By Tim Stevens
Some comic fans imagine themselves as part of the Marvel Universe, rubbing elbows with the heroes, perhaps even making it on a cover or two. Others do something about it. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN fan Ian Knight has been elevated to the latter category.
Marvel offered a special incentive to retailers for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #669: order enough and a custom “You’re Spider-Man” cover would be created. In the case of Midtown Comics, Knight’s home store, the retailer made a con
“In order to enter the contest, [Midtown] required that you preorder the issue,” he recalls. “Then all people who pre-ordered were entered in the drawing.”
For Knight, a lifelong love of the character made the choice to participate in the contest a no-brainer.
“Spider-Man was always my favorite hero growing up and was one of the first comics I started collecting,” he explains. “To this day he remains my favorite character, and it just seemed like a really cool idea to be on a cover.”
Knight did not have much hope that he would actually win, but he did think it would be great to have the limited edition cover no matter who ended up chosen for it. Having mentally settled for “just” a collector’s item, he found himself caught off-guard by the news.
“After I got the call, nothing in the world could bring me down for weeks,” he confesses. “Up until the day I got to see the picture for the first time it was all I could think about.”
When the cover did arrive, Knight got one more surprise: artist Todd Nauck had gone the extra mile and included Knight’s son in the drawing as well.
“He recognized me right away, then he recognized himself on the picture and got really excited,” the proud father recollects. “He is still very young and does not really grasp the whole situation yet, but as long as he continues to love Spider-Man as much as he does now, I am sure he will be very proud of it in the future.”
Thrilled with his luck, Knight decided that while he liked having the cover, getting the original art would be even better.
“I had thought this was a once in a lifetime chance, so I would have to do everything I could to make sure I retained as much of the experience as possible,” he admits. “Marvel got me in touch with Todd, and I made arrangements to buy the original art. Once that was set up, I had thought it would be really cool to frame the original art next to the final piece.”
His diligence did not stop there. Learning that other stores besides Midtown also got custom covers because of their order size, Knight decided it would be great to have them as well. Much research and many phone calls later, he acquired all the You’re Spider-Man variants including one featuring writer Dan Slott and the Marvel Architects variants for a grand total of eight comics as well as the original art from his own.
A spread so impressive would be a shame to keep in a box somewhere so Knight has set out to create a worthy showcase for him, his son, and several other lucky people’s step into the Marvel Universe.
“The frames are hanging in my bedroom and the mat color actually matches my walls so the only thing that sets it apart is the spider webbing [design] on the mat,” he describes. “Seeing it every day is a great way to start the day. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and one day I will be able to pass it on to my son. It is my testament to the spirit of Spider-Man, the enjoyment of collecting, and passing the torch to the next generation.”