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Harry Interviews Comic Book God ALEX ROSSPART ONE: SPIDER-MAN (And An Exclusive Peek At His Designs!)


Also, be on the look-out for more EXCLUSIVE Alex Ross artwork coming soon to AICN, and be sure to visit and catch Alex on QVC Sat., Sep. 9 (check local listings)

Hey folks, Harry here with my ALEX ROSS interview. Before we get into this you should know... this is every word spoken over a two-hour conversation. This has not been sliced and diced... Alex wanted to have the complete conversation so that what he was saying could be heard as its complete thought... not formatted to fit some pre-existing three-page layout. As a result... this is probably going to be the most complete interview with Alex that you'll ever see. Now... sit back, grab some popcorn, descend the page and find yourself as a fly on the wall of our conversation...




AR: Harry, how are ya!?


AR: I'm ready to go.


AR: Okay.


AR: Hey, Alex Ross here.


AR: Yeah, yeah.


AR: Well, the truth is I was never really approached on Spider-Man, I was approached on Fantastic Four. They called me, asking if I was available to do designs for the movie, as it was supposed to be in production, for FF, and my quote to them at that time was, "What? Am I not good enough for Spider-Man?" So that turned into us talking about Spider-Man.

AR: Actually, at first I was dealing with strictly from the Toy Biz, Marvel offices in LA, a guy I’ve dealt with a couple of times before on some other failed things like he had been - I’m not going to actually name him - but he had been the one to call me and tell me about how they were going to do these Earth X toys and how we were all going to be involved in them. Low and behold, nothing ever became of that. Yet again, another experience where nothing comes of something.

AR: In any case, he had mentioned to me at that time that they didn’t have a design yet, that nothing was firmed up, that it was still very early in the development of that property. He asked me, sort of meekly, why do I want to be involved. I told him at that point that I had a design, and I was speaking again of my friend’s design, that I’d be ready to pass onto them. That turned into him... I guess he passed on to me a number of somebody who was a producer for Spider-Man, but he was going to do some legwork first himself. By the following week, I was taking this conference call out of the blue, where Avi Arad wanted to talk to me. Avi seemed to have a little less focus as to what it is I was actually contacted for doing because he was asking things like, "Are you going to be relocating out here to LA and do storyboards for the film?" I had to clarify, "No, I’m just going to be used as a costume designer. That’s the only thing I offer forth at this time and, frankly, that’s the only thing you should be bothering me about. You don’t need me for storyboards."

AR: So, he sounded actually more than a little confused about where I measured into it as far as what I could offer him, but he was very clear on knowing who I was. In fact, that’s why I had that conference call because he told me at great length at first as to how he had already been using my stuff for the last however long... he had already been using copies of Marvels to show people in Hollywood what the Marvel properties should be able to look like on-screen. I thought, "Oh, that’s a pretty good vote of confidence that they really want me to be a part of all this." He was asking the questions of "Would I be willing to fly out there to meet with Sam Raimi?" Of course, that was something I was interested in.

AR: That kind of talk led me to believe that I had the inside track, that I was going to be a favored person. If I got in something before they even had any more time to think about it, I could beat them to the punch and hand over a design that would really...


AR: David Williams. Actually, the story really dates back mostly to when David had shown me that design and that’s over a year ago in May. In May of 99, I visit his office at Warner Consumer Products and he had one of these things just pegged up on the wall. I reacted very strongly to it. Curious. Like, "What the hell is that? Damn! That is a great simple redesign of the costume. He told me he it was something he was just farting around with to show what he could potentially do with the movie treatment. Where he was able to take it further. I was so impressed that I told him at that time, "If I ever get called about this movie, I’m going to try and push your particular design." I just thought there was none better.


AR: Yeah, actually, he contributed some designs on Kingdom Come. He helped me out on some of the Batman stuff, trying to design the armor for Batman. I’m trying to think... did he have anything to do with Marvels... maybe... I don’t know. Actually, I even threw a character into the background in Kingdom Come that was based on him. He’s somebody I’ve been friends with for a very long time. He’s one of the most talented artists I’ve ever known. He just came into play where... he can design some very nice, very simple... just getting to the heart of a certain costume design. In fact, I’m going to be collaborating with him on future designs of my own for creating our own characters because he has a strong sensibility that’s very much like mine.


AR: Yeah. Basically, I took what he had drawn, the exact same shots, and basically painted them up in very simple 11x17 shots, one of which was like a phony movie poster where you see Spider-Man sort of straddling the edges of a sort of rectangle composition where you’re just getting the torso, but it points out to you the high impact of the character. You see the mask as it classically appears, you see the chest area mostly the same way, very large, graphic spider image on the chest. You see no belt because the abdominal shape of the red points down into the abdomen, just ending there without creating a belt going around the body. That was the thing that impressed me the most.

AR: The second thing I was most impressed with was the fact that the eyes were in fact black. They were completely without a white/black separation, but in fact were just curved, black lenses that gave off white highlights, therefore creating an illusion that seemed to be highly reminiscent of the classic costume, but at the same time going into a more future, a more movie-like presentation of the character and even more appropriate to the whole bug aspect to the character.


AR: I think, if you think about it in terms of real cinema, people have no reason to understand why a person who suddenly reaches a certain fantastic science-fiction ability is going to turn around and want to garb themselves in some kind of colorful, attractive disguise.

AR: In the case of Superman, it seems to be something that’s so ingrained in his history that it leads up to this costume. Superman is the mold from which all else comes from. But without establishing a superhero universe for which there has been decades of previous costume wearers, there’s no understanding for the average person to why somebody just, in one single movie, where there’s no other superheroes acknowledged, they just suddenly decide, "You know what I need? Spandex!" That’s why most superhero movie properties on their own are going to have to be redesigned because the costumes don’t work outside of the established universe that they’re a part of.

AR: Furthermore, also, there’s the fact that there’s no reason that a person would genuinely have to be driven towards having a costume in every case. I think X-Men is proof of that. You didn’t need the costumes to define the characters. In the case of characters like Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, those costumes are completely intrinsic to the mythology. You can’t have the character without a costume of some type. Now, does it have to be that exact costume? Not necessarily. With Superman, I think it’s like the American flag. You can’t fuck with it. Batman, you can and they did and it worked well enough that nobody questioned... in fact, they made it seem all the more tangible when it was a leathery hide. So, it put it in a different spot where it wasn’t just Adam West out of shape wearing a spandex outfit. It moved it in a new direction.

AR: In the case of Spider-Man, there’s a whole thing to bring up in terms of what is the texture of the material he’s wearing? And again, why is he wearing it?


AR: Right. And if you really go back to that origin, which I wish they would in this film, and play up the fact that really at the time when they created him, in 1963, they intended him to show up on the Ed Sullivan show. Imagine this guy, entirely driven for the sake of entertainment. That’s why he would have such a colorfully absurd costume. That just stuck as far as the super hero aspect of the character, when he decided to become a crime fighter.


AR: The Goblin was the one where they actually told me, "We have no idea what we want to do with the character. We want to completely do it as something that gets away from what the comics have shown us, with the purple and green suit and everything." They were thinking they wanted to go into something more, like a physical transformation, like that actually is his skin when he becomes the Green Goblin. I started thinking of stuff much more Tolkien-esque where you have a character that kinda looks like a distorted gnome or something. I mean, nobody really knows what the hell a goblin is supposed to have to be. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve long ears, a long pointed nose or anything. It’s not distinct enough, so you can actually mess with it about where it can become any kind of disturbing looking creature.

