New Spider-Woman by Kris Anka!


Spider-Woman cover by Javier Rodriguez.

Okay, guys, can I let you in on something? This is a safe rooftop space, right? I’ve ALWAYS disliked Spider-Woman’s costume. Sure, there’s an elegance to the simplicity, but the naked+lines look feels really dated, and kinda has in my mind, at least, since I was in school. I’ve often thought about a Spider-Woman redesign contest here at Rooftop, but there’s so much love from fans of the retro, boobtalanche design, so I’ve held off. Fortunately, P:R mainstay Kris Anka has been murdering on new looks for Marvel this past few years, and they asked him to take S-W’s wardrobe apart and put it back together.spider-woman-redesign51It’s pretty obviously a great updated, drawing on the potential street-wear aesthetics of the best superhero redesigners in the business right now, Jamie McKelvie, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, Robbi Rodriguez, Joe Quinones, and Anka himself, all folks who sure know how to bring out playful, the practical, and the cosplayer love. As a shop manager, I’m a little bugged this wasn’t the art and design with the launch of the new Spider-Woman series, which saw its share of controversy. But for my comics buyers, this looks like a great big step in the right direction.

What really catches me about this update is how much of the original Marie Severin design has been kept, while suiting her up in a more wearable, functional outfit. The color scheme, a simplified hourglass, now built into a spider emblem (home run), and the, um…underarm webs. Worked for Nightwing in the Animated Series. Kris was kind enough to let us in on the story of how this design came to be, so here are some thoughts from him as well as behind the scenes sketches of his thought process while working with editor Nick Lowe: a1 Kris Anka: So it all began last July, during SDCC ’14. Nick Lowe came up to me and pulled me aside like we about to go down some back-alley, and whispered to me that he was looking to give Jess Drew a new design come the second arc of her solo series. b1 KA: So it all began last July, during SDCC ’14. Nick Lowe came up to me and pulled me aside like we about to go down some back-alley, and whispered to me that he was looking to give Jess Drew a new design come the second arc of her solo series.b2 KA: He gave me a quick pitch on the direction Jess was going to go with her life, then grasped me by the shoulder, looked me dead in the eye and said that we must get rid of the arrow pointing to her crotch.

d2 KA: The initial idea I was given was a much more street-level look. Which I will grant you, was a little tough notion for me to get my head around. after some back and forth with Dennis Hopeless and a few other editors in the Spider-office, we began classying her up a bit more, getting away from the standard leather jacket look. d4 KA: With each round of notes more “superhero” kept being added to her look (I was really pushing for the idea that she just uses floating lenses that could adhere to her face when it became a mask due to shield-tech or the some such). Then after a round of notes with Joe Quesada we arrived at a final look that I took a last pass over and flushed out the design to what it is now.

13 comments to “New Spider-Woman by Kris Anka!”
  1. Man, I hope they keep all the jacket variations in her wardrobe! I’d love to see her pull out that long car coat for superheroing on blustery days.

    The most visually surprising part of it, to my eyes, is the chest-emblem, which is rather stark in its geometry. In the hands of capable artists, it should be a pleasing contrast with the fluidity of the character’s motion. I think I prefer the simpler rhombus designs Anka played with, but I’m glad that it’s as much of a departure as it is from, oh, say, Spider-man’s lines.

    I really like where the glasses/mask ended up, and the two-tone gloves are great.

    I’m not totally sold on the belt. On the one hand, the design definitely needs a bit of color and dynamism in the lower half, which the belt provides. On the other hand, it looks like it’s just there for style purposes, which grates a bit in a costume that otherwise nails the balance of drama and practicality. But it won’t take much to make me like it. Even just on the upside-down image, where the belt looks like it’s actually functioning as a belt, is enough to bring me on board with it.

    I hope the bottoms of the feet have little red pads on them.

    Anyway, a fun and lovely design.

  2. i like it, i’d say my only reservation would be with the belt. makes it look a bit too much like the Wonder Woman 600 outfit. Also, outfit B1 would be a great Carmen SanDiego redesign.

  3. I drew Spider-Woman for the first time a few weeks ago and really enjoyed sketching the classic design and thought to myself “Wow this suit hasn’t changed in over 30 years”. This redesign caught me off guard, but it is a very nice design. Lately I have fallen in love with everything Kris Anka, so this is right up my alley. The jacket , the mask the little boots are perfect. I think this outfit better suits the type of stories they put Jessica in nowadays. People complain about the belt, but I do the same thing in a lot of my sketches of women. I love it!!!!!!
    — On a side note, Dean can we please have more art contests?? I miss them.

  4. Like the webbing clamping, the unfolding glasses mask. Not digging the loose belt, and examples D2 , D4 show a certain lack in spider morphology, which affects to a lesser degree the final. Spiders have a head block to which the legs are attached, the abdomen only has little spinnerets.

  5. I like the new look for Spider-Woman but I’ve got some nitpicks. I’m not too keen on the loose-fitting belt, hope that gets fixed before the new suit arrives in the comics. Second, I really wish they made her sunglases/mask more concealing like in pin-up D2 and D4. Maybe include one of the boot designs from the same pin-ups. Still, it looks great and I’m glad to see Jessica get a costume upgrade at long last.

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  7. I like this look a lot, but it’s starting to look like “urban street-wear” is going to be this decades “tights and a leather jacket.”

  8. Fantastic stuff. Very cosplay-friendly if a little biker-fetish/military. Would love to see the other of those naked line heroes, Firestar, to get the Anka treatment.

  9. I like the original for all of the same reasons I like Spider-Man’s costume. This redesign is great but reminds me of a line/scene from “My Cousin Vinnie”

    Judge: That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection.
    Vinnie: Thank you, sir.
    Judge: Overruled.

  10. comparing all the designs, i think the final design is perfect! i even want a jacket like that (reversed button sides of course)… to long coat is also good.

  11. The classic Spider-woman costume was IMHO one of the great looks to come out of that decade (especially in the old cartoon… the yellow eyes worked for me).

    The new logo turns her really cool diamond into a spider, and that makes it less interesting. There’s already a dude with a spider on his chest.

    But the biggest change is adding of a waist. Not having a defined “belt” on her costume gave Spider-Woman a flair that most heroes don’t have. I always liked it (and think a similar change made Green Lantern’s costume infinitely less interesting as well).

    I’m left with the question, if you’re basically wearing stylish clothes, why wear a superhero costume at all?

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