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Gimmick Archives | Comics Should Be Good @ CBR

Gimmick or Good? – Spider-Man #1

I’ve written in the past about Mark Ginocchio’s blog, Chasing Amazing, where he writes about his quest to collect every issue of Amazing Spider-Man ever made. Mark wrote me with an idea for a column where he would take a look at the gimmick covers from the 1990s and give his take on whether the comic in question was just a gimmick or whether the comic within the gimmick cover was good. Hence “Gimmick or Good?” Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far. We begin with 1990’s multi-cover Spider-Man #1…


Spider-Man #1 (published August, 1990) – script and art by Todd McFarlane

Superstar artist Todd McFarlane’s first foray into both scripting and illustrating his own series is also considered one of the prime contributors to the comic book collector speculation bubble that dominated the first half of the 1990s. McFarlane was fresh off a stint on Amazing Spider-Man where he truly made a name for himself as the illustrator responsible for the co-creation of Venom. After asking off ASM essentially because he was bored of doing artwork for someone else’s story (something McFarlane himself explains in the notes page at the end of Spider-Man #1), Marvel, in a show of appeasement, decided to make McFarlane the focal point of what was to be their fourth ongoing series dedicate to the Wall Crawler (fifth if you count the Marvel Tales reprint series). In addition to having McFarlane’s name and a “collectible” #1 issue tag to create buzz about this series, Marvel also published multiple variant covers using different ink colors (silver, gold, platinum, etc.). The variant cover idea became so popular, that retailers even took advantage of a printer error on some of the interiors, selling a “Blue Lizard” variant (with a price mark-up, of course) based on the poor mix of yellow and cyan on somebody’s printing press.

But what about inside the comic?
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