AR: So, I mostly wanted to go for something that was like a wrinkled skin, that seemed to be not naturally wrinkled of age, but more like a leathery texture, like a snake or a... oh, I don’t know... just like a distorted prune face of a sort. I thought this actually would be a very simple makeup effect via Hollywood’s normal standards. Giving him extra weaponry, which they already told me they really don’t wanna have him with the pumpkin bombs. Well, you know, maybe moving into a little bit more into that Hawkman territory where he’s using more classical weapons of old, like a mace or a sword or a spear. Something where he seems somewhat archaic. Again, more like a monster figure.


AR: Yep. That one where they didn’t tell me much of anything and I just figured, "OK, well that’s another thing they gotta have figured in here." One physical limitation I thought about is, "How the hell does a guy stay upright on this thing?" To the best of my understanding, it could be more like a jet ski, where there’s a handle bar to hold onto, just dressing that up in a more fantastic way where it looks still fairly creepy and imposing.


AR: Oh, I don’t know. In truth I probably spent a total of six or seven hours with all the differently colored pieces... probably more actually. Maybe ten to twenty hours. I knocked through these fairly quickly. I mean, there was maybe three pages of Spider-Man stuff and the one spread of Green Goblin that I did. I did multiple shots of Spider-Man from different angles, trying to make him look very photographic, then a full body shot in color of him standing in front of a logo I did up. Of course, I didn’t know they had a logo done up already for this film, which we can’t say for certain that’s gonna be the one that makes it all the way to the end next year, but at least it gives them something to work with right now. I was trying to think of something more elegant, that I thought wouldn’t necessarily have to scream spiders and webs and that kind of stuff. As far as to what kind of approach the film will finally take, I have no idea if it’s going to be an elegant or inelegant Spider-Man.


AR: Well, I had pointed out to them most harshly the thing I’m most concerned with, what’s going to be recognizable of the character. There are certain things you don’t wanna mess with and in Spider-Man I think the greatest thing is the exact arrangement of the webs on the guy’s mask. You can start to interpret it in such a crazy wild way that the stuff is like some of these designs that we saw leaked out where it’s almost bump mapped where the skin looks like a lizard like texture because they decided those web lines were impressions in a kind of spongy costume substance.

AR: There was painted version of the character that the Hildebrandt Brothers did on a number of different trading cards where they showed the web line as being like a raised relief on the costume, which potentially could work because it still works with the idea of it being the webs are the thing, not necessarily the red is the thing. I think it works all too simply to just have the simple black line over the costume. You’ve also got to think also at some point this is a costume that a teenager made. I think the design I did, for whatever high tech thing it might appear to be, it is fairly simple and somebody could come up with it on a modest budget.

AR: Really, what I wanted more than anything else was the character to come off on film looking like the way John Romita had handled the character.


AR: Yeah, well, that’s the thing. If you think about icons, the symbols of characters like Batman and Superman are definitely extremely recognizable things, but then when you get to a character like Spider-Man, nobody is going to pick out a spider out of a line-up and go, "Oh yeah! That’s gotta be for Spider-Man." For one thing, the spider has always changed based upon the artist drawing the book, so it’s never been a wholly consistent item.

AR: His face is the most recognizable thing of him. Even though, like I said, I’m doing this thing here where the eyes have been made into something they normally are not, they still wind up being highly recognizable by classic terms. So, I thought the idea of actually doing a poster closing in on the face alone, just the eye, one single eye would be enough to really click it in and keep it a little bit more mysterious. In fact, if they had really worked with that design, which they may still, they could have shown reflections in this black lens of God knows what. I mean, it could be the city reflection, it could be the Green Goblin. Obviously, it invokes the Marvels #4 cover that I did, but I think it has legs to go to greater media.


AR: I’ve never sent them originals, I sent them a zillion different copies of the same material, so they had multiples to hand out to different...


AR: I sent them to Marvel. Marvel in LA, the only ones I had been talking to at that point and this is all still proceeding before the Fantastic Four people had called me up and talked to me about that production. Again, I had this logo done up in a way that was meant to look very elegant as well, so it was a nice little package. I figured I didn’t need to write anything more than the notes that were already on there.

AR: I did not get a call back from my friend at Marvel to let me know he had gotten them. I had to chase him down on that. Maybe another couple weeks went by or maybe a month went by before I contacted him again to find out, "Okay, anything happening yet?" I was basically just getting a stone wall of like, "Well, haven’t heard anything. Let me check. I know everybody got the stuff at Sony." That’s what I was told, that Sony had received the package of what I had done. At that point, I’m still not told anything officially that there have been other people involved in doing designs. I could only assume that there had been other things going on.

AR: Again, I was still under this delusion that I had gotten in on the ground floor, before too much had been developed. Realistically, by the time I’m actually pursuing them on this issue, it’s a good two months later and I haven’t heard anything concrete. Then I start talking to some people where they’re hearing different things and rumors, scuttlebutt. My friend David Williams is checking online for different stuff, hearing things from different places. It’s literally getting us very worried that we didn’t accomplish a damn thing.

AR: So, when I’m chasing down the guy at Marvel, he doesn’t have a damn thing to tell me and he’s getting stonewalled in terms of hearing back from producers of the film. Then I’m starting to hear too much about different artists having been contacted to do designs of characters and what not all. So, I eventually am kinda putting the demands to the guy, like, "You have better tell me something soon." I did not receive money for this work, nor was I told concretely "You should get started and do something." I was encouraged, but I was not told, "We are commissioning this from you. Do this thing." Marvel is completely, legally in the clear. Ethically, I think that they’re fucked up, but legally in the clear.


AR: Right. The way I feel about it is I don’t need to try to squeeze some kind of dollars out of them, to get paid for what time I had spent, which is possible if I had gotten in there to try to negotiate that point, but it would have been a lot of work over very little. Ultimately, I was coming to find within the last several weeks that basically what I had done was completely ignorable in the larger scheme of things. They had hired this big name costume designer, which I have no familiarity, that to the best of my understanding... Well, I wasn’t getting this from Marvel, I was getting this from you, that they just didn’t know who the hell I was or that I had done anything at all. Nothing was pointed out to them by the wonderful Avi Arad, so I don’t know what happened with the stuff when I put it out there, I can only be certain that not a damn thing could really come from it.


(mumbles) stories (mumble) or.


AR: There are similar stories from things before. Like I have a whole Batman & Robin story of the same type of thing...


(To skip to Part Three, click here.)

(To skip to Part Four, click here.)

(Special thanks to Quint for transcribing this interview.)

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 31, 2000, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Well lookie here, another empty talk back!

    by graham

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Seriously, though...

    by graham

    Cool stuff here! Thanks Harry!

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 1:16 p.m. CST

    I'm second

    by Khan

    This one is pretty long. Where is the design of Spidey in color that Harry promised?

