I don’t try to make declarative statements too much when it concerns what I like and love in pop culture.
This is the best movie.
This is the best song.
This is the best book.
I try not to say things like that. That’s why my Top Ten lists of movies of the year are never “Best of” lists. They are FAVORITES list. I never feel right when I say BEST because I feel I’m saying my opinion is LAW and it’s arrogant for me to DECLARE something as the best.
…..except for ONE thing. I stand by my feelings on this. I will fight you on this, because in the end…I. AM. RIGHT.
Spider-Man is the BEST superhero costume of all time.
No. You’re wrong if you say Batman’s costume is better.
So, why do I make such a hard stance on this?
Designed by the Spider-Mans co-creator , the brilliant artist Steve Ditko, the costume tells an intriguing story. The full covered mask allows the character to be mysterious, keeping the edge a superhero whose named after a spider, a insect that many are still afraid of. It’s sleek, allowing the character to move freely. It’s JUST intricate enough (thanks to the web design on the costume) to be eye catching. The colors are bright which help showcase the characters more light hearted personality. I draw myself and I can attest he’s one of the most fun to draw. You can pose him in nearly a hundred ways. And that mask, with those iconic eyes, allows a menace but friendly face to look at, depending on how the artist draws him. The full covered mask also means that the identity of Spider-Man is a well kept secret. Since the public in the comics doesn’t know that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, he can be ANYONE under that mask. He could be young or old. He could be White, Hispanic, Asian, Black, Indian…any ethnicity. A costume that would allow that flexibility (especially in the 1960’s) is quiet remarkable.
Spider-Man’s costume is also one of the most UNCHANGED superhero costumes of all time. Oh sure, he’s gone black, added armor, glowly bits, robot legs etc…but in the end, he always goes back to the classic (and perfect) costume.
Even with the many versions of Spider-Man in live action form, they honestly don’t stray too far from the traditional look. Lets look back and see how good (or bad) they did on bringing the Wall Crawler to life.
Spider-Man in The Electric Company!
You might be wondering why I’m starting with his appearance in this childrens educational show from the ’70s. Well believe it or not, this was honestly many peoples first exposure of Spidey. Sure there was the classic ’60s cartoon, but for some the first time they saw him was in this show as he’s made many appearances in the show from 1974-1977. The costume is pretty much just the regular Spider-Man costume except that his eyes are a bit too small for my taste, but the basic gist is there. Let’s take a look at his one of many adventures in the show to get a taste of this suit in action….
Ok granted, lack of action. It WAS an educational show first. But, it didn’t take long for him to finally punch some bad guys as he was soon given his own show in 1977.
The Amazing Spider-Man TV Show (Aka Nicolas Hammond Spider-Man 1977)!
Once again, the costume pretty much stayed trued to his traditional look. This time the eyes are quiet different from the Electric Company costume, and if I do say so, I honestly really like them. I’m quiet fond of Spidey when he has round eyes, and this costumes take on them is very cool. Sadly they felt the need to noodle with look and added an outside web-shooter and a belt.
The web-shooter is far from elegant, but it’s not nearly as garish as the belt. That belt is pretty damn awful and ruins the rest of the costume. The area of the costume that belt is covering is, in a design sense, the “belt” in the suit. The belt just ruins the sleekness of the whole costume. If I was gonna have to pick one or the other, I’d rather have the web-shooter than that belt.
As for the show itself, it was mostly a bore. The bare minimum was kept to make him vaguely Spider-Man ( Student Peter Park was bitten by a radioactive spider, fights crime and works at the Daily Bugle.) his personalty just wasn’t there. Spidey barely said a word in costume which means he NEVER said a joke. He mostly fought regular criminals and gangsters and I honestly can’t remember much else. I just caught reruns on TV simply because Spider-Man was in it…sorta.
Hmm….remember what I said about JUST the webshooter? It seems like they DID do that eventually….in the Japan.
Toei’s Supaidaman! (AkA 1978 Japanese Spider-Man!)
It seems that Japan apparently agreed with me and ditched the belt and wanted to keep the outside web-shooter. One thing I wanna applaud them for on their design is their version of Spidey’s eyes. Those are are great! Straight up Ditko influenced. I’m always surprised that they didn’t change it any further then this. Maybe Marvel insisted on keeping Spidey in regular costume, or maybe even the folks in Japan agree, you don’t fix whats not broken…at least looks wise.
The show it self is bonkers. Spider-Man is now a race car driver and he got his powers from the planet Spider (I’m serious.) He proclaims himself as an emissary from hell to scare bad guys. Oh, and he has a giant freakin robot.
The show may be less Spider-Man than the American show, it sure is WAY more entertaining then that borefest that was on CBS. I’d take Spider-Man fighting crazy rubber monsters with giant robots any day of the week over fighting guys in business suits.
Sadly, after 1978 Spider-Man didn’t have an significant live action appearance for decades. Short of a few commercials like this one…
And not counting the movies that were trying to get made, Spider-Man stayed in comics and in animated series.
A huge reason behind the lack of any real Spider-Man movies back then was that Spidey was stuck in some crazy legal problems. The film rights were all over the place, and no one knew how to untangle him from this web. Things finally settled itself and in the early 2000’s, Sony was able to get Spider-Man on the big screen….
