody. From the ’80s onward, his style has evolved and grown and has become the definitive rendition of Spider-Man. Although his work was best complemented by the inks of the late Al Williamson, Romita, Jr. nevertheless turned out incredible work during J. Michael Straczynski’s epic run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Unfortunately, he’s paired up with Klaus Janson a lot nowadays, and although Janson is a great artist in his own right, his inking style does not gel well with Romita’s.
|Romita + Williamson = WIN|