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Topic: Spider-Man. He’s a bit creepy isn’t he? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 08 December 2018 at 10:38am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Compare Spider-Man's costume with all of the slick DC superhero costumes of the time. I don't know if he looked creepy but he sure looked odd for 1962.
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Mike Norris
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Posted: 08 December 2018 at 3:17pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

It seems at home with the costumes of some of DC's newest stars of the time: Flash, Green Lantern and the Atom. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 December 2018 at 4:52pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

There is something of a Gil Kane vibe to Ditko's design, isn't there? As you note, a dash of Green Lantern with a pinch of the Atom.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 December 2018 at 5:01pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

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.
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I don't think Ditko's version could have become the corporate icon seen on stationery and bedsheets that Romita's did.

Romita's version of the mask has a sleekness and elegance to it. It's perhaps the most cosmetically-perfect superhero costume ever. The shape of the eyes is perfect, and the weblines on the mask subtly suggest a "nose" and "mouth" (something Ditko played with, but Romita perfected).

Romita's Spider-Man mask has a strangely appealing--even friendly--quality. Not too bug-eyed or too creepy. Absolutely perfect for the company icon he became, and also in-line with the idea of the costume being designed for entertainment rather than intimidation.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 08 December 2018 at 5:41pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Romita made it consistent. You never knew which direction the webs were going to go with Ditko. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 December 2018 at 6:34pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Exactly. Ditko often played around with the weblines and the spider-symbols. As noted, he also stopped spotting the blacks, after a while.

And, perhaps more interestingly, he showed a subtle progression in Spider-Man's build--from lean and gawky teenager to muscular and even bulky, at times.


As for Romita's version, he dropped his attempt to imitate Ditko pretty quickly, and I'd say his iconic version of the character was pretty much locked down and consistent right around ASM # 45-47. Maybe a bit earlier, although Romita was still playing with the size and shape of things like the eyes and underarm webs for his first few issues.

For me, the proper birth of Romita's true, iconic Spider-Man is on the cover of ASM # 46. Classic pose, classic Romita costume, with all the details locked in, and a new cover corner box to replace Ditko's. Most of his earlier work comes close, but everything really comes together on that cover, for me.
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 09 December 2018 at 2:57pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply


It seems at home with the costumes of some of DC's newest stars of the time: Flash, Green Lantern and the Atom. 

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I strongly disagree. I can't imagine Spider-Man's costume fitting in with the 1960s "DC model" whatsoever.

The Kane/Romita Spider-Man looked great, but even the mighty Gil Kane would never have designed Spider-Man.
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Mike Norris
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Posted: 09 December 2018 at 4:22pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I see a lot of common elements between Spider-Man and The Flash, GL and the Atom. Spider-Man's full face mask is the only thing that sets him apart. 

I dunno, Spider-Man with his bi-colored costume and "plunging torso"design looks very Gil Kane to me. 
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 09 December 2018 at 9:01pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Greg, what I find interesting is the Spider-man we see on the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15 (Kirby, based on Ditko's costume design) looks more like the Romita version from years later -- A more muscular character wearing a costume that is less busy with the web motif.

When Kirby later drew the character (eg. Strange Tales Annual #2, the backup story in ASM #8) he conforms to Ditko's postures and skinnier proportions making the character look a lot creepier. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 December 2018 at 10:25pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

It should be noted that the first cover was Kirby inked by Ditko! 

Later on, we did indeed get some proper Kirby art of the character, but it just...doesn’t...work. Spider-Man might be the only classic Marvel character Kirby didn’t “get”. Ditko’s weird poses and busy costume design for the character just didn’t mesh with Kirby and his particular artistic strengths.




Edited by Greg Kirkman on 09 December 2018 at 10:26pm
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 10 December 2018 at 2:20pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Romita's version of Spider-Man is the one I grew up on the 70's. Even after he left the book, the way he drew Peter Parker and Spider-Man and its supporting cast loomed much larger than Ditko's did, with everyone being more handsome/beautiful than they had been in the Ditko issues. It took me years to appreciate Ditko's art, because unlike Kirby who had his fair share of imitators at Marvel, Ditko's style was much more singular and, I don't want to say unique, because Kirby's style was just as unique, but maybe odd is the right word for it. I recently purchased the hardcover collection of his work for Warren in the 70s called Creepy Presents Steve Ditko and there is some truly brilliant art in it. I think a big part of why it took me so long to appreciate Ditko's art is that my introduction to it was his work on Rom (which, at the time, didn't really work for me after so many issues of Sal Buscema) and I'd missed his stuff when he was at the top of his game as an illustrator. Now I look at his work on Amazing Spider-Man and Dr. Strange and Creeper at DC and the stuff he did at Warren and find it truly, well, amazing. 

Edited by Shane Matlock on 10 December 2018 at 2:21pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 December 2018 at 2:54pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Romita's version of Spider-Man is the one I grew up on the 70's. Even after he left the book, the way he drew Peter Parker and Spider-Man and its supporting cast loomed much larger than Ditko's did, with everyone being more handsome/beautiful than they had been in the Ditko issues.
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I think that Romita is unable to not draw beautiful people! Even his "ugly" characters (villains, mostly) are elegant in their ugliness!
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