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.
In case you haven't read it yet (and missed our review), Edge of Spider-Verse #2 by Jason LaTour and Robbi Rodriguez is a fantastic comic. It introduces an alternate-universe Gwen Stacy who become Spider-Woman and is on the run from the cops after being blamed for the death of poor old Peter Parker. It also involves an awesome element: A band called The Mary Janes, in which Gwen is the drummer, Mary Jane Watson is the lead singer/bassist, Glory Grant is the keyboardist, and Betty Brant plays lead guitar.
That'd be cool enough on its own, but a band called Married With Sea Monsters took it a step further. They've actually recorded a version of the song from the comic, "Face It Tiger," and posted it to YouTube.
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).
Wondering what to expect from the sequel to this summer's TheAmazing Spider-Man movie? Hidden in a news report about one of the actors expected to join the cast for the new movie were some surprising plot revelations that suggest that the movies will follow a particularly tragic thread of Peter Parker's comic book life...
Longtime readers of ComicsAlliance's weekly pin-up feature Best Art Ever are no doubt familiar with the uniformly excellent work of Steve Rude. The co-creator of '80s indie sensation Nexus and the illustrator of Superman/Batman: World's Finest, The Incredible Hulk/Superman and other beautiful comic books, Rude has largely retired from making comics, pursuing a new career in the fine arts while supplementing his income with eBay auctions of his vast archive of Nexus artwork and a seemingly ceaseless line of private commissions that are almost always among the best superhero and classic "good girl"-style pin-ups we've ever seen...
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