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 1:33 p.m. CST

    goblin glider

    by Andy_Christ

    "How does someone stay upright on this thing?" One word: "Mehve" Okay, two words: "Nausicaa's Mehve"

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Nice interview.

    by superninja

    Now if you'd just stop putting the poor man on hold. It's nice to see someone on the industry inside address the very serious problems they're facing. That Goblin design ain't bad, but the idea of the Goblin not having a mask is pure idiocy and in fact, less frightening to me from a psychological standpoint. Who would you be more afraid of? A man who transforms from some gas, or a guy who is so looney he dresses up like a Goblin to inflict harm on people? I'm going with no. 2.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 1:42 p.m. CST

    I also diagree with making Spider-Man more futuristic.

    by superninja

    It looks like a Batman Beyond take on the character. Like Ross says, I think many of us would like to see Parker be a wannabe ENTERTAINER before becoming a hero, which would explain the brightly-colored costuming. To me, Spider-Man is more akin to a greek tragedy than some mere teen-angst actioneer. There are some classic storytelling elements here that should not be tampered with or the character will be empty and the film will only be visually entertaining.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Harry, A word on formatting

    by Andy_Christ

    Usually, you and your buddies are the bold blue font, and other people are other fonts. While in this case it's pretty clear from context who is who, it isn't in ALL articles. Could you keep it consistant? You're blue, your interviewees and correspondants are red or black or whatever?

  • Jesus so much of what he said is dead on. Comics have been bleeding for the better part of a decade and atleast someone wo produces a majority of the best ones understand why...I hope it doesn't fade away as a medium cause his assessment of having a limitless budget is DEAD ON as well as having freedom to tell as big or little a story The only thing he didn't touvh on is while he mentioned the glut (4 super books and NO story) he left out the nepotism and unwillingess of editors to dump all the old writers that suck and are apathetic and all the artists that suck I would rather 4 good books then 8 with 4 good artists and 4 horrid ones...I only hope comics survive so we can keep enjoying Alex's work. One last bit of NEW it looks like Bob Harris is out as editor and cheif and Joe Quesada is in...gulp...supposedly he quit because he couldn't get good working conditions for his editors or something...bad mojo is about...

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Akiva Goldsman has Luke Cage film rights.

    by superninja

    His production company has it, according to Cinescape. My Spider-Sense is tingling! Akiva with what is essentially a blaxplotation character in his hands. I'd rather see Spike Lee, Singleton, Hughes Bros., Tarantino do something with that property. Let's hope he's not writing it, that's all I can say...

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Check Out "A Word From Joe C." under the Goblin/MJ casting artic

    by darthexcelsior

    Go ahead. I triple-dog dare you! (Shameless self-promotion!) Next time: Harry Knowles and Sarah Michelle Gellar at the 2001 VMUs! (Insert bile-filled F. Prinze rant here!)

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:13 p.m. CST

    D'oh and "Ha-ha!"

    by darthexcelsior

    VMAs not VMUs! (Fuckin' Dreamcast fuckin' with my mind! Well, it is thinking!)

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:20 p.m. CST

    The industry will have to become linear to survive.

    by superninja

    They should've done it a long time ago. He's dead-on about the state of the X-Men book, sheesh. I like Wolverine but I'm also tired of this one-dimensional character that's been present for the last 10 years. Jackman's Logan is more interesting than what's in the books right now for sure. But Marvel is still into the whole more is more mentality because they started selling of property rights before X-Men was even deemed a success. Look at the number of comic2film projects in production! I love all of these characters too, but I'd say most of it is a big waste of time. I'd wager over half will end up in development hell courtesy of execs. that had no business greenlighting 5 projects at the same time. Why not put real effort into one, and then make a film each year?

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Just some thoughts from someone not really into the whole "super

    by Fatal Discharge

    ....although I like Alan Moore (Watchmen), Neil Gaiman (Sandman) and Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns). The Goblin design looks good but the Spider-man eyes have got to go. I don't think you can have in a film a guy whose mask covers the eyes (unless the orbs are see-through). It's hard to sympathize with a character where you can't see his eyes. The only one I can think of that works is Robocop and at least you could see his mouth unlike Spider-man. That Fantastic Four tidbit shows yet again the idiotic money-making urge in Hollywood can ruin some potentially good projects by shooting them before they are ready (see Alien 3, Queen Of The Damned, Lethal Weapon sequels, etc).

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:39 p.m. CST

    What's With All Those Numbers And Stuff?

    by Cowblaster

    They're a bit annoying. Anyway, I agree with Mr. Ross on the whole ideals about Superhero costumes. Superman HAS to wear his original costume, to change it would be changing an American icon. Same with Captain America. The man's costume was designed in WWII and was meant to turn the man into walking propaganda! But, everyone else can have a bit of a re-fit, so long as they still hold true to the comics' icons. I like these Spider-Man designs, and it's a shame that they won't be used (or, may not be used without the consent of the original designers). Oh, well.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:45 p.m. CST

    spidey is like a mime

    by sundown

    he emotes through his CAN work but the guy in MAN IN SUIT has to pull it off...but it won't be good for the actor(Tobey) as his best moments may as well not be him...but in his case thats GOOD...I just hope they don't do something stupid like make him fight at the end with his mask off or alter the mask. His body movements can convey emotion fine and it would be ORIGINAL! something over the balls to the wall never scared or tired Bat and impervious Superman that is why Spidey is so much more intriguing than them...he hunches over in pain and doesn't always stand regal...believe it or not heroes have individual postures...I believe Ross actually did an article about it in wizard...And Alien 3 had a lot wrong with it but being rushed wasn't one of the out William Gibsons draft fro a sequel that could have rivaled Aliens in coolness but was panned for budgets and politics...

  • Harry, WHY DIDN"T YOU ASK ROSS ABOUT THE ORGANO-SHOOTERS?!!?!? He could have put an end to the debate. Anyway, I love the Spidey design now, especially since he explained the reasoning behind the black eyes. They work for me. The Goblin design is amazing too, even if it is somewhat reminiscent of Hobgoblin. I definitely don't like that they wanted to toss all of his little toys. A sword? Ugh. Good thing we know that Raimi's into pumpkin bombs and razor bats. I sort of agree with Superninja that taking away Norman's insanity basically just makes him... well, the Lizard. It kills the purpose of Harry Osborn. Me no rikey.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:54 p.m. CST

    daniel clowes and chris ware

    by woe jilliams

    Dan Klaus and Chris Weir, funny misspelling, but i figured if someone would want to check these two amazing artists out they would need the proper spelling. daniel clowes and chris ware's works can be seen at top notch stuff. enjoy. -woe jilliams

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:54 p.m. CST


    by Mylow

    Solid interview. Hard to sit through the whole thing (been reading this for over an hour now on and off) but some gems in there for sure. I'm just a passing comics fan, so a lot of that stuff kinda went over my head, but I still enjoyed seeing Alex's view on things. Good stuff Harry. Oh, and I have to agree completely with Iron Giant and the mess surrounding it's marketing. Bad mojo there definitely.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:55 p.m. CST



    The only comic that has not brought shame on it's readers for revealing in public is "2000AD" where a knowing and admired coolness was sensed and returned by all. A comic read by both children and adults from the late 70's to the present and actually developed it's characters instead of just giving them a revamped look every 10 years. This is why it has such a hardcore following, after all this time and is not a major comic company with dozens of spin-off characters but a single comic with a few strong main characters. So,if Alex and you want your comics to last you will have to think of small creator owned properties instead of huge bland, homogenous super personalities that appeal to the lowest common denominator. Then maybe you and Alex won't be ashamed to read your comic books in the classroom or anywhere else.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 2:56 p.m. CST

    off-topic: tomb raider filming

    by TABALF

    i've been away for a few weeks, so has there been any story about tomb raider filming in a public school?

