When I was a kid, I was Spidey for Halloween one year. Boy was I disappointed in the
costume! I remember the Ben Cooper costume had nostril holes, eye holes, the name
"Spider-Man" written across the chest, yellow on the torso...it was just horrible!
Why couldn't they just match Spidey's costume? It was inconceivable even to a 7-year
old, but it was the best there was. You can read about writer Mark Millar's memories
of that suit at his interview at Newsarama
In the 80's, I started looking around for a costume, figuring there HAS to be one
available. I called up a major costume store in New York City called Abracadabra.
They said they had two different versions of the costume. In my idealistic youth, I
assumed it HAD to be the red and blues and the black costume! I hopped on the 1
train to the Village and gave the conductor $20 to floor the pedal to the metal (ok,
I made that part up). What I saw at the store was another disappointment. There
were the two suits that could've passed for red and blue pajamas. One had a ski-mask
like Spidey wore in the wrestling ring in the movie, but with eye holes. No
weblines. The other was mediocre. No black costume. I went home, costumeless.
You see, Marvel had not, at the time, licensed an official costume to any
corporation. Yes, there were Spidey-sightings at conventions, but they were sent out
by Marvel with custom-made costumes. These weren't available to the public.
So, in the meantime, I painted the black costume logo onto a black t-shirt, a wore
that in college to make sure everyone know how cool I was.
The animated series during the 90's brought with it a renaissance of Spidey
merchandising - a tremendous action figure line from ToyBiz with all of Spidey's
incarnation and villains, party plates, coloring books, electric toothbrushes, bed
sheets, and...could it be?? In 1999, I was startled to see the SUIT - the ACTUAL
SUIT! It didn't say "SPIDER-MAN" written across the chest. There wasn't any yellow.
This was it!
Well, it isn't bad for the money, but the spandex is thin, and runs easily, there's
no back logo, and the mask is foam, and more like a hood with strings to fasten it
tight, and holes in the eyes and nostrils. There's no gloves. There are no boots.
I cut out the whites of the eyes, and used Velcro to fasten cheescloth instead. I
used red Totes socks for the boots. Eventually, gloves were released, but they came
just up to the wrist, leaving an awkward space. Now if I had a nice pair of
web-shooters, they'd fill that gap nicely!
Now, it's 2003. I surf for various costume shops and stumble upon
Hollywood-Costumes.com. There's something amazing for sale - the "Adult Ultra
Deluxe" costume! The picture posted isn't supposed to reflect the true quality - but
even that looked cool! I broke down and ordered it, knowing I won't be getting
anything for Christmas...or my birthday!
The suit arrived mid-October. As cool as it is, it's not without disappointments.
The good: it's a thick spandex, less apt to run than it's predecessor. The fabric
has a nice sheen to it. I'm happy about the color of the blue being darker and
deeper than the sky-blue of the previous one. The weblines are thin, black, and
raised slightly. The eyes are fabric, with decent visability. There are thin pads
on the bottom of the shoes. There's finally a logo on the back - it's a little bit
stylized than the original back logo, but that's ok. It's two pieces - the body and
the mask. The body zips nicely, and hides under a flap between the red and blue of
the back of the shoulders. Everything sounds good.
Now, the bad. Seams started to give as soon as I put it on. Now, granted, I'm at
the end of the spectrum for fitting an "extra large" (6' and 44" chest), but I was
surprised to see the fabric pulling apart just by walking around. It would be nice
if the soles of the boots were thicker. There's no webbing under the arms - ok, I'm
a purist. I didn't expect any, but it would've been a real bonus. My biggest gripe,
however, is the mask. First, the weblines don't connect. The mask is made up of 4
pieces, and the lines are discontinuous. There's a fold of fabric that sticks out
between the eyes. I don't know how that can be fixed, but it looks goofy. Finally,
and worst of all, the mask hung loose around my neck, unconnected to the body,
leaving a ring of skin visible. I couldn't believe, for the money I had paid, there
was no means to attach the hood. My mother-in-law came to the rescue and stiched
Velcro around the bottom of the mask and inside the top of the chest.
As you can see in the pictures, it's a nice suit, overalll, despite my gripes. I have finally found the "ultimate" Spider-Man suit, as close as I'm ever going to get to the 100% authentic, straight from the comic. One of my life's goals has been reached. There's nothing better out there...or is there? I did a websearch and found this custom costumer maker on the web. *sigh* That one sure looks good! Maybe if I sacrifice birthday and Christmas presents for the next 10 years???