John Romita’s The Amazing Spider-Man Artifact Edition

This is it, the John Romita Spider-Man book fans have been waiting for—Nearly 200 pages of prime John Romita Spider-Man art from his very earliest days on the title, and all but 10 are scanned from the original art (NOTE—we decided to add stats of those 10 pages to complete stories. So while this is an Artifact Edition, there are FOUR complete Romita Spider-Man stories in the book)! This over-sized (it’s as big as the recent STERANKO Artist’s Edition) Artifact Edition showcases the absolute peak of Romita’s tenure on Amazing Spider-Man from his first 15 issues (#39 – #53), and all are twice-up pages—this one is an enormous 15” x 22” tome!

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As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.

A giant sized look at his early Spidey run, John Romita’s The Amazing Spider-Man is the best book yet for fans of these iconic characters’ designs.

Before getting into the contents we need to address the change in shipping product. What went out to comics retailers via Diamond was the variant cover, which is featured above in the picture and ISBN number. I’m showing the regular edition cover and ISBN in the Index; that will be sold as the variant through IDW. Scott Dunbier addressed this at WonderCon 2015 as a printing and shipping error.

This is IDW’s second Artifact Edition, which collects whatever pages are available without complete issues. And that concept was thrown out for this book, as ten pages not scanned from original art were added to create four complete issues. The full contents are listed in the table of contents below, mostly. Also included in the Cover Gallery are covers to Amazing Spider-Man 42,47 and 50, Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine 1-2 and Marvel Treasury Edition 1 back cover. Page numbers are included in both tables of contents even though the pages are not numbered. Rounding out the volume is a one page biography of Romita.

The scans appear to come from a variety of sources, showing pages in various states of decay. It’s a broad range, with near white pages and heavily browned pages interspersed. I’ve never seen this much blue pencil used in original art pages: whole issues are blue lines and black inks. A good amount of correction fluid as well: the pages look and feel worked on. All the scans were clean and showed the artwork well.

Black levels on scans vary greatly as well and seem to depend on the scan. A few pages showed black gradients but most inks were solid. Mickey Demeo inked the bulk of these pages and his style comes through. A lot of the pages are signed by John Romita and to a lesser extent Stan Lee.

Design is by Randall Dahlk, like most IDW art editions. This time around he’s gone with a heavy two-tone colour scheme with fragmented lines and shifted overlays. It’s bold and eye-catching, edgier than previous work.

Production is excellent as always. The book came in a cardboard case but was not shrink wrapped. Binding is sewn and appears a little looser than previous Artist’s Editions and is a welcome change since this book is quite large and the pages lay mostly flat.

John Romita Amazing Spider Man Artifact Ed HC

from Things From Another World