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Spider-Style: The 15 Best Spider-Man Costumes (Outside Comics)

by  in Lists, Movie News, TV News Comment
Spider-Style: The 15 Best Spider-Man Costumes (Outside Comics)

With so many variations of the iconic Spider-Man costume created over the years, a comprehensive accounting of the suits needed to be done. Before we begin, though, a few parameters need to be kept in mind: This isn’t a list of every variation of Spider-Man, it’s of his costume. Specifically, incarnations of his costume found outside of comic books, meaning television (both live-action and animated), movies and video games.

RELATED: 12 Times Mary Jane Watson Saved The Day (And Spider-Man)

Fair warning: if a particular version of the Spider-Suit appeared in the comics and then made it’s way over to another media without many changes (as was the case with the Iron Spider costume going from the pages of “Civil War” to the animated “Web Warriors” third-season arc of “Ultimate Spider-Man”), then that suit was kept off this list, as well.

15. “Spider-Man” (1967 TV series)

spider-man-cartoon-1967

Our very first television adaptation of the ol’ web-head. Originally produced by Grantray-Lawrence Animation, the “Spider-Man” animated series ran from September 1967 through June 1970. The first two seasons ran on the ABC Television Network and the final season of the show distributed through syndication.

Due to a seriously constrained budget, Spidey’s costume only featured the otherwise traditional webbing on just his mask, arms and boots. The rest of the suit was a solid red and blue. The first season also had Spidey sporting a six-legged spider on his chest, not the traditional eight-legged spider that generally exists on Earth-616 (the world of the main comics continuity). The spider leg error was eventually corrected in the second season of the show, but, due to further budgetary restrictions, stock footage from season one – mostly of Spider-Man swinging through New York – was used repeatedly throughout season two and three, which only exacerbated the error.

While not the most glamorous of all the Spidey costumes, the 1967 “Spider-Man” suit is easily the most recognizable (right after Steve Ditko‘s iconic suit) because of the show’s repeated airings through the 60’s, 70’s and well into the 80’s.

14. “Spidey Super Stories” (The Electric Company)

spider-man-the-electric-company

Premiering in the fourth season of PBS’s children’s show, “The Electric Company,” the “Spidey Super Stories” were five-minute shorts featuring a live-action Spider-Man (portrayed by dancer Danny Seagran). The shorts ran from 1974 through 1977 and featured a costumed Spider-Man fighting your run-of-the-mill thieves and all around miscreants. What made the “Spidey Super Stories” so unusual, for a live-action bit, was Spider-Man’s lack of verbal communication. With a target audience consisting of the five and under crowd, Spidey instead communicated through word balloons in order to teach kids to read.

The costume for the show was based on Steve Ditko’s designs: A fabric suit featuring the traditional red and blue costume with full black webbing throughout the body. The mask featured Ditko’s smaller eyes and an eight-legged spider on his chest. All told, the “Spidey Super Stories” Spider-Man ended up looking more like a guy in a body suit, than a superhero with the power of an arachnid.

Little known fact about the “Spidey Super Stories:” some of the shorts were narrated by a guy you may have heard of once or twice — Morgan Freeman.

13. The Japanese Spider-Man (スパイダーマン Supaidāman)

japanese-spider-man-marvel-watch

Back in May of 1978, Toei TV aired a new version of Spider-Man based on Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s creation on Tokyo Channel 12 called, “Supaidaman.” This new version of Spidey recounted the exploits of motor cross champion, Yamashiro Takuya, who was given a bracelet by Garia, a crash-landed alien from the planet Spider. This was no ordinary bracelet by any means. Not only did it house the costume, but it also shot webs and controlled Garia’s sweet spaceship.

As if that weren’t enough, Garia topped the whole deal off by injecting Takuya with some of his blood giving Takuya the power of a spider!

Like it’s predecessors, the Supaidaman costume is clearly based on Ditko’s designs: the red and blue suit with the eight-legged spider on the chest and small spider eyes on the mask. The major difference between this costume and prior versions is the inclusion of Garia’s sliver bracelet on outside of the costume on Takuya’s arm.

