Winner’s Circle Q&A with Webhead 2.0 Winner Mike Dimayuga!

Note: Our recent Spider-Man: Webhead 2.0 contest propelled a really strong debate, and got people really thinking about what works (and what doesn’t) with a Spider-Man contest. After the entries came in and the results were tallied, California artist Mika Dimayuga came out on top as winner of the contest. Now that the dust has settled, we wanted to ask Mike about his choices that led him to the winner’s circle. – Chris A.

Mike Dimayuga's Winning Entry

Project: Rooftop: First thing’s first – when you first heard about the contest to redesign Spider-man, what were your thoughts on the original costume and what needed changing – and why?

Mike Dimayuga: My very first thought upon finding out about the contest was “dang, this is gonna be another difficult one.”. In my opinion, Spider-Man’s original costume is perfect. It’s iconic, relatively simple to draw, but detailed enough to be visually interesting to look at. Its sleek, fashionable and just so right for the character.

So really, what can I change while still making it “Spider-Man” since the costume was near perfect already? well, having drawn Spidey since I was a kid I knew the least fun for me were the web patterns. They were really tedious to draw. Also, I knew I can play around with the red and blue portions of the suit. I figured I NEEDED a theme, since I was so stumped in the beginning. thinking about Spidey and having just been watching some anime, I realized Spider-Man’s kind of a ninja, so I wanted to do Spidey as an urban ninja. Hardly original, I know. But hey, any port in a storm, right?

To that, I add my other philosophy: when designing a costume, I imagine how iI would design a character if it were meant for a real monthly book. What would an artist have fun drawing over, and over, and over, again? What would be simple to draw, yet still have some interesting detail that would draw the eye? Something distinctive. So with those parameters I was able to finally narrow down what I wanted my design to be.

Dimayuga’s Initial Sketches For The Contest

Project: Rooftop: One of the key things for the design for me is the lack of a Spider-man logo; some of your earlier versions have that, but why’d you lose it for the final one?

Mike Dimayuga: Well, first and foremost, as I was doing the preliminary drawings, I realized, “hey, if I’m putting the spider on the suit, then everybody’s putting the spider on the suit!”. So I just dropped it altogether. And when I did that, I got to thinking “the spider isn’t Spider-Man.” At least not any more, and at least not to me. Spider-Man is red and blue. Spider-Man’s the webs and the eyes. The original suit makes Spider-Man, not the little spider pictogram. He’s grown beyond that.

But, that’s not to say I wouldn’t be putting any spider-y accents to the costume. I would just try to do things differently.

Dimayuga's Spider-Man design in action!

Project: Rooftop: Also I noticed that early on you were going to use a cloak-type headgear, and that kind of transformed into the scarf your design wears. Can you talk about that?

At first I was trying to do a more traditional ninja look, if only to see what works and what doesn’t. So early designs looked like Storm Shadow or the Frank Miller-style ninjas with the looser clothing. neither worked so I opted to go for sleek and modern.

I had trouble reconciling the chest design with the head piece/helmet; making the two match or connect together in an aesthetically pleasing way. It just wasn’t working for me. My buddy suggested putting a scarf like Shinobi, since my theme was urban ninja. That not only solved the problem nicely, but it would also help in making Spidey’s actions more dynamic. I was imagining what an action scene with my Spidey design would look like. He would be in mid-leap, bouncing around the panel trailing streak of white; accenting the flow of the action. The more I thought about it, the more I dug the idea.

More of Dimayuga's Design Sketches

Project: Rooftop: For me one of the best parts of your designs was the webbing coming out of individual fingers. How’d you come onto that, and did you think out how he’d use that practically?

Mike Dimayuga: In drawing my entry, I was trying to pose the fingers in an interesting way, not necessarily for shooting webbing, but just something Spidey-ish for the action shot. Aagain, it comes down to what’s more fun for the artist. So I physically tried some poses (looking like an idiot, i’m sure) and found that finger webbing offered more interesting options. And when you think about it, yeah, pointing with a finger (or fingers) is waaay more accurate than aiming with your wrist. and it just opens up even more fun posing possibilities.

Project: Rooftop: You mentioned earlier about the Shinobi inspiration for the helmet. Can you talk about that?

Mike Dimayuga: As for the helmet, that was purely coincidental. I mean, I make no bones about the scarf being influenced by Shinobi, but I totally forgot he had that distinctive face mask too. In my case, you’ll notice my helmet is just a customized ninja mask. I added the eyes to enforce the spider motif since my design didn’t have the spider icon. I guess I’m saying he looks that way for a reason and not because I was consciously ripping off a video game.

Thank god I didn’t go through with strapping a sword to his back like I originally intended!

Project: Rooftop: Are the multiple eyes functional in any way, or just cosmetic?

Mike Dimayuga: Well, I imagine the “front” eyes can be headlamps or the Spidey-spotlight. ultimately they are as functional as the fictional writer wants them to be. hehe. [laughs]

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23 comments to “Winner’s Circle Q&A with Webhead 2.0 Winner Mike Dimayuga!”
  1. Wow. Oddly enough, unlike nearly every single comic book fan I know, something about Spiderman just never appealed to me. I am now thinking it had been the costume because, THIS costume is a Spiderman I would definitely read. Excellent job!

