The Amazing Spider-Man, #100, 1971, Marvel Comics, Cover by John Romita and Frank Giacoia.
The POP Retro Cover Of The Week continues its examination and celebration of iconic comic covers from the 1970s through the 2000s, this week returning to the early Seventies, the dawn of the Bronze Age of Comics, when storylines became more grown-up and grounded, and horror began to creep back into comics with the demise of the Comics Code Authority.
One character who represented this new more mature trend was Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man. To commemorate the 100th issue of TASM, writer Stan Lee sent Peter down a very harrowing path, with a horrific and memorable cliffhanger on the last page. This anniversary issue needed an equally memorable cover.
Occasionally, Marvel would do something that just wasn’t done often in comics at the time…a solid black cover background. This gave instant gravitas and importance to any cover’s subject matter, and really stood out on the spinner rack. In this case, it gave proper weight to this milestone issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, and added drama to its iconic cover design.
Leave it to the GOAT Spider-Man illustrator (IMHO), John Romita, to create yet another instant classic Spider-pose and cover. The design itself gave no hint to the story’s contents, but was merely an image piece featuring a crawling Spider-man on a field of “floating heads” of villains, friends, and family. Romita usually inked his own covers, but in this rare instance Frank Giacoia did the finishes, depicting Romita’s field of faces like sketchy chalk portraits on a blackboard. Romita's simple technique of placing Spider-Man's foot in front of the title logo gives the illusion of pushing him out toward the viewer, as if he's about to leap off the cover.
The Marvel trade dress (comic title logo, publisher logo, issue, number, pricing, etc.) was fairly compact with its corner box montage, and didn't intrude on the cover imagery. The anniversary banner was appropriate yet not overly splashy, but the story teaser "The SPIDER or the MAN?" is lost in the chaos of the "floating heads".
Next week: A cover from the grim & gritty 1980s!