When Spidey became the Michelin Man

Sometimes, ideas should just stay in the editor's pitch room. Sadly that didn't happen in the case of Armored Spider-Man:


Spider-Man's actual costume is a classic, with bold simple colors, the eerie eyes, and of course the webbing that really clinches the deal. This armor redesign takes all of those great elements and spits on them. Without getting too fan-boi on you, let's just say that if the Michelin Man decided to go into the armored-insect-hero not actually based on a real armored insect business, this is the costume he'd design.

Is that metal, or padding? Why, if you're building armor, would you make the eyes that huge? How does Peter grip onto walls and ceilings with giant metal cleats on his feet? Many questions, but only one answer -- armor was hot in the Nineties, so they put it on everything.

What really irks me about this is that Spider-Man's whole thing is avoiding the big hit -- that's what his Spidey Senses are for. Given that, why would you weigh yourself down with dozens of pounds of metal? I can't imagine anyone being either nimble or quick in that getup, unless they're planning on hitting the bad guys while they're doubled over in laughter.

When you've got a classic, leave it alone. I'm looking at you New Coke, Armored Spider-Man, and Rob Liefeld's Captain America!

18 Responses to When Spidey became the Michelin Man

  1. Jose Inoa says:

    Yeh, I was the nineties fanboy who fell prey to all them “Hot n’ Violent!” thingies… and this particular issue. I rememeber staring at Spidey’s soles and dismissing it when it was written that the armor was made of his own webbing (uhm, does the stickiness last like masking tape or… hey! it’s Spider-Man, ARMORED!!) I think he had a shield, too. It lasted five hits from the Sinister Six beatdown, or something… It did make a cool addition to the endless line of Spidey action figures in competition with Batman and Elton John’s wardrobes. 😛

  2. TheNate says:

    Here’s a less “tire-d” look to the Spider-Armor, where he looks like a soccer ball:

  3. DJ says:

    I remember in the 90s cartoon when they had the multiple spideys and the armored one looked pretty cool. That one above does look like he would sell tires.

  4. Xstacy says:

    To be fair, if you can lift 10 tons (as I recall
    Spidey’s rating was in the Marvel role-playing game), even a couple hundred extra pounds on your outfit shouldn’t slow you down overly much.

    On the other hand, pretty much every crime on Earth should take less time than it takes to put on the armor, right? Especially if the armor is made from his webbing, and has to be re-made every hour or so.

  5. Jeff Hebert says:

    Thanks for the link, Nate. That looks less like padding, for sure, but I still think it’s kind of lame. Webbing and metal are just so fundamentally different, I don’t see it working.

  6. Bael says:

    As I recall, the Sinister Six were on an unusually hot streak, and he was getting his butt kicked repeatedly. The armor was a counter agent to throw their game, and let him get in some good hits and trim the odds early. He didn’t care for the armor either, thus no recurrences.

  7. Jeff Hebert says:

    Plus, come on — armored Spider-Man = bad idea.

  8. collex says:

    Hey, Armored Spider-Man was my first Spider-man figure ever! I loved it! It became my second favorite Spider figure, just after my huge multi-headed Venom.But yeah, I must agree the idea is lame other than for selling action figures.

  9. William A. Peterson says:

    Look, it might have been a bad idea…
    And, an even WORSE idea to repeat it (recently)!
    But, it wasn’t as bad an idea as the Spider-Mobile! :->

  10. Jose Inoa says:

    That’s right! The Spider-Mobiles! What the heck does a web-slinger need with motorcycles, sports cars, water vehicles and a helicopter? Does anyone like the “Stark Industries” Spidey costume upgrade with the spider legs and boot-jets from a while back? On another note, Batman has his wonderful toys, but what does Superman need an armored spaceship with tentacle-arms for anyway?

  11. DJ says:

    I loved the Iron Spider costume!

  12. Jose Inoa says:

    Yeah, me too. I like the Iron Spider team better though.
    I vote for the ‘paper bag’ mask Spidey action figure!
    Over and out.

  13. Jeff says:

    I liked this armor. You are jumping to a lot of conclusions. You don’t really know what it was made of or how much it weighs. It could be very lightweight and very flexible. And like Xstacy said. If you can lift 10 tons( I thought spidey was 15?) then that’s not going to affect you much. I like it better than his current iron man colored armor. Besides, of all the stupid things they have done to Spidey this is what you make a post about? This is no where near as stupid as the whole clone thing or what happened recently with Mephisto.

  14. Jeff Hebert says:

    Thanks for the comments Jeff.

    Every Wednesday I post about bad super-hero costumes. Hence the discussion of, you know, his costume versus dealings with Mephisto. If you feel the Mephisto or clone angle is undercovered in the blogosphere, though, by all means I encourage you go to go Blogger.com and start your own. It’s free!

    I’m also glad you like the armor. I don’t. I think it’s puffy and stupid. It may be a great idea poorly drawn, but this image from this cover looks like he stuffed ten thousand marshmallows into his tights and called it done.

    Luckily we still live in a free country and you’re allowed to think it’s awesome and I’m allowed to think it’s heinous and none of us get shot for it. Well, outside of L.A. I mean.

    P.S. Just kidding all you Angelinos out there! Don’t shoot me.

  15. TheNate says:

    For all those Spider-Mobile haters out there, how do you like this:

  16. Evan says:

    The reason it’s puffy is because it’s insulated against electricity so Spidey could handle going up against Electro. So there’s a reason for it to look puffy.

  17. Christopher Vogel says:

    Spider-Man’s Spider-Armor was in fact a hardened compound of his web fluid. He actually created it to help in battle with a really crazy gang war. The suit didn’t last that long in combat(it was shattered when Thermite froze it).

  18. Christopher Vogel says:

    Hmm …an addendum …I went over to spider-fan.org and got the actual synopsis for Web of Spider-Man #50 …
    “We start with a God-awful battle between Spidey and the dragon thing. The New Enforcers are rubbish. Meanwhile the other Fisk (the one from the island) – who is now being called Gauntlet for no apparent reason – is back in NYC, as is Nightwatch. Peter is at ESU’s lab and is cooking something up which will help him against the New Enforcers.

    Blood Rose goes after Foreigner again but is met by the New Enforcers. All of a sudden a craptacular plot device swings in … or Spider-Man in Spidey-armour which, presumably, he just cooked up in 15 free minutes at the lab.

    I neither know, nor care, how Spidey and BR both knew where to find Foreigner. There’s a fight then, suddenly, the other Richard Fisk – Guantlet – turns up and it is really Fisk’s old friend Alfredo … who is dead but what the hell? He’s had surgery to look like Fisk and it was he who was serving the Kingpin. Why or how isn’t answered.

    How he knew where Blood Rose was is also totally unanswered.

    As if the plot isn’t as nonsensical and stupid as it is, Nightwatch then shows up too. The fight goes on … and on … and on until the police show up and Spidey ends up as confused as we, the readers, are.

    In the epilogues, we see the New Enforcers plotting to take the city’s underworld and Nightwatch with both power gloves. We then get a recap of Nightwatch’s origin.”

    If that ain’t enough of an explanation, slide over to [ http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/reviews/spiderman_web/100.html ] for the whole skinny …review of the issue and all that good stuff!