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3 p.m. CST

    This movie...will suck.

    by lester_long

    I'm sorry, but the sketches look heinous...the Goblin looks like Pumpkinhead's misbegotten brother, and with Tobey Ma-fucking-guire as Spiderman this movie will suck. I like Malkovich as the Goblin and I think Kate Hudson will make a decent Mary Jane..but everyone knows Spidey should have been Wes Bentley, damn it. Oh least Lord of the Rings won't suck

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3:04 p.m. CST

    You know what this movie needs...

    by darthexcelsior

    ...Dave Grohl. I don't care how or why. Find a damn role for him. We could all stand to learn something from the coolest fanboy walking the planet right now. This isn't OFF TOPIC BS. Just consider for a minute how great it would be to live such an enviable balance of inner geekdom and external coolness with a total pop culture sensibility. You know what, this IS OFF TOPIC BS, but it's heartfelt BS. Alright, get back to the bitching and bellyaching. P.S. Four Letters: WWTD (What Would Tyler Do?)

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3:04 p.m. CST


    by superninja

    Are you referring to Ross' sketches? Because from what I can tell Raimi's designs for the project are only slightly derivative of Ross' work. I don't think either the Spider-Man costume or the Goblin's Glider look like the productions sketches.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3:07 p.m. CST

    A different era needs to be implemented

    by Terry_1978

    All of the flicks from Marvel and DC always place classic comic characters and give them a more futuristic edge, putting them in modern times and what not. I think it would be WAY more interesting to have them take place in the 1960's or earlier, which is when a lot of these characters were first would probably be a little more painstaking to recreate the '60's, but it would be a great way to showcase how the characters were originally supposed to be.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3:12 p.m. CST


    by superninja

    Right on, man. In fact, I think it would be cool to tell the first on in the 60s, next one in the 70s, and so on till you get to the present. Superhero period films is what I'm saying! I know people will bring up the Phantom and the Shadow but I thought in both cases those films had t.v. movie of the week production values and weak storylines. Why not tell Spider-Man like a biopic instead of just another action film? I really need help for my superhero obsession. I think my post per minute is at an all-time high today.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Alex Ross on webshooters

    by SDG

    Harry didn't have to ask him, it's obvious from his designs. If Alex were in charge, Spidey would have his techno-webshooters, and the Universe would be a better place.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Thees ees my opinions on der matter, ja?

    by Miracleman

    Good interview. Now, aboot those costume designs... nice. However, I don't see why the web-shooters on Spidey's costume have to be on the OUTSIDE. I would prefer to see them covered up by the costume, as the external look gives me bad "Cloned Spidey" vibes. And about Norman Osborn/ The Green Goblin... I would prefer that he wore a mask instead of his face transforming that way. Actually, I wouldn't mind having, say, his EYES gettin' all funky (that would be creepy), but I think that that's as far as they should go. That is all I have to say aboot dat.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3:59 p.m. CST


    by riskebiz

    I hear that head animator did a whiz-bang job!!

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 4:39 p.m. CST


    by Arsenal

    Remember that in all of the scripts Spidey covered his wrists with bracelets to make people think that the webbing was artificial. This could be why he has them in the Ross' drawings.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 5:16 p.m. CST

    A few words from a non-comic book reader

    by All Thumbs

    I don't know the whole history of Spidey. I grew up knowing the story, checking out a few of issues from relatives' and friends' brothers' collections and occasionally seeing some sort of Spidey show. I also had Spider-Man Underoos, if that helps. Anyways, I have to say that I agree that there are some characters you CAN'T or don't need to change in terms of costume to make it available to a wider audience (Superman, ditto on Captain America) because they are so recognizable and because their storylines pretty much explain why these guys dress the way they do. I think Spidey is one of those cases also that you can't drastically change/reinvent the costume, you can only make minor alterations so the character stays that same, recognizable fellow that even us non-comic lovers recognize. Anyways, I love the above designs for Spider-Man. (Not really sure about the Green Goblin one. TOO LOTR-ish for me, I guess.) In fact, I put one on my desktop. Best wishes to Mr.Ross in all his endevors and here's hoping for an excellent movie from Raimi and company.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 5:24 p.m. CST

    God, was that boring

    by X-Girls

    I read a bit and couldn't have cared less about most of this. Alex Ross is a talented artist, but he's no designer. I'm sorry Alex ol' boy, I just don't like any of these character ideas. Glad they ignored this, I hope they go with something less dark (there's a first time for everything).

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 5:27 p.m. CST

    The Eyes Have It

    by All Thumbs

    A few words my ass, but I have to address bluetwin's comments about Spidey's eyes and how it's hard to sympathize with a character whose eyes you can't see. First of all, if Maguire does the job right when he's in Peter Parker mode, then we WILL sympathize with the man behind the orb eyes and red webhead. I also have to say that it is important NOT to see Parker's eyes when he is Spider-Man because he has to distance himself from Spider-Man. He has to hide all the pain and emotion from his enemies. He can't be vunerable and he can't be humanized when in "battle." Also, I don't think I'm the only person who finds those who hide behind masks and such more appealing characters to see on the screen than some that scream "Look at me." One more thing, I've always had more respect for Spidey in terms of costume because his really hides who he is compared to so many other superheros *cough*Superman*cough*. I know we're not supposed to take it so realistically, but that is one thing that has always kind of bugged me about superheros.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 8:45 p.m. CST

    Get your heads on straight and use Ross' designs, Sony

    by KingKrypton

    Again, Ross' designs are light-years ahead of that hideous "scaly" Spidey suit Raimi is so fond of. His Spidey redux is what the movie should use. His GG looks good, too; really scary and intriguing. Why Sony isn't using his stuff is a mind-boggler. They've got stuff that looks great and would work on film. Why are they ignoring it in favor of ugly, badly-designed trash like the scaly suit? Note to Sony: Wake up and use Ross' designs. The man knows his stuff.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 12:09 a.m. CST

    God bless Steve Ditko and the late, great Jack "The King" Kirby.

    by Uncapie

    True visonists. Nuff said.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 12:42 a.m. CST


    by Di

    I wonder if the chat will ever be up again. I've got the DT's. Dammit.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 12:51 a.m. CST


    by ChangoWango

    Who was it? X-Girls? I have to say, I agree. These drawings are very well done and very boring. I have checked out Ross' work and it seems that he has a tendency to make things really drab. Not ALL the time mind you. But these particular designs look like they were drawn in the nineteen-forties or something. It doesn't have to be plain to be realistic. Since I first heard about them, the black lens eyeport idea has made me cringe. But now that I see that, in addition to the color change, they bulge about an inch and a half from the face....well, the cringe has turned into all out twisted frown. Terrible. Looks like a Sid and Marty Kroft creation. Not the right look for this movie. The red and black doesn't exactly bother me but I dont really see how it's so much better than the red with blue. Why is the change even necessary? Personally, I was hopping for a nice DARK blue and not the "primary color" blue one sees most of the time. The black just loos like they are trying to make it a little too dark. I dont want it to be silly or too light-hearted, but I feel the character is being altered to something completely unfamiliar. I suppose I cant do anything about this, but it helps to voice my opinion.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 1:08 a.m. CST

    New Talkback subject...

    by goatb0y

    At this point, I was hoping that the conversation would veer more towards All Thumbs' Underoos...

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 1:46 a.m. CST

    bad, bad, goatboy....

    by superninja

    Are you being naughty b/c you're fiending for chat? Didn't you have any Underoos when you were growin' up?

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 2:30 a.m. CST


    by Di

    Chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat chat.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 4:08 a.m. CST

    Akiva Goldsman Has The Rights To Luke Cage? I Would Say He's Sa

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...but that would be unfair to Satan.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 5:29 a.m. CST


    by Swiss Toni

    Enough said.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 5:57 a.m. CST

    New Spider man designs....Yuck.

    by palaeomerus

    I hate to be gripeful(ifn' that be a proper word in these here parts) but I hate this take on Spidey. This is not a socially misfit orphaned kid in a revamped (once home made) wrestling costume who gradually mucks his way towards adulthood, love and heroism. Nope...THIS is an extra from an unknown Kamen Rider series who just happens to not be wearing his shoulder pads at the moment. I'm sorry but the goggles are purely bad. Just bad. We're talking Blue Beetle bad here. Give hime a rocket powered talking car and let him fight a space pirate syndicate for he should not/will not/ could not/ must not appear in a spiderman film. As for the Goblin....I like the design but not for the green goblin. What's wrong with the classic bat-headed rocket sled with the foot hoops? What's wrong with pumkin bombs and little razor things, and all that? The Goblin was a nut with macabre technology who desired nothing more than an opportunity to be sadistic and warped. He kidnapped people a lot, tied people to traintracks and dynamite and played a mix of Riddler and Oil Can harry and did it very well. This guy looks a post nuclear mutant with a sword. He should be keeping the survivors of the big one away from the last well until David Caradine runs him over with a motorized unicycle or something. (If he's not available get Van Damme.) He's a dandy B-movie bad guy. But he isn't really anything that I could recognize as the green Goblin. I agree that the Goblin could do without the stocking cap and all the purple. I can even lose the bunched up panty-hose style long gloves(w/electro zap built in). But this guy ain't really the Goblin we all know and love and mourn. He's just an odd outcast from second generation, late-eighties, direct-to-video, kung-fu, bomb-scare movies. Yeah, they are just opinions, and these are very nice illustrations which do a lot of credit to Mr. Ross but they aren't representative the direction I want to see Spiderman to head in. I think we should have a basic, humble cheap-looking spiderman. Spiderman was maybe the only hero I remember ever having trouble paying rent in New York and who wasn't able to save money. He gave up a brilliant opportunity for a career in research/materials chemistry to be a freelance newspaper photographer. When he started out he was a lower middle-class jerk with a huge ego(even after the loss of Uncle Ben) and a lot of bottled up anger that either scared people(like cops, and aunt May) or lead to his being a bit outcast. He didn't play well with others. He tended to think impetuously and favored get rich quick schemes to thought-out goals and planning. He also tended to act out a bit more with the anonymity his costume afforded him. Remember when he tried to get hired by the fantastic Four? And you thought Wolverine wasn't a team player? Hah! He ought to be designed with that(his awkward history) in mind. Otherwise just have him find the magic ninja-spider costume in a cave in Tibet, hand him a big glowing samurai sword, let him toss spider-stars, and let's run this train off the rail with some style. :)

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 6:34 a.m. CST

    There is a reason why they passed on these designs.

    by Studio Suit

    And that reason is that are not really all that good. Too ordinary, and the black eyes are stupid looking. Trust me, the costumes and designs they do have will be fantastic and this movie will make gobs of money. Now all Sam has to do is make it work on screen; then the studio will market this puppy, and the cash will roll in.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 6:35 a.m. CST

    better designs

    by shaggy154

    at least alex ross has the stamina to keep close to the origianl designs. at least it won't have any fucking nipples or codpieces on it.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 7:18 a.m. CST

    What? No Pumkinbombs

    by The_Rooster

    Well I'm already dissapointed. I hope the rest of the movie restores my faith.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Wow! That Goblin design is awesome!

    by Kikstad

    Alex's Green Goblin concept is fantastic!! And Spidey looks cool too -- but I don't like the bulging bug-eye concept. If the eyes were a little flatter (more like the traditional protrayals) he'd be right on the money. Bravo, Mr. Ross! Let's hope the powers-that-be use your designs.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Umm...Spiderman...sure...yeah, that's the topic!

    by darthexcelsior

    (Announcer's voice, panning over 'too cool' crowd shot): "And now back to the 2001 VMAs. Ladies and Gentlemen, the King and Queen of Fanboys, Harry Knowles and Sarah Michelle Gellar." (Harry and Sarah enter, Harry with an Anime shirt on and Sarah in something form-fitting). Sarah: "Well, Harry, so nice to finally work with a true fan." Harry: "That I am. But I have to ask: Why the hell are you sleeping with that no talent flatliner, Freddie Prinze Jr.?" Sarah (shocked): "Harry, that's not part of the script. Oh wait, that's a joke, because (gesturing with her hands) this is an MTV thing, and we need to be spontaneous and mildly quote-unquote offensive. I get it!" Harry: "No, I really want to know. The guy thought that he could be Spiderman for Chrissakes! I wouldn't even let him be a Wonder Twin! He sucks Sarah, you're better than that!" Sarah: "I'm sure that Tobey Macguire will Spiderman justice. Okay, so let's get to the nominees for Best Female Midriff in an Overproduced Jailbait Video..." Harry: "Sarah, you have let down lonely fanboys around the world. I feel that I have to make a stand! Now I'm not going to go Chris Isaak on you and try to kiss you, but I refuse not call out that 'Jerkwad Loser!' I can handle a lot of things, but I refuse to allow a national treasure like yourself to be wasted on that vacuous, neurologically-impaired Backdoor Boy!" Sarah: "Harry, listen, I don't think it's any of your business, and while I appreciate my fans, this is my (expletive deleted) life!! I don't need to be subject to such blatant abuse and personal attacks. All of this hate speech is way over the line. And with all the power vested in me from Buffy and the omnipotent bitchiness from Cruel Intentions, I hereby delete you from existence!" Harry (gradually fading out of existence): "Wow...I didn't know you really had the power...Sarah, you'" (He disappears. Sarah turns to a stunned audience) Sarah: "Wow, what can I say? Special effects!"

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 10:46 a.m. CST

    now I know why this summers grosses are down...and will continue

    by sundown

    this summers movies have blown the big one and now the studios will get to reap the rewards...for all the "realists" who said that it pretty much doesn't matter about the quality of the films you lemmings will go see it anyway I guess REALITY CATCHES UP WITH YOU!! To use an old comic book quote I remember McFarland talking about Liefeld and how when he left Image he had all those financial troubles his quote "You reap what you sew and for rob it was harvest time" so now the studios have their harvest time..and the Crow's have gotten to it. HAHA is all I can say and the horror stories of Alex Ross here and Goyer over on cinescape affirm this fact...they are producing crap and screwing creators and it WILL filter into crap...the days of rolling out junk that will make money are coming to pass...quality or death! ask the FOX animation team about that if you think Hollywood is really impervious. THE GROSSES ARE DOWN HAHA HA! AND LASTLY For those who say his designs are bad all I have to say is this...THEY WERE HIS FIRST DESIGNS..and anyone who even remotely understands the creative process understands that an artist can design something dozens of times before it is right...the key is to get a talented artist, which Ross is!!! This movie may not suck because of it, X men didn't but it will be a sorrier film because of the lack of his participation. And as far as them making money hand over fist with this regardless of Ross or quality I only have three words...Batman and Robin.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 10:58 a.m. CST

