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The Daily Bugle Critiques Spider-Man’s Many Costumes

With this week’s release of Amazing Spider-Man #656, everyone’s favorite wall-crawling webslinger gets a new look (at least temporarily) in the form of an all-new set of Spider-Armor, courtesy of Dan Slott and Marcos Martin. It’s not the first time Spider-Man has changed his look — heck, it’s not even the first time he’s done so in favor of a suit of armor — and while I thought this might be a good time for ComicsAlliance to take a look back at some more of Spider-Man’s memorable costume changes, I found out in my research that there’s already been an exhaustive critique of Spidey’s looks.

And it happened in the pages of New York’s finest newspaper, The Daily Bugle.

Written by a contributor known only as “Mr. J,” the Bugle’s “Fashion Freakouts” isn’t like most articles centering on the world of haute couture. It somehow manages to skip every awards show and fashion week, and seems to exist only to comment on Spider-Man. It’s pretty strange, but for those interested in the history of super-heroic styles, it makes for an interesting resource.

That’s why today, I’ve combed through the Bugle‘s archives to bring you their critiques of Spider-Man’s many costumes!

The Original Costume

Those who were present for last night’s broadcast of TV’s Variety Time witnessed a horrible crime. No, Mr. J isn’t referring to the daring backstage robbery that took place after the show, but rather the complete murder of good taste by the show’s new star performer/sideshow freak, Spider-Man!

A word of advice, Spider-Man: stuffing yourself into skin-tight spandex may well have been all the rage when you were entertaining the unwashed masses at the “wrasslin’ match” last week (and to be quite honest, Mr. J is surprised you didn’t adopt that crowd’s signature look of a NASCAR t-shirt and fanny pack), but an appearance on one of New York’s most venerable showcases requires something that doesn’t accentuate how spindly and underfed you are.

If you do wish to focus on robbery, however, then send the police to collect this menace to style for his blatant color thievery! Plenty of would-be fashion plates have attempted to capitalize on the current popularity of the recently returned hero (and style icon) Captain America, and while few succeed, none have failed so tragically as Spider-Man, possibly because none have bothered to string up something that looks like nothing so much as under-arm stink lines. No wonder he hides his face!

IN: Toothbrush moustaches.
OUT: Purple Pants

The Black Costume

A group of heroes and villains returned from a mysterious mission to space last week, and while some of them seem to have used that opportunity to upgrade their fashion sense — Mr. J notes that the Fantastic Four look better in green than they ever did in orange — it should come as no surprise that Spider-Man was not one of them.

Mr. J never thought he would long for the days of a costume that looked like a Power Ranger fell asleep on a waffle iron, but here we are. In the latest offense in his crimes against fashion, Spider-Man has resorted to a new black suit that is being hailed by holders of wrong opinions everywhere as being both “sleek” and “edgy,” which Mr. J would like to point out to our esteemed colleagues at the Globe are words that actually mean the opposite of each other.

The thought process behind this monstrosity continues to elude Mr. J, as it would seem that Spider-Man’s idea of a positive change involves a costume that emphasizes the gigantic poisonous insect after which he has named himself. Since this would be ridiculous even by his low standards, we are forced to come to an undeniable alternate conclusion: Spider-Man is getting fat.

The black costume can be nothing more than a shameless attempt to disguise his growing bulk, with the added bonus that it doesn’t show stains from his undoubtedly hideous bouts of gorging himself on street-cart hot dogs. Mr. J predicts that it’s only a matter of time before his “web-lines” snap under the strain of bearing his increased bulk.

IN: The classic flat-top
OUT: Long hair

The Original Spider-Armor

Someone contact the Daily Bugle‘s society page, because Mr. J has a hot piece of gossip he’d like to share! It seems that KISS guitarist Ace Frehley has gotten a disco ball pregnant, with truly horrifying results.

Either that, or New York’s most loathsome designer has once again secured his spot at the top of Mr. J’s annual Worst Dressed List with a truly eye-searing attempt at outshining others. Hot tip, Spider-Man: Mirrors only work if you look into them before you leave the house instead of just hot-gluing them to your suit!

IN: Hardworking journalists, the truth
OUT: Robbie Robertson

Ben Reilly’s Scarlet Spider Costume

Mr. J would like to issue an apology to the readers of “Fashion Freakouts.” This column was started with all intentions of offering a rundown on the latest style atrocity committed by Spider-Man, but every time Mr. J looked at a photograph depicting a halter top hooded sweatshirt with the sleeves ripped off and an off-center logo that was clearly airbrushed at the Jersey Park mall, he laughs until he can’t stand up.

Mr. J worries that should he have to type the words “ankle pouches,” the assistance of a doctor would be required.

IN: Astronauts
OUT: Ben Urich

The Iron Spider Armor

Billionaire playboy Tony Stark might be a brilliant designer when it comes to weapons and technology, but in the world of fashion, Mr. J must come to the conclusion that his skills leave quite a bit to be desired. Then again, when one is creating something meant to be worn by a walking disaster known as Spider-Man — who now adds “sleazy corporate sponsorship” to his list of of his offenses — that’s to be expected.

Even so, it’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools, and while Spider-Man is nothing if not a tool, the lion’s share of blame for this must fall squarely on Stark’s moustachioed head. The additional arms, for instance, not only appear to answer the unasked question of why no one has thought to accessorize with dental equipment, but they bring Spider-Man’s total limbs up to 7. Apparently Mr. Stark’s coterie of assistants, sidekicks, Avengers and mixologists never bothered to inform him that Spiders have eight legs.

The most egregious offense, though, falls to the color scheme. According to the press kit sent over by Stark Industries PR, the suit has camouflage options that enable it to look like anything, which raises the question of just why anyone would choose to look like that.

IN: Accessorizing with a cigar
OUT: Accessorizing with a Vibranium Shield

The Stealth Suit

DAILY BUGLE EXCLUSIVE: Those of you who are possessed with a particularly morbid curiosity — and Mr. J must admit that he counts himself among your number — may have wondered what Spider-Man does when he’s not out perpetrating his numerous crimes and generally eroding the quality of life in New York City (which has been raised significantly since the last mayoral election). Now, at last, thanks to a tip from an amateur photographer who wishes to be known only as “F.H.,” we know: He spends a lot of time watching Tron Legacy and building elaborate outfits inspired by the film in what some trendspotters have termed “cosplay.”

We here at “Fashion Freakout,” however, simply refer to it as “sad.”

In addition to the photo above, “F.H.” also reports that the wall-crawling menace is using this outfit as a “stealth suit” and that it has the ability to actually turn itself invisible. This is the best news to cross Mr. J’s desk in years!

While Spider-Man may still be committing fashion atrocities, at least we no longer have to see them!

IN: Being mayor of New York
OUT: Being director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Mr. J is the most well-dressed member of the Daily Bugle’s staff, despite what you may have heard from Betty Brant.

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