Not many younger comic book fans know this today, but back in the eighties and nineties, Spider-Man was basically Marvel’s equivalent of Mickey Mouse. He was their mascot who often showed up just about everywhere and had a wider appeal with younger fans than most of the Marvel gallery. He was in “The Electric Company,” had his own TV crime thriller, and even adorned the logo for Marvel Productions in the 1980’s. With all the issues of trademarks and rights that kept him in limbo for a long time, Spider-Man is as popular as ever once again. He’s even winning Oscars! While I’m not a hardcore fan, I respect the character a great deal.
In honor of Spider Man Day, I list five of my favorite alternate costumes for the character. And that was no small feat, as Spider-Man has donned almost a hundred different costumes.
Spider-Man 2099 is one of the very few concept of the nineties that managed to stick around and actually become widely accepted by fans. While stuff like Thunderstrike and Armored Catwoman were lambasted, Spider-Man 2099 offered a bold new vision of the Web Crawler, along with an incredible costume. The blue and red costume has become iconic in its own right and has evolved over the years since its initial introduction in 1993 with influences in Dia De Los Muertos, and with a Mexican behind the mask. It’s pleasing to know that one of the most popular Spider-Man iterations is held by a Hispanic character known as Miguel O’Hara.
The Original Ditko Costume
It’s tough to beat the original costume which has been the template for all of the iterations of Spider-Man’s costume over many decades. The costume has been tweaked here and there, re-invented, remolded, and completely overhauled, but to its core the concept is always the same. There are the big wide eyes, the mask over the face, the spider-element, and of course the idea of Spider-Man being of the younger variety and underdog. Whether adding splashes of white, or giving him silver webbing, the costume’s key element is always there, and it’s a timeless design.
The Ultimate Spider-Man costume has managed to become almost as iconic as the original blue and red suit, as well as the person behind it. Miles Morales from Earth 1610 has helped make his Spider-Man a unique and beloved superhero with his own range of Spider based powers, and his costume compliments the fact that he’s different, but also every bit Spider-Man as Peter Parker is and has been for decades. The Black and red is a great palette and visually appealing and looks amazing in motion. “Into the Spiderverse” is proof.
Black Symbiote Suit
The story goes that Marvel was planning to re-invent Spider-Man by giving him the black suit. When the fans demanded the classic blue and red suit back, the black suit eventually was shed, and became the plot device for a larger premise and wildly popular villain known as Venom. That said, the black suit Spider-Man still has his place in the character’s legacy and he’s very eye catching.
Speaking as someone who loves pulp fiction and pulp superheroes, Spider-Man Noir is an incredible design with an excellent concept. If I had discovered this design at age 13 back in 1996, I would have gone gaga over Spider-Man and become an eternal fan. This version of Spider-Man looks like the classic pulp superheroes with the fedora, long coat, revolver, and tommy gun. The basic origin is the same with Peter Parker, except it’s all twisted for the sake of Noir and Pulp tropes. I love this costume.