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Topic: Spider-man costume -red and black? (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Sergio Saavedra
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Posted: 17 September 2007 at 6:09am | IP Logged | 1  

I'm not sure if it was here where I read that according to conventions of the time, black costumes were drawn with blue reflections to reflect the volume, and so "the Bat-man's" cape was originally intended to be black (I like it black more).

I've had the opportunity to read some of the first Spiderman issues, by Ditko, and I've found that the blue parts of his costume are mainly black with some blue reflections. Was the costume originally intended to be red and black?

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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 September 2007 at 6:13am | IP Logged | 2  

This has come around many times. And there is always strenuous contention. This is my standard response:

Ditko's original cover, being more obviously set in daylight, makes the point even better.

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Sergio Saavedra
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Posted: 17 September 2007 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 3  

I didn't know it was a recurrent discussion. Thanks a lot for your answer.
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Daniel Gillotte
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Posted: 17 September 2007 at 11:31pm | IP Logged | 4  

It's like Conan's hair.

Blue or Black? Of course, black... more HERE.
I like Spider-man's constume better as blue and red, though.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 7:07am | IP Logged | 5  

Or Superman's hair. It's one of the longest standing traditions in comics, superhero or otherwise -- black stuff has blue highlights.

This has not stopped people asking me, with perfectly straight faces, why no one can tell Superman and Clark are the same guy since they both have blue hair!

Whenever this debate comes 'round, it seems to come down to the same thing. Should we change the names of various characters? Should it be Blue Bolt? Blue Panther? Blue Widow?

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Greg Reeves
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 8:51am | IP Logged | 6  

It's tricky, because dark blue outfits will be covered in black shadow, such as Cyclops' outfit.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 8:54am | IP Logged | 7  

Cyclops' outfit is black. So is the non-furry Beast's.
So was the pre-red Angel's. The original X-Men
uniforms were yellow and black.
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Stephen Robinson
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 8  

Red and black seems more "spidery" -- and I like Spider-Man to wear different "colors" than Superman.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 9:11am | IP Logged | 9  

Time for an oft-repeated history lesson.

Many characters have begun their careers not only with black costumes, or costume parts, but with outfits that had much more detail than subsequent versions. Ditko's early Spider-Man was red and black, and the red parts were thick with webbing. As the book continued, and deadline pressures began to crowd him, tho, Ditko (perhaps unconsciously) began simplifying the web pattern and leaving the black parts more and more open for color.

Same thing happened to Batman. Originally in a black cape and cowl, with black boots and trunks, it did not take long at all for them to "turn blue". Ditto for the X-Men's school uniforms. Ditto for their "graduation" costumes.

Another factor besides deadlines worked into this. Many artists did for "full pencils" what would today be called breakdowns. They put in all the line work, but they left it for the inker to spot blacks. If they didn't -- well, suddenly the FF no longer had black collars and circles around their chest emblems. (This also affected a lot of Kirby's costume designs. He would often draw the character fully detailed only in the first shot, and leave it for the inker to carry thru with the details in the rest of the issue or appearance. Check Magneto's first appearance, or the Destroyer.)

Curiously, some characters went the other way. Daredevil, for instance, started with a red costume, with little shading, but from time to time, depending on the artist, it would look more like a black costume with red highlights.

Of course, nothing will ever explain to me how anyone in his right mind could look at this costume...

...and think it's supposed to be WHITE!!

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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 9:13am | IP Logged | 10  

WHITE???
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 9:20am | IP Logged | 11  

Yeah, white....like this....

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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 9:28am | IP Logged | 12  

White. At a San Diego con, a couple of decades back, I was approach by some animators who were working on the X-Men cartoon. "Settle an argument," they asked. "What color is Storm's costume?" "Shiny black," I said. Apparently this was not the answer they expected. "You mean white." "No," I said, "shiny black. The hi-lights are white."

When the cartoon came out, Storm's costume was white.

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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 9:30am | IP Logged | 13  

Animators working on the X-Men cartoon! Not even "civilians!"

 I'm getting a headache. 

