Analyzing the Art of Spidey

Even at a young age, Peter Parker could count his disadvantages on multiple hands. His parents passed away, his classmates teased him, a radioactive spider bit him, and he failed to use the powers it granted him to circuitously save his uncle’s life.

And yet, Spider-Man remains one of the most popular and inspiring characters around because, while he carries much of that emotional weight with him, he never lets it get him down for too long. Writer Robbie Thompson and artist Nick Bradshaw will focus on the early days of Peter’s super hero career in SPIDEY, launching later this year.

The book will feature many of the classic elements from Parker’s high school classmates on up to baddies like Doctor Octopus and Electro all drawn in Bradshaw’s highly detailed pencils. We talked with Thompson about the appeal of this time frame, the joys of working with Bradshaw, and some of the villains fans will see pop up in the series. Spider-Man’s evolved so much over the years, but what is it about this classic era that continues to hold so much appeal for creators and readers alike?

Robbie Thompson: I think there’s something universal and relatable about Peter Parker as a character. He never gives up. He always keeps pushing forward, even when the odds are stacked against him, and they’re almost always stacked against him! And I think that everyone at one point in their lives has felt like an outsider; but what’s great about Peter is that he never sees that as something as bad, or limiting. Instead, he leans into it, and that allows him to be true to himself, and to Spider-Man. How is working with a 15-year-old version of Spider-Man different than conveying the adventures of the older version?

Robbie Thompson: Well, in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Peter is running a company, he’s traveling all over the world, and the weight of that world is on his shoulders. It’s an intense and fantastic book. The stakes are enormous!

In high school, Peter and Spidey are just trying to survive, trying to make it through a day of life in a high school and then have to figure out how to get through a fight with Electro without getting cooked. So the stakes are a bit smaller, but in the end, no matter what era you’re setting a Peter/Spidey story in: it’s still Peter Parker, a guy who will always do the right thing, a guy who, no matter what’s thrown at him, won’t back down, won’t give up. From what we’ve seen of the pages, artist Nick Bradshaw seems to have really nailed that youthful take on the character while retaining his incredible line work.

Robbie Thompson: Nick’s art has perfectly captured Peter in every panel. From his layouts to the performance in the close-ups, Nick’s really pulled out all the stops to give the reader such a clear sense of who Peter is and what he stands for, and adding so many great moments and details on every page. I can’t wait for people to see his amazing work on this book. How is it going back to some of these classic characters from the early days of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and putting your own spin on them?

Robbie Thompson: We’re not trying to re-write history, or change anything, but rather capture the sense of fun and tone from those early books, and shine a light on some tales that fell through the cracks. A big part of the fun of that is seeing Peter square off against classic villains like Doc Ock, Sandman, Lizard, and so on. Spidey’s not as established as he is in AMAZING, so he’s still got to figure out how to get through these encounters in one piece.

SPIDEY #1 wall crawls into stores later this year thanks to Robbie Thompson and Nick Bradshaw.