12. “3 Dev Adam” (Captain America and Santo vs. Spider-Man)

3-dev-adam-spider-man

A Turkish movie company known as Tual Film Arsel produced an unauthorized film that included Spider-Man (along with Captain America) in November of 1973. Taking place in Istanbul, the movie featured dramatically different versions of both Marvel characters, but especially of good ol’ web-head.

This particular vision features Spider-Man as the movie’s villain. That wasn’t the only change for Spider-Man, though. Not only did he not have his traditional powers in the movie (only wielding a gun), but also Spider-Man’s suit was radically different from the original, as well. In what can be best described as a backwards costume, the large spider symbol you’d expect to see on his back appears Spidey’s chest. That’s not the only bit of wackiness the costume from “3 Dev Adam” (also known as “3 Giant Men”). Instead of lenses or “spider eyes” in the mask, this particular incarnation featured cut-out eyes with bushy eyebrow. Really. Bushy. Eyebrows.

A couple of things, however, remained faithful to the original costume; the webbing on the mask and red costuming along the shoulders and sides of the arms stayed true. But that fancy belt our Turkish Spider-Man wears? No version of Spidey I know would’ve been caught dead with that on.

11. “The Amazing Spider-Man” (1977 TV Series)

spider-man-1977

Beginning as a 90-minute made-for-TV movie, “Spider-Man” made his network live-action debut on CBS in September 1977. Over the course of the next two years, a total of 11 episodes aired of what became known as “The Amazing Spider-Man.” The new series featured Peter Parker as Spider-Man (played by Nicholas Hammond) along with another familiar name from the Spider-verse, J. Jonah Jameson.

As for Spidey’s duds in the show, the costume borrowed heavily from Steve Ditko’s designs using the blue and red color scheme with a black webbing overlay. The mask featured slightly bigger eyes with silver reflective lens. The biggest departure for the suit was the inclusion of a utility belt and web shooters on the outside of the costume. The utility belt (clearly “borrowed” from a certain caped crusader) was leather with fancy silver compartments (got to put those spider-tracers somewhere) and a very stylish sliver Spider-Man head buckle. As for the external web shooter, this version of Spider-Man borrowed from his Japanese predecessor and went with a single bracelet-style shooter worn on one arm.

10. “Spider-Man” 2002 (The Wrestler)

spider-man-wrestler

Just before Cliff Robertson’s Uncle Ben could pass on those magic words about power and responsibility to Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker, Pete donned the red and blue for a passing foray into the world of wrestling as the Spider in 2002’s major motion picture release, “Spider-Man.”

This version of the suit, more of a prototype than anything else, was comprised of a red, long sleeved turtleneck with a negative-space spider spray-painted on. Peter also donned a red ski mask, with only his eyes exposed (to hide his identity), red and white gloves, and blue track pants. The whole ensemble was topped off with red and white sneakers.

Of course, the wrestling outfit was just the precursor to the official costume Peter would later go on to design and construct. After, of course, he selfishly let Flint Marko get away with the wrestling promoter’s money and… you know how that story ends. But for Pete’s first try out in the spider suit, you gotta give the kid props on the wrestling suit.

9. “Spider-Man” 2002 (Spider-Man costume)

spider-man-2002

Promising Uncle Ben to be more responsible with those newly found powers of his was just the beginning for Peter Parker. Having already let Uncle Ben down, Pete couldn’t just go swinging through New York City in the wrestling duds he already disgraced himself in. Of course, his new costume borrowed heavily from his designs of his wrestling costume, but why let a good idea go to waste?

Spidey’s costume in Sony Pictures‘ “Spider-Man” (as well as the suit Tobey Maguire would don in its sequels) borrowed heavily once again from Steve Ditko’s timeless designs, with just a few exceptions. Most notable is the silver-ish raised webbing on the costume. While previous incarnations of the Spider-Suit featured a black webbing overlay “woven” into the suit itself, the costume for Spidey’s big screen debut had raised, silver webbing throughout.

