Alex Ross Spotlight: Spider-Man and The Electric Company

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It all started with Spider-Man.

Alex Ross has that in common with a lot of comic book fans, who were drawn to Spidey as their first superhero. But for Ross, it wasn’t a comic book or a cartoon or a movie that introduced him to the character. It was The Electric Company, a PBS show meant to teach children about reading, that opened the door to Spider-Man, and by extension a lifetime love of comic books and superheroes.

“Spider-Man was the opening door,” Ross said in Marvelocity: The Marvel Comics Art of Alex Ross. “That was the first time I had seen him – or anyone had – in three dimensions, and in action. It was weird and stilted, but it was thrilling: There he was, the costume was vibrant, he was alive! I hadn’t seen the comics yet, but soon did, and that led to all the other characters: Cap and the rest of the Avengers, the Green Goblin, the Invaders. It was amazing to me.”

Ross would later elaborate on the importance of Spider-Man in his love of superheroes via a YouTube video

“If I had seen Superman or Batman or anybody else before then, I can’t recall it … But I was just knocked out. I thought he was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. And I wanted to dress up like him and I wanted to draw him. … Once I saw Spider-Man at the age of four my interest turned really sharply in that direction. And so for the remainder of my life I was drawing characters focusing around superhero themes.”

The Spider-Man costume in particular would impact Ross, and his perception of superheroes at large.

“It was just transformative – that completely covered body, no trace of exposed flesh, was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen,” he said in Marvelocity. “Spider-Man was the design for me, by which all others would be measured.”

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