Monday, August 21, 2006
Me: Spider-Man of 1986, if you had a nightclub act about your black costume, how would it go?
[in the distance, a piano vamp begins -- softly at first, but steadily growing louder]
Spider-Man: Well, y'see, I'd pretend I was home getting dressed for patrol. I'd take some mousse and mousse my hair. I'd take some web fluid, smell it, and put it in my web shooters. And then I'd spot the audience!
[a full orchestra kicks in as he sings, to the tune of "All I Need Is The Girl" from "Gypsy"]
Once, my look was garish.
That shit? Fanboys* cherish.
Reds so bright they glow,
Blues that shock you more than Electro.
So I had to update,
Maybe yellow -- but wait!
Has class up the wazoo.
So long blue!
Black and white's the thing to do!
Now I'm stylin'.
Chicks are smilin'.
I'm a 5'10 dream-come-true!
And the Black Cat
Says I'm "all that."
Sure, the first try turned out to be a symbiote;
That's been my luck since I was a zygote.
What I used next.
If you ask me, it's a beaut!
Often lack basic hygiene, style and poise
Which makes all of their insults moot.
All I really need's my black suit!
This isn't a popular opinion, I know, but I really hate Spider-Man's red-and-blue suit. It's just too busy. All those webs? It's an ugly mess. That's why I prefer his old black-and-white number from the pre-Venom 80's. It has the most important costume elements of the original -- Mexican wrestling mask eyeballs and the spider logo -- and scraps all the extraneous detail. (Why the hell would a spider have webs on its own body? That'd be like Hawkman covering his costume with little nests.) And the bright colors didn't help support a recurring plot-point in the book: that many New Yorkers describe Spider-Man as "creepy" or "inhuman-looking." Really? The muscular wisecracking guy in the bright red-and-blue costume is "creepy?" (I hope the Silver Age Atom isn't reading this; he's already feeling bad enough about himself.) Whatever, people. At least the black-and-white suit looks a bit more grown-up and intimidating. (Cue up clip of Spider-Man emerging from behind a changing screen, wearing his black-and-white number for the first time, mask in hand, and catching his reflection in a full-length mirror. His lips curl in a tentative smile, and then joyful tears begin to stream down his face. "I'm handsome--!" he gasps. "I'm a handsome superhero, Marvel...!")
By the time "Web Of Spider-Man" #17 (August, 1986) appeared in stores, Spider-Man had gotten rid of the alien symbiote and had taken to alteranating between a fabric reproduction of the alien suit and his hideous old duds. I'd hoped he'd finally decide to stick with the black-and-whites. But then David Michelinie put an end to the costume controversy with the "nuclear option" of plotlines: creating a supervillain who wore the alien version of the costume, and then having him assault Mary Jane. So much for Peter Parker ever wearing black again, huh? (Jeebus. It's like a candidate in a Presidential debate using a shotgun on his opponent.)
Of course, the Spider-Man franchise has had myriad problems since the late 80's *coughCloneSagacough* so an ugly (yet inexplicably popular) costume really is small potatoes when compared to all the rest of it. Still, I really miss that costume.
*Not you guys! You guys are great!