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 9:31am | IP Logged | 14  

What prompts choosing a particular color as a black highlight, e.g., white in Storm's costume, blue in Superman's hair, etc.?
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Brad Brickley
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 10:26am | IP Logged | 15  

Contrast I would say.
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Brian Kirk
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 10:50am | IP Logged | 16  

I read somewhere that Moon Knight's costume is black.

 

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Jason Fliegel
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 10:54am | IP Logged | 17  

I remember being surprised when I learned that the Fantastic Four's post-Negative Zone costumes from JB's run were black, and not (as I had thought) dark blue.
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Brad Brickley
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 11:00am | IP Logged | 18  

Moon Knight always looked white to me, you know like a moon.
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Brian Kirk
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 11:07am | IP Logged | 19  

M-O-O-N.  That spells-

Ooops! Wrong thread!

 



Edited by Brian Kirk on 18 September 2007 at 11:08am
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Andy Mokler
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 11:40am | IP Logged | 20  

Nova is another character that's morphed from one color to another.  In his first appearance (as well as fanzine appearances before Marvel where he's actually call "Black Nova") bystanders comment on the character in black but soon after he's clearly clad in blue and yellow.  Blue and yellow seem to go well together but in this case he should be more Pittsburgh Steeler than Los Angeles Ram.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 11:58am | IP Logged | 21  

What prompts choosing a particular color as a black highlight, e.g., white in Storm's costume, blue in Superman's hair, etc.?

If you look thru a random selection of Golden and Silver Age comics, you will soon come to wonder if many colorists considered blue a default setting. Not surprisingly, since it is a single color (like yellow, and unlike red which, in printing, is actually made by combining yellow and magenta), and so requires but a single dot, swipe or pass of the brush. The separators especially like single colors. No chance of missing a necessary hue on one of the plate and having, say, Spider-Man suddenly without pants!*

So, blue is used for highlights on black, even tho such highlights rarely occur in the real world. Every once in a while, artists come along who true to break the blue rule. Dave Cockrum did this with Storm's costume. I did it with Northstar and Aurora's hair. We've seen what happened with Storm. With the Beaubier twins, we got them appearing somewhat geriatric in guest shots. . .




*Whatever color you think the non-red parts are on Spider-Man's costume, they are not blue. They are a combination of the colors used to make caucasian flesh, and blue. Drop the blue, and it gets embarassing for our favorite wallcrawler!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 11:59am | IP Logged | 22  

Moon Knight's costume is black.



And here I thought it was silver.
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Andy Mokler
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 12:11pm | IP Logged | 23  

Personally, I would have preferred they just gone with the "usual" method.  I always thought the white highlights didn't look right.  Also, using the white to highlight her outfit took away from her platinum hair.  Using the blue, her hair stands out much more, which I think it should.



Edited by Andy Mokler on 18 September 2007 at 12:40pm
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Martin Arlt
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 12:25pm | IP Logged | 24  

The question I always have is at what point do these costumes change?  I completely see that Spider-Man's costume was originally black and red, but later in Ditko's run, the costume started to be more or less solid blue, rather than black with blue highlights.  For example:

The same sort of thing happened to the original X-Men costumes, especially when Werner Roth was doing the art.  Plus, a recent issue of Amazing Spider-Man has a costume reference in the back, referring to the original costume as "blue and red." So while it's accurate to say that Spidey's original costume was black and red, it's just as accurate to say that Spidey's costume IS blue and red.

But how long does it take this kind of a change to take place and be, essentially, irreversible?  And, is Marvel (who owns these characters and is, at least in a corporate sense, their "creator") in the wrong for licencing statues of the original X-Men that are painted blue, for example?

Martin Arlt......................................

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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 September 2007 at 12:38pm | IP Logged | 25  

It amuses me -- in one of those sad ways I sometimes find myself being amused -- that some comicbook fans, known for their anal retentiveness in so many things, will fight for the changed versions of costumes as the "correct" ones, simply because they are the first ones they encountered. This is where that skewed sense of "continuity" wins out, I suppose, over any real sense of history.

(It's especially funny in this "black=cool" age thru which we are passing, that so many fans will fight for whimpy old blue just because it's been there longer.)

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