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Topic: Spider-Man. He’s a bit creepy isn’t he? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Trevor Thompson
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Posted: 05 December 2018 at 4:18am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Although, he's my favourite super guy, I think if he was real he'd creep me out. I mean they way crawls up walls and flips around is quite weird. I could imagine looking up and he's their hanging upside down off a lamp post or something looking down at me.

Nightcrawler would be the same too but I'd probably see more of Spider-Man's exploits on the news than Nightcrawlers.

Sorry, just randomly musing.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 05 December 2018 at 8:37am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

As Stan told the story, there was resistance from the Higher Ups to a character called "Spider-Man". People find spiders "icky", after all (to quote Jim Shooter).

Amusingly enough, and paralleling the black costume thread, I was on a panel at a con, not long after that costume was introduced, and a woman in the audience expressed concern that it made Spider-Man "too scary" for her young kids. "Spidey", it seems, had followed the path laid down by the Thing, with much of the audience forgetting "scary" was supposed to be part of his catalog.

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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 05 December 2018 at 1:30pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I don't know if this contradicts What Came Before, but I always loved Gwen's description of Spider-Man from MARVELS.
 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 05 December 2018 at 5:12pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Many classic characters incorporate an element of fear into their crime-fighting identities. Batman is similarly not intended to appear adorable or life-affirming to those that see him. I'm pretty sure Wesley Dodds as the Sandman didn't wear a creepy gas mask to engender warm feelings from those he met. 

Like many others, Spidey is supposed to appear unsettling and dangerous. It not only gives him an edge in a fight, but it is a way for us in the audience to appropriate the symbols and imagery that frightens us and turn it to good. We like being frightened a little, but we also like feeling like the coolest guy in the fight is on our side, however off-putting he might seem should we meet him on the street. 

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 05 December 2018 at 9:07pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Just throwing this out there—In-universe, Spider-Man’s costume was created as the flashy costume of a showbiz entertainer, not as a superhero costume. I don’t think “creepy” was necessarily supposed to be part of the in-universe aesthetic, unless that was the effect that Spider-Man’s agent was pushing for, to emphasize the mystery angle.

Ditko’s original version definitely has a “creepy” factor, but I can totally see Romita’s clean revision (particularly the brighter red-and-blue version, which quickly became codified after Ditko stopped spotting the blacks) serving as a flashy showbiz costume. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 05 December 2018 at 9:09pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

We like being frightened a little, but we also like feeling like the coolest guy in the fight is on our side, however off-putting he might seem should we meet him on the street. 
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This has served Batman well for decades! The bat motif is inherently scary (plus, it and the cape also brings to mind Dracula), but Batman is on our side.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 05 December 2018 at 9:53pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Now that you mention it, there's hardly anything more creepy than seeing somebody in one of those possession movies where the possessee crawls up a wall and across the ceiling!  With those big white eyes staring at you out of the dark and the costume in any amount of shadow just looking blood red and pitch black--yeah, Spider-Man would freak people out in real-life!

Of course, even Superman floating nearby, knowing that he could snap your neck or burn you to death with his heat vision in an instant and there's NOTHING you could do to stop him--I wouldn't be too comfortable around him either.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 06 December 2018 at 3:57am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

The in-universe logic for Spidey creating a costume, never mind that specific one, is secondary to the idea that he was created as a crime-fighter, presumably an ongoing one. I don't know how committed Marvel was to an ongoing Spider-Man title when the solo story in Amazing Fantasy #15 was done, but one would think Lee was at least toying with the idea that this character could run for a while. As such, he was designed as a super-hero first, with the entertainer aspect added in as the story unfolded.

Which raises the question of how good Spidey's costume would have looked on TV in the first place. His eyes would stand out, no problem, and as long as he skittered across light-colored background surfaces, he would be easily seen, but how well would black and white televisions of 1961 pick up the details in the webbing or differentiate the deep values of the red and black in the costume? 

Remember, Geo. Reeves had to wear a costume of gray and brown for it to "read" onscreen as red and blue. An actual costume of red and blue would have muddied together into a dark gray. 

Once color TV's became the thing, Spidey's costume would play better, but I wonder how well viewers at home in 1961 would have been able to "read" Spidey on their immense, combo liquor cabinet, B & W televisions. 

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 06 December 2018 at 9:50am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The in-universe logic for Spidey creating a costume, never mind that specific one, is secondary to the idea that he was created as a crime-fighter, presumably an ongoing one. I don't know how committed Marvel was to an ongoing Spider-Man title when the solo story in Amazing Fantasy #15 was done, but one would think Lee was at least toying with the idea that this character could run for a while. As such, he was designed as a super-hero first, with the entertainer aspect added in as the story unfolded.
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Yeah, the character was obviously created (real world) as a superhero first. Even if you picked up AMAZING FANTASY # 15 off the rack and viewed it as a one-off anthology story, the opening splash page’s caption still refers to him as a “costume hero”. 

But, when looking at it purely from an in-universe point of view, certain questions do come to mind, such as whether or not the costume was designed to look creepy as part of Spider-Man’s act, and (as you note, Brian) how it would have appeared on TV. Fun little thought exercise to examine it from that point of view.
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Trevor Thompson
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Posted: 06 December 2018 at 10:18am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Of course, even Superman floating nearby, knowing that he could snap your neck or burn you to death with his heat vision in an instant and there's NOTHING you could do to stop him--I wouldn't be too comfortable around him either.

________________________________________
That's a scary though! I was going to make a post about whether we'd trust superheroes if they were real. I guess we'd have to based on their actions. I think I'd personally trust Superman. I just couldn't imagine him going rogue. I could also see the US using him (via propaganda, at least) as deterrent in case any other country got ideas beyond their station.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 06 December 2018 at 11:40am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

He is creepy. But that's part of what makes him cool, right?

I lean toward the streamlined Romita look, which still retains a mysterious aspect. He's one of those rare heroes whose face is completely covered, and, besides the over-sized angular, blank, shark-belly-white eyes, has virtually no facial features whatsoever. Even with Iron Man, you could sometimes see his eyes and the suggestion of where the mouth would be (and, for a time, the nose).  But there's something very....alien...about Spider-Man's look. Even though Supeman is an actual alien...he doesn't have that other-worldly appearance. 


Edited by Brian Rhodes on 06 December 2018 at 11:56am
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Stéphane Garrelie
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Posted: 07 December 2018 at 6:19am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I think my mother thought at first that a story about a Spider-man was an horror story. Then, she read one of his adventures and she had no problem with the character.
Spider-man is closer to Zorro than to... let's say the movie(s) The Fly and others of the same kind.
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