    The Goblin v. The Grinch

    by LSHB

    Look about the same to me.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Interesting. too bad they aren't gonna use his ideas.

    by Maynard

    Well well well. I really like the work this dude does. He has a really good eye for detail. I love the lighting effects!! He makes the totally imagined look almost believable. Marvels was awsome. Anyway, this guy has only good things to share about a movie that really is fucked up from the get go. 1. Why is Raimi fucking with things that shouldn't be fucked with? Ego? Army of Darkness wasn't realy that good. 2. No fucking pumpkin bombs? This is turning out to be The Punisher all over again. Let James Cameron do it or to hell with everyone else who tries. X-men costumes were easy to change because in the comic each character had an individual flair. Making them all wear a uniform is a natural direction. Not for Spider Man. Or the Green Goblin. The only person that can actually make this movie sing is Cameron. This movie, if it isn't killed like FF, will suck because nothing in it will resemble the man in the comic we all know and love! No one is willing to follow through with the steps to make the imagined real. Everyone wants to make changes that will give the character more believability! He's a kid bitten by a radio-active spider! It shouldn't be fully believable! Just look at the shitty attempt with Witchblade!! 'nuff fucking said. Who the fuck coined the term "spinnerettes?" I would personally like to throttle him/her. No pumpikin bombs, no me in the theatre. Not until Raimi retires or gives in and spends some money.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Beautiful stuff, Alex

    by microbe9000

    Alex's costume designs are fantastic. I love the red and black, the realistic, menacing, bulbous black eyes and even the chest emblem. I stopped reading Spider-Man a few years ago, right around all the cloning nonsense, and would love to see these designs considered for the film. Spider-Man did try to scare the hell out of criminals, didn't he? This costume makes him look much more arachnid like than anything the comic has seen for the past 30+ years. The Goblin Glider, frankly, rocks. These are the designs that won't look goofy on celluloid. Any man that can make the Wonder Twins look sexy and cool deserves to be the costume designer for this film. Raimi, come to your senses!

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 1:29 p.m. CST


    by superninja

    You are my hero for the day. Too bad you're not the exec. in charge for Spider-Man. You actually understand the character, unlike Raimi. In fact, you understand the character better than some of the writers over the last 5 years. There is so much potential here that is being wasted, it upsets me. Like I've said before, I'm not even that big of a Spider-Man fan in terms of other characters out there, but in these discussions I have come to appreciate the character even more because he's really fleshed-out. The way you describe Spider-Man is exactly what I want to see in a movie, and I believe it's ultimately the most satisfying way to portray him. The Goblin is a missed opportunity based on a pure psychological level by making him a mutation and leaving out Gwen Stacy. What these filmmakers fail to understand is that it's not the ACTION that kept us coming back year after year -- it was the CHARACTERS. Sad, sad, sad...

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 1:33 p.m. CST

    But Singer got it.

    by superninja

    Probably thanks in large part to Tom DeSanto, but he got it alright. FOX, WHY ISN'T HE SIGNED YET FOR THE SEQUEL?

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Muffled speech

    by superninja

    Don't know why I just thought of this, but do you think there's going to be a lot of voice-over work when Spidey's in costume? I wonder how that's going to look to have a guy talking with a mask over his mouth....

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Hmm . . .

    by moviet00l

    I loved Marvels too, but are these designs so mind-bogglingly good that Sony would be out of their minds not to use them? I was much more intrigued by Ross' take on Stan Lee. I've felt the same way about Stan for years. He frankly is given twice as much credit as he deserves for the great things done at Marvel and never gets called for all the absolute shit he oversaw (Captain America and Punisher movies, anyone?)

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 3:43 p.m. CST

    fine, i'll ask again

    by TABALF

    since this is top story, i'll ask again: any recent news about tomb raider filming an antique scene in a school?

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 4:53 p.m. CST

    to All Thumbs...

    by Fatal Discharge

    Characters in masks are more appealing...yuh right, whatever. If you ever saw the campy live-action tv series you'd see that the actor had to exaggerate his body movements to compensate for having no face. He'd cock his head this way and that way like he was a mime on speed. When Spidey used to be a comic strip in newspapers, I would get so bored with it because it was all about his interior dialogues but at least it sorta worked. In making it live-action, when speaking with the mask on it's like his mouth's full of taffy in a visual sense. Also, are they going to have lots of voice-overs for his thoughts like in Dune? I love Raimi's films and hope he can make it work but we'll see...

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Peter Parker is on a Budget

    by Oceanlizard

    Spidey should look cool and all, but the designers and especially the studio execs need to remember that Peter Parker did not have alot of money. He has no school for the gifted, he is not a famous scientist, and most importantly he is not a multi-million dollar rich orphan. Keep the costume simple, please.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Stan Lee will make the right call.

    by Mxpx

    I really don't like the idea of changing spiderman. Again, why red and black? It doesn't make sense to change something that is so familiar. Alex...I'm sorry I don't really appriciate your drawings. My point is however that Stan Lee is the executive producer of this film and I trust his opinion. I expect that he will deliver what his fans truly want. The video game just came out and it's fantastic. I hope that the spiderman costume will be the same as in the game. It would be nice to have some consistancy.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 7:51 p.m. CST

    I am, to say the least.................distressed

    by Blue Devil

    This is in regards to Maynard's post. To be honest, I wouldn't trust James Cameron with this film either (I absolutely am appalled Raimi got it). And that tears me to pieces. I'm posting now as a fan who's followed Spider-Man (off and on) almost my whole life. Guys, this film is going to suck- and I can't stand that thought. I can't believe James Cameron, my hero, would ever conceive of organic webshooters, much less a sex scene with MJ. Now Raimi is further mutilating the property. To be honest, not a single person in Hollywood comes to mind that could handle this character properly. What can we do to save this film? Nobody's listening to us! Everyone should just pray for the best and hope the film at least is not a travesty. About the mask thing. Personally, I would change Spiderman's costume to something like Batman's. Something that at least reveals his mouth. It may have been okay to cover up Spawn's mouth but these are totally different characters. I think Spider-Man would benefit from a slight alteration. Personally, I don't care for Ross' designs. I think Spiderman's costume is too plain and the Green Goblin looks too much like the Scarecrow. I hope someone is doing a good job at Sony. Anyway, got to go and sit in my garage with my car running.

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 8:50 p.m. CST

    looking forward to the movie and the game

    by TO-Kokujin

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 9:02 p.m. CST

    take 2

    by TO-Kokujin

    As i was sayin, before I pressed post by mistake, I think Ross's designs for the the spider-man movie are pretty cool i especially like his idea for the poster and his design for the green goblin. I think the whole interview was da ish I know that's gonna have a lot ppl talking for a long time because i think Alex said a lot of things that many of us were thinking already just didn't come to forfront of our minds he also gave a lot insight into the comic industry that I for one never saw inspite of what his colleges may think I must comend him for that. "Here's to you Alex, and to people that keep doing it for the luv" P.S. yall check out the spiderman game for playstation it's one of the best marvel franchize games since that multiplayer X-men arcade game! Activison actually did it this time! Who knew?

