Every once in a while, a comic image appears that just absolutely floors the Comics on the Brain staff.
Such is the case with this piece by painter Alex Ross. His work has been swiped by us many times over the years to illustrate a point we were making, partly because he offers a wonderfully iconic look of a character, but also because he’s just that darn good.
Over the years, he’s contributed greatly to the comic book industry. His pieces help sell books for one thing. He also lends a legitimacy to the art form. He doesn’t simply create splashy images either. He can tell a story as he’s done in the series best described as his greatest hits — Marvels, Kingdom Come, the DC Comics oversized one-shots and Justice.
Between his spectacular covers, his sequential art and his love for the icons of comics, animation and other genres, Ross is a true treasure.
Because of this, we come to expect great things from him, and he often delivers.
Then sometimes he one-ups himself — delivering a concept so completely that we instantly fall in love.
The piece at right is one of those instances. It’s an alternate cover for the 2016 edition of Amazing Spider-Man no. 15. In this issue, Mary Jane Watson is now Tony Stark’s secretary. For reasons not worth discussing, she gets an opportunity to put on the Iron Spider uniform once worn by Peter Parker.
With a few adjustments, she’s in the suit and briefly operates under that identity. By the end of the issue, she’s back as a civilian — being a super hero is not her thing.
Alex Ross, however, saw the potential in the idea and delivered a vivid portrait of this new Iron Spider. His touches are perfect. There’s the Romita-esque facial features, for one thing. Then add the metallic costume elements and the vibrant colors that flush her skin tones. Top it off with the jaunty pose and the decision to forego the mask. It all works so well.
It’s because of this one image that we desperately want to see more of this world were Mary Jane Watson is The Amazing Iron Spider Jane. Sure, that’s a lousy name, but if Marvel can somehow deliver on the promise of a series inspired by Ross’s take on this concept, we’ll be the first to preorder issue No. 1.