Sunday, April 9, 2017

Greatest Spider-Man Artist of All Time

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.

 Joe Quesada

 Humberto Ramos

 Rick Leonardi

 Olivier Coipel

Mark Bagley

Joe Madureira

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...


  1. David Marquez would be my #2 or #3

  2. Those drawings from Erik Larsen that you posted are terrible. Spider-Man is highly deformed in all of them. Want to find out Spider-Man's secret identity? Just look for the guy who has an anatomy which only vaguely resembles a human's; you know, someone with, for starters, ankles smaller than his wrists who wears a size 22 shoe, extra, extra, extra narrow, and shaped like a foot belonging to some unknown species. Todd McFarlane popularized that ridiculous deformed look, complete with dinner-plate-sized eye openings, and that was the worst thing that ever happened to Spider-Man, and comic art in general. It still looks like garbage today, every artist trying to out-"stylize" each other. "Stylizing" the human form is asinine; the only possible result of deviating from the shape of real anatomy is: deformity.

    John Romita, Sr. was the best Spider-Man artist, though other people could draw him just as well, such as John Buscema, Jim Mooney, and Ross Andru. I default to Romita because he invented the iconic post-Ditko look which lasted for about 20 years until Todd McFarlane screwed it up royally in the late 1980s, but plenty of artists were able to copy it (close enough, anyway). It's ironic that you say Romita's Spider-Man was too bulky when Erik Larsen's deformed Spider-Man is even bulkier. Look at the size of his lats.

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