Project: Rooftop is a blog which focuses on comic book costumes and fashion and runs regular redesign contests. Back in 2008 I entered the Vampirella ReVamp contest because, as you may know, I’m quite fond of vampires. I put a lot of time into it and was glad to see my entry was chosen as one of the runners up, placing 13th overall. Since then P:R has run many redesign contests for Batman, Wolverine, Captain America etc. though not being a huge superhero fan I was never compelled to take part. However, when they announced the Spider-Man: Webhead 2.0 contest I knew I wanted to join in. Spider-Man has been my favourite superhero since childhood so I considered if I had enough time to do something, I didn’t really, but I went straight to the drawing board anyway.
This is my entry and it made it into the 24 Honorable Mentions/Runners Up! I was never expecting it to win, I knew the casual approach wouldn’t enthrall the full panel of judges, but I was very pleased to see it place so highly, joint 3rd in the runners up, making it joint 6th overall!
The first judge Vito got it right away “A teenager could very easily make this one. It’s fluid and freemoving (is that a word?) and looks…well, comfortable! I like this one a lot!” While the second judge Rachel said “The web-patterned socks are kind of adorable, and I kind of want a pair. The pants, however, are completely unacceptable.” Which led to a discussion about whether they were jeans, sweat pants or “yoga pants”. For the record I saw them as slim, not skinny, stretchy jeans, the type with lycra in the cotton. Maybe America hasn’t got them yet? The next two judges liked it too, getting the broke kid from Queens angle and one judge, Ron, gave it a 10 stating “Hands down my favorite… it feels very New York-y to me, in the best possible way.” Whether the judges loved it or not, they all seemed to see the humour in it and appreciated my modern take on the New York teenage superhero. Thanks for all the kind words, folks!
Steve Ditko’s costume design is so bizarre and yet familiar it has become as iconic as any other. It was a real challenge to invent a new costume while still keeping it recognisable as Spider-Man and changing it enough from the original so it wasn’t simply a tweak of Ditko’s design.
I scribbled down as many ideas as I could. I wanted to keep the fun, friendly character rather than making him more like a spider or making him “edgy” so I chose the bright blue of the ’60s Spider-Man and a slightly magenta red to compliment it. I coloured my ideas with markers as I drew them. I’d mentioned on Twitter that I was taking part in redesigning Spider-Man and received a request, nay, a dare from Joe List to draw Spider-Man with cowboy boots, a tiny stetson, cufflinks, a fox tail and a bluetooth headset. I obliged.
Looking over my sketches I was torn between the casual, baseball jersey idea (New Yorkers love their baseball) and the full-on, spandex superhero costume with the black gloves and webbed armpits. I decided that the latter design was still quite close to Ditko’s and many other entrants would probably go that route, so I opted for the casual, hipster Spider-Man. I think the science nerd Peter Parker would dress in cooler, more fashionable clothes for his smart talking, fearless alter ego.
Click for larger image.
I tried a few colour ways which gave me the idea of including an alternate design with a hoody for the amusing Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider costume. For the final image I threw in an ’80s black and white suit version too. I also took some time to tweak the traditional webbing pattern, having it emanate out from his wrists and chose the organic web shooter method over the mechanical. I dropped the loose, v-shaped belt aspect at this point and the DNA strand inspired Spider logo.
For the pose I wanted something very athletic but also very Spidey that clearly said ‘Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man’. For the final image I chose one of Andrew C Mace‘s fantastic photographs of NYC for the background, as I really didn’t have the time to draw a NY cityscape. And here it is, the main redesign. I expect I’ll get a call from Stan Lee any day now…
Friendly Neighbourhood Spidey! Click for larger image.