Marvel Romance forced me to look up other works in the superhero genre. It was that seductive! And I really wanted to check out two artists in particular: John Romita Sr. and Jim Steranko. And with my free time to read various books came when I had my Texas trip, I think it was a good time to catch up on the grooving 60s hits as they tackle Spiderman and Nick Fury. I was going to review the second volume of Classic X-Men (25-53), but that will be a while.
John Romita Sr: The Amazing Spiderman
Artist Steve Ditko was the original artist for the Amazing Spiderman, but when John Romita took over art duties, it was a whole different game. Really, he romanticized the personal life of Spiderman as he tackles balancing his superhero life with love and family. The looks of the characters are classic and very refined with Peter Parker very suave while the women were flawless beauties (Betty Brant, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy). And unlike the first volume of Spiderman (which I read and thought it was blah), Stan Lee antes up the pathos with life-altering events: the unmasking Spiderman and the Green Goblin, saving frail Aunt May, quitting as Spiderman, introduction of the crime lord the Kingpin, 60s and Vietnam protests, and even an appearance of Doctor Strange. Each proceeding issue progresses with fantastic storytelling and lovely art. This trade paperback makes me want to pick up the rest of the issues in between.
Collects Amazing Spiderman 39-42, 50, 68-69, 108-109
Jim Steranko: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Jim Steranko is highly regarded an influential figure in the comics medium. He’s visually shown a progression of surreal visual storytelling as he focuses on Marvel’s own secret agent, Nick Fury. The tales are pretty hokey and absurd as Fury fights off with evil organizations (Hydra and A.I.M.) and their masters (Baron Von Strucker and the Yellow Claw), but the beauty lies in the art with psychedelic formatting, twisted angles, and Dali-inspired art. It’s the 60s, so it’s very James Bond-inspired spy-esque. The only feature laughable is that the high tech gadgetry is really outdated: anti-gravity belt? transfer car? pro pel pak? transporting beam suction? There were great moments, especially with a first appearance of Countess Val and Captain America. If you can survive the absurdity, enjoy the swingin’ 60s art.
Collects Strange Tales #150-167