Over his 53 year history, Spider-Man has had an awful lot of adventures. He has taken on all sorts of villains from street thugs to gods. Many different artists have put pen to paper to draw the character and here I'd like to highlight 6 of the best in no particular order.
How could I not mention this man? Steve Ditko was hugely influential in the creation of Spider-Man. Along with Stan Lee, he created Spidey's iconic look and was the first artist to draw him fully. It was Ditko's decision for Spidey to wear a mask, he was initially unsure if Stan Lee would want to cover the hero's face, but he knew that he had to do it in order to hide the teenager beneath it. As well as Spider-Man himself, Steve Ditko was also responsible for the look of many of his iconic villains, these include Doctor Octopus, the Lizard and (perhaps the most iconic of all) the Green Goblin.
John Romita Sr.
John Romita Sr. is perhaps THE most iconic Spider-Man artist. His work with Stan Lee is when the character really took off and became popular. During his time as an artist on the series, Spider-Man's sales overtook the Fantastic Four, which was Marvel's most popular comic at the time. One of the reasons for the success was the focus on Peter Parker's private life. John Romita was responsible for the look of Mary Jane Watson (who, before her iconic entrance, had only appeared obscured behind a potted plant). Together, he and Stan Lee held a record for many years as the longest running creative team on Spider-Man.
John Romita Jr
Following in his father's footsteps, John Romita Jr. became an equally important Spider-Man artist. I really don't like him, but you can't deny that JRJR has a legacy when it comes to drawing Spider-Man. Though he might not be to my tastes, he has undeniably had an impact on the character, returning as artist on a number of occasions. He was involved with many important storylines and collaborated with some of the quintessential Spider-Man writers. Perhaps the most famous, and most controversial, was J Michael Straczynski's One More Day arc.
My personal favourite, he initially worked on the much maligned Clone Saga. He made some subtle changes to Spidey's design which included much larger, more expressive eyes. Because of his work on the Clone Saga, Bagley was responsible for the design of Ben Reilly's costume during the time that he took over as Spider-Man. After leaving behind the character for a while, he was approached by the Marvel producer about creating an updated version of Spider-Man for modern audiences. Together with Brian Michael Bendis, they created Ultimate Spider-Man. For 111 consecutive issues, the pair worked together on the comic, holding the record for the longest running creative team on a Marvel comic, beating Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's record for Fantastic Four.
Olivier Coipel is a Frenchman who was the primary artist during the Spider-Verse event. Here, he was challenged to draw many versions of the same character, yet he somehow managed to allow them to maintain their individuality. Other than comic book covers, he had not drawn the character before this event and I feel his work is excellent - I would love it if he was the main artist. His style was perfect for the event and he captured the fluidity of Spidey's movements perfectly. Spider-Verse featured every Spider-Man ever (that Marvel were contractually allowed to use!), which allowed for a confrontation between Peter Parker and The Superior Spider-Man. This particular meeting was something the fans had been waiting for since Peter's return and it led to one of my all time favourite comic book panels...
Stegman came to prominence by drawing the first issues of Superior Spider-Man. Due to the changes to the character (Otto Octavius swapping brains with Peter), it was the perfect time to introduce a new artist to the fold. I have to say, I thought his depiction of Peter Parker was excellent, it was just his art of Spidey that I had issues with. Sometimes, the shape of his face in the mask looked a bit odd to me (though I might just be picky). However, his work on Scarlet Spider was excellent and I loved that series, artwork and all. Maybe it was one of his artistic collaborators that I didn't like in Superior Spider-Man...
So there you have it, 6 of the best Spider-Man artists of all time! What do you think? I've mentioned some that I like and some that I dislike but maybe you have a favourite that I've missed. Comment and let me know!