Blah Blah Blog – Hanging Around the Library

A post from my Marvel blog of time gone by, this one talking about the then-recent acquisition by the Library of Congress of the original art to AMAZING FANTASY #15. I did a deep dive on these pages here:

Hanging Around The Library

May 14, 2008 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

It’s been reported all around the internet at this point, but in case you’re one of those people that’ve ben hiding out on a desert island or something, an anonymous donor recently gifted the Library of Congress with all of the original artwork to AMAZING FANTASY #15, the origin and first appearance of Spider-Man.

Given that the entirety of the book is still all together, including the two back-up stories, it’s likely that the artwork didn’t go through Marvel’s typical art return process back in the 80s. Before art returns became a matter of policy, all of the originals were stored in a Marvel-run warehouse, on which security wasn’t always the greatest. It’s impossible to tell, but it’s likely that all sorts of artwork walked out the door there over the years the place was in operation.

Regardless of the circumstances, it’s great that this artwork is still all in one place (rather than being scattered to the winds) and will now reside in a place where everybody can enjoy it, and where people will take steps to preserve and maintain it.

As you can see from the attached photos, the originals reveal some (relatively minor but nonetheless interesting) details concerning this first Spidey story. There are some production notes from Stan penciled in the margins in a few places, indicating adjustments that either Ditko or production man Sol Brodsky should make to the art. Liz Allen’s face on the splash page has been redrawn by somebody else (possibly romance artist Al Hartley) to make her more attractive. And the logo on the first page is a stat, underneath which there’s evidence of an earlier logo drawn directly on the board, which has been whited out (and which is missing the character-defining dash between Spider and Man).

It’s a pretty amazing thing to have this, probably one of the five most significant comic book stories of all time preserved in this manner. I’m going to make it a point to schedule a viewing the next time I have occasion to be in the area.

More later.

Tom B

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