Ross Andru's Amazing Spider-Man Club
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Posted (edited)

With just my second issue (#154) of Amazing Spider-Man, I started noticing the little background verbiage that the artist were putting in the panels.  For example, in ASM 154, Dave Hunt put Backgrounds by Hunt on the election poster on the splash page.  I started studying these and noticed quite a few.  Some started repeating.  Like the name Benjamin.  And the “XX”. 

Dave Hunt was the background inker for Spider-Man from Issue 127 through 170.  He carefully started inserting little Easter Eggs into the pages he helped ink.  I assume the “Background by Hunt” was borrowed from Tony Mortellaro, who did it earlier in Amazing Spider-Man.  What is new was Dave’s shout out to his son, Benjamin.  According to Lee Benaka’s and Dave Hunt's book “Dave Hunt: An Artist’s Life”, Benjamin was living far away with his mother at the time, so Dave worked in little Comic Games (this is what Dave called them) for his young son.  One of these Comic Games was inspired by Four Color Comics 199 (1948) and was the “XX” as shown in the panel I posted.

I found 18 examples of the “XX” in Dave’s run.  For your enjoyment, here they are.

I will leave the other Easter Eggs Dave left in Amazing Spider-Man for you perusing pleasure.  PM if you want a copy of my list.  I highlight one below as well.

I met Dave at the 2006 NY Comic Con.  He was working on Scooby Doo at the time.  I only talked to him a few minutes, but I so wished that I had talked to him much longer.  Lee Benaka’s book with Dave covers Dave's time at Marvel, with some good stories of his interactions with other bullpen members.  I think  I purchased the book though to learn more about the hidden Easter Eggs.  Sure enough, I learned about the “XX”.  Good Stuff for a lifelong Spider-Man fan.

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Edited by Spider-Variant
Clarification

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4 hours ago, bababooey said:

The only guess I can muster is that the "brand" in the cartoon is some reference to the sneaky background signatures from the inkers Tony Mortellaro and Dave Hunt.  

You were on the mark.  Not signatures, but a game Dave Hunt played with his son.  Your official "Ross Andru Thread" no prize is in the mail.

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2 hours ago, Spider-Variant said:

You were on the mark.  Not signatures, but a game Dave Hunt played with his son.  Your official "Ross Andru Thread" no prize is in the mail.

So when should he expect his moldy peanut butter jar to arrive?

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On 5/1/2020 at 1:59 AM, Spider-Variant said:
On 4/30/2020 at 9:38 PM, bababooey said:

The only guess I can muster is that the "brand" in the cartoon is some reference to the sneaky background signatures from the inkers Tony Mortellaro and Dave Hunt.  

You were on the mark.  Not signatures, but a game Dave Hunt played with his son.  Your official "Ross Andru Thread" no prize is in the mail.

Considering how many times I've read those issues it's a wonder I never spotted any of them. Well played guys :headbang:

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On 4/30/2020 at 3:19 PM, Spider-Variant said:

I'm going to ask them that.  Most likely it is a copy of Ross's signature.:preach:

:popcorn:

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29 minutes ago, Get Marwood & I said:

:popcorn:

No reply yet.  I'll post their response if I get one.

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On 4/30/2020 at 8:54 PM, Spider-Variant said:

With just my second issue (#154) of Amazing Spider-Man, I started noticing the little background verbiage that the artist were putting in the panels.  For example, in ASM 154, Dave Hunt put Backgrounds by Hunt on the election poster on the splash page.  I started studying these and noticed quite a few.  Some started repeating.  Like the name Benjamin.  And the “XX”. 

Dave Hunt was the background inker for Spider-Man from Issue 127 through 170.  He carefully started inserting little Easter Eggs into the pages he helped ink.  I assume the “Background by Hunt” was borrowed from Tony Mortellaro, who did it earlier in Amazing Spider-Man.  What is new was Dave’s shout out to his son, Benjamin.  According to Lee Benaka’s and Dave Hunt's book “Dave Hunt: An Artist’s Life”, Benjamin was living far away with his mother at the time, so Dave worked in little Comic Games (this is what Dave called them) for his young son.  One of these Comic Games was inspired by Four Color Comics 199 (1948) and was the “XX” as shown in the panel I posted.

I found 18 examples of the “XX” in Dave’s run.  For your enjoyment, here they are.

