The Andrew Garfield Spider-Suit: There’s No Pleasing You, Is There?

On January 13th, everyone got their first look at Andrew Garfield in his Spidey getup. In case you missed it, here it is:

I remember seeing this and thinking, Wow. My brother was right. He looks so weird. I didn’t know what else to think about it, aside from It’s red and blue. That’s a start. In the end, I just put the picture out of mind (which I usually do for anything I’m anticipating) and decided to wait for another shot to sneak up on me. It didn’t take long at all.

This shot from the set of the reboot is one of many that popped up later in January and earlier this month. They give a much better view of the tights and everyone’s pretty unanimous in the decision that he looks stupid, weird, and skinny and that the costume sucks. There’s criticism for every inch of it; people think the color’s off, that he’s too blue, that the texture’s weird, that his spider sneakers look ridiculous, that it’s weird how his crotch is black, that his eyes are too small. The people have spoken and they are just not pleased and all I can think when I hear their complaints is…

There’s no pleasing you, is there?

The costume isn’t perfect. This much I definitely agree with. But, oh my God, they’re trying to give everyone what they go bananas over. Realism. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were chocks full of realism; tons of choices for those movies were based on what Batman would be like in real life. His suit would have to be an adapted combat suit made by Wayne Industries. His car would have to be a combat vehicle designed by Wayne Industries. His grappling hook would have to be magnetic. His love interest would have to be amazingly boring. Why isn’t that approach okay for Spider-Man?

Probably because too few people know/remember enough about Spider-Man to realize that this is what they’re doing. Seriously, maybe you just forgot or maybe you just never knew, but…

He’s Wearing Wrestling Tights

This film is supposed to be based on the Ultimate Spider-Man series of comics. In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter Parker is given his suit by the head of the wrestling organization he moonlights with.

Just in case you need to see to believe, here are panels from pages 17 and 18 of Ultimate Spider-Man #3.

Now, as you can see, in Ultimate Spider-Man, the only things the outfit was missing when it was handed off were its webs and spider symbol, which, if we’re being really honest with ourselves, we realize is ridiculously convenient. Sure, it’s specially made, but do you even know of a specialty costume designer that can make those perfect, sock-slipper red booties? Okay, maybe you do, but, do you know of any wrestling organization that’s going to order boots like those instead of the traditional laces-to-the-knees wrestling boots? Seriously. Spider-Man’s boots don’t exist in the real world–the only idea more ludicrous than the thought that his stingy, freelance employer shelled out a ton of money to have an extremely creative outfit custom-made for Peter Parker is the idea that Tobey Maguire made his movie duds all by his lonesome. I mean… sure, why wouldn’t a dude with spider powers be good at knitting/sewing/weaving/whatever, but the idea that Peter Parker was given a wrestling outfit that actually looks like a wrestling outfit just makes sense.

I’m betting this doesn’t sell you regardless. He still looks weird and different is what you’re thinking. Well, as a Spider-Man fan, I’m pretty damn grateful that he does. Ya know why?…

Spider-Man Has Looked Exactly the Same Since the 60’s

Let’s take a picture break:

Wow. Haven’t they changed? Eh? I don’t even have to explain how! Isn’t that awesome?

Now…
Let’s take a moment here. This collage features Spider-Man as he’s appeared in several forms of media. What’s different? His eyes are kind of different, yeah. The blue is different shades here and there. The webbing on his suit is straight sometimes. He’s small in some pics, beefy in others. All of these things can be attributed to different artists’ whims and periodic make-overs though. Putting these things aside, can you tell me what else is different? That’s right! You got it!

Nothing.

Yes, Spider-Man has had different costumes. The Black Suit, the Iron Spider costume, a few others. But do you know what those costumes have in common? They go away. Quickly. Only the Black Suit has found any long-lasting success, but given what it represents these days, it’s just become an unintentional tease; Spider-Man dons it to go AWOL for five panels before someone reminds him, “Hey, Spider-Man, you’re being really hardcore and you look a lot cooler. No one likes that, some shit about responsibility, here’s the ol’ red and blue.”

To boot, these costumes aren’t subtle changes. Only Spidey’s House of M suit, which, of course, only existed in an alternate reality, gave the red and blue a twist. A small twist, but apparently not small enough.

 

It was really just the same suit with different gloves, but I'm sure purists still vomited all over themselves when they saw it.

My point here is, let the man evolve a little. Let them try something new with the costume–something new that makes a lot of sense. Because if they don’t, we’re just going to get the same look we’ve been stuck with for the last 50 years.

Do you want this? Again?
Or can you just calm down and accept that this only looks different, not bad?

Lizardmen: They’re Out There, Losing, Right Now

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re experiencing slight delays because a Lizardman is on the tracks directly in front of us. The MTA would like to apologize for the delay. As soon as the Lizardman is shooed along, we will proceed.”

“Will the owner of the red Volvo please report to Lot A; a Lizardman appears to be sleeping on your vehicle. Again, will the owner of the red Volvo please report to Lot A? Thank you.”

“Sir, we’re sorry to inform you that your parcel was lost. It appears it was handled at one point by a Lizardman who failed to deliver the package to the processing center.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to talk to you about Lizardmen.

