by Andrew Hurst, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Jeph Loeb, Art by Tim Sale
Published: January 2004
In 2002, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale reunited for the third installment of their Marvel “color” series, Spider-Man: Blue, following Daredevil: Yellow and Hulk: Grey, and proved once again why they’re one of comic book history’s greatest creative teams.
Loeb and Sale are without a doubt one of my personal favorite comic book duos, but I’ll admit that sometimes I absolutely hate them! Why? Because they make me feel emotions, particularly sad ones, resulting in me crying like a little girl and staining my comic with tear drops. Spider-Man: Blue is a perfect example of this. Peter Parker goes back to remember the life and, once more, mourn the death of his first love, Gwen Stacey. All the while Loeb and Sale go back to the 1970’s to channel one of Spider-Man’s most visually defining eras.
Tim Sale’s uniquely styled designs, sprinkled with a subtle grit, is always striking, but in Blue, Sale’s work has rarely been so outstanding. Combining his own vision with a palpable homage to Johm Ramita (legendary Spider-Man artist, and artist of the original ‘Death of Gwen Stacey’ story), it’s easy to get lost in that “simpler time” aura the book projects while still being stimulated by ever panel. Sale’s massive spread and splash pages are the treat of every chapter, always finding that perfect moment that captures the emotion of the scene.
There’s no denying that “The Death of Gwen Stacey” is among, if not THE, greatest Spider-Man story in the character’s history, and though San Lee and John Ramita’s original work will always be classic, Loeb respectfully and gracefully reimagines their tale through modern storytelling and never skimping on the action. Blue’s most grabbing aspect is the see-sawing love story between Gewn, Peter and Marry Jane. And adding to that is all the snarkyness and supervillian butt kicking you want out of your Spider-Man, with Web-Head taking on all the top names from his rogues gallery, between the lines of the growing tension between Peter, Harry Osborn and his father, Norman Osborn/Green Goblin.
I dare say Spider-Man: Blue is, in addition to being the saddest, the definitive Spider-Man comic book of the last 10 years, and represents every bit of why we fell in love with Spider-Man. Tugging at every emotion through mastery of the comic book medium, Blue is not only a must own for every Spider-Man collection, but it’s a must read for every comic book fan.