Free Comic Book Day, which happened May 5, is always a big event for comic lovers of all ages. This year, however, Kissimmee Spider-Man fans were in for a little surprise: They were able to take part in creating the cover for the newest comic from Marvel.
This landmark comic features Spider-Man meeting Spider-Man, where the well-known Peter Parker crosses paths with the newest Spider-Man, Miles Morales. Spider-Men is the brand-new five-part series that brings together the Ultimate Comics Universe and the Marvel Universe for the first time.
As a variant cover, comic stores were given the opportunity to create their own artwork for their shops in honor of Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary. It was a way for Marvel to get the communities involved in the creation of comics, where customization could be done that reflected personal styles and ideas of the public.
Coliseum Of Comics, a chain of locally owned stores in Central Florida, decided to put together a comic cover that would include fans by allowing them to come in to the store and finish the initial drawing that had been put together.
“We had everybody come in and they could do a small part, or they could do a bigger part, depending on how comfortable they felt,” said Brendan Boyle, co-owner and general manager of Coliseum of Comics.
The initial pencil drawing by Aaron Conley took about six hours to make, then the comic was sitting in the comic shop where customers could come in and do a piece of the inking, the process where the sketch receives a harder pen line, which is what is scanned later on. Conley, a local published artist and part-time employee at Coliseum, has been a fan of Spider-Man since he started reading comics and was happy to be able to create the cover art. The cover image features the Spider-Men swinging through the sky, as well as a section across the bottom of the page including all the Spider-Man looks from over the years.
“I normally ink my own artwork,” Conley said. “This time, however many people came in on Free Comic Book Day, inked over my own artwork, which can be kind of scary when you think about it really hard. But in the end, I think it came out really nice.”
Austin Ellis went into Coliseum for the first time after the comic had been released and found it interesting and well done.
“I like how they have everything sectioned, and everything’s, like, well put together,” he said.
More than 150 locals worked on putting this comic together, based on the number of people who added their hand in the artwork, breaking the Guinness World Record of 81. It was Coliseum’s idea to turn the comic cover into an event in hopes that it would be able to promote comics and get more of an involvement in the community.
“I hope that everyone enjoyed it,” Conley said. “I hope that all the people that came could feel good about it and have a good time. It was a project of fun. It wasn’t a point of sitting down and saying we have to create the best Spider-Man cover of all time. … We just wanted to make something that everyone could come in and just have a good time doing on Free Comic Book Day.”
With the new movie The Amazing Spider-Man coming out this summer, fans were psyched to see the collision of Peter and Miles in this new mini-series. When Ultimate Spider-Man was first announced in 2000, Marvel said that the Amazing Spider-Man and the Ultimate Spider-Man would never meet, surprising readers of all ages.
“As a die-hard comic fan, I didn’t expect this to happen,” said Warren Jaymalin, an incoming UCF business administration major and contributor to the cover artwork. “They told us themselves that this was never going to happen, so it was really interesting. I hope [for] more, but I don’t know how long this Spider-Man is going to last.”
Spider-Man has been a longtime favorite of many over the years, mostly because of the fact that he is so relatable to readers. Parker started out as a teenager who turned into a superhero, so readers feel he understands the normal life of the average person and their troubles.
“He’s still just a dude that everyone can kind of relate to,” Conley said. “He’s just a guy who has girl problems and money problems and everything that everybody has, but he also has superpowers and swings across the sky and fights super villains. That’s been his basic premise over the years, no matter how many times they’ve changed his costume or whatever, and I think that’s what makes Spider-Man great. It’s always made Spider-Man great. Just the fact that pretty much anyone can relate to him.”