If you’re going to celebrate your fiftieth anniversary, you’re going to need some sweet duds. Luckily, Spider-Man has a ton of different costumes and looks to chose from. Here – in our humble opinions – are the ten best:
10. Future Foundation
While the white/black combo on the rest of the Fantastic Four – sorry, Future Foundation – looks like it comes from the future, Spider-Man’s take almost makes him look alien in a way. At first, we were a little thrown by this look; but over time, the costuming grew on us, and makes sense in the context of “Spider-Man: Future Science Explorer.” In the city streets of New York City, though? Not so much. Plus: hard to get clean.
9. Ends of the Earth Armor
Spidey has had a few heavy-duty armors throughout the years, whenever he’s come up against heavily armed villains. This recent iteration is our favorite, though, for two simple reasons. First, it’s colors are fondly reminiscent of the classic costume, with no weird, puffed out sections (we’re looking at you, ‘90s Spider-Armor). But more importantly, it comes equipped with specific ways to take down all of the great villains in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. That’s just cool.
8. Six-Armed Spider-Man
Technically not a costume, since whenever he’s worn it, he’s, er, had six arms. But there’s still something fun about seeing the classic costume blown out to true spider proportions.
7. Stealth Suit
This Tron-style suit from the recent Big Time storyline may end up looking dated in a decade or two, but right now, we’re still total suckers for the glowing, simple stripes that make Spidey look like some sort of bio-luminescent bug.
6. Spider-Man 2099
It may just be that we’re fans of Miguel O'Hara; and maybe if created today, Spidey 2099 would look more like Stealth Spidey. But as is, the sharp lines, and tattered web do make the costume look like a Spider-Man from a tougher future, rather than the more hopeful Spidey of today.
You can’t have a list of best Spider-Man costumes without including the Amazing Bag-Man, can you? His costume is fondly reminiscent of the Fantastic Four costume, with a touch of… Okay, fine, it’s just a borrowed costume with a paper bag and a kick-me sign; but come on, if Spider-Man isn’t occasionally forced to wear something totally ridiculous just so he doesn’t have to swing home naked? It’s not a good Spider-Man story.
4. Cosmic Spider-Man
It may have been ridiculous to see Spider-Man flying around and shooting rays from his hands, but darn if the combo of the Captain Universe and Spider-Man costumes doesn’t work for us. Long term? Probably not. But for the storyline, which amped up Spidey’s powers for a short while, it worked.
3. Miles Morales
It’s only been around for a year, but it’s probably fair to say that Miles Morales’ costume from the Ultimate Universe has already become completely iconic. It’s somewhat of a simple riff off the Peter Parker costume, with different colors. But you know a costume design works when just the spider is placed next to Spider-Man’s logo (for the currently running “Spider-Men” series), and you know exactly what’s going on, with no text. It may help that the artists and writer assigned to Morales have made him, too, a classic character in a short time; but the costume is a big part of it.
2. Black Costume
It’s tough to top a character’s original costume design. First, there’s the expectations of the readers, which settle into accepting a costume as THE definitive look for that character. Second, there’s the approach, which almost always takes a near, simple design and overcomplicates it. The Black and White costume, first introduced in Secret Wars, takes the opposite approach, taking the Spider-Man look down to an even more basic design. No webs, no colors… Just black, with spots of white. And it completely works. It certainly helps that generations of writers have been able to use the costume to fuel stories, rather than haphazardly dressing Spidey in one costume one day, another costume another. But for many readers, this is the best Spider-Man costume ever.
1. Red & Blue
…And for others, you really can’t get better than the original. Pity the poor artists over the years who have had to slave over intricate series of webs and lines, but when it comes down to it, we can’t see the color red next to the color blue without thinking of Spider-Man. It may be for just the reason we mentioned above, but Steve Ditko’s design is somehow endlessly complicated, and ridiculously simple at the same time. Every artist has their own take on Spider-Man: some with armpit webs, some not; some with expressive eyes, some not. But the costume expressed everything that’s great about Spider-Man, and unique about his character right up front. For that, it’s not just the best Spider-Man costume, it’s one of the best costume designs of all time.