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Comic Art News: The Art of Spider-Man featuring John Romita and Other Notable Artists

NEW YORK, NY (April 20, 2017) – The first ever exhibition of original Spider-Man artwork by John Romita and other significant artists including Steve Ditko, Todd McFarlane, John Buscema, Ross Andru, Gil Kane, Ron Frenz, Keith Pollard, John Romita Jr. and others. The exhibit runs from June 6th through August 26th, 2017.

An opening reception to the public will be held on Friday June 9th at 7:30PM.

Spider-Man is the well- known signature character of the Marvel universe; created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko at the nadir of the comics eld in August of 1962 in the last issue of Amazing Fantasy #15. Fan reaction was promising and Lee decided to take a chance and published Spider-Man as a stand- alone comic. Unlike the fun, yet two dimensional super heroes of the 1930s and 40s, Lee scripted his new characters with aws, insecurities, and nuanced personalities. ese new style comics proved to be popular with fans, and readers as old as college age began to follow the exploits of these famed but awed super heroes.

Ditko soon left Marvel and Spider-Man fans wondered who would take over his quirky and o en awkwardly drawn hero. Enter artist John Romita. Romita, a graduate of Manhattan’s School of Industrial Art was already a veteran of comics and had worked in the industry since 1947. Overcoming his initial trepidation from taking over a strip that was drawn by the idiosyncratic Ditko, Romita soon ‘stopped trying to mimic Ditko’ and gave Spider- Man and his cast of characters his own warmer, friendlier, appealing and more elegant portrayal which would propel Spider-Man and his cast of well- known characters and villains to worldwide fame and multi-media acceptance as ‘the’ super hero symbol of the ‘swinging ‘60s’ pop culture.

Romita’s lush and appealing artwork was also signi cant as his style soon became the blueprint for what would become the Marvel house look. Indeed, a few years later, in 1973, Romita would become the art director for the entire line of Marvel Comics. Romita’s impact on Marvel Comics in general and on Spider-Man in particular cannot be overstated; much like Walt Disney re ned and nurtured a mouse and a house look into a powerhouse brand, Romita assisted Lee in doing much the same, Lee on the words, and Romita on the look of both the spider and the house line. No wonder Disney would acquire Marvel Comics some years later. Romita would be recognized for his contribution to his industry by being inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2002.

This exhibition features art from throughout Romita’s initial Spider-Man run. Featured are (‘twice up’) pages from early in the run and their large size and clean presentation are a joy to behold. Signi cant pages are exhibited here for the rst time, including Spider-Man’s battles with the Green Goblin, the Rhino, Doctor Octopus and many others. ere are many pages featuring Romita’s beautiful presentation of Mary Jane Parker and Gwen Stacy, including the original early nished drawings. Also featured are the rst 2 weeks of John Romita’s amazing Spider- Man strip run as well as several of his earliest larger Sunday strips.

There are select pages from Steve Ditko, the quirky creator who gave Spider-Man his oblique beginning with fantastic and detailed layouts and cinematic pacing. Other featured Spider-Man artists will include Todd McFarlane who rebooted Spider- Man’s look in 1988 to much fan acclaim, and notable artists such as Ross Andru, John Buscema, Ron Frenz, Gil Kane, Keith Pollard, and John Romita Jr, who all contributed their considerable talents in illustrating this iconic character.

Thee exhibition also includes rare art from the original Spider-Man newspaper strip, advertising and other illustrative work. It is the largest, and most comprehensive exhibition of Spider-Man art ever seen anywhere in the world.

The art is on loan from the collection of Spider-Man and Romita expert Mike Burkey, and the show is arranged and curated by Comic Art Specialist Rob Pistella. 

About the Museum of Illustration at the Society of Illustrators

Founded in 1901, the Society of Illustrators and its Museum of Illustration together comprise America’s longest-standing nonpro t organization dedicated to the art of illustration. e mission of SI/MI is to promote the art and appreciation of illustration and its history and evolving nature through exhibitions and educational programs.


SI is located at 128 East 63rd Street between Lexington and Park Avenue in New York City.

SI is open to the public:

Tues: 10am to 8pm
Wed to Fri: 10am to 5pm Sat: 11am to 5pm
For admission costs and additional information please call 212.838.2560
or visit our website at:


Kate Feirtag

Society of Illustrators
128 East 63rd Street

New York, NY 10065 212.838.2560


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