Who is the best Spider-Man artist of all time? Let's get this out of the way really quick... it's not Todd McFarlane. I love and appreciate Todd's work but as far as Spider-Man goes, he really did not capture the essence of "Your Friendly Neighbordhood Spider-Man."
Todd's Spider-Man had webs and spiders everywhere with a mean menacing look. Looks cool for a pin-up but if this was your introduction to Spider-Man then you probably didn't get a true sense of just who the character really is.
So what exactly should Spider-Man look like? Well, Spider-Man usually has an upbeat personality. He isn't always the happiest to do his job but he realizes just how important his role is due to his tragic origin story. "With great power comes great responsibility." There's also a great deal of keeping up with day to day tasks that Peter struggles to come to terms with. Most importantly, Spidey is one of the greatest trash talkers in comics. Does this sound like a character who should be creeping out of the shadows or hunkering down on you like a savage monster? Alright, enough harping on how Todd got Spidey wrong. Let's shift our focus towards those who got him right.
First up is legendary artist Steve Ditko. He's the guy who created Peter Parker alongside Stan "The Man" Lee. Of course he gets a nod. How can anybody have a better sense of a character over the creator? Just look at that cover. After all this time it stands up as one of the most iconic covers ever created. What words spring to mind when you see it? Responsible, free, wild, daring... all in one package. THIS is Spider-Man.
Somebody actually did come along to draw good ol' web-head better shortly after Ditko left Marvel and that would be none other than famed artist John Romita Sr. When you picture Spider-Man, you'll most likely conjure up an image drawn by this fantastic artist.
As much as I love Romita, he always drew Spider-Man a bit too bulky for my taste so I can't really give him the crown. Many may disagree but I feel Spidey should be lean as he zips through the city not looking like he's been hitting the gym with Batman. Through the years several spectacular artists came along to draw Spidey rivaling the two celebrated artists mentioned above.
All of these gentlemen are deserving of their own praise but as far as the BEST Spider-Man artist of all time... there can only be one in my mind and his name is Mr. Erik Larsen...
Let's take a look at Erik's art and note just what he does to give Spider-Man the energy, sizzle, and pop that he deserves. The image above is one of the best ever at capturing exactly who Spider-Man is. You can feel the power from Spidey's fist that knocks the Vulture back as he glides through the splash page to deliver a swift kick to Electro. Erik also wrote the issue so you can observe just how methodical Spidey is while giving the classic one liners all at once. All of this in one single panel! I challenge you to find anything close to the genius exploding from this page. Oh, but one single page doesn't make you the greatest Spider-Man artist of all time. A picture is worth a thousand words and my words can never do Erik's art justice so I'll leave you with thousands upon thousands of words below...
Think I'm wrong? Let me know who you think the greatest Spider-Man artist of all time is in the comments below...
Meet Victor, a typical nerdy 10 year old kid who loves drawing, video games and sports. Sounds like everything is all good in the hood... except for one huge problem... Victor HATES to read. Here is an exclusive photo of scrawny Victor (left) flexing his bones with Magneto and his good buddy Kenny at his second Comic-Con... oh yeah, and there's a not quite so agile Spider-Man falling over in the corner:
Did I mention that Victor hates to read? That's going to be key later on. Alright alright... just making sure. In Victor's fragile young mind the X-Men look like this:
A highly 70s/80s influenced group of characters thrown together to kick major tail. *YAWN* This may have been the pinnacle of the X-Men for many but not for the new Gen-Xer kids of the 90s like Victor. Oh no... So, imagine Victor's surprise when he walks into a comic book store perusing for art references and he stumbles across this gem:
Victor thinks to himself "X-Men #1? Aren't they approaching issue 300? I'm familiar with Colossus but who's this guy with a stick? Most importantly, who is that ninja babe on the bottom right? Hubba hubba!" Remember, Victor is a 10 year old kid who grew up in the 80s so terms like "hubba hubba" and "babe" were spreading around the schoolyard like wildfire. Victor flips through a few of the pages and sees this epic shot:
"Wait wait wait... Did she just ninja kick the helmet off of Magneto? *GASP* TOTALLY AWESOME!!" Sidenote: Victor was a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the time. Give him a little bit of credit. At least he didn't exclaim "COWABUNGA, DUDE!" Also, observe the lack of vocabulary in Victor's statement due to his disdain of reading. "I must learn more about this ninja chick," Victor thinks to himself. Annoying several comic book connoisseurs throughout the shop, Victor begins to haggle his mother "Mom mom mom mom mom... can I buy this comic?... please... mom mom... I'll do anything... dishes... clean my room... laundry... you name it... mom... pleeeeease..." Victor's mom smirks and begrudgingly agrees to buy the greatest comic book of all time for him. Sadly, Victor never did those chores he promised his mother. Shame on him. He did however go on to read his comic book and several others on a journey to find out as much as he could about his new favorite team the X-Men and that one ninja babe. On that journey Victor discovered the joy and wonder that can only be unlocked through the power of reading... All thanks to a single comic book...