John Romita’s The Amazing Spider-Man Artist’s Edition

IDW proudly presents JOHN ROMITA’S THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: ARTIST’S EDITION, collecting six complete stories by the great John Romita, arguably the definitive Spider-Man artist. Each page is scanned from the original art, the same size as drawn, and in full colour ( to ensure the best possible reproduction). This Artist’s Edition measures 12 x 17 inches and each book is shipped in a custom cardboard box for maximum protection.

Brought to you by the same team responsible for the Eisner Award-winning Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: The Artist’s Edition, as well as Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: The Artist’s Edition.

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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.

Six complete Amazing Spider-Man stories right here, with all but three pages scanned from the original art. Issues 67, 68, 69, 71, 75, and 84 included. Plus six covers in the gallery, with a one page biography of Romita closing it all out. Nowhere is there an indication this is volume 1 and more will be following, so we’re going with the book’s printed title.

There is some controversy with this volume we might as well address from the get-go: Romita only did layouts for most of these stories, with his credits listed as artist, storyboards and innovator. Jim Mooney is credited as inker, illustrator and artist. Gotta love an innovator credit. Reading through these pages and you get the sense of Romita throughout; it’s only when you compare to other Romita Spider-Man art (in the Artifact Edition or the second Artist’s Edition) that Mooney shines through much more than Romita.

Very few margin notes, but a good amount of correction fluid and some paste ups. Blacks show some gradient, but not a lot. The scans are clean and clear, with no blurriness of softness. The artwork has aged well, with most pages off white to slight tanning and yellowing, although issue 84 splash and issue 65 cover seem to have fared worse and are brown.

Another knockout design by Dahlk. His work on the early Artist Editions is so clean and minimal in its use of colour, but with bold choices of art integration. I enjoyed the arrow on the bio page immensely. Here are his thoughts on this volume.

That’s why there was a real sense of satisfaction completing this book. It presented one of the largest challenges to me, but there is a sense of accomplishment when you are able to overcome the obstacles.

Each of the stories starts out with a design page that is unique. So, I had to create a design that worked with the other pages but was distinct in it’s own way. Each story ends with another design page which shows a slightly different version of Spider-Man swinging through the city. I want each book I design to have it’s own distinct personality. I love the idea of creating a book of art, that is also an artbook. It’s hard to know if there is an appreciation by others, for some of the details that I try to put into the book design, but I would be extremely disappointed with myself, if I didn’t put in my best effort.

Excellent production: thick matte paper stock in a sewn binding. Most of the book can be opened and lay flat with a smoothing of the center, but there are many spots where the binding is too tight. The book comes shrinkwrapped in a cardboard case with a small black and white sticker showing cover art and UPC.

This is one of the few times I purchased something other than the standard edition. Well, I did purchase the standard edition and then sold it when the signed, numbered and remarqued edition was offered from IDW’s website. For the money I couldn’t imagine getting a signature from Lee and Romita along with a head sketch!