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Illustration

Spider-Man Exhibit Examines the Passing-of-the-Torch Between Illustrators

The super hero's look and feel transformed under illustrator Steve Ditko. Now he has an exhibit in NYC.

Diana Shi

Diana Shi

All images courtesy the Society of Illustrators

The artistic voice of one illustrator is not easily reworked by newcomers, especially when it comes to the development of an icon. In the world of comics, the legacy and visual prowess of Spider-Man comic co-originator Steve Ditko is well-known. His gangly-limbed character, outfitted in red, blue, and latticed webbing, founded the design of one of the comic world's most beloved protagonists. Soon after Dikto's departure from the Marvel universe, John Romita would take over the characterization of the Marvel hero. Now, Romita's artistic vision receives contemporary recognition at The Art of Spider-Man featuring Jon Romita and Other Notable Artists.

The exhibit, which shows at the Society of Illustrators in New York City, features pages from the original Spider-Man comic as drawn by Ditko, alongside the noticeably less figurally awkward and much warmer style of Romita. The expansive show comes to New York just before its slick cinematic cohort, the summer flick Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters. Comic collector and Jon Romita expert, Mike Burkey, loans the Society of Illustrators his materials for the exhibit, while comic art expert Rob Pistella curates.

The Art of Spider-Man will exhibit early works from Romita's time as Spidey's main artist, including the drawings from the his first two weeks with the characters, displayed in blown-up canvases for an effective view of his detailing and characterization techniques. The show highlights how Romita's more open, friendlier portrayal of Spider-Man came to represent the style and aesthetic of the Marvel Comics brand and his vision and willingness to stay away from mere mimicry of his predecessor.

See some of the comprehensive Spider-Man exhibit below:

The Art of Spider-Man shows until August 26, 2017 at the Society of Illustrators in New York City. To learn more about the show visit the Society of Illustrators' website, here.

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