With all the hubbub about Spider-Woman’s spandexy backside not so long ago, I was unsurprised when news broke this week that she would be getting a full makeover in her new ongoing series.  Of course, I should have expected immediate comparisons to the recent Batgirl redesign, especially from the…  shall we say, “more cynical” members of our fan community.  Spider-Woman’s old costume is one of the best designs of the 1970s, but it is entirely Of Its Time, and 35 years down the line, she is well-deserving of a new look.  The artists of both books mentioned on Twitter that the similarities were noticeable, but indicated that they were in parallel development at the same time, rather than overtly copying one another.  There is a long tradition of maybe-knockoffs in comics, from the X-Men/Doom Patrol comparison to the Swamp Thing/Man-Thing conundrum to every comic of 1993 being pretty much the same book, which leads us to today’s xeroxed query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced “Ah-rack-nee”) actually likes both costumes visually, but hates all the discussion of “practicality” when it comes to super-dupers, asking: Batgirl & Spider-Woman’s New Costume Looks: Just Coincidence or Follow-The-Leader?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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9 Comments

  1. foolsmask
    December 20, 2014 at 11:52 am — Reply

    Given the well deserved heat female costumes have taken recently I’m glad there to see change. I’m the father of two young children and before they came along I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about this topic, but my worldview has been reevaluated. I’m happy to have characters that aren’t all cheesecake for my daughter and son to read when they are able.

    As far as the design similarities go I doubt the artist on the Spider-woman redesign intended the costume to be viewed as a “rip-off” or anything directly comparable. Most likely they went on the internet with the cocept of an urban ex-secret agent bad-A female and used their search engine of choice look at design trends in modern fashion. Batgirl was likely in the back of their mind somewhere. I happen to work in a place that connects to a shopping mall. Occasionally I walk through the mall for thw food court and a change of scenery and there are a few stores that sell clothes like these costumes (sans the superhero insignias of course) so it could be said that Spider-woman’s costume is a derivitave of a derivative…and math makes my head hurt so I’ll leave it at that.

    Overall I’m pleased by the change and welcome it.

  2. Will
    December 20, 2014 at 11:55 am — Reply

    I honestly can’t say for sure, but these two costumes look fairly similar. The Spider-Woman suit probably gleaned some parts from the Batgirl costume, but there is still some originality to it. These costumes both look like impressive makeovers, and I just hope they help their respective series sell!

  3. Rob
    December 20, 2014 at 5:47 pm — Reply

    It’s impossible to know for sure but I think it’s most likely a case of both costumes drawing on common influences.

  4. Doctor Dinosaur
    December 20, 2014 at 6:06 pm — Reply

    Knock-off, but only in that they probably had a very similar look anyway (similar styles and influences) and just thought, “what the hell, what else works and why shouldn’t we use it?”…

  5. Rolina Eldis
    December 21, 2014 at 8:47 am — Reply

    All costume designs are similar in design – what’s usually changed is color layout and emblems. Usually, though, it’s the same basic spandex-y look. As such, I believe that saying something is “too similar” when we have characters that are literal ersatz of one another trying to compete is kind of… nit picky. I for one embrace the more modern designs, and thing all character should get costume upgrades. Honestly, I think it’s about time, too.

  6. Oldcomicfan
    December 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm — Reply

    They are similar but not the same. Big deal. There’s only so much one can do with the limitations of two sleeves, two legs, neck holes, etc. Personally, I’m just glad to see them getting away from the chain mail bikinis and miniskirts. If they’d given Spiderwoman a cowl and cape, then I might say the costumes are too closely related

  7. ParaChomp
    December 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm — Reply

    I say it’s more the need to ditch the spandex and go for something more realistic and less sexual. Follow the leader? Hard to say, I think it’s more the fact that both changed to a more casual situation. Batgirl’s writer left and with it the darkness that was present and a casual costume was made to suit the less serious tone. Spider-Woman’s “artist” left and in came something less sexual. No clue, times change, got to stay relevant, realistic looking super heroes are what’s in right now.

  8. Zaran
    December 22, 2014 at 10:50 am — Reply

    They did the body shape thing with Power Girl and no one liked it and she was soon back to normal. I don’t read Marvel but wasn’t she the same body shape as Power Girl? Seems like changing that is more of an insult to women than not.

  9. December 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm — Reply

    Actually, the Spider-Man costume reminds me more of Wonder Woman’s rebooted costume, which I grew to like after I got used to it. I think if the artists can make it work in action, it will stick around. Otherwise, it will go back to the old costume – which she’s had since the 70’s I think.

    I like the Batgirl costume – it reminds me of a more practical version of the one Yvonne Craig wore in the TV show. That said, her new costume only really works with the social media-focused storyline she has going on right now. I like the leather jacket feel, and i wouldn’t mind seeing them keeping the texture of the costume while switching to darker, more practical colors than purple and yellow.

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