I will leave the other Easter Eggs Dave left in Amazing Spider-Man for you perusing pleasure.  PM if you want a copy of my list.  I highlight one below as well.

I met Dave at the 2006 NY Comic Con.  He was working on Scooby Doo at the time.  I only talked to him a few minutes, but I so wished that I had talked to him much longer.  Lee Benaka’s book with Dave covers Dave's time at Marvel, with some good stories of his interactions with other bullpen members.  I think  I purchased the book though to learn more about the hidden Easter Eggs.  Sure enough, I learned about the “XX”.  Good Stuff for a lifelong Spider-Man fan.

 

 

 

 

 

image.thumb.png.e20e0ff2656b0938b2573d0dd944b9db.png

Thanks for alerting me to this fun thread, and for a tough trivia challenge!  It has been nice exchanging messages with you.  I'm glad you enjoyed Dave Hunt's autobiography, which is entitled "Dave Hunt: An Artist's Life."  

It was a real treat to get to know Dave while we put the book together.  Dave had so many fun stories about his career, especially his time working a daily job for several years in the "Marvel Bullpen," side-by-side with Mike Esposito and Frank Giacoia, sharing inking work back-and-forth.  If anyone would like to buy a signed copy of this heavily-illustrated, full-color, 130-page book, it costs $20.  You can message me through this board for payment information.  It would make for some nice COVID-19 shut-in reading.

One of the many great things about Dave is that he kept a lot of stuff, including vintage 1970s Xeroxes of Ross Andru Amazing Spider-Man pencils as Ross sent his pages in to Marvel.  I am posting a few images below, and if there is interest, I can post more.  Ross Andru will always be "my" Spidey artist as one of the very first comics that I ever owned was ASM #140.  Take care all!  Best, Lee Benaka

ASM127_1_AndruPencilsOnly.jpg

ASM127_19_AndruPencilsOnly.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Great stuff Lee!  As stated, I really enjoyed the book.

Edited by Spider-Variant

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On 4/2/2020 at 6:34 PM, Spider-Variant said:

I had posted the first picture comparison a little time ago from ASM #171.

I had figured out that Ross used the On Leone Tong building as his backdrop to show a blissful Harry and Liz enjoying a stroll through Chinatown.

My next goal was to track down the panel before this one. Mission mostly accomplished, but it was no easy task.

Below are the best images I could come up with that I could compare with Ross's May 1977 take on Mott Street in Chinatown.

This is one where I feel Ross walked down Mott Street either taking photos or sketching what he could use.

In my first comparison using pictures only identified as the 1970s, I identified two specific real life restaurants.  The first was Quon Luck (right) and the second was the Golden Dragon (left).  Ross obscures/deletes their names on his version (maybe that Mindworm near lawsuit scared him).  I found pictures of both neon signs lit up in some online videos and they are pretty neat, especially the dragon.

On the Quon Luck sign, notice the small arrow below the letter "T" in the word Restaurant.  Ross put that in his art as well.

For the Golden Dragon restaurant, Ross toned it down quite a bit, but the sign is recognizable. Continuing up the street, is 79 Mott Street with a circle arc design at the top.  Past that is the outline of the On Leone Tong building which you see in the next panel of ASM #171.

I could not find a "Joy Fong" restaurant, but there is a "Joy Luck" restaurant nearby this street location.  Again, I think Ross changed the name.  I could find no stores/restaurants named Grunts either.  

I posted the second picture comparison of that panel because it is at near the exact same vantage point of Ross's depiction.  Unfortunately, the quality is poor, I had to black out two people in the photo, and the On Leone Tony building is not really visible.  The sign for the Quon Luck restaurant was slightly changed in this picture from 1982.

As an aside, the Quon Luck restaurant by name appeared in another comic book.  Who can name it?

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The images you are finding blow me away. If anyone does a book on Ross Andru, I nominate you and expect all this great stuff in that book!

