50 Greatest Spider-Man Creators: Artists #15-11
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. The last installment will deal with Spider-Man stories, but this month will be about Spider-Man’s writers and artists.
You all voted, now here are the results! Here is a master list of all the creators listed so far. We continue with Spider-Man artists #15-11…
15. Humberto Ramos
Humberto Ramos first worked on Spider-Man in a very well-received four-part story in Paul Jenkins’ Peter Parker: Spider-Man series (#44-47). The issues were SO well received that Jenkins and Ramos then launched their own Spider-Man title, Spectacular Spider-Man, which Ramos drew from #1-10, 12, 17-18.
More recently, Ramos has become the main artist on Amazing Spider-Man, alternating with Stefano Caselli and Giuseppe Camuncoli (Camuncoli took over from Marcos Martin, who was originally one third of the rotating art team). Ramos has drawn #648-651, 654.1, 667-671, 676, 678-679, 684-685.
Ramos is noted by his dynamic artwork where characters appear almost as if they are in a cartoon. It is a bold departure from the realism many other comic book artists go for in their work, but the power of Ramos’ art makes his style very compelling.
Here is a bit from the beginning of Big Time in Amazing Spider-Man #648…
14. Mike Wieringo
Mike Wieringo had two distinct runs on Spider-Man. First, Sensational Spider-Man #8-11, 13-17, 21-23, 27-28 and 31 and then Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1-5, 8-10.
The late, great Wieringo’s cartoon-esque drawings belied a greater understanding of how to depict actual human emotions than most of the best photo-realistic artists out there.
Wieringo also had an excellent sense of design. Check out this two-page spread from Sensational Spider-Man #13…
It is a real shame that on his two stints on Spider-Man, he opened up with Ben Reilly and then finished with The Other and the Armored Spider-Man. That gave him only twelve stories featuring the plain ol’ Peter Parker Spider-Man.
13. Mike Zeck
Mike Zeck had drawn a handful of Spider-Man comics here and there over the years (a Web of Spider-Man here a Spectacular Spider-Man there) but he really cemented his place in Spider-Man comic history when he drew the six-part Kraven’s Last Hunt (with writer J.M. DeMatteis and inker Bob McLeod) that crossed over into all three of the Spider-Man titles for two months in 1987.
Zeck’s powerful imagery was a major part of the appeal of the famed storyline…
Zeck later did a graphic novel sequel to the story. The Kraven’s Last Hunt creative team re-united one more time in 1996 for the story they were born to tell – a mini-series about Ben Reilly and Kaine. Okay, maybe “born to tell” was a stretch.
12. Ron Frenz
Something people tend to forget is that Ron Frenz was the artist on “The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man.” It was before he took over as the regular artist on Amazing. Frenz drew Amazing Spider-Man with writer Tom DeFalco from #251-284 (here are the specific issues, as he missed a couple here and there – #251-252, 255-261, 263, 268-271, 273-277, 280-281, 283-284). He also did two issues of Untold Tales of Spider-Man and two Webspinners issues. And, of course, what, a hundred issues of Spider-Girl?
In any event, Frenz’s Amazing Spider-Man run was a brilliant combination between the styles of the two (then) most famous Spider-Man artists, Steve Ditko and John Romita. Frenz had the action of Romita but he also had a more Ditko-esque approach to the characters in the book. Frenz’s Peter Parker, for instance, was much closer to Ditko than it was Romita. Frenz was (and is) a masterful storyteller, which helped combine with Tom DeFalco’s writing to form a highly acclaimed run on Amazing.
Here is a page from the debut of the Black costume (which would play a major part in Frenz’s run) (Amazing #252)…
11. Erik Larsen
When Erik Larsen took over Amazing Spider-Man after Todd McFarlane left the title, McFarlane’s re-design on Spider-Man clearly influenced Larsen, but I think that that influence is overblown a bit. What amazes me about Larsen’s run is that he was able to maintain the power of McFarlane’s pencils while (in my opinion, at least) actually improving a bit on the storytelling in the book. Larsen has a keen eye for page design and that really helped him in his storytelling. Check out this page from his final issue on Amazing, #350…
See? It’s a powerful image but it is very well told. Larsen lays the page out in a creative fashion that gets the story across while still maintaining the dynamic shots of Spidey in action. Larsen actually did a fill-in issue on Amazing before McFarlane took over (and then did three fill-ins during McFarlane’s run), but his main run went from #330-350 (with only one missed issue, #345) and then Larsen wrote and drew Spider-Man in #15, 18-23. Larsen also wrote and drew a Spider-Man/Wolverine story in Marvel Comics Presents #48-50. Larsen then also did a three-issue arc as an artist during Howard Mackie’s Spider-Man reboot run (Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 #18-20).