13 Real-Life NEW YORK Landmarks That ROSS ANDRU Tucked Into SPIDER-MAN

A birthday tribute to the late artist, who was born 94 years ago…

Being a New Yorker, one of the groovy thrills of reading comics is when certain landmarks pop up. I’m not just talking about the Empire State Building or the Brooklyn Bridge but locations and complexes that are likely to pass other readers by.

The late Ross Andru — who was born 94 years ago on June 15, 1927 — was a master at this particular craft. From the famous to the obscure, Andru imbued his 1970s Amazing Spider-Man comics with skyscrapers, bridges, power plants and other points of interest lifted from real life. His eye for detail was keen and his devotion to capturing the city’s atmosphere was substantial.

Andru’s commitment to going the extra mile caught the attention of Facebook user Rober Conner, who’s posted over the last two or three years dozens of comparisons between Andru’s panels and their inspirations in the SCOPE OF ROSS ANDRU Facebook group. (Click here to join.)

“I have 53 posts, which contain 92 panel comparisons of Ross Andru’s real-life depictions of places and things around NYC and Paris, France (where issues 143 and 144 were set) from his five-year run on Amazing Spider-Man, Giant-Size Spider-Man and Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man,” Rober told me. “I have about 20 to 30 more panels that I haven’t posted, but some are duplicates. So, overall I found about 125 real-life references that Ross worked in.”

I’d love to run all 53, but we count in increments of 13 in these parts, so we’ve whittled down the list accordingly. I chose the selection based on a combination of the well known and the lesser known.

So here are 13 REAL-LIFE NEW YORK LANDMARKS THAT ROSS ANDRU TUCKED INTO SPIDER-MAN. They’re in no particular order and, again, if you want to check out Rober’s full run, including his well-researched commentary, click here:

Note from Dan: The Paramount Building is sometimes a stand-in for The Daily Planet in that other big comics universe. Click here for an example.

Rober also found tons of power plants, highways and other locations in Andru’s work, but my favorite is this home in Far Rockaway, Queens, that was used for the Mindworm’s quarters in Amazing Spider-Man #138:

“The hardest one to find was the Mindworm’s house,” he explained. “As you may be aware, Marvel was sued (or was threatened with a lawsuit depending on which version of the story Gerry Conway tells) because Ross used an actual home to model the Mindworm’s house after. Marvel printed an apology in The Amazing Spider-Man 149 to say they were sorry about the way the house was depicted. I started looking for that house on Google Maps two-and-a-half years ago, knowing it was probably torn down. I gave up several times, even wondering if the story was true.

“I then started looking through photos of the NYC area from the 1980s with no luck and then turned to photos from the 1940s,” Rober added. “After about 12,000 photos I found it one Saturday morning. Here’s the great part: The house (long since demolished) was exactly one mile from where Ross lived in the Far Rockaway area when he drew the issue in 1974. He probably passed it on his way to the beach and said, ‘I bet I could talk Gerry into letting me base a story here.'”


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

— 13 COVERS: A ROSS ANDRU Birthday Celebration — 2020 EDITION. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Wow, I have new respect for Ross. That detail must have taken forever…

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  2. I had no idea Andru went to such lengths. I always considered him underrated, but now he’s risen to the top of that list!

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  3. I grew up on Ross Andru’s Spider-Man. His commitment to detail and dynamic storytelling made the pages come alive!

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