The Evolution of Spider-Man’s Classic Costume | Yellow Spandex #28 | NowThis Nerd

What’s up, webheads? I’m Andrew, and on this episode of 'Yellow Spandex,' we’re looking at one of the most influential and innovative costumes in superhero history: The blue and red bodysuit worn by the Amazing Spider-Man Hey there, there goes the Spider-Man! From its complicated creation to its infinite iterations across the Spider-Verse, we’re diving deep to show you why Spidey’s suit is second to none

This is 'The Evolution of Spider-Man’s Classic Costume' Now, if you’re curious about onscreen Spidey, Kya already covered his movie looks in our very first episode We’re not gonna talk too much about the black suit either, since we’ve already tackled that topic on ‘Yellow Spandex: Venom,’ and you should go check that one out, too Today, we’re feeling blue And red

And black, sometimes So let’s start with a surprisingly controversial question about Spidey’s costume: Who Created It? Officially, the amazing Spider-Man is the co-creation of writer Stan Lee, and artist Steve Ditko But, as always with comics, the true story is a lot more convoluted Leave it to Marvel to mess up their own origin story From Captain America to the Hulk, Jack Kirby co-created most of the Marvel universe, with Spidey as the biggest exception

But according to the King, he actually came up with the idea years before The story goes that Kirby pitched Lee a version of Spider-Man that he and his Captain America co-creator Joe Simon first thought up in the ‘50s, a teenager who finds a magic spider ring that transforms him into a musclebound grown-up toting a web-blasting pistol A good guy with a gun? Lee liked the idea, but he was allegedly concerned that it was too similar to another Simon/Kirby creation called the Fly, and I'm not talkin' about Goldblum So he stripped away Kirby’s contributions, and turned to Steve Ditko to see what he could come up with for the concept There are no surviving drawings of Kirby’s original design, but according to Ditko, it probably looked like this: A combination of Cap and Ant-Man that doesn’t really scream ‘Spider’ To add to the confusion, Kirby drew the cover of Spidey’s debut appearance in 'Amazing Fantasy #15,' after Lee demanded a more heroic take on Steve’s original drawing Still, aside from that cover, Kirby’s interpretation of Spider-Man just never looked right, he’s too beefy and brawny, and the King never quite seemed to nail the web pattern

There’s no question that the current design is pure Ditko, it’s just so creepy and kooky and weird, with unconventional lines and an off-putting full face covering Of course, it’s always possible that Ditko was inspired by a Halloween costume In 1954, Ben Cooper, Inc released a spooky yellow costume called “Spiderman,” with a distinctive spiderweb motif, and a hood with big black frames surrounding the eyes Cooper’s costumes were the king of Halloween in the ‘50s, especially in New York, and it’s entirely possible that Ditko saw the costume on his walk to work and was subconsciously influenced We may never know the whole story behind Spider-Man’s design, but we can clearly see How It’s Changed

There’s never been a canonical explanation as to where Spidey’s costume came from Pete just throws some pantyhose over his head for his initial wrestling match, then sews together his final suit for his big variety show debut Unlike the movies, we never see him doodling designs, screenprinting spiderwebs, accidentally shooting webs at Dr Pepper, or taking to the streets in a hoodie and sweatpants In its first appearance, the costume appears pretty much fully formed, the rare example of nailing a superhero design right from the start, with a couple of exceptions, like the infamous underarm webbing

They started off fairly subtle, but soon evolved into huge wings that went from Spidey’s wrist all the way to his waist, which made him look like Elvis a little bit, These must have been incredibly difficult to Peter to stuff into his square ‘60s wardrobe With time, the webs began to shrink, and by the ‘70s, they were all but gone, but not forgotten They received a functional film version in ‘Spider-Man Homecoming,’ and they remain a tool for artists to use at their discretion Another constantly evolving element of Spidey’s costume is its color scheme Originally, the non-red parts were portrayed as a deep black, with blue highlights to offer some definition

This was a pretty common technique, given the limitations of color printing at the time, but over the years, the highlights began to turn off the dark, and by the seventies, Spidey’s secondary color had become a bright baby blue The black and red didn’t completely disappear, though, artists still use it from time to time, and alternate outfits like the Superior Spider-Man and Alex Ross’s proposed movie costume fully embrace the aesthetic, not to mention Spidey’s new suit in ‘Far From Home,’ and, of course, Miles Morales He started his career in a variant of Peter’s red and blue, which was poor taste, considering that poor Parker was still freshly deceased at the time, so he upgraded to a slick red-on-black design courtesy of artist Sara Pichelli The new costumes helped Miles establish his own identity, and snag his own real life set of custom Air Jordans, But as radical as his costume may be, the core concept is still unquestionably Spidey The design’s mutability is a major factor in Why It Endures Spider-Man’s costume is one of the most complicated in all of comics

Like, if he was created today, there’s no way he’d have that intricate webbing pattern, it’s just excruciating to draw Pretty good, Spongebob, but it's lacking basic construction, and your perspective leaves a lot to be desired But despite its complexity, the design is extremely versatile, After Ditko’s revolutionary run, the reigns were passed to John Romita, an artist who used his experience drawing romance comics, to transition Peter from a lanky, awkward high schooler, to a more hunky and confident college student Oh Who's this? Romita’s streamlined, small-eyed Spidey was a far cry from Ditko’s creepy classic, but he refined and standardized the superhero’s look just in time for his mainstream marketing push His clean lines and bright colors defined Marvel’s house style for decades, even after the Symbiote Saga ended and Spidey returned to the red and blue But as the ‘80s became the ‘90s, a new era of comic fans were thirsty for something more extreme Always recycle

TO THE EXTREME!!! BUSTED!!! Enter superstar artist (and fan of this channel) Todd McFarlane, whose energetic style and intense linework brought Spidey back to his more grotesque roots With massive eyes that covered his entire mask, a lithe, gangly body contorted into impossible positions, and thick, goopy spaghetti webbing spinning out of his shooters, McFarlane’s Spider-Man completely re-defined how artists approach the arachnid, and those who followed in his wake continued to add their own twist to the character, There’s no wrong way to draw Spider-Man, artists are free add their own personality, and update his outfit to fit the tastes of the times During the Clone Saga, future Ultimate Spider-Man artist Marc Bagley designed a ‘90s-tastic new suit for Ben Reilly, and while it’s a bit garish these days, (I would have stuck with that sleeveless hoodie Scarlet Spider outfit myself), elements like the external webshooters and flashy fingertips have seeped into several Spider-Men since

The short-lived suit is just another great example of how the building blocks of the Ditko’s design can be moved and shifted, in service of style and story Throughout his crimefighting career, Spidey has donned a ton of different armors, outfits, and enhanced suits, all with wildly different looks unified by the same Spidey-DNA, but at the end of the day, no matter how slick his new style is, Spider-Man always returns to the red and blue at least, on Earth-616 The multiverse is home to an infinite amount of Spider-People of all shapes and sizes, from massive mechs to monstrous mutants, but whether they’re in doublets and frilly collars, punk rock spikes, or spandex fit for a swine, the entire Spider-Verse shares the same style Ditko’s brilliant design has endured for so long, because it works in almost any scenario, and allows us to imagine ourselves in Spidey’s shoes

Because we can’t see his face, readers can project their own personalities beneath the mask, letting us connect to the character in a way that’s impossible for square-jawed giants like Superman and Batman No matter who is wielding the webs, when we read a Spider-Man comic or watch him on screen, at less part of us projects ourselves up there, stopping bad guys and swinging through the sky as only a stylin’ spider can [a]split

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