Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spider-Man's Mask

John Romita Sr. perfected Steve Ditko's brilliant Spider-Man costume design by giving order to the webbing that wrapped around the suit, most especially with the face mask. I think Romita's design was built on the human face, with a perfectly symettrical design that suggested the placement of the nose and the mouth, with the webbing as vertical markers for both, so when one looks at his version of Spider-Man's mask, it makes more sense than simply haphazardly placing webbing all over it.

Here's what I mean below, showing Peter Parker's face beneath the mask and where his nose and mouth are marked by the webbing. Again, this is what I think Romita had in mind with the mask. I've never heard or read about what exactly he had in mind, but it does make sense to me. (Update: I did learn from reading Jim Shooter's blog that Romita Sr. actually Did intend Spider-Man's mask to suggest the human face, something that Shooter thinks is weird, but which I think is logical and makes it look Just right.)


Joe Maurone said...

Good observation. I've spent a lot of my school years drawing his face, and there's been so many versions, but it's hard to get right. I really like the way you contour the facial outlines here, and the coloring is like velvet.

Bosch Fawstin said...

Thanks, Joe. I was first exposed to Romita's Spider-man, which looked perfect and part of that was that I really think there was a clear effort to humanize the mask. I'd Love to ask Romita about it, hopefully at a convention soon. After seeing his version, every other version of Spider-Man, with haphazardly placed web lines, looks wrong to me, even Ditko's. But I've come to Love Ditko's version, and without it, Romita would have had nothing to perfect. Now, imagine if Ditko penciled a Spider-Man issue with Romita inks. I think that would have been the ideal Spider-Man, and one I would love to get a chance at, with that model in mind. I still have a dream of writing and drawing a Spider-Man comic book one day with Peter Parker as a teenager, and with Ditko and Romita clearly in mind as I draw it. To be clear, it won't be an attempt to ape them, but an acknowledgement that Spider-Man is not my character and that it is these two artists who all take their lead from in drawing him.