The Society of Illustrators’
Opening Reception for
The Art of Spider-Man!
On Friday, June 9th at 7:30 pm, The Society of Illustrators will host the first ever exhibition of original Spider-Man artwork. The Society of Illustrators was formed February 1st 1901, and their mission statement is, “to promote the art of illustration, to appreciate its history and evolving nature through exhibitions, lectures and education, and to contribute the service of its members to the welfare of the community at large.” The exhibition will display art from prominent Spider-Man artists such as John Romita, Steve Ditko, Todd McFarlane, John Buscema, Ross Andru, Gil Kane, Ron Frenz, Keith Pollard, John Romita Jr. and others.
Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; originally appearing in Amazing Fantasy #15, later getting his own series, The Amazing Spider-Man. Lee wanted a scrawny, unattractive high school nerd to contrast the beautiful adult superheroes already being produced. Originally Lee approached the legendary artist, Jack Kirby, but as Lee states, Kirby drew the character, “too heroic,” so Lee turned to Ditko, who created the Spider-Man character that has been with us for 55 years.
When Steve Ditko left the series, John Romita Sr. filled the artist’s shoes. Romita’s Spider-Man was different than Ditko’s. Romita drew Spider-Man more handsome and muscular than Ditko. Romita also created well-known characters like Mary-Jane Watson, the Rhino, Shocker, Kingpin, and illustrated some of Spider-Man’s most famous stories. The most famous story being, “The Night Gwen Stacey Died” in Amazing Spider-Man issue #121. Romita’s style became the Marvel House look, which all artists had to model after.
Spider-Man has seen many artists over the years, but none has sparked more enthusiasm than an early 90’s artist, Todd McFarlane. McFarlane gave Spider-Man a third joint in his lower body, allowing the character’s leg to rise in more dynamic, spider-like poses. He also enlarged Spider-man’s lenses and redesigned the web, which emits from Spider-Man’s web-shooters. On July 2012 McFarlane’s original cover art for the issue The Amazing Spider-Man #328, sold for a record-breaking $657,250.
Spider-Man is considered one of the best superheroes of all time and has been home to many artists over the years. The Society of Illustrators will display the work of some of Spidey’s more prominent artists, Friday, June 9th from 7:30 pm until 10:30 pm at 128 E 63rd St, New York, New York 10065. Special guests, John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr., Joe Giella and Joe Jusko, will also be in attendance. If you cannot make it to the opening reception, the exhibition will last until August 26th. For additional information please visit the Society of Illustrators’ website, https://www.societyillustrators.org/exhibits/art-spider-man , and don’t forget to like their Facebook page to keep updated on future events.