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Thanks for the kind words.  I love taking this new look at the books of my youth.  Brings back some great memories.  A lot of these places and unfortunately people are no longer around, so I've used this thread to capture them as best as I could.  I like the camaraderie we've created in this thread as well.  So to all :tink:

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On 5/3/2020 at 5:55 PM, Spider-Variant said:

Thanks for the kind words.  I love taking this new look at the books of my youth.  Brings back some great memories.  A lot of these places and unfortunately people are no longer around, so I've used this thread to capture them as best as I could.  I like the camaraderie we've created in this thread as well.  So to all :tink:

Just shows you how art can touch peoples lives doesn't it. Ross is likely not the best comic book artist who ever lived. But as this thread shows, he clearly did something that we all loved back then, as here we are 40 plus years later still talking about it. Some of that will be the Spidey factor of course - you don't see much of his DC work discussed here - but it was a perfect cocktail at the time. The character, the stories, the mood, the art. The realism. It's like a great rock band - the members are great in their own right, but put them together and the magic happens.

I'm a bit of a romantic softy at times. I like the idea of getting to heaven and, one day, after having the guided tour by my Dad, bumping into Ross taking pictures around the place for reference in his latest comic (bound to be 1970's style comic shops in heaven, no?). He says "Hey, you're that pence bloke from England who started a thread on me! Come have a beer and we'll talk about the old times". 

Well, it's better than nothingness for all eternity isn't it :wishluck:

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9 hours ago, Get Marwood & I said:

He says "Hey, you're that pence bloke from England who started a thread on me! Come have a beer and we'll talk about the old times". 

Well, it's better than nothingness for all eternity isn't it :wishluck:

Are we supposed to answer that question from your perspective or his? :baiting:

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3 hours ago, bababooey said:

Are we supposed to answer that question from your perspective or his? :baiting:

For that comment Triple-B, you're going to go to Hell and attend art classes with Rob Liefeld for all Eternity  :bigsmile:

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On 5/2/2020 at 4:39 AM, Get Marwood & I said:

:popcorn:

I got the price lowered for you.:whistle:  The signatures are facsimiles, as I had thought.  The photo itself may be worth the fifty though.  If Ross were in it, I would buy it.

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1 hour ago, Spider-Variant said:

I got the price lowered for you.:whistle:  The signatures are facsimiles, as I had thought.  The photo itself may be worth the fifty though.  If Ross were in it, I would buy it.

Odd listing isn't it, on reflection. Ross died in 1993 and the book came out in 2007. So why would a draft text dated 2005 have a space for his signature? And if Mike was still alive, why would he's be a facsimile? The seller looks reputable - I suspect they got ripped off by someone.

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6 hours ago, Frisco Larson said:

Got this in a few days ago.

Amazing Spider-Man 179 9.8 w front.jpg

That's a beautiful book.  Colors seem to pop.

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22 minutes ago, Spider-Variant said:

That's a beautiful book.  Colors seem to pop.

Thanks much! Yeah, I'm thrilled with it! Sure makes a guy want to buy more too!!! 

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Posted (edited)

Hey @Get Marwood & I, what you think about this one?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-ORIGINAL-ART-1976-Ross-Andru-SPIDERMAN-MOLTEN-MAN-SPLASH-PAGE/224008802171?hash=item3427f70f7b:g:dNkAAOSwaOpeu2FA

Auction Description Reads: 

RARE ROSS ANDRU MOLTON MAN ART DRAWN FOR THE BRITISH VERSION.

DUE TO SIZING THIS WAS DRAWN FRESHLY FOR THE NEW VERSION IN 1976.

FROM SPIDERMAN #133, 1974.

I sent him this:

How did you verify that this was Ross Andru art? As you may be aware, the splash pages used in the UK versions were many times drawn by another artist. The title credits then would reflect the original artist, who drew the entire issue, minus the reworked Splash page. On the back, the initials SS appear for the Pencils, with ME appearing for the Inks. ME is most like Mike Esposito. But SS doesn't work with Ross Andru. Steve Stiles though is an artist who is known to have worked these UK splash pages. As the new artist was many times trying to ape the original artist style, it is hard to tell. Not saying this isn't Ross Andru's art, but just saying it might not be, based on those back page initials.

He didn't change the description though.

I don't think it's Ross, but it is hard to tell, I will admit.  Original by Andru below.

 

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Edited by Spider-Variant
clarification

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On 5/13/2020 at 10:05 PM, Spider-Variant said:

How did you verify that this was Ross Andru art?

I don't know myself, and haven't Googelated anything, but I was always under the impression that the interim / new covers and expanded, redrawn splash pages of the UK reprints were always done by other artists. The 'SS' on the back is a good indicator of course but, even without it, I don't see it as Ross's work myself. It's a very good copy though. 

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