The Eyes Have It

Last week they dropped the latest trailer for Captain America: Civil War. In case you’ve been living under a rock up until this moment, here it is:


Of course, the majority of the buzz from this trailer is centered on your friendly neighborhood you-know-who popping up at the very end. In particular, his new look generated a lot of debate. Even more specifically, the eyes were a pretty big deal. Adding still more to said debate, the black-white ratio in them changed, as we can see by these two screen caps. Here, they’re mostly white, giving a wide-eyed effect:


And here, they’re mostly black, offering a narrow-eyed effect:


In either case, the eyes are certainly smaller than the designs of the two previous film iterations of ol’ webhead, which were based on the more recent (i.e., modern) Spider-Man comics. This latest design evokes the classic Silver & Bronze Age. Regular readers of this blog shouldn’t need to ask which direction I prefer.

So yes, I’m digging the classic eyes here. I was introduced to Spidey sideyes perfectvia reruns of the ’66-’67 Spider-Man cartoons (as recounted in one of my earliest posts here), which had the classic, modest-sized eyes.

But I was born circa 1970. If you were born closer to 1980, you probably have more nostalgic affection for the super-sized, Todd McFarlane eyes.

To follow is a random sampling of some private, online conversation between several acquaintances of mine, just to offer a clearer picture of the divide:

“Tiny eyed, terrible CG spidey. Hrmph.”

“You just started a war….<Dramatic Pause>…A Civil War!”

“I think spidey looks fine. Shrug.”

“He looked like Spider-man to me.”

“I like them Macfarlane big eyes. But that’s me.”

“Liking McFarlane anything is a sin.”

“Why the hell do his eyes change size?”

“Did his eyes narrowing make a robotic sound?”

“I’m not bothered. They CGed Deadpool’s mask to make him more expressive, too.”

“Yeah, looks like they are supposed to be almost like shutters.”

“Yeah. Still looks silly. Won’t ruin the movie for me.”

…Which reminds me, the apparent CGI-ness of Spidey in the trailer bothered many people, which wound up getting a lot of coverage on the web as well. Hitfix offers a much closer, hi-def look at the new Spidey here; has a fairly comprehensive history of Spidey’s movie costumes here; and The Washington Post (yeah, you heard right, The Washington-friggin’-Post!!) declares that this version of Spidey has “saved” the character here.

And then there are the web memes that popped up in the wake of this. My favorite comes from the Facebook page of Tales from the Geek:

tales from the geek asm

Nothing beats Jameson trolling Spidey.

But naturally, this couldn’t be perfect because (sigh) nothing ever can be nowadays. The one flaw here are those damn black stripes popping up at seemingly random points of the costume. Were these really necessary? Do they add anything… ANYTHING to the presentation? What’s maddening is that the design was this close to perfection. So agonizingly close.

But I’m not going to let it drive me too crazy. Overall, they did a damn fine job and I’m super-hyped see Civil War two months from now. This Spider-Man looks a whole lot like the Spidey I knew and loved throughout my childhood. The cartoon Spidey… the Jazzy John Romita Spidey of the comics and newspaper strips…

spec spide treasury spidey mania

…and the Mego doll I once played with…


Welcome back, webhead. Damn good to see you again after all these years.



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