  • Sept. 1, 2000, 9:27 p.m. CST

    They need to get Alex back on this thing!

    by Daredevil

    OK, after LOTR and a possible Daredevil movie, I'm most excited about my buddy, and fellow New York crimefighter's upcoming movie. First of all, people, remember: these are just Alex's first concept sketches! I'm sure that if he was working on the film there would be a couple refinements. But anyway, first I'd like to say that I love the Goblin pics. That's basically how I always pictured a non-comicbook version of the Goblin. The handlebarred flyer I could live with or without. As for Spidey's costume, I can think of better designs, but if they went with this one I wouldn't be disappointed. As everyone pointed out, the costume needs to have one thing: It has to look like an average kid could have come up with it. And from these sketches I'd have to say this costume (with the possible exception of the webshooters) accomplishes just that. The outfit looks like some dark blue/black spandex sewn together with some red spandex (or similar tights-material). I think we can all agree that it wouldn't be TOO awful difficult for a teenage kid to get ahold of some of this, right? Before sewing, he took a ruler and a black permanent marker and drew in some lines that look like webs and a rough estimation of a spider (notice that in Alex's picture, the spider looks pretty much like a big blob and a small round circle for the head. Something that anyone without artistic talent could draw on with a marker.) I'm not sure how they're going to do the eye bubbles, but they could be popped out of some pair of goggles (specifically shown hanging on a hook in Peter's bedroom beforehand, of course) and sewn into the mask. The eye-bubbles aren't bad in my opinion. The ones on that first sketch that some other guy did (don't remember the name) were definitely way too "bugged-out", but I think the ones on Alex's drawings are definitely more subduied and sleek, and I definitely liked Alex's idea for the poster of Spidey's eye and a reflection of NY cityscape from a webswinger's point of view. That's just the kind of idea that makes me think Alex should DEFINITELY be part of the conceptual design behind the movie.

  • Sept. 2, 2000, 12:54 a.m. CST

    Someone needs to fire Sam and hire Alex to direct this thing!!!

    by The Black Adder

    It's the only way to do the character justice. nuff said.

  • Sept. 2, 2000, 7:43 a.m. CST

    The trouble with Harry . . .

    by Bitchassmother

    I have just read Harry's review of The Cell and its associated talkback post. Whilst doing so something occured to me which was more than a little unsetteling. I began to realise that AICN is rapidly collapsing and if Harry doesn't confront some of the issues that I am about to raise, his role and considerable achievements as a critic will soon become superficial and redundant. Let me start by saying, I BELIEVE in Harry. I think that every review that he has ever written has been honest, interesting, and for the most part, valuable. After reading the aforementioned Cell feedback though, my opinions concearning Harry's VALUE as a critic have diminished. No amount of swearing, or obscure movie signposting, or cliquey-fanboy-generation Z-post-post-post-modern humour can hide the fact that Harry's changing. Without even realising it, he is inevitably, and unfortunately developing as a person. And he's doing so in such a way that his target fan base will gradually become alienated, also without even realising it. Now before you stop reading, I don't mean developing in any bullshit, '90's buzzword kind of way, I mean CHANGING, psychologically. Loosing sight of why he set up this site in the first place. He's becoming one of them. He's becoming Roger Ebert. Worse still he's becoming a politician. He doesn't want to tell GEEKS whether or not a film is cool anymore, he wants to tell EVERYBODY whether or not a film is cool, and I'm sorry Harry, but thats impossible. Bare with me and I'll explain what I mean. The opinions expressed in the Cell talkback area were completely divided. Hundreds of infuriated nerds rabidly slugging it out, adamant that what they had seen was either MTV-raped garbage or imaganitive genius, the likes of which have not been seen since Homer penned a little story about the Trojan War. It got me thinking, how can a single film be simultaneously this good, and yet also, this bad? Harry's scathing review will almost certainly deny at least one person, who would have gained pleasure from the Cell, that life experience. It made no fucking sense, and it made me question the importance of film critics. Now, don't get me wrong, I've questioned the importance of film critics many times and the value of their opinions, but never have I questioned the value of Harry. Sure, I've disagreed with his opinions, but until now I placed them in the same league as those of my brother, or my best friend. Both of these people have accompanied me to the cinema practically everytime I go, and I've been going at least once a week for about five years. They are nerds, geeks, fanboys, and so am I. I relate to them. I relate to them in the same way that I used to relate to Harry. Now before I begin to conclude, allow me to reitterate. I, AM, A, NERD. For years I have been in denial but this confession is neccessary if my arguement is to hold up. I am a young, successful, medical student. I have a shit load of mates, a gorgeous babe of a girlfriend and until recently I was an exellent athelete. None of this has got anything to do with the fact that I've seen the Holy trilogy more times than I care to admit. I have taken Soul Calibre on my Dreamcast to inhuman levels of technical understanding, so much so in fact, that I now consider Soul Calibre to be a work of art, which assumes its true form only in my hands. I spend my free time attempting to decide between final fantasy summons beasts or Osmosis Jones poster art for which would make the coolest windows wallpaper. I am a geek, and so are you because you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't. You wouldn't give a shit about what I think of Harry Knowles and his opinions, but you do. It is for this reason that many of my friends don't know the difference between obi one and anakin. They don't care about who directed The Matrix and they certainly aren't bothered about Spiderman's webshooters. They are different from me, they represent a random sample of western opinion with relation to film. They are the uneducated and they illustrate why a critic who trys to preach to an audience too broad will always fail. Critics are only important to like-minded people, and as The Cell and its talkback have proved the kind of people Harry is attracting to his site are no longer that. They are the general film going public and Harry is a general film critic. To be honest, I don't give a flying fuck about Roger Eberts opinion, or his TV show. Apart from our love of movies, and lets be honest, who doesn't love movies, we probably have very little in common because he is, essentially, a celebrity. An industry insider, who attends gala film premieres and gets to mingle with the stars, his perception of real life is no doubt radically different from mine and I suspect/fear that the same will become true of Harry, and subsequently his site. The more power and success he achieves will only give him delusions of grandeur (sorry) and make him think, subconsiously or otherwise, that all people should heed his views. Harry's forthcoming forray into the medium of television (see Entertainment weekly) simply adds more weight to my conjecture. Harry wants everyone to listen, he wants everyone to understand. AICN is no longer for a small group of comic book fans and fantasy film anoraks it is for everyone who likes films. For this reason his film criticicm is becoming invalid and ineffectual. Why should studios be affraid of someone who can no longer agree with nor relate to his fan-base? His reviews will cease to have any impact or meaning, and so I beg you, Harry, REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE.

  • Sept. 2, 2000, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Films of the Comic

    by Elliot_Kane

    I think the main reason why costumes are changed for the films is that what works in a static medium does not always work in 'real life'. In the comic, the wings on the side of Captain America's head look really cool, but does anyone remember the execrable film? Was I the only one who winced at the wings? On another subject, I find it very interesting that the most successful recent comic adaptations have, except for the X-Men, been taken from comics with a very small fan base, such as The Mask or Men In Black. People went in with no preconceptions of what the thing SHOULD be like, and just enjoyed the film. Those who do not read comics did not feel they might miss half the plot, or not know what was going on, simply because they had no idea of the actual source material for the films. The problem for Sam Raimi and anyone else making films about well known heroes is treading the line between alienating their fan base and alienating everyone else. X-Men trod the line perfectly, but that doesn't make it easy to do. Despite all that, I would love to see Magik - perpetual fanboy favourite that she is - on screen. The only question is who to play her? Hmm... Russian but raised in America, tall, slim and athletic with long blonde hair... How seriously does Anna Kournikova want to be an actress, anyway? From the reviews I've read of Me, Myself & Irene (Not yet available here in the UK) she is a natural actress, and she'd need to be given Magik's complex personality. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this people...

