Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 170

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Peter Parker Studies. 2010. Pencil on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

After drawing some initial studies for Peter Parker, I was asked to make a slight change to the hairstyle. I usually draw him with messy, close-cropped hair, but I tried to streamline it for animation. The result left him looking a little older (and old-fashioned) so Joe Quesada shared his own take for inspiration. I cleaned up the studies and proceeded to the turnaround, which I'll share tomorrow.

Left: Joe Quesada visits RISD and critiques one of my earliest covers for Marvel.
Right: His hairstyle guides for Peter Parker

Quesada has been giving me advice for quite some time. In 2002, he hired me via email after a cold submission. In 2003, he drove himself to Providence to lecture at RISD and see my senior show, which opened the following day. (Then he drove back—a 6-hour round trip at least.) He even had Kevin Smith call in the middle of the lecture to speak with an audience member (you know who you are). To say I am grateful does not begin to describe the appreciation I have for the man who not only gave me a job and a career, but whom I had revered as an artist since childhood. In 2010, when he asked me to participate in this project, I jumped at the chance.

The initial sketches

The final character studies before proceeding to turnarounds

And in case you couldn't see it in the photo above, Quesada is holding my cover to Fantastic Four #500 (which is technically my first collaboration with Mark Waid). Quesada actually guided me through this cover as well, providing a rough compositional sketch that I used as a framework. I can't find the sketch at the moment, but if and when I do, I'll be sure to share.

Fantastic Four #500 Cover. 2003. Oil on masonite, 12 × 18″.
This is a photo of the actual painting, not the printed cover.


  1. I have wondered about if Marvel gave guidelines about Peter's hair, since the short style he had through the 60s and 70s makes him look like kind of a tool in a modern setting. The longer, swept back bangs do make him look younger.

    Also, could you enlighten me on the definition of a "cold submission"?
    (I tried Googling it and kept getting links to erotic Harry Potter fanfics)
    Is it just a portfolio sampler you sent to certain address or e-mail inbox and hope somebody looks at it? How is it different from an unsolicited submission?

  2. Yep, it's just another way of saying "unsolicited." I went to the Marvel office to meet editors, but he was not among them. I got his email, however, and he responded the next day. From what I hear, this was an uncommon occurrence.

  3. dude, did you have wolverine sideburns back then or is that a shadow?

    Great work as always!
    been a fan of yours for a while and i think your DD run is going to put you in line with the greats!

    (love the site btw)

    1. Thanks! And yes, those are my chops. That's what I would look like if I didn't shave every day.

    2. i quit shaving when i was like 25/26.
      since then i think i've only shaved maybe a handful of times.
      i recommend a full beard to those that haven't tried it.
      you will respect it.

    3. I've done it. Too itchy for me.


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