The suit also featured much darker tones of red and blue than had been seen prior and an oversized black spider on the chest. While previous versions of the live-action Spidey suit were either comprised of cloth or spandex (or a combination of both), this new version of Pete’s work clothes were made of a whole new textured type of material, created exclusively for the movie.

8. “Spider-Man 3” (Black costume)

spider-man-3-black-costume

When the alien symbiote came knocking in 2007’s “Spider-Man 3,” it brought a whole new set of problems for good ol’ Peter Parker, all packaged in one really slick black suit.

Quasi-based on the costume debuting in Marvel Comics‘ 1984 “Secret Wars,” miniseries, Pete’s new duds were more or less just a black version of the red and blue costume he wore throughout the first two movies. The major differences were that the spider eyes on the mask slightly elongated (giving it a more sinister feel) and even larger spiders on the chest and the back of the suit.

While the black suit is cool, it’s not without it’s detractors, with plenty of fans hoping throughout the production of “Spider-Man 3” that the suit would be more representative of the one Pete wore in the comics: primarily black, with only white spider-eyes, white squares on the top of his hands and the oversized white spiders connecting on the front and the back of the costume.

7. “Spider-Man Unlimited” (1999 Animated Series)

unlimited-spider-man

In 1999, Saban Entertainment debuted a brand new version of Spider-Man for a new generation of kids: “Spider-Man Unlimited.” Because of restrictions placed on them by Sony and Marvel, Saban Entertainment couldn’t use any of Peter Parker’s source material, including his origin. So, Saban improvised, sending Spidey on the adventure of a lifetime to “Counter-Earth” (an Earth like ours, but on the opposite side of the sun).

Populated with all kinds of crazy beasties, mutants and assorted humanoids (not to mention those crazy symbiotes Venom and Carnage), Pete would need a new suit to manage all these threats on Counter-Earth. Borrowing nanotechnology from his good pal, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, Pete designed a new suit that included stealth tech, fancy new web shooters and anti-symbiote sonic weapons.

Along with all the tech, Spidey’s suit was visually different from the classic costume. Mainly black with red and blue highlights, the Spider-Man Unlimited suit had an all-red mask, a large red spider on the torso and external red web shooters. The whole suit was brought together with a webbing-style cape.

6. “The Amazing Spider-Man”

the-amazing-spider-man

2012’s live-action re-boot, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” saw Andrew Garfield don the costume for what was to be a fresh take not only on the origin of Spider-Man, but for the suit as well. Part bob-sled uniform, part Spider-Man costume, the suit stuck with the traditional blue and red theming. Gone, though, were the red arm stripes that connected the shoulders to the red gloves, as well as the red “belt.” Instead, the suit would opt for a more sleeker, dynamic look with far more fluid lines and textures throughout, along with alternating blue streaks in the gloves.

Another departure from the more traditional comic book suit was a much skinnier and longer spider on the chest, as well as on the back. Think a smashed, then smeared, Daddy Longlegs Spider. As for the mask, “Amazing Spider-Man’s” producers opted for Ditko’s smaller spider eyes with gold lens.

While not a complete travesty, “The Amazing Spider-Man” suit was unpopular enough so as to not appear in the sequel.

5. “Ultimate Spider-Man” (2012 Animated Series)

ultimate-spider-man

Spider-Man would return to the small screen after a three-year hiatus in 2012 on Disney’s XD. Written by some of the heaviest of heavy hitters in comics and animation (Brian Michael Bendis, Paul Dini, Joe Kelly and Joe Casey just to name a few), “Ultimate Spider-Man” picked up with Peter Parker having already been web-slinging for a year. Approached by Nick Fury, Pete is offered the opportunity to train and eventually join S.H.I.E.L.D.

The show featured many of the different Spider-Suits seen throughout the comics in it’s four-year run, while still showcasing the iconic suit. A nice update to the classic costume, “Ultimate Spider-Man’s” duds featured darker blues and reds, along with highlights running throughout. There are no “arm connectors” linking the patten of the shoulders to the gloves, while the mask features spider eyes somewhere between the traditional Ditko look and the larger eyes Todd McFarlane made popular in the late ’80s.

