The Retro Cover of the Week is a 1990 classic crawling with spiders: MacFarlane's "Spider-Man #1"

Spider-Man Vol 1, #1, 1990, Marvel Comics, Cover by Todd MacFarlane.

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 ‘90s, a decade which saw the rise of publishers realizing that a comic with the magic #1 on the cover, either as a rebooted title or a new one, combined with multiple variant covers, was a guarantee of a huge boost in sales and new readers.

Among them was Spider-Man, a new Spider-title created as a starring vehicle for Todd MacFarlane, one of Marvel’s hottest young creators, who would be writing as well as drawing the title in his unique and popular style.

The same familiar, classic Spider-Man logotype appeared at the top of the cover (minus “The Amazing”), with the banner: “1st ALL-NEW COLLECTOR’S ITEM ISSUE!” However, as investors and collectors would quickly discover in the speculative boom years of the 1990s, there’s very little value in a “collectible” issue that sells well over 2 million copies. Even the numerous cover variants are not highly valuable collectibles, because so many were printed. The cover's hype didn’t stop with the banner; a subhead declared this title to be “The Legend of the Arachknight”…a forced reference to DC’s “Batman: The Dark Knight” that thankfully didn’t catch on with fans.

MacFarlane’s highly stylized Spider-Man, with overly large eye-holes that occupy the entire front of his mask, sits on an intricate webwork of MacFarlane's famous "spaghetti webbing," crawling with tons of spiders. It was an instantly iconic cover design, and a splashy beginning to an exciting decade that produced the highest-selling comic book titles since the Golden Age.

Next week: A cover from the 2000s!

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