Eight great JOHN ROMITA Sr. covers … plus Ask the DWO!

 

askthedwoIt’s that time again. Casa de Olbrich opens up its library of vast (and sometimes useless) knowledge to the masses. Sort of like “Big Block of Cheese Day” on TV’s West Wing. Here is your chance to ask me that question you’ve always wanted answered. If you’re stumped about what I might know, check out the Background page for a laundry list of my interests and experience (minus my various drinking mishaps). Just put your question in the comments section below.

And now … on with the show … pull up a bar stool for a walk down a 35-year-old memory lane.

It is early summer 1973 and you wander into your local convenience store or newsstand looking for the latest issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. You’ve come to rely on this title for great characters, terrific stories and amazing covers by future comics legend John Romita (senior … not junior). Little did you know that you were at the beginning of an absolutely AMAZING (I guess the book lived up to its title at this point) eight issue run where story, character and drama crashed into each other in a way that may never be equaled on the title again.

Besides the truly inspired work of writer Gerry Conway, another thing to recommend these eight issues (#121 thru #128) is the consistently great cover work by John Romita. Enjoy.

 

amspiderman121

Amazing Spider-Man #121 (June 1973) “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”

Writer: Gerry Conway • Artist: Gil Kane

If you bought this comic when it was first released, you’ll never forget it. To keep the secret, the title of the story didn’t appear in the beginning of the book, instead they saved it for the end. Maybe the single most shocking issue in Marvel’s history. An absolute classic in every way.

 

amspiderman122

Amazing Spider-Man #122 (July 1973) “The Goblin’s Last Stand”

Writer: Gerry Conway • Artist: Gil Kane

After the jolt to the system of the previous issue, this one was PERFECT. Peter tries desperately to deal with his grief and anger … and the Goblin comes to fitting end. Needless to say, it would have had a better long term effect if Marvel could have seen fit to leave Norman Osborne in his grave. Oh well…

 

amspiderman123

Amazing Spider-Man #123 (August 1973) “…Just a Man Called … Cage!”

Writer: Gerry Conway • Artist: Gil Kane

J. Jonah Jameson blames Spider-Man for the death of his friend, Norman Osborne. He turns to Hero for Hire Luke Cage, sending him to bring in Spider-Man. Marvel was turning to Spider-Man to help the sales on Cage’s book which released issue #12 the same month.

 

amspiderman124

Amazing Spider-Man #124 (September 1973) “The Mark of the Man-Wolf”

Writer: Gerry Conway • Artist: Gil Kane

Peter’s life is still a mess after Gwen’s death and the Goblin’s demise, and the dynamic between Spidey and J. Jonah Jameson is turned up a notch in this classic issue when Jameson’s astronaut son John returns from the moon with a problem, the full moon turns him into the Man-Wolf.

 

amspiderman125

Amazing Spider-Man #125 (October 1973) “Wolfhunt!”

Writer: Gerry Conway • Artist: Ross Andru

The vastly under-rated, but absolutely terrific Spidey artist Ross Andru takes over art chores on the this second part of the Man-Wolf story. Naturally, Peter keeps Man-Wolf/John Jameson from killing his fiance and Jonah is faced with the prospect of being grateful … but Spidey never gives him the chance.

 

amspiderman126

Amazing Spider-Man #126 (November 1973) “The Kangaroo Bounces Back!”

Writer: Gerry Conway • Artist: Ross Andru

The weakest cover of this group … and yet classic in its own right, even if the Kangaroo is the bottom 5% of Spidey’s rogues gallery. But the story provides a punch-in-the-gut ending as the audience sees Harry Osborne clutching the Goblin costume and muttering about how HE’s the Green Goblin.

 

amspiderman127

Amazing Spider-Man #127 (December 1973) “The Dark Wings of Death!”

Writer: Gerry Conway • Artist: Ross Andru

Part One of a two-issue mystery story featuring the Spidey classic villain, The Vulture. Mary Jane Watson witnesses The Vulture killing a young woman. Harry Osborne descends further into madness and during a pitched battle, The Vulture drops Spidey from a dizzying height far from anything to stick his webs to.

 

amspiderman128

Amazing Spider-Man #128 (January 1974) “The Vulture Hangs High”

Writer: Gerry Conway • Artist: Ross Andru

Perhaps the best designed cover of this bunch. Really striking and effective. The surprise here, this version of the Vulture is the third man (Dr. Clifton Shallot) to wear the costume and he only wore it in this two-issue story. Oh, Spidey saved himself by creating a web-net and he defeats The Vulture not with his fists, but with a bottle of chemicals.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

From the giving credit where credit is due department, I couldn’t have put together this little retrospective without the truly outstanding work at THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.INFO COMICS GALLERY. An excellent resource. Thanks guys.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I hope you enjoyed this cover gallery and summary of one of the greatest periods in Spider-Man’s history. In the next issue, another towering classic, Amazing Spider-Man #129 featured the first appearance of The Punisher. I didn’t include it here because the cover wasn’t by John Romita.

On the other hand, here is a Romita Punisher to delight your eyeballs.

Unpublished John Romita Sr. PUNISHER commission

Unpublished John Romita Sr. PUNISHER commission

          – Dave Olbrich (DWO) Sat. Jan. 10, 2009

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5 Comments

Filed under Fanatical History

5 responses to “Eight great JOHN ROMITA Sr. covers … plus Ask the DWO!

  1. “strap-hanger types” should be a punk band name, somewhere.

    and it occurred to me that Robert Englund would make the perfect film Vulture.

  2. Those were all great covers. I like them all, but for some reason, I’ve always thought Amazing Spider-Man #123, with Luke Cage pummeling Spidey on top of that building, was sheer genius. I love the perspective looking downward from on top of the building.

    Just think about all the covers Romita contributed to, with either full pencils or rough designs. He really helped make those books sell with nice covers. You might wish he did more interior work, but Stan Lee was right in having him do art direction and cover design.

  3. poirier

    I’m simply fascinated by Mr Romita’s talent. I wish I could find a site, in order to buy his “Romantic” couples and gentle love stories so beautifully designed. I wonder if you can help me track these magazines issued in the sixties till around 1980. Thank you
    Simone

  4. Pingback: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN ROMITA SR (Jan.24) | Funny Book Fanatic

  5. Pingback: Spider-Man Spider-fan unmasked | sqwabb

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