Arguably the most recognizable superhero character of all time, Spiderman has become one of comic book history’s most successful franchise. The character pushed the envelope when it came to archetypal superhero narratives, and many fans have grown to relate with Spiderman’s story. Even before the rise of the superhero age in the last decade, Spiderman was already recognizable even to those who didn’t follow the genre. His name and his costume were both as famous as Marvel itself. The role of the Spiderman logo is crucial throughout it all. Here’s a look at the history and story behind the amazing Spiderman logo.
History of Spiderman
It was rumored that Jack Kirby had a prototype Spiderman logo drawn up even before the writing work began for the story. However, this prototype logo got lost somehow. We may never know what similarities have been drawn between Kirby’s logo and Steve Ditko’s, but Spiderman has evolved so much over the years that his logo has changed so many times as well. Spiderman was first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15,a comic book anthology, on August 1962. Since that time, Spiderman has appeared in various publications published by Marvel Comics and other forms of media. The fictional story of Spiderman has been translated and presented in television shows, movies, and even video game adaptations.
Much of the appeal of Spiderman has to do with the life of his alter ego, Peter Parker. Parker is just your average teenager. He’s awkward and nerdy, and he also goes through real-life type difficulties such as rejection, inadequacy, financial burden, loneliness, and more. The fact that Peter Parker had no apparent mentor is what made him even more relatable. Unlike the narrative of many other superheroes, Parker had to figure out Spiderman all on his own. And he was actually able to do so because he had incredible support from his family instead of a superhero community. Spiderman’s tagline, “With great power comes great responsibility,” is probably one of the most important in the genre. It epitomizes what being a superhero is all about, and it’s the elastic that pulls Spiderman back to his roots every time he might have gone too far.
One of the best parts of being a superhero is having the best costume, and Spiderman’s costume has evolved over the years. Along with this is the evolution of the logo as well. When Spiderman first appeared, he had the iconic black logo on the center of his chest—a simple black spider emblem. The black contrasted greatly with the blue and red color of Spiderman’s costume, but it also complemented the black grid lines that represented spider webbing throughout the outfit. Ditko’s design was inconsistent and very basic, but that didn’t last for long.
In 1966, artist John Romita, Sr. took over as main artist and made some changes to the costume and the design of the logo. He wanted the spider to become more uniform, making the legs narrower and longer. The positioning of the legs was changed as well. These early Spiderman costume designs also included a spider on the back of the costume. Although similar, there were also minor differences with the shaping of the body and the legs of the spider. The spider logo was changed in 1970 after the death of Gwen Stacey. Whereas before the spider legs just spanned horizontally out of the body of the spider, the logo change showed the spider legs fanning out around the body instead. It added a much needed dimension to the emblem, and it also made the logo look more modern and clean.
Spiderman’s logo remained pretty much unchanged from the 70s on, until 1984 when a new storyline emerged for the superhero. This storyline involved the Symbiote and Spiderman’s dark alter ego. The change was stark and contrasting. First off, Spiderman’s costume was changed into an all-black suit. The logo was then left white to contrast against the black costume. The spider was also drawn bigger on the chest to give it a more looming feel overall. This logo idea was actually contributed by a fan, Randy Schueller. Marvel loved the idea and ended up purchasing it before putting their artists to work.
In 1988, another modification was made to the costume and logo. The costume went back to red with black lines, and the spider lost its white color and size. The spider logo went back to black to contrast against the red. Over the years, the costume and logo would see many other minor variations and changes that were applied as the storyline changed. There’s also an Iron Spider costume from the comic books that featured a gold spider emblem against a red costume. The golden spider is large and covers majority of the upper part of Spiderman’s body. Other spider suits that have made brief appearances throughout the timeline of the Spiderman character include the Future Foundation and the stealth suit.
The most current Spiderman logo can be found on the live-action iteration of Spiderman as played by Tom Holland in the MCU. The logo on this costume features a much smaller spider against a red background with black netting. The spider on this logo features a larger body and a much smaller head and legs that fan out similar to the late 70s version. Even in the latest Spiderman storyline, the logo has changed a few times already—from Peter Parker’s design to the first proper costume given to him by Tony Stark. Spiderman then got another costume upgrade from Tony Stark during Avengers: Infinity Warbefore Peter Parker creates another one in Spiderman: Homecoming.Perhaps we’ll never see the end of logo changes, but that’s okay. Even superheroes have to evolve somehow, and costume changes are just all a part it.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith