Costume design is one of the great strengths of the superhero genre, a way to establish distinctive visual shorthand for a character and reveal key details about concept, purpose, and personality. But which is the best superhero costume of all time? This month, we're asking you to decide, by voting up your favorites and voting down the rest. When we have your votes, we'll compile a list of the greatest super-costumes of all time.
For day one, we're looking at Spider-Man costumes --- and Spider-Woman costumes. Steve Ditko's Spider-Man costume is considered one of the all-time classics, but it's also inspired some incredible variations. Today, rather than jump rightt in with the classic blue-and-red Spidey costume, we're asking for your take on some of the other spider-folk, including Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen.
Everyone needs to get on board the Spider-Gwen train, because the hooded Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman was one of the most exciting new (or improved) characters of 2014, with our favorite new costume of the year, and with February's Spider-Gwen #1, by Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, and Rico Renzi, she'll aim to really make her mark as the best spider-themed hero out there. OK, that's a tall order. But definitely in the top three, which places her in the top 1% of spider-heroes.
Marvel has released a three-page unlettered preview of Spider-Gwen #1 showing Gwen in action, plus a look at three awesome variant covers by Adam Hughes, Skottie Young, and Kris Anka. The Hughes cover offers a glimpse of classic Gwen; Young serves up another of his fantastic baby variants; and Anka treats us to a shot of an unmakes Spider-Gwen delighting in the joy of webswinging. It's a gorgeous image that shows Gwen every bit at home on the end of a webline as Peter Parker. (She might want to put that mask back on, though. J. Jonah Jameson would kill for this picture.)
Gwen Stacy was meant to stay dead. Her death back in 1973 in Amazing Spider-Man #121, by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane, was a mark of maturation for the genre, a sign that superhero comics were ready to embrace more sophisticated storytelling. Her death became as defining to Spider-Man's story as that of his Uncle Ben. It could never be undone.
But there's no such thing as "never" in superhero fiction. Gwen Stacy is back -- sort of. The character's debut as another reality's Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 by writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi was so well received that the character will spin off into her own ongoing series, Spider-Gwen -- created by the same team, and set in a world where Peter Parker is just as dead as Gwen Stacy is in the main Marvel Universe. ComicsAlliance spoke to Latour, Rodriguez, and Renzi, to find out more about their plans -- and their response to Spider-Gwen's new-found popularity.
The news of a Spider-Gwen series broke Friday at New York Comic-Con, but with a few details missing. Thanks to Marvel's Spider-Verse panel on Sunday we now have confirmation; the book will be ongoing, it will be called Spider-Gwen, and the Edge Of Spider-Verse #2 team of Jason LaTour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi will indeed all return.
The same panel also confirmed an ongoing series for another spider-woman, Silk, a recently introduced character who was bitten by the same radioactive spider that gave Peter Parker his powers back in Amazing Fantasy #15. Silk will be written by Supernatural TV writer Robbie Thompson and illustrated by New Warriors cover artist Stacey Lee. And on the subject of books with female leads, earlier in the day at the Women of Marvel panel, Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson was announced as the new writer on the all-female X-Men series.
It looks like Marvel is striking while the iron is hot.
September's Edge of Spider-Verse #2, which featured an alternate-universe Gwen Stacy who bore the mantle of Spider-Woman and was also in a super-cool girl band, was such a massive success that the publisher has announced an ongoing series starring the character will launch in February. The creative team behind the Edge of Spider-Verse issue, writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi, are all expected to return.
The announcement came Friday morning at New York Comic-Con in a closed-door, retailers-only panel, which reportedly also teased a January event with the familiar words "No More Mutants", and included retailer questions about the future fates of Thor, Wolverine and the Fantastic Four.
That fan response to Marvel's Spider-Gwen one-shot Edge of Spider-Verse #2 was so profound can be chalked to a number of important factors that we've covered before, but perhaps none as crucial as the exhilarating visuals created by artist Robbi Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi. The duo earned praise from us and others for introducing a kind of crackling, almost reckless sense of energy and fun into an already aesthetically diverse Marvel Universe (or alternate universe, as the case may be).
But this came as no surprise to readers of FBP: Federal Bureau Of Physics, the Vertigo series Rodriguez and Renzi launched last year with writer Simon Oliver. FBP's mantra is "the impossible is always possible" thanks to its universe's occasional and frequently catastrophic breakdown of all known laws of physics. It's a premise that allows artists to be artists, and Rodriguez and Renzi dive wildly into their talents for hugely expressive, hypercolored images that -- along with routinely gorgeous covers by Nathan Fox -- have made FBP one of the most visually compelling American comics around at the moment.
Coco Chanel once opined that “fashions fade, only style remains the same.” In channeling the latter through the former, Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Woman disagrees to great effect in the self-contained Edge Of Spider-Verse #2, on sale now and nominally part of Marvel's Spider-Verse crossover event. The electric color palette and the asymmetrical hairdos and the wildly winged eyeshadow might look dated in a few years’ time, sure, but these pages bleed a fluorescent adolescent attitude found across time and space, from 19th century Spain’s hipster majos to Siouxie Sioux. This is a Gwen that owes as much to Peter Parker as she does to Tank Girl. This is a Gwen—and a comic—with style.
We live in a time of awesome superhero costumes in comics. The rise and rise of cosplay culture, the emergence of comic artists with a savvy understanding of fashion, and the slow diversification that's making heroes palatable to a broader audience, have all contributed to a costuming culture with more to offer than capes and pants.
Superhero costumes have always been an asset to the industry, because iconography helps establish character and create a brand. But the value of costumes in reaching audiences and reinventing characters seems to be recognized now as never before, leading to the rise of artist-designers like Jamie McKelvie and Kris Anka, who don't even need to be on a particular book in order to be called in to make-over the characters. This is a great leap forward in understanding just what a good costume can do -- and the special skills required to do it.
If you weren't already sold on writer Jason Latour (Southern Bastards) and artist Robbi Rodriguez (FBP) doing a re-imagining of Gwen Stacy in which she is a new version of Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, what if I offered you this to sweeten the deal: Gwen is the drummer in a band, they're called the Mary Janes, and they have a song that ruminates on Mary Jane Watson's classic "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot" line from Amazing Spider-Man #42.
Wait, you thought Gwen Stacy was dead, right? Edge of Spider-Verse is a prelude to Marvel's Spider-Verse event, which brings in "every Spider-Man ever," including versions from alternate universes, to fight a common threat. This version of Gwen Stacy is one of those alternate universe characters. Possessing her own spider-powers and a rad costume, she's already been a hit with Spidey fans based on the few images seen so far.
One of the things I love most about Spider-Man (and let me tell you, there's a lot I love about Spider-Man) is how adaptable the character is to different situations, settings, and even different characters taking on the role.
Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and an assembled team of writers and artists are picking up that ball and running with it in the upcoming "Spider-Verse" event, and they're getting a little bit of a head start with what they're calling "Edge of Spider-Verse," a series of one-issue stories that introduce readers to the various iterations of Spider Men and Women. Marvel has released solicitations for the first three issues of the five-issue series, which feature Spider-Man Noir, a new spin on Spider-Woman, and a futuristic Spider-Man who wears a helmet (and who probably isn't from 2099).
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