Eight years before Marvel's Spider-Man, there was Ben Cooper's Spider-Man costum
New 2021-01-12 22:12:45
Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962, but could have been inspired by a kid"s Halloween costume produced as early as 1954 ? The question - and the costume - comes from a collectibles dealer named Ben Cimino, who discovered a catalog from 1954 and a Halloween costume for a character named "Spider Man "
(note the absence of a hyphen) with a familiar webbing pattern - however, with a yellow and black color scheme.
Ben Cooper Costume Spider Man from the 1954 catalog cover (Image credit: Ben Cooper) That yellow suit " Spider Man "was directed by Ben Coope Inc., and first announced in 1954. Although now defunct, Ben Cooper Inc. was a leading producer of Halloween costumes from the 1930s to the 1980s . Ben Cooper "s "Spider Man " costume sold regularly from 1954 to 1962, with slight variations over the years. Lee and Ditko are credited for the creation of Marvel "s Spider-Man in 1962, although the preliminary work on the visual design was done by Jack Kirby (who according to the NewYork Post would have worked briefly for Ben Cooper in the 1950s). Lee has openly stated that the character is somewhat based on the pulp hero, the spider, and there have been outside claims that Lee was inspired by Archie "s the Web as well as the fly, which was created by Kirby and Joe Simon. There is also a dispute over how much of Kirby"s early work carried over into Ditko"s version. "Ben Cooper was 10 miles from Marvel"s offices " Cimino sa id on New York Post
. "Ben Cooper was running Halloween in NYC, so Ditko must have seen this costume. When he got the Spider-Man mission, maybe something came up when he was designing it. It"s so much like the Ben Cooper. "
Woolworth ad from 1968 (Image credit: Woolworth "s) Making the case stranger, in 1963, Ben Cooper made the first licensed Marvel product - you guessed it, an official Marvel Spider-Man costume, just a year old after character creation and one year before any other known Marvel licensed merchandise for the character. "So why would Ben Cooper, a company that was already producing a Spider Man costume, be interested in licensing Marvel "s Spider-Man long before the comic book character was released? achieve mainstream popularity? "the Post asks. Cimino contacted Ditko about the similarities, with the reclusive artist responding by letter: "The burden of proof is on the person making the assertion, claim, burden. Some press clippings etc. are not rational proof of anything but press clippings etc. " Marvel did not respond to New York Post request for comment. "No one will talk about this, because there are billions of dollars at stake, " Cimino theorizes. "You don"t know if Ben Cooper"s heirs are going to come out of the woodworking shop and sue or something. " Ben Cooper Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991, and was eventuallybought by a competitor, Rubie "s Costume, in 1992. The next PS5 version of Insomniac Games " Spider-Man will have a plethora of Spider-Man costumes
(but not the Ben Cooper costume).