  • Sept. 2, 2000, 4:12 p.m. CST

    I love the designs!

    by KenKRK

    I think they're great. Very innovative, stylish, and practical. That's what I loved about X-men, their costumes were very practical, and a lot of other aspects \about the film were practical. With these Alex Ross Designs, Spider-Man and Green Goblin don't look so goofy. I know you'd figure Spider-Man's costume is one of the costumes you don't change anything about, but it's not that simple. You're making a film that you want to be taken seriously, and a little tweaking is necassary. I perseonally never liked that his colors were red and blue, i can't associate those colors with a spider. The red is good because it's a very bold color, and compliments black very well. The redesign is very updated, and I think that's a good thing. Having the movies take place when the characters were created, doesn't work, because the characters aren't in that timeframe anymore, and you spend so much time creating a time and place of old, draws away from the characters. But I can't understand why these designs aren't being used! It makes no sense! Whatever they use as the final design better be just as good! The one I saw on the Spider-Man page at Coming Attractions looks like shit.

  • Sept. 2, 2000, 8:36 p.m. CST


    by darren

    Spiderman, Spiderman, look he better not suck you ham!!!! K, the webbed one is a dam handsome fella', so Ross and Raimi better not fuck this up. Tobey Maguire has some big ass shoes to fill, so he better not trip. Later television Harry (that article in EW was dam patronizing by the way)

  • Sept. 3, 2000, 9:53 a.m. CST

    These designs are perfectly fine BUT...

    by Sniper_X

    Can Alex answer us this? If he didn't see fit to change Spidey or the Green Goblin significantly in MARVELS then why propose these alterations to those classic designs for a film? I'm tired of hearing the argument that the costumes HAVE to be changed for the movies. The X-Men suits were some of the ugliest, most fucking inelegant garb I've ever seen anyone be forced to wear on screen. Tacky goddamn bike leathers AND they look utterly ridiculous and yet the movie still worked. WHY? Script, direction, respect for the characters and a director determined to set up the internal logic of his story so that the audience will willingly suspend disbelief. This is what Raimi and co have to do to make Spiderman work. No matter how you slice it, a guy running around in ANY fanciful, brightly coloured outfit fighting crime is a patently stupid concept. Period. Stick with the original idea of Spidey becoming a wrestler or entertainer in the classic costume, audience disbelief is adequately suspended. Everybody's happy. And who says Spiderman's outfit is not as iconic as Superman's and therefore can't be fucked with? Jesus, it's basically looked the same since the sixties. Again, these're swell designs for an Elseworlds Spidey or Spidey Beyond. But that's not the Spiderman ANY of us grew up with.

  • Sept. 3, 2000, 10:06 p.m. CST

    by KenKRK

    Not the Spidey you grew up with? I don't think that's a really fair judgement to make. The story of the film and the acting can suck, but don't change the costume!! Yeah, I see your logic. Fact of the matter is, regardless of when Peter started as a wrestler, the concept of him fighting crime in that same costume is a bit silly, and for those who don't give that much of a rat's ass as to how character looks, it's gonna seem silly to them. Personally, I like the Alex Ross designs. And to answer your question, Marvels was still a comic book, no matter how photo-realistic the paintings are, it's still not completely real life, and translating it to real life won't be guaranteed to work. And I personally liked the X-men costumes. They were practical, and had a little something from each comic costume. It's like you said, as long as the characters and the concepts are there, the design of the costume is secondary. Most importantly, it's still very recognizable as Spider-Man. The eye doesn't have to work too hard to see that. And if Green Goblin looked in the film, exactly like he does in the comic, could you honestly be able to take him seriously? You should be happy to know the ides aren't being used, but the alternatives I've seen don't look any better.

  • As much as I love all of Alex's artwork and his concept designs for all his comicbook works, I must say that I think he's dead wrong with his thinking that a characters costume needs to be redesigned when it comes to film. The thought that people in the "real world" will not be able to relate to this characters costume because there are no superheroes in this world is in my opinion just nonsense and weak. The reason we believe in any character, costumed or not, is because we care about them, and the story being told about them! It's not the costume or the clothes they ware. You could give any costume to Spider-man, and if you told an engaging story, we would buy into it! But "THAT'S" not the point. The fact of the matter is everybody should respect the "source materiel". Nobody, and I MEAN "NO-BOD-Y" has designed a better costume, or drawn a better Spider-man than Steve Ditko's original...PERIOD!!! Now a lot of people have come along and tried! They've change it, made it black, done this and that, putting their own ego stamp on it, but the fact of the matter is, "none" of those costumes have had the staying power or appeal of his original!!! The costume was made to be moody, as he showed many times when Ditko cast Spider-man in deep shadows. The costume had clever gagets, ie.the two way mirrored lens pieces for the eyes, the web-shooters, webbing under the arms, as well as his belt with the Spider light. Damn the character was almost downright noir at times in his hands! To this date "Nothing has been improved on!" Changed, yes. Made worse, more clunky, maybe even stupid, for sure all that's debatable if not a viven.Even the design that Alex seems to be championning is at best a watered down second rate throwback to the original, adding nothing but stealing what it can it the guise of calling it it's own. It doesn't pay homage to, it just debases. The art that Alex provides is wonderful but Mr.Williams design is no improvement on what is debatably the best superhero costume ever designed. The one thing that has always been true to my knowledge is, whenever Spider-man has flourished and been his most popular has been when the costume reflected the characteristics of Ditko's original design. That is the big eyes, lots of webbing on the costume, webbing under the arms and all these details played up with loving care. Add a little teenage angst, tell a good tale of unrequited love, add a ill aunt and a whole lot of confusion and guilt about what I did not do, and what I should do about, and with life...well now you have the makings of a compelling character and story. Ditko, McFarlane understood this! I sorry Alex, John Romita never did, Big John Buscema hated Spider-man and all the silly details, Gil Kane tried, bless his soul, but save for Romita JR. no one else has ever really had the feel. Now all this said, I as a professional comicbook artist, painter screenwriter and film maker in my own right know for a fact the last thing I would be hinder by for telling a great story and making a great Spider-man film would be any of the costumes in the Spider-man cannon, least of which for sure would be "HIS" original costume. And to my mind, any person who could not make a great film with it, and with the looks of the cast characters already established in his vast cannon, well they must not be, or have to much in the way of talent when it comes to telling good storys or making good films. I love you Alex...but as da man said...nuff said!!!!

  • Sept. 11, 2000, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Alex's drawings

    by schlouzen

    His drawings are fantastic. He's captured Peter's lean and 15 yr old physique while still making it muscular. I do agree with some that he doesn't have money and if he made his own costume it wouldn't look as good as Ross's. But do you want to see him in a badly stitched outfit? No, I want to see him in the costume and mask Ross has drawn. As for all the BS he's had with the studio and DC/Marvel, it's a real shame. Here are hard working, talented artists/writers creating characters that have lived on for years but they still get treated like shit. I'm not impressed.

  • Sept. 14, 2000, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Im Spider-Mans biggest fan, but....

    by Nine-X

    ...but,thats the coolest fucking costume ive ever seen in my life!! Oh yes, they are definitely going in the right direction! I should know, I grew up with Spidey. Do it right Sam... Do it right.

  • Aug. 31, 2010, 12:46 a.m. CST

    Ten Years later

    by MegaStiffy