Sony’s Spider-Man Round 1! (aka Tobey Maguire Spider-Man 2002-2007)
When the first picture of Spider-Man in costume was revealed I was pleasantly surprised to see that he….looked like Spider-Man!
Again, why mess with success. The texture was something I had to get used too, but as is the norm for modern Superhero movie costumes. The eyes are interesting, more triangular then anything else. The eyes never quiet gets to the level looking like another artist rendition (i.e. Spider-Man pencilers like Mark Bagley, Todd McFarlane etc.) but they still feel right.
I am still quiet fond of the first two Spider-Man movies. Spider-Man 2, to me, is still one of my personal all time favorite superhero films, as I think the script, the action and the performances in that one is stellar. Spider-Man 3…well….yeah, it’s a mess. I like some parts of it quiet a bit, but as a whole? Yeah…it falls short.
While Sony and Raimi were trying to figure out what to do with Spider-Man 4, Broadway started calling and soon….and musical was born.
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark (Aka Broadway Spider-Man 2011!!)
Well…not the greatest version of the suit. The design of the costume was obviously trying to keep in mind that the suit was going to be used for live stunts, and singing. While mostly it’s the traditional costume, it does have this strange pattern on the paints. It looks like it’s sorta spray painted here and there in the leg area. I’m not sure why that choice, but I guess it doesn’t take anything away from it…per-say.
The existence of the show still baffles me. And thanks to it’s reputation of being a bit of a cursed production (huge creative disagreements, the multiple amounts of accidents and injuries with the cast!) I will always associate it as this strange detour in the legacy of the character.
Back to the film side of things, things took a major shift. Sam Raimi made the decision to walk away from Spider-Man and Sony decided to reboot the series from the ground up. That meant a new director, new Peter Parker, and of course, a new suit.
Sony Spider-Man Round 2! (aka Andrew Garfield Spider-Man Round 1!)
I’ll just get this out of the way….I’m not a fan.
I feel the costume is massive case of “change for changes sake”. I’m not a fan of the yellow eyes, I’m not a fan of the sneakers, and the costume has way too many extraneous lines that just make it look a bit messy.
And while I loved Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and Peter Parker….this first of the two Amazing Spider-Man movies just doesn’t cut it for me.
While the film did pretty well in the box office, a movie called The Avengers also came out in the same year and destroyed everyone in it’s path Box Office wise.
Soon, Sony decided it wanted an Avengers of it’s own. While I’m still not sure how they were going to do it with a solo character, it seems the plan was to set up the next Spider-Man movie so that it could set up a Sinster Six, which I’m guess was Sonys attempt to make the villain equivalent of the Avengers.
With these new plans for the films that could only mean one thing…..yep another costume change!
Sony Spider-Man Round 3(Aka Andrew Garfield Spider-Man Round 2)!!
I’ll get this out of the way…THIS is my favorite movie costume.
It’s just perfect. The texture is on point, the colors are bright, and the EYES! These are exceptional. They remind me the most of the way that Spider-Man artist Mark Bagely draws the eyes. Round and almost bulb like. This costume makes me happy, and when I saw the first picture of the new costume I could be more excited with Amazing Spider-Man 2! They had a great actor, a great costume and a very ambitious plan. I was hopeful.
Great first 10 minutes right? Yeah…but for me, it goes kinda downhill from there. Amazing 2 is saddle with over ambition, a lack of focus, and just a plan weird inconsistency with the tone. Garfield is great in the role….but he wasn’t enough to make Amazing 2 good. And since I still keep Spider-Man 2 in such high regard, this one doesn’t even come close.
As for the Box Office, the film did fine…but it was also the lowest money maker out of the Five Spider-Man movies they made. Sony knew it needed help. Their Sinister Six plans were cancelled, and they needed figure out the way to get the interest with the character again.
Funny enough, it just so happened that someone else felt they could use him too.
MCU Spider-Man! (Aka Tom Holland Spider-Man 2016)!!
If you can’t beat them…join them.
So here we are, a third reboot and with that reboot comes another costume.
While it’s got some elements I’m not particularly fond of, they don’t necessarily turn me off either. I’m not crazy about the extra thick black lines around the shoulder and the boots. A bit much to me. It’s honestly a very minor thing, but I understand the need to change him to separate him from Garfields Spidey. And unlike the first Garfield Spidey costume, the changes are not too extraneous and don’t fall into the dreaded “change for change sake”.
A few details I LOVE. The circular spider on the back is a classic nod to another classic Spider-Man artist, John Romita Sr., which I is great. I even love the tiny black spider on his chest. The moving eyes might be the most controversial choice, but I get them. The Russos (the brothers who directed Captain America: Civil War.) wanted to bring in the element of the expressive eyes from the comics, something that hasn’t been done with any of the other live action versions. And hell, when they’re not moving, the eyes look JUST like how John Romita Sr. drew them.While I wasn’t sure if I was gonna dig them at first, after seeing the film I kinda fell in love with them.
And yes, Civil War was amazing and YES Tom Holland as Spidey/Peter Parker was fantastic. Definitely looking forward to his solo film.
Don’t be shocked to see that when Holland’s Spider-Man movie comes out next year…..Spidey’s costume will look JUST like his classic suit. Well, the classic suit and those super cool moving eyes.