All in all, “Ultimate Spider-Man’s” costume is as good of an update to an iconic look that you can get.

4. Spyder-Knight (“Ultimate Spider-Man”)

spyder-knight-spider-man-unlimited

 In 2014, Disney XD’s “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series headed into it’s third season and was renamed “Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors.” The new season would feature an adaption of Marvel Comics’ epic “Spider-Verse” storyline, bringing together Spider-Men (and women) from across the multiverse.

The third episode of the four-episode arc featured our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man crossing dimensions into the time of yore where Spyder-Knight guarded the realm of York. Spyder-Knight eschewed the spandex webbed look, opting for the more practical red-and-black armored look, more suited for his times.

Spyder-Knight’s armor was emblazoned with a giant spider on the chest, black aketon (under-armor) on the neck, arms and legs and featured retractable blades on both the wrists. Spyder-Knight’s helmet was a nice variation of the iconic Spider-Man mask, adorned with the black-rimmed white spider eyes we’ve all come to know and love.

And what would a Spyder-Knight be without a trusty steed? Not much, so the show’s producers gave our historical Peter Parker a white horse, with matching spyder armor.

3. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

amazing-spider-man-2

Andrew Garfield returned to the webs in 2014’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” And while the title to the sequel may have been a little unoriginal, the movie gave us a costume more befitting a Spider-Man.

Gone was the bobsledding look of “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Replaced instead with a suit that featured the traditional reds and blues (albeit in slightly darker hues), raised black webbing, “arm connectors” and even the “spider belt” pattern that wraps around the waist. The biggest difference between the new costume and all of its live-action predecessors were the larger McFarlane-esque spider eyes. With all the previous live-action costumes opting for Ditko’s smaller spider-eye look, this version gave fans of the big-eye depiction something to cheer about.

But, alas, this version of the Spider-Suit was not long for this world. With “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” performing well below Sony’s expectations, ranking the fifth-lowest grossing of all the Spider-films, the suit was cast aside, as were any hopes of a sequel.

2. “Captain America: Civil War”

captain-america-civil-war-spider-man-shield

In February 2015, a historical accord was reached. No, no, no. Nothing to do with climate change or the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, this was something far more reaching: Sony Pictures and Marvel Entertainment came to an agreement to share the rights to Spider-Man. With a deal in place that would have Spider-Man appear in “Captain America: Civil War,” the search was on to find a new Peter Parker/Spider-Man. By May of 2015, Tom Holland had gotten himself cast as the wall-crawler and an appearance in “Civil War.”

With a new actor, a new suit was needed. For that, the Russo brothers went back to the original Steve Ditko design for inspiration. Returning to the classic red and blue scheme and with a small black spider on the chest, the suit had something none of the other live-action versions have had to date: animated eyes. The costume differentiated itself by including black striping on the shoulders, elbows, and near the top of the boots. The suit also features mechanical web shooters once again on the outside of the costume.

1. “Spider-Man” (PS4 Video Game)

spider-man-ps4-game

Sony dropped a bombshell at it’s press conference at E3 2016: a brand new open-world Spider-Man video game for the PS4, developed by Insomniac Games. The new storyline is not tied to any film or comic and is said to cover both aspects of Peter Parker’s life. And while it’s not based on Tom Holland’s Spider-Man as he appeared in “Captain America: Civil War,” the as-yet titled game’s suit looks to take at least some cues from the movie. Going with similar animated eyes and black stripes running through the deltoid area of the suit, for as much is traditional in the PS4 costume, nearly as much is not.

The biggest departure would be the use of white throughout the suit, namely in the form of giant spiders on the front and the back on the costume. According to the games’ designers, it’s not just aesthetic, either. There’s a reason why the spiders are white. Along with the white spiders, there’s also white strips that line the forearms into back and knuckles of the suit’s gloves. Gone as well from the suit are the red, webbed boots. Replaced, instead, with red, webbed arcs running around blue on the feet, giving the costume more of a runner’s suit feel.

Are there any other non-comic incarnations of Spider-Man’s costume that need to be mentioned? Sound off in the comments.

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