Welcome back to Separated at Byrne-th Month, where every Saturday we're taking a wide-eyed peek at some of the cover pastiches, homages, and parodies of the man with the mouth, the person with the pencil, Mister John Byrne. You may choose to like him or lump himhe's a controversial figure among fandom. Me? I like his artwork, don't subscribe to many of his views, and try to keep my little befurred behind off the Byrne Robotics discussion group. That said, the man's gotta lotta fans, but even he takes a misstep in the comic book field now and then. Case in point: the much-reviled Spider-Man: Chapter One maxiseries, which was supposed to re-invent the Spider-nibbling origin of Mister P. Parker for the modern age, 25 years past his introduction. Unfortunately, much of fandom rejected it soundly (quite soundly, judging from the grumbling still heard in many corners about it). Me, I liked some of it, didn't care for it all, but enjoyed it as an alternate take on the first adventures of that guy with the Spider on his chest. Possibly one of the errors Marvel made in marketing it was making any suggestion whatsoever that this was now the official origin of Spider-Man of Earth-616: us fans don't like retconning of Lee/Ditko stories, no sirree we don't! A few years later Brian Michael Bendis took an alternative and much-expanded look at Spidey's origins, but by this time, Marvel had learned its lesson: the story and this Peter Parker were safely webbed up in an alternate (and ultimate) universe. Byrne's series might be overlooked now, but his artwork is bright and energetic, and there's some lovely homages to the work of Ditko, and, in the case of the covers below, an imaginative reinventing of a scene from an alternate angle, which gives us a dynamic and fresh look at an iconic Kirby/Ditko cover without slavishly copying it. Shall we look?
L: Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963), art by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko
R: Spider-Man: Chapter One #2 (Late December 1998), art by John Byrne
(Click picture to chapter-size)