Characters : Spider-Man : Costume : Red & Blue
Here's the Basic Spidey costume... Red and Blue - with a
The Early Days
Here's the basic, original costume from Amazing Fantasy #15. The costume is
actually Red and Black, with highlights done in Blue. This is a feature
of the color technology of the time. There are large webs beneath the
arms, and all eight legs on the Spider point downwards.
The Red and Blue costume has defined Spider-Man for nearly 40 years now.
It has seen many variations, but essentially has remained Spidey's most defining
The original under-arm webbing covered almost from
wrist to waist in the early issues, as shown here in this snapshot
from Amazing #5.
As well as probably giving a funny shape to Peter's clothing when worn
underneath heas civvies, it probably also took the inker ages to draw,
but those obvious impracticalities didn't stop it from lasting through
the first thirty issues or so.
Over time, the extent of the underarm webbing shrank even further, until
eventually many artists began to omit it all together, as is clearly
shown on the cover of ASM #33. Notice also that the costume is now blue,
with black shading.
The underarm webbing has re-appeared in various issues, including
some quite modern appearances, as a result of the various whims of
Return of The Red & Blues
With the advent of the Black Costume,
the Red and Blues were tucked away for a while - but following the
discovery by Reed Richards of the Symbiotic nature of the Black and
Whites, the good old R&B's were resurrected in ASM #258, with the
caption "The Original is Back".
This story also featured the revelation of Mary Jane's murky family
history, and those two events combine to bump up the value of this
One interesting note is that Erik Larson's run on Amazing (following
Todd McFarlane's popular issues) saw him frequently drawing the
costume as Red and Black, with blue highlights, as in the early
days. This wasn't very consistent from issue to issue, but was a
noticible feature in some issues, such as #341, from which this
picture is taken.
Make Way For Spider-Ben
The red and blue costume remained essentially unchanged for a
few years after that. Peter did slip back into a regular cloth
version of the
Black Costume for a while,
but when Mary-Jane complained that it reminded her of Venom, the
Black and White's were permanently tossed out.
The next major revamp took place when Mark Bagley (Design) and
Dan Jurgens (Art) began
Sensational #0 with the first appearance of Ben Reilly as
Spider-Man. This sharp new look featured the external web-shooters
from the Scarlet Spider costume, the two-color gloves, and
a general stylistic revamp.
For interest, here's one of the prototypes for the new costume.
Some aspects were kept for the final revamp, e.g. the large
spider, and the blue fingers on the gloves.
This was shown in the Spider-Man Collector's Preview, from
Here's the movie version! Pretty much faithful in terms of
the colouring and layout, but a serious improvement in the
This sleek latex version is a long way from a pair of
Other Minor Variations
There's a few other subtle variations which are perhaps worth
Most of these just reflect the mood of the artist, and the
influence of drawing styles popular at the time - such as the
Manga style, which significantly over-emphasises the size of the eyes.
- The eye holes started off small, and have grown gradually but
steadily over the years.
- The blue of the red-and-blues has varied, being quite light for a
while during the 70's.
- The spider on the chest has also changed size up and down.
- The 8 legs on the spider used to point down (e.g. AF #15), but
now it's 4 down 4 up. The change seemed to happen in the comics
running up to ASM #200.
Oh, and in Spectacular Spider-Man #213 the penciller (James Fry) drew the
chest spider upside-down the entire issue. Heh, nobody's perfect!