A creation of writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, the Marvel superhero known as Spider-Man has been around in one version or another since 1962. The character and his costume have gone through innumerable iterations with each new writer, artist, and amateur fan who simply wanted to make their own mark on the iconic character. But having the web-slinger show up in bold, brilliantly colorful costumes on the pages of a comic is one thing; bringing that vision to life in live-action is a whole other story.
So which live-action version of Spider-Man has the best costume? Is it the newly revealed addition to Captain America: Civil War, or perhaps the first legitimate TV series to feature the Marvel hero in the 1970s? Now’s your chance to vote for your favorite live-action Spider-Man costume below, and defend your decision in the comments! But before we get to the poll, let’s break down the various live-action Spider-Man costumes that have surfaced over the years:
3 Dev Adam a.k.a. Three Giant Men a.k.a. Captain America and Santo vs. Spider-Man (1973) – This Turkish film from director T. Fikret Uçak and writer Doğan Tamer featured Captain America and Santo on a special mission to Istanbul to stop the villainous Spider-Man and his criminal gang. Yeah. And the costume makes about as much sense as the story.
Spidey Super Stories (1974) – Originally part of PBS’s children’s series The Electric Company, these shorts featured the Marvel Comics character–free of charge–catching crooks in the act of committing petty crimes. Danny Seagren played Spider-Man, whose exploits were occasionally narrated by someone you may be familiar with: Morgan Freeman.
The Amazing Spider-Man (1977-1979) – This CBS series, set in New York City but filmed in Los Angeles, starred Nicholas Hammond as university student and Daily Bugle employee Peter Parker, who you likely won’t be surprised to find out is actually Spider-Man. Despite Lee’s protests over how juvenile the series was, there was reportedly an attempt in the mid-80s to have a “reunion movie” which would have had the show’s cast cross paths with that of The Incredible Hulk.
Supaidāman (1978-1979) – A Japanese live-action Tokusatsu television series produced by Toei Company which was loosely based on Marvel’s Spider-Man character. Though this version of the character wore a very familiar costume, he also piloted giant robot named Leopardon which he used to battle massive versions of the show’s monsters, as you do.
Spider-Man (2002) – Probably the definitive version of Spider-Man on the big screen for a good portion of the current generation, this Sam Raimi classic made Tobey Maguire a household name. The Oscar-nominated picture brought some gravitas to the superhero movie genre and was one of the early frontrunners of the current era of comic book movies. A serious attempt at bringing Spider-Man’s costume to life in a convincing fashion was certainly an important part of the film’s success.
- Wrestling Variant – As a nod to Parker’s early costuming efforts in this film, we’ve also included his hilarious get-up that he wears into the wrestling ring. Part nod to the comics and part nod to earlier versions of the costume, this variant remains one of my favorites if only for cosplay reasons.
Spider-Man 2 (2004) – Raimi’s follow-up film didn’t seem to feature too many changes to Spidey’s costume, though the technology to make it more convincing certainly got an upgrade in the intervening years. In this version, we once again see the costume getting shredded to reveal the true hero beneath it. “Get your Spider-Man 2 action figure, now with ‘Battle Damage!'”
Spider-Man 3 (2007) – More of the same in this clunky closer to Raimi’s trilogy, but it did bring about a fan-favorite variant on the classic costume:
- Black Variant – To many people this is simply the black Spider-Man costume, but comic book aficionados know it as the alien symbiote version worn by Peter Parker, and eventually, Venom.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) – Jumping forward a few years, Spider-Man got a new suit to go with the new actor beneath it: Andrew Garfield. Much attention was paid to this suit in the early days before the film was even released as set images revealed in high detail the suit’s new design, from its Parkour-friendly fabrics to the lenses of two of his (presumably eight, right?) spider-eyes.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) – To prevent the early scoops from paparazzi, the production team released an early look at the new costume for this sequel, which was aimed at being more “Spider-Man-y.” The biggest change came with the eyes, though the webs, spider emblem, and colors also got an overhaul.