ASM 378-382, TAC 201-208, Web 101-106, SM 35-40, SMU 1-2, Alpha Flight 121, Marvel Comics Presents 138, The Lethal Foes of Spider-Man 1-4. Why not add an oversized quarterly Spider-Man title to the schedule? Why not? Here we have all 14 terrible parts of the Maximum Carnage crossover, pitting Carnage and 4 D-list jobbers against 10 Marvel heroes who somehow fail to defeat them over and over and over, until they don’t, in one of the most reviled Spider-Man stories ever made. JJJ has a nervous breakdown (Again!) when he finds out people think The Daily Bugle is a joke. Spider-Man is dragged into The Infinity Crusade, a crossover I did not read, in 3 issues of Web of Spider-Man that made no sense to me. In Alpha Flight, a stray plotline from a previous crossover finds Spider-Man and that team fighting the absurd villains, The Chess Set. In Lethal Foes, Doc Ock gets his groove back, The Answer and Stegron the Dinosaur Man are both resurrected as 2 factions of C-list villains fight each other and Spider-Man is caught in the middle. Also, Spider-Man & Doc Samson fight a Hulk driven mad by some gamma stuff, a very weird showdown with Electro, Tombstone makes a play to take over the New York underworld, and Spider-Man & The Shroud fight… just some spooky flying masks for some reason. The supporting cast is in Liz Allan’s apartment watching Maximum Carnage happen on a battery powered TV during a blackout. The Spider-Man echoes a Spidey from my 11th drawing, but now I’m atrying really hard to evoke Mark Bagley across the whole image without copying him directly. This was originally drawing #48.
For some reason, I made process shots of this one, so here’s a look at how it came together, from preliminary sketch to pencils to inks. The hardest part is always just figuring out where everyone’s going to go. I usually have some idea of what the centerpiece will be, and try to build out from there. Sometimes I just know something will fill a space and worry about it later, as seen in the first image. Once I know where all the characters are, I do a new pass where I try to give them dynamic poses. Then tight pencils, then finished inks. Digitally, of course. And that’s how the soup gets done.