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Marvel Comics Should Adopt Miles Morales' Into the Spider-Verse Costume

WARNING: This article contains mild spoilers for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, in theaters now.

Of the many great things about the now-Golden Globe-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Versethe best is probably how it handles the issue of Miles Morales' costume. For the majority of the film, Miles (Shameik Moore) is wearing a cheap, ill-fitting Spider-Man Halloween costume, a nice, visual shorthand for how he feels he's a poor reflection of the legacy and responsibility of his universe's Spider-Man (Chris Pine).

The film even shows him missing the opaque lenses of the Spidey suit, visually reinforcing for the viewer what the story is saying. That he's a scared kid, out of his depth and (rightfully) frightened of taking down a bad guy as all-powerful as the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). But it's what the film does for Miles' own iconic black-and-red costume that's truly special.

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See, one of the ways the film reinforces that Miles is a kid lost in his own skin is that he's a talented but continually frustrated graffiti artist. This allows for some striking illustrations, of course, but it's also a thread that pays off in the film's third act. When Miles firmly resolves to be a hero and gains control of his powers, he makes his way back to the Spider-Cave where he takes one of Peter's old Spider-Man outfits and spray paints it.

The result is visually stunning and an excellent payoff to the story thread about Miles being a talented artist. It's also a great visual metaphor for Miles taking the mantle of Spider-Man and making it his own. Marvel Comics needs to bring it into its universe as soon as possible.

The cover of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - The Art of the Movie by Ramin Zahed, published by Titan Books. © 2018 MARVEL © 2018 SPA & CPII

It's not like Marvel doesn't have a history of taking mass media changes to its characters and bringing them back into the comics. The Spider-Mobile, for example, originated in the '70s because a toy company approached Stan Lee and said a toy car would help sell superhero toys. H.E.R.B.I.E. was created for the 1978 Fantastic Four cartoon to replace the Human Torch (who was optioned for a never-made solo movie at the time) and worked his way into comics by Marv Wolfman and John Byrne shortly thereafter.

More recently, Exiles by Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez brought a muscular, openly queer version of the MCU's Valkyrie into the Marvel Universe. The Shuri solo comic by Nnedi Okorafor and Leonardo Romero managed the neat balancing act of honoring Shuri's history in the Marvel Universe while also carrying over the best aspects of Letitia Wright's portrayal from the MCU. Clearly, Marvel is no stranger to approaches like this.

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So, how could Marvel bring in Miles' Spider-Verse costume? Simple. Have him make it himself. There's nothing wrong with Miles' current costume (which he's had since his debut), but it really isn't all that special. It's a reskin of the iconic Spidey costume. While that's fine, and made perfect sense within the context of the Ultimate Universe where Miles had to follow in another dead Peter's footsteps, now it feels inadequate.

Look at the other most successful alternate universe Spider-Man out there: Spider-Gwen. What makes that Robbi Rodriguez design pop so damn well is how visually distinct it is. The white-and-red mixture is something very few Marvel heroes have, and while it's still a recognizable Spidey costume, the hoodie component of it clicks so well and is what makes it modern and unique. The Miles Spider-Verse costume does the same thing. The "spider in a circle" emblem is a distinct logo and immediately sets Miles apart from every other Spider-person.

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The origin could be simple. Just have Miles design it himself. Let him take a cue from his fellow Champion Ms. Marvel and come up with a costume that pays homage to the original Spidey, but is also recognizably himself and something he can own. If Ahmed and artist Javier Garron were to do something like that in Miles Morales: Spider-Man, that'd be just swell. It'd be a great way to bring what's easily the best costume Miles has ever had into the medium he came from, while also making him stand out as his own hero.

Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse stars Shameik Moore, Brian Tyree Henry, Jake Johnson, Mahershala Ali, Hailee Steinfeld, Liev Schreiber, Luna Lauren Velez, Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney and Kimiko Glenn. The film is in theaters now.

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