John Romita’s Amazing Spider-Man Artist’s Edition HC
You know the drill with these Artist Edition books by now. Original art, reproduced at full size, from some all-time great artists on some classic comics.
This book - one of the earliest AEs ever produced by IDW - was the first of many Romita Sr. Spider-Man Artist Editions, and covers Amazing Spider-Man #67-#69, #71, #75, and #84.
As ever, there’s a feeling of getting really close to the art, and seeing the kinds of details (like construction lines and white-outs) that you’d never be aware of in the original comic. It really is like seeing the original pages.
One interesting thing about this volume is that while it’s Romita’s name on the cover, he largely just did the layouts for these pages, with Jim Mooney as finisher and inker. So this book is as much a tribute to Mooney as it is Romita.
Some of the inking is highly impressive. (You can click to see this image bigger to fully appreciate it.)
And in issue #71, which guest-stars Quicksilver, there’s even more opportunity for Mooney to show off, with some amazingly delicate speed effects:
While the underlying work is clearly still Romita, Mooney’s contribution is pretty important. You can see just how much the inking enhances dramatic pages like this:
Overall, it’s a great collection of art. Many of the issues collected here form part of the ‘stone tablet saga’, a very well-known storyline from the Romita era that features some of his best work. So you get famous opening splashpages like this one from issue #69:
As well as panels like this closing image from the same issue, which is possibly even more celebrated:
Again, it’s great to be able to see in fine detail exactly how images like this were pulled off - and again, it makes me appreciate Mooney as much as Romita.
In the back of the book, there are also some pretty cool cover images that are very impressive at full size.
While I have a lot of love for other Spidey illustrators, there’s no denying that Romita is in the top tier of defining artists to have worked on the character. The word ‘iconic’ is thrown around a lot, but I think it applies to artwork like this.
Another very well-produced book from IDW, and a great look into a classic era of Spider-Man history.