Let’s begin with a story.

A friend of a friend once started a D&D campaign. The setting was a city in famine. Very dog-eat-dog or cat-eat… Well, you’ll see.

One of the players decided he’d play a lizardman. When he entered the city, he saw a cat in an alley. Roleplaying the stupid lizardman, and perhaps drunk on his ability to eat furry things like cats, the player decided to chase the cat. In the alley a battle was initiated, which, in D&D, breaks time into 6 second intervals where you act based on chance (embodied by dice rolls for different actions). The lizardman rolled for initiative, but the cat won because it was small and quick. So it struck first, and because it had a large target and it was tiny, it easily succeeded in scratching the lizardman for a laughable 1 HP (Health Point). But no sweat off the lizardman’s back; he only needed to hit the cat once to take all its HP. Only, it was tiny. And fast. And, as a lizardman, he’d forgotten his one fundamental weakness–that he was a lizardman. He attempted an attack but missed. And then, more likely than not, he failed the dice roll that would’ve allowed him to see the group of 20 cats that came out of the rubbish piles around him. 20 feral, hungry cats.

A starting character in D&D has a max HP of 12 at best, with no exception for lizardmen that I remember. So do the math. On the second turn, 20 tiny, fast cats all get an opportunity to hit the lizardman, and all of them will definitely hit. All for a laughable 1 HP each.

The 6 seconds weren’t even up when the Lizardman died.

Ladies and gentlemen…

T H E  L I Z A R D M A N

Since time immemorial, Lizardmen have been the failures of the fantasy genre. Servants, useless foot soldiers, cannon fodder. I’m aware there may be a place where Lizardmen are winning, but that place is not here, nor is it anywhere that I’ve seen.

But They Look Cool

Yeah, I’ll give you that. If there’s one thing Lizardmen do right, it’s look cool.

But that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? They’re like very shiny used cars; they look like a great idea, but they’ll probably get eaten by cats.

My D&D story aside, I’ve only ever found Lizardmen in the low threat tier of enemies in RPG’s, just above (or sometimes below) those sentient balls of jelly that find their way into EVERY RPG. My brother tells me that the Lizardmen in Demon’s Souls pose a threat, but he hasn’t been playing the game for long at all. And besides, from what I understand, everything is a threat in Demon’s Souls. Especially the jelly.

In visual media, they’ve never faired any better. Just recently I saw an episode of Conan: The Adventurer where the cruel wizard Rathamon killed a Lizardman who was standing next to his throne. Why? Because he was angry. But also, I’m betting because he knew he could. I imagine Rathamon goes through a full bushel of Lizardmen on his bad days.

Otherwise, we have Reptile’s performance in the Mortal Kombat movie, who, aside from being an absolute mess of CGI, completely dropped the ball in his battle with Liu Kang.

Social _________

Outside of appearances as enemies, Lizardmen seem to enjoy the most absent of social classes. For the Final Fantasy series, it began with Tactics Advance for the Nintendo DS, where Lizardfolk (?) found their way into society under the social tag “Bangaa.”

This is a Bangaa.

I believe I’ve said enough about Bangaa.

No. Wait. I should try. They… … they’re stronger than humans. And also, unlike Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the subsequent Final Fantasy XII did not feature a Bangaa playable character. Oh, and they’re astutely never called “lizardmen”.

You may remember a similar situation in the Elder Scrolls series. If you do, then you already know of “Argonians” and the two things that they add to the Lizardman mythos.

1) Lizardpeople are latently good at hiding. And also, stealing things.

And 2) Lizardpeople don’t always look cool.

“Popular” Lizardmen

But surely, there are Lizardmen out there who do count for… something, right? And the answer is, “Of course… Kinda.” Always only kinda.

Reptile, for example, would totally count if at the height of his popularity he wasn’t just a dude called Reptile who showed his lizard face ONLY when you did one of his fatalities.

Where does that leave us then? By my count, with two. First…

… with Lizard.

A Spider-Man villain who the larger part of society doesn’t know. When scientist Curt Connors tries to grow back his arm with reptile DNA, he transforms himself into the monster known as (sigh) LIZARD!

The funny thing here is Dr. Connors appeared in all three Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies. Why didn’t they ever use him, you ask? They knew better. At his best, Lizard was a throw away villain who’s easily forgotten if not easily beaten.

Aside from him, it’s…

… Lizardman… Damn these names are great.

Riding the tails of Soul Calibur fame is possibly our generation’s most “popular” Lizardperson (?). “Popular” because no one cares about his virtually nonexistent character; in the Soul Calibur series, it is canon that Lizardman is one of a race just like him. The simple implication is this: Lizardman has probably been killed by a character you prefer (any other one, really) and replaced hundreds of times. Combine that with the way he (she/it?) doesn’t speak and this…

… and you’ve get a lame character who’s damn lucky to be in a very popular series.

Poor Bastards

I know. Where does that leave Lizardbeings (whatever)? Are they forever damned to fall to the wooden swords of Level 1 characters and feral cats? Will there ever be a day when a race of awesome Lizardbeings appear in a video game or work of fiction? Will a writer somewhere, someday, deliver them some majesty? I, for one, hope so.

Or… maybe I don’t.