Monday, February 06, 2006

Just The FAQs: Spider-Man's New Threads

Clothes make the man. Or the spider. Or, in this case, both.

Q: So, I hear that Spider-Man is getting a new costume. I demand an explanation.

A: Okay. For the months surrounding Marvel’s “Civil War” event, Spider-Man will be wearing a spiffy new costume designed by his buddy Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. The costume will accentuate his new powers.

Q: New what now?

A: Recently, during the crossover billed as “The Other,” Spider-Man died and came back to life with some new powers in addition to his old ones.

Q: Oh, that old trick.

A: Precisely. He has night vision, stingers, an expanded spatial awareness through his webbing, boosted reflexes, and an improved spider-sense. The costume will incorporate GPS tracking, extendable camera/fighting arms, and gliding capability.

Q: Gliding… interesting. What’s the costume look like?

A: Well, take the outfit you remember from the movies.

Q: OK.

A: Now, take out the black lines, and the blue on the legs. You should have a flat red suit with eyepieces and spider emblems.

Q: With you so far.

A: Deepen the red to a burgundy, and turn the eyepieces a metallic gold. Now, take the spider emblem on the front, extend it to a wraparound that goes around Spidey’s back and meets a similar emblem on the back. It, too, is that same gold color. Finally, note that three of the arms, which fold over his shoulders, are 3-D metal extensions, which can detach and extend, like Doc Ock’s arms.

Q: Why just three of them?

A: Because that’s how many Joe Quesada drew.

Q: No, really.

A: No, really. Have I mentioned I love this business?

Q: Not recently. This isn’t the first costume change for Spidey, is it?

A: It is not. The most prominent came in 1984, when Spider-Man briefly wore a black-and-white outfit, starting with Amazing Spider-Man 252. That costume turned out to be a sentient being that wanted to bond itself to his central nervous system. Once he ditched it, he still used a cloth version the Black cat made him for a while, until the original black suit turned up on a psycho killer named Venom. Then he went back to the red-and-blues full-time.

Q: I think I saw that suit on a cover recently.

A: You did. Each part of “The Other” shipped a second printing, and each of those had a variant cover with an old Spider-Man costume. They included: the Spider-Armor from Web of Spider-Man 100; Spider-Man 2099; Cosmic Spider-Man from 1989’s Acts of Vengeance crossover; The Scarlet Spider uniform once worn by Spider-Man’s clone, Ben Reilly; the Dan Jurgens-designed costume Ben Reilly wore during the brief time he was Spider-Man instead of Peter Parker; the “Amazing Bag-Man” suit from Amazing Spider-Man 258, a prank pulled on Spidey by Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four; 6-armed Spider-Man from Amazing Spider-Man 100-102; Peter Parker’s sweater-and-pantyhose wrestling outfit from Amazing Fantasy 15; Peter in street clothes with the front of the costume exposed; and Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.

Q: Wait, the what?

A: Funny animal book from the now-defunct Star line. Featured animal versions of all the Marvel heroes, and Spidey’s supporting cast. My favorite? Mary Jane Water Buffalo.

Q: You’re kidding.

A: Nope. The retailers actually voted on that variant.

Q: The mind boggles.

A: Doesn’t it, though?

Q: So, I take it this change won’t last either?

A: Not forever, but at least through the summer.

Q: But the big question is, can he still do whatever a spider can?

A: He can actually do substantially more of what a spider can than he could before. And still spin a web, any size, catch thieves, just like flies. Look out, here comes the Spider-Man.

Q: Bitchin’.

A: Damn skippy.

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