Spider-Man by Todd McFarlane Omnibus – Graphic Novel Spotlight


When listing the definitive artists who have worked on Spider-Man over the years, a large portion of fans would rank Todd McFarlane quite high. And it would be hard to argue otherwise. Between 1988 to 1990 he would present a style far removed from the benchmark styles that Steve Ditko and John Romita Sr. pioneered. With intense detail put into Spidey’s costume (particularly the webs), completely revamping the way his webbing was drawn (the twisting strands look that was dubbed spaghetti webbing) and more exaggerated designs, McFarlane’s run turned him into a comics megastar, with his run on Amazing Spider-Man being a huge success and an influence on many artists to come. He would later go on to cofound Image Comics with fellow Marvel superstar artists Jim Lee, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri and Rob Liefeld and create the hit comic series Spawn. But before he left Marvel, McFarlane had his first crack at both writing and drawing a title on the new series created for him after he left Amazing Spider-Man.

Released in 1990, the debut issue of the new series Spider-Man is the third bestselling comic of all time (knocked off the top spot by X-Force #1 and X-Men #1) and would present a grittier and more horror-influenced take on Spidey than most readers were regularly accustomed to, which would influence his later work on Spawn. Now McFarlane’s entire run is getting the omnibus treatment, presenting a perfect opportunity to revisit this important part of Spider-Man history or check it out for the first time.

Starting with Torment, McFarlane presents a more feral version of the Lizard and revisits the events of Kraven’s Last Hunt as Kraven’s lover Calypso attempts to avenge his death by directing the Lizard towards Spider-Man.  This is followed by more horror-themed stories as Spidey and Ghost Rider must save an abducted child from a demon-possessed version of The Hobgoblin, travelling to Canada to fight alongside Wolverine against The Wendigo and a trip to an underground city where Morbius The Living Vampire is instructing the residents to bring him bad people from the streets above to feed on. The collection is capped off by a pure 90s team up as McFarlane teams up with Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza to bring Spider-Man and X-Force together as they battle The Juggernaut.

For any fans of Todd McFarlane, this is well worth a read. Not only does McFarlane’s insanely cool artwork get the full benefits of the omnibus treatment with the larger page format and high quality paper, but it is a great opportunity to see his growth as a storyteller as he tackles writing for the first time (you can see his confidence grow as the collection progresses). Comic historians also should have this on their shelves as this series was an important part of 1990s comic history and would shape and influence both directly and indirectly what followed for years to come. For Spider-Man fans, it’s a great chance to see one of Spidey’s all-time great artists cut loose with plenty of great action-packed stories, amazing art (small thing but we get both the red and blue and the black costumes by McFarlane in one collection) and despite all the craziness and horror he finds himself in, this is still the Peter Parker/ Spider-Man we all know and love. A worthy new entry in Marvel’s omnibus line!

Spider-Man by Todd McFarlane Omnibus is published 16 August by Marvel

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Post by Leo

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