DescriptionGil Kane and Frank Giacoia. Amazing Spider-Man #97 Unused Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1971). Pill-popping Harry Osborn shares the stage with a Spider-Man/Green Goblin tussle in this unpublished cover for the second installment of one of the most talked-about Spidey storylines of the early 1970s, the infamous three-part Drug Abuse story that the Comics Code Authority refused to approve. While the published cover to #97 featured Spider-Man gaining an upper hand on the Goblin, here, our hero isn't faring quite as well, adding a good deal of drama missing from the final version. Marvel really went out on a limb to provide this anti-drug message story, but for whatever reason, they wound up rejecting this version of the cover, even after artist Gil Kane removed the bottle of pills from Harry's hand (it's covered up with whiteout and a replacement piece of art here, leaving Harry grasping at... nothing). Kane's distinctive "GK" signature was also covered by the replacement art (we're including a print-out of the color guide created for the original version, so you can see the changes). Although we originally believed Marvel art director John Romita Sr. had a hand in this cover (as he did with many covers during this period), it has recently been personally confirmed by him that he didn't work on this art.
A few years later, this landmark story was being prepared for reprinting when the rejected cover was discovered by Marvel staffer Warren Reece; he obtained the art after Marvel decommissioned the piece. It was recently included as a full page in the definitive history book, 75 Years of Marvel Comics.
Image area measures 10" by 15". The art is in ink and whiteout over graphite and blue pencil on a sheet of World Color Bristol board. The main figure of Spider-Man is actually a touched-up photostat that Kane cut and pasted into position. The cover has seen some rough treatment, and has considerable staining and heavy edge wear; we'll call it Good condition, but regardless of the state of the artboard, this is an historically important artifact from the time Marvel stood up against the then-mighty Comics Code for a story they believed in. And that's what it's all about, right True Believers?
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