13 Amazing ROSS ANDRU SPIDER-MAN Issues

A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE: The late artist was born 95 years ago on June 15, 1927…

By JIM BEARD

Everyone has “their” Spider-Man artist: Ditko, Romita Sr., Buscema, McFarlane, Romita Jr., etc.

“My” Spider-Man artist is Ross Andru.

What I mean by that is Andru was the guy who was drawing Amazing Spider-Man when I first got caught in its web and made me a fan of the character. By that same token, Curt Swan is “my” Superman artist and Irv Novick is “my” Batman artist. You never forget your first.

It just so happens this is Ross’ birthday and in honor of it I delved deep into the ol’ Spidey catalog and spun up 13 of my most favorite Friendly Neighborhood Spidey stories, all done proud by the Amazing Andru. Hope you see a few you dig, too.

Marvel Team-Up #1 (March 1972). I got caught up in this one as a reprint in one of the Marvel Treasury Editions and fell in love with it. Nice Christmas tale with some fine Andru work on not only our two heroes but Sandman, too.

Marvel Team-Up #9 (May 1973). Iron Man! The Tomorrow Man! Kang! The Avengers! All this and Spider-Man, too! And can Ross draw ‘em all? Yes, he can, man!

Marvel Team-Up #12 (Aug. 1973). Man, I love this one! Ross drew a great Werewolf!

The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (Feb. 1974). This is where it all began for me, the first ASM my dad bought me. What a place to start, huh? And how cool is it that Ross is a co-creator of the Punisher? He also drew one mean-lookin’ Jackal.

The Amazing Spider-Man #130 (March 1974). Geez, this issue is just burned into my brain… Spidey behind the wheel of the Spider-Mobile, hot-rodding through the snow-covered streets of Manhattan, Johnny Storm blazing along overhead. I feel lucky to have had a front-row seat with Ross on this one.

Giant-Size Spider-Man #1 (July 1974). I can barely write words about this one, it looms so large in my love of comic books. Ross conveys such a great atmosphere on board the ship, and his Dracula is appropriately creepy and regal.

The Amazing Spider-Man #137 (Oct 1974). The big showdown between the then-new Green Goblin and Spider-Man is a real treat when handled by Ross Andru. I’d say he rivaled his predecessors when it came to illustrating the twisted evil of the Goblin mask.

The Amazing Spider-Man #138 (Nov. 1974). If you’re not familiar with this issue, it might be hard for you to understand what I see in it. Ross’ design for the Mindworm’s big head and scary visage haunts me to this day.

Giant-Size Spider-Man #4 (July 1975). I’m not even a Punisher fan, really, but the grittiness of this one has stuck with me through the years, especially that scene of Magnum unmasking Spidey. The temerity of it still pisses me off.

Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (March 1976). There is absolutely no way I could make a list of favorite Ross Andru Spider-Man stories and not include this. No way.

The Amazing Spider-Man #159 (Aug. 1976). Doctor Octopus, Hammerhead, the Tinkerer, more Spider-Mobile — what’s not to love here?

The Amazing Spider-Man #161 (Oct. 1976). I didn’t know Nightcrawler before reading this one. I find it very, very cool that Ross introduced me to him.

The Amazing Spider-Man #171 (Aug. 1977). I get a big smile on my face thinking about this issue. Just like Nightcrawler before him, I didn’t know anything about Nova before picking this one up, but Ross was able to draw the science fiction-type of heroes as well as the more grounded webslingers. Love it.

MORE

— 13 Real-Life NEW YORK Landmarks That ROSS ANDRU Tucked Into SPIDER-MAN. Click here.

— PEAK SPIDER-MAN: The Enduring Power of the CONWAY-ANDRU Team. Click here.

JIM BEARD has pounded out adventure fiction since he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. He’s gone on to write official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comics stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history. His prose work includes his own creations, but also licensed properties such as Planet of the Apes, X-Files, Spider-Man, Kolchak the Night Stalker and Captain Action. In addition, Jim provided regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, for 17 years.

Check out his latest releases: a Green Hornet novella How Sweet the Sting, his first epic fantasy novel The Nine Nations Book One: The Sliding WorldRunning Home to Shadows about Dark Shadows, and the most recent Batman ’66 books of essays he’s edited: Zlonk! Zok! Zowie! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season OneBiff! Bam! Ee-Yow! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season Two and Oooff! Boff! Splatt! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66 – Season Three.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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13 Comments

  1. My first issue of ASM was #144. (That was the issue where I moved up from Spidey Super Stories to ASM.) I love Ross Andru’s work on Spider-Man. He absolutely nailed it. While Ross isn’t my favorite Spider-Man artist, he’s Top 5 for me, maybe Top 3. (Romita Sr is my favorite, and when he inked Ross’ pencils on ASM the result was truly amazing.) Ross is undoubtedly the most underrated and underappreciated Spider-Man artist of them all. His use of angles and perspective was phenomenal, and the poses he’d draw people and heroes in was among the best ever. The more I see of it, the more I love his work.

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  2. Many thanks for posting the excerpt from the Mindworm story (The Amazing Spider-Man #138, Nov. 1974). I recall reading this story, or part of it, at the age of eleven or so, and still remember it vividly, not only “the Mindworm’s big head and scary visage,” but also his lonely and isolated childhood.

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  3. Great stuff! Ross a top-3 Spidey artist for me. JRJr was my first, but his daddy and Ditko are 1 and 2 respectively, for me.

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  4. I remember the Mindworm story so well since it took place in Far Rockaway (where I grew up!). A few issues later there was an apology in the letters column for portraying the house that the Mindworm lived in such a poor manner (since it really existed!!!).

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  5. Great list Dan. I couldn’t agree more on ASM 161 and ASM 171. I really loved ASM 157-159 as well.

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    • While I totally get how many fans will always rank Lee & Ditko or Lee & Romita as their top choice for best creative team I’ll always have the combo of Wein & Ross run right up there. (With #153 being my favorite issue of their run!)

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  6. One of Ross’ greatest strengths were his amazing cityscapes!
    I wish you would have highlighted more of that here in your selections.

    He’s one of the very best at it.

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  7. Man, I am with you on every bit of this, every issue. Loved Ross’s involvement with Spidey. He’s my Spider-Man artist. First book I ever bought was Spider-Man 134. It was my quest a few summers ago to find every Spidey Andru drew. So, I went back and got those early Marvel Team Ups. Spider-Man with Mindworm….love it! Love it. And that Giant size number 4. So great. All of it. Thanks for posting this list.

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    • Ross Andru will always be my favorite Spider-Man artist especially the issues inked by Frank Giacoia and DaveHunt(of course Romita as well)
      Love the Mindworm story. My first Spider-Man comic is 141.

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