On June 9th, I attended the opening party for the Society of Illustrators' ART OF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN show, an event showcasing original art from throughout the hero's publication history, with work by legends such as Steve Ditko — the co-creator of Spider-Man — and John Romita Sr. It was a gathering of NYC's comics professionals and venerating fans, and a great time was had by all.
The entrance to the Society of Illustrators.
John Bligh and Jared Osborn, my college and Marvel Bullpen brothers. Two of the most important people in my life and I love them very, very much.
Sadly, my web-shooter was empty.
A Milton Caniff original of the Dragon Lady from the legendary TERRY AND THE PIRATES. I would kill to own this.
It's always fun to get one's drink on at an industry party.
A concotion that the bartender described as tasting "like a melted sno-cone." When I asked him if it was any good, he unequivocally responded with "NO."
Miscreants and reprobates.
John Romita Sr. signs for a delighted fan.
A confluence of fans and pros. The line to get into the event reportedly went around the block. (Thankfully, myself and a few close friends and former colleagues were able to get in early and avoid the line.)
Big pimpin' with John Romita Sr.
With Kenny "PIercing Metal" Pierce, a much-loved fellow geek and metalhead.
College and Marvel colleagues.
The nice lady who interviewed myself and Jared for the SYFY CHannel.
Bullpen vermin, telling the cameraman and interviewer true tales of Marvel that were in no way fit for print or broadcast. They were appalled.
The interview in question.
With Chris Claremont, the writer whose classic stories set the majority of X-Men tropes in stone (for better or worse).
From THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33: The original art from the legendary "Lifting Sequence" that arguably served as the true coda to our hero's development. It was also the end of the Lee-Ditko run on the series. I never imagined I would ever see these actual pages in the flesh (so to speak).
The awesome moment of triumph. I have no idea of this page's actual cash value, but its sale could likely pay the full mortgage on a house.
The middle segment of the famous three-part drug storyline in which Marvel defied the Comics Code Authority and published the story minus the Comics Code seal of approval. A major moment in the maturation of American comics content.
Harry Osborn: Drug addict!!!
Spidey encounters a negro who's "stoned right out of his mind." (Surprisingly NOT at SUNY at Purchase, circa 1985-1988.)
More Marvel vermin.
Sylvia takes egregious advantage and cops a feel. (Yeah, like I minded...)
With the one and only Hildy Mesnik, one of the few remaining completely perfect human beings. I adore this woman, both professionally and personally.
'90's Bullpen lads venerate the Romitas.
With John and Virginia Romita. John is one of the legends of the comics industry, being the second artist on Spider-Man and arguably the illustrator whose clean, Caniff-influenced figures defined the look of the character. I was honored to work with him every day for just shy of nine years (he was Marvel's art director at the time) and I find him to be one of the kindest, nicest, and most generous cornucopias of skill and knowledge when it comes to the art of comics and visual storytelling. Working with him was an education on the art of comics storytelling and how to be a true professional in the comics industry. I am honored to have been his colleague and student. Sweetest man in the biz. And his wife, Virginia, was my boss for several years. (My relationship with her got off to very contentious start but we ended up as friends.) Seriously, I love these guys.
Freiends and former colleagues whom I adore.
With fellow staffers Mike Higgins and Terry Kavanagh.
As seen in the ladies' room. (photo courtesy of Francine Grillo)
Exposing Spider-Man's best-kept secret.
"Spider-Man No More!" my black ass!!! He's still going strong!