  2. Enjoyed the interview. I liked this design a lot, but after seeing the shot of him “in action”, I really want to see a comic, cartoon, or video game with this guy. It strikes me as a very cool jumping off point for an alternate world version of Spidey.

  3. I still find the scarf totally uncalled for. Very-very Japanese, very much like a stupid manga or something. The webshooters are truly epic, but that alone will not make a “Spidermanish” Spiderman… cause this here is definitely not Spiderman…Spider-Kamen, rather.. :/

  4. Like the Q& A with the winner idea, nice addition to P:R. While Mike’s entry isn’t my favorite of the bunch, it’s pretty strong. The follow up drawing shown here seems to have brighter reds & blues which look great and a way longer scarf which is really impractical but just looks awesome. And what would a little black spider on his chest hurt?

  5. I would like to see this design in an actual comic. I would have to say it is eerily similar to the design of the third Blue Beetle. Specifically I see it in the pencil sketching and then it seem to carry through a bit with the almost techno-organic nature of the design shown in the third image on the page (The one with traditional spidey red&blue colors)

  6. My main worry is how he can cling to walls if he has web-shooters in each individual finger? A thin fabric glove makes sense, but wouldn’t complex doo-hickies on each fingertip nullify his powers completely?

  7. Thomas Fummo,

    You raise an insightful objection, but I can see a few ways around it:

    1. The web-shooters are attached to his nails, so they don’t get in the way of his finger-pads.
    2. His clinging powers actually originate in his palms, leaving his fingertips free to shoot webs.
    3. Sticky webs, sticky fingers…the abilities are actually one and the same! When Spidey climbs a wall, he simply sticks a little bit of web onto each fingertip and sticks to the wall that way.

    All of these are a little different from the classical formulation of Spider-man, but that’s just how we roll here at Project: Rooftop.

    Also, I like the scarf. It is reminiscent of the trail of webbing that spiderlings use to glide (could it be a functional glider-scarf? That would be cool) and it allows the artist to better portray Spider-man’s motion on the page (this was the original reason Superman had a cape, to better portray a moving character in a static image). I approve of this redesign.

  8. This design wasn’t my favorite, although I did kind of like it when I saw it. However, it looks a lot nicer in the ‘in action’ drawing than in the one at top. Illustrates the visuals of the scarf better, and the colors are brighter, making him look more spiderman-y to me.

  9. the red/blue and white design is awesome but the scarf (although allows the illusion of movement and structures the entire outfit) i find is a little too much and makes me think “Shinobi.” but after reading the interview i have completely ran out of haterade and have come to enjoy the design.

  10. I loved this design when I first saw it, but looking at the various action poses with the more vibrant colours, I think I love it even more.

  11. I like the costume, but I never thought of Spider-Man as much of a ninja. He’s hardly stealthy in that brightly coloured outfit, he’s not much of a fighter (more of an acrobat) and he’s constantly making dumb jokes and talking all the times. Batman’s a ninja, Spider-Man isn’t.

  12. even if you believe him and he didn’t rip off Shinobi, the design still resembles too much the videogame character.i can’t look at spidey, and not see shinobi, and spidey should always have an uniqueness to him. also, i disagree with the lack of a logo

  13. hey guys,
    thanks to project rooftop for giving me a chance to talk about my design. i’m happy people who liked it initially, still like it; and more importantly, i’m able to convert a few who didn’t! haha.
    thanks to the commenters for taking the time to, well, comment. :) you rock.

  14. Marvel, give this guy a job!

    This is a great redesign and I’d like to see this incorporated into the continuity somehow. Next time there’s an alternate universe story, it would be nice to see this suit make an appearance.

    I can take or leave the scarf (why wear one warm thing of clothing over a thin suit?) but I love the helmet and entire design of the suit.

  15. Pingback: ¿Un nuevo traje de Spider-man? | Colission

  16. Scarf. If I’m a badguy in a fight with this Spider-Man, I’m latching onto that 8 ft. scarf trailing off him, reel him in and strangling him with it. Might make for interesting artistic visuals but it’s a target in a fight. Especially making it stark white; easy to see, easy to track — it screams CHOKE ME WITH THIS! I like the rest of the design. Needs a spider icon somewhere.

  17. I’m sorry, I’ve still never disagreed with PR as much as now.
    I WILL say this is a wonderful drawing. Mike is a very good artist, and draws a fun Spider-man. But this costume just isn’t doing it.
    It’s far too similar to PS2’s Shinobi. From the collar up, that’s all I see. I wouldn’t have been so inclined to argue it if the scarf or helmet eyes were left out, but with both of those?? no. Not happening. The scarf just has no place in the design, period.
    And to be frank: I think the judges were too in love with the concept of the finger web shooters (which, isn’t even a new concept- Ultimate Spider-man could do it when he had the black costume, ultimate Spider-Woman does it, etc)
    I truly feel like the judges’ own criteria was ignored for this. I don’t look at this and see a costume an amateur Peter Parker would make on a budget. I don’t look at this and see a functional or practical suit. All I see is just a really fun drawing of a ninja Spider-man. Very nice, but not a winner.

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