spider man 53 scarlet spider featured

Cool Comic Covers: Spider-Man 53

This week’s cool cover features the Scarlet Spider achieving his first major victory:

Spider Man 53 Cover Scarlet Spider Venom

Penciled by Tom Lyle (who designed the Scarlet Spider’s costume), this cover is so decadently 90s that I can’t help but love it. Venom has a mullet. The Scarlet Spider has oh-so-many pouches. There’s smoke coming from … somewhere, I guess, because it’s cool! And how many fonts can you use on the same cover?! (The answer appears to be at least five.)

One of these days, I’ll get around to writing a post about why I non-ironically love Ben Reilly, aka the Scarlet Spider, aka Spider-Man, so much. But as a person who is Reilly-or-die, this comic and its cover hold a special place in my heart. In this book, Ben defeats Venom – a victory the “real” Spider-Man had never quite managed. This cements Ben’s self-worth and gives him the courage to remain in New York City – to start building an actual life for himself instead of resuming his previous exile.

The third part of this story, found in Web of Spider-Man 119, is (I believe) the first Spider-Man comic I ever owned. As such, I’d always been on the lookout for the story’s conclusion! Roughly a couple decades later, I finally found it at a convention. I snapped it up as soon as I realized what I was looking at. Some collectors are chasing the first appearance of Wolverine, but me, I’m far more likely to get excited to find a new comic that has Scarlet Spider on the cover …

(Want to check out more posts in the Cool Comic Covers series? If so, click here.)

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