Since Marvel debuted Spider-Man in 1962, this superhero has gone through a ton of costumes. Spider-Man was one of the first teenage superheroes and he connected with young demographics everywhere—so much that he’s still hugely popular today. The basics of the Spider-Man costume have stayed the same: red and blue suit, cobweb pattern, and white eye coverings. Still, with over 50 years in action, so much as changed. Let’s take a look back through the evolution of Spider-Man’s costumes!
1962: The Original Spider-Man Costume
When Spider-Man made his first appearance in a comic book, he was in a red and black suit with a simplified web pattern. Steve Ditko was the first to imagine the Spider-Man costume, and the basic shape lives on today! He coined the iconic web targetter and squirrel-style wings under Spider-Man’s arms.
1966: Minor Improvements
As Spider-Man got his own comic book series—The Amazing Spider-Man—his costume got a few tweaks. His suit colours changed from red and black to red and blue to make his scheme more welcoming. The artists also got rid of the wings under his arms, because they were too much to draw every time.
1984: The Bombastic Bag-Man
Have you heard of the Bombastic Bag-Man? This was one of the first variations of Spider-Man’s costume. A few times, Spider-Man had to make a new costume on the fly, and the Bombastic Bag-Man was the result. He had to use an old Fantastic Four costume, covered by a mask made from a paper bag. This version of spidey was also sometimes pictured with a “Kick Me” sign on his back.
1994: Scarlet Spider
Was the Scarlet Spider actually Spider-Man? Scarlet Spider first appeared as a clone named Ben Reilly. This costume has been described as a “non-costume” and appears to have been scavenged from old clothes. Scarlet Spider wears a blue sleeveless hoodie with a spider drawing on the front, with red clothing underneath. He also had much bigger eye coverings than Spider-Man. It got the job done!
2000: The Ultimate Spider-Man
Over time, different artists interpreted Spider-Man’s design in different ways. However, Mark Bagley’s costume is the standard for this time period. It combines the two oldest designs to create a fan-favourite: large eyes, a smaller spider symbol on the front, and large blue sections. When you think about Spider-Man, you’re probably thinking of this iconic costume.
2002: The First Movie
Finally, a Spider-Man movie! In 2002, Tobey Maguire became the first live action Spider-Man in Sam Raimi’s series. With this Spider-man costume, the designers had to make some edits to transfer the iconic look to real life. The eyes were slightly smaller because it was being worn by a real person, and the suit itself had more texture.
2007: The Symbiote
In the third movie, an alien symbiote takes over Peter’s body and he becomes dark. This storyline is directly pulled from the comic books, but in drawings, the costume is just a black version of the normal Spider-Man suit. In the movie, it has much more texture and a scale-like pattern. This new suit looks pretty cool in the light, but it only lasted one movie.
2012: The Amazing Spider-Man
Not too long after the first Spider-Man movie series, Marvel released another—this time, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Many fans complained that Garfield’s Spider-Man costume was too complicated and far off from the beloved design. It had more linework in the fabric and was very scaly-looking. The eye coverings were a darker colour and lacked the bright youthfulness that the old costumes had.
2014: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
For Garfield’s second movie, the designers decided to simplify the costume because of the backlash. They changed the eyes to be whiter, and they smoothed out the costume overall to look more like the original design. However, they still kept some of the high-tech elements of the previous movie. This was a good balance, but there wasn’t a third film in this series.
2015: The All-New Spider-Man
Back in the comics, Marvel made one last update to Spider-Man’s costume. It became more armour-like—which inspired the Avengers movies—and it had bright glowing eyes. The biggest difference between this version and old versions was that this costume had 2015’s technology. Marvel added the wings back and more tech elements to give spidey special powers.
2016: Avengers Civil War
Tom Holland made his debut as Spider-Man in this movie. He was younger and more true to Spider-Man’s original vision—and he got all the ladies. This costume was a much darker blue and had seams all over the legs and torso to make it look more complex and armour-like. The eyes were also much more expressive than before, and got bigger and smaller depending on the scene. Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, helped Spider-Man with this new and improved costume.
2017: Spider-Man Homecoming
Holland got his own movie in 2017, but ditched the suit from Civil Conflict. He had a simpler suit for this movie and eventually had to get rid of it. This new Spider-Man costume was designed to look homemade, similar to the original Scarlet Spider in 1994. Instead of a blue hoodie with red underneath, this costume was opposite: a red sleeveless top and blue clothing everywhere else. This costume also had goggle-like eyewear.
2018: Spider-Man: Far From Home
The second movie in Holland’s series had elevated special effects and amazing visuals compared to the others. In Europe, he gets to pick out a new suit. Instead of blue, he chooses a deep black. This was the most high-tech one so far. It was made from a dense fabric and had tons of metallic details. The spider decal in the middle doubled as a drone!
2018: Into the Spiderverse
This animated Spider-Man movie made history with Miles Morales, the first black Spider-Man. There were a few costumes in this film because of all the different Spider-Man characters, but Miles’s is definitely the best. His costume was a simplified red and black suit. The animation led to so many amazing possibilities—you need to watch the movie to really grasp it.
Which Spider-Man suit is your favourite? Do you like the classic suit, or the new high-tech costumes? Either way, Spider-Man is an iconic character with an iconic outfit, and the basic structure will always stay the same. It will always be an amazing costume!