Note the filing cabinet drawer, commonplace in offices in the 80s, a relic now. I had a lot of trouble working out the figure with the axe until Vincent Waller posed for me. I penciled and inked the inside, too.
No artists tenure at Marvel could ever be considered complete without some form of contact with that company's flagship character, The Amazing Spider-Man. Created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, with some initial input from Jack Kirby, Spider-Man rose to become one of the best loved and instantly recognizable characters that Marvel has ever produced. In effect he became Marvel's version of Mickey Mouse or Superman - a brand name and the one character that defines the company.
A list of creators who have drawn Spider-Man would feature some of the top names in the business, from Steve Ditko, Jim Mooney and John Romita down to the present day of Joe Quesada, Tim Townsend and Todd McFarlane. Into the mix comes Dave Simons.
Dave's encounters with Spider-Man began on the main title, The Amazing Spider-Man. Dave inked three issues, one was a fill-in issue over Rick Leonardi, the second two issues were over the then regular penciler, John Romita Jr. A little known fact is that Dave was offered the regular inking assignment for this book. The title had a regular inker in the form of Jim Mooney, but since Mooney's departure it had seen a number of fill in inkers, Dan Green, Frank Giacoia and John Romita Sr amongst them. "The stupidest thing I ever did was turn down being the regular inker on Amazing Spider-Man over John Romita Jr," says Dave. "Idiotic."
From there Dave worked on the (then) other two Spider-Man titles, Web Of Spider-Man and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man. Notably he penciled and inked the one issue of the latter himself, as well as providing a very memorable cover. "The Spectacular Spider-Man that I pencilled and inked is notable for having the first appearance, to my knowledge, of rap music in a comic book," recalls Dave. "It wasn't in the script, I added it. I pointed it out to Danny Fingeroth, who was the editor at the time, because I wanted to make sure the writer knew what I was going for when he scripted it. Rap was still something of an "underground" phenomenon at the time, tho it was gaining exposure thru white musicians like Blondie with their hit "Rapture". Danny asked me "What's rap music"?"
In 1995 opportunity once again knocked on Dave's door in the form of the Spider-man Sunday strip. The newspaper strip had seen a variety of artists working on it from John Romita through to Alex Saviuk, Dan Barry and Larry Lieber, along with uncredited contributions from the likes of Alan Kupperberg, Jim Mooney and Mike Esposito.
The only official, authorised Dave Simons web-site
"How I came to work on the Spidey newspaper strip was that I was working on Biker Mice From Mars in a building on Sepulveda Boulevard in Westwood, California," says Dave today. "Stan had an office on the ground floor, the BMFM studio was (I think) on the fourth floor. When I heard Stan's office was down there, I dropped by towards the end of the day one afternoon. I didn't meet with Stan then, but with whoever was working with him (and please forgive me, I've totally forgotten). I dropped off some samples and not too long after got a call to fill in on the strip for Joe Sinnott, who wasn't feeling well."
"I think I may have done six Sundays," says Dave "maybe eight. Certainly no more than that. The intention was only for me to fill in for Sinnott until he was feeling better. I did eventually meet briefly with Stan for a handshake and a short chat." Unlike other artists Dave was fully credited for providing inks over Paul Ryan, who is now the regular artist on The Phantom strip, both daily and Sunday. "I only inked the Sundays that were credited to me," he recalls.