Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spectacular Spider-Man paintings by John Romita Sr

The Spectacular Spider-Man magazine only lasted for two issues in 1968.  It was part of Stan Lee's desire to try new formats and break into the magazine racks, where Warren  was enjoying some success with Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella.  Lee was able to try this experiment over the objections of publisher Martin Goodman, who cancelled the project as soon as he could.  I got into comics a few years afterward, but after reading about their existence, these rare issues seemed like a rare collectible for Spider-Man fans.

John Romita Sr. and Harry Rosenbaum - The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1968).jpg

The magazines had a cover price of 35 cents, when color comics cost 12 cents.  To make them more special, the stories were quite long (52 page lead story in #1 alone) and the covers were fully painted.  The cover here to the first issue was by John Romita Sr (who did the layouts) and Harry Rosenbaum who the did the finished painting.  Romita would work this way with a number of painters on Marvel's Monster magazines in the 1970s.

The lead story was eventually reprinted and reworked into Amazing Spider-Man #116-118 in 1973, with new bridging material by Gerry Conway.

John Romita Sr. and Harry Rosenbaum - The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1968).jpg

The second and final issue featured the return of the Green Goblin, who had not returned since Amazing Spider-Man #40 in 1966.  Unlike the first cover, this one appears to be fully conceived and painted by Romita.  I think it is masterful, a classic image of Spidey fighting his greatest enemy above the skyline of New York City.  I longed to read this story after I saw the cover!  But it was almost impossible to find back then, or if you were able, seemed very highly priced as a back issue item.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual 9 1973 cover by John Romita Sr.jpg

In 1973, Marvel reprinted this story in Amazing Spider-Man Annual 9, with a new cover by John Romita Sr, an alternate take on his cover painting.  Even Marvel King-Size annual format was enough for this story--18 pages were chopped out in order to make it fit.  I couldn't wait to read this story, and while it was a good yarn, it couldn't compare to the Amazing Spider-Man #39-40, the anti-drug issues in ASM #97-99, or the momentous events of ASM #121-122.  Nuff Said!


  1. Great Blog!! I'm a huge Marvel Comics fan...
    I even have a blog:
    Be cool if you checked it out.


  2. LOVE the second cover with the Goblin. LEGENDARY..!!!

    But actually, the King Size 9 update was even better in some ways, can't decide which I like more. HUGE memories of it.