The announcement of the new Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider series saw many fan complaints about the new look for the character.
I don't get the hoodie on the new Scarlet Spider outfit…or the smile. The rest is fine however.
— Linwood Storm (@ElectronicJack) January 9, 2017
Then it was announced that Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider would see the character return to his original costume by the end of the first arc, Newsarama reported that Marvel had told them “this costume change isn’t back-tracking the creators of the book … but rather a story-driven change leading Reilly back to the hoodie.”
The Clone Saga Chronicles has a different explanation in their podcast. Talking to Scarlet Spider writer Peter David…
Interviewer: Describe to me what you thought about the original costume design, because there was some reaction online that was both positive and negative towards it.
Peter David: I honest to God didn’t understand the negative reaction. Now Mark’s original design for the costume bore little to no resemblance to what actually would up being in the book. There was a great deal of editorial input into what they wanted to see and Mark being the artist who was hired to do the job kept doing what everyone else wanted. I really thought the original design was really nice. On the other hand, interestingly enough, some of the things that the fans absolutely hated the most, were ideas of mine. For instance, in one of the early versions, Mark had a little smirk, a little smile on the mask, and I thought that was absolutely fantastic! And I said Oh my God was should accentuate that smile, I mean, I love it! A Spider-Man mask where you can actually see the guy smirking. I thought that was perfect, it was certainly unique in the history of Spider-Man, and apparently the concept of doing something that is unique to the history of Spider-Man drives the fans completely nuts. So..
Peter David: Because if nobody seen it before, they don’t know what the hell it is but all they know is they don’t like it, so you know, what are you going to do? I mean, you know, to me the original costume, while perfectly adequate, seems to like something that somebody would just throw together, because they had no idea what else to do, you know, it’s red long johns with a blue shirt, i mean how this has become the classic go-to visual for the Scarlet Spider I can’t even begin to fathom, but I certainly don’t quite understand the innate, you know, fan hostility for something they had never seen before.
Interviewer: Was it always the plan to bring it back for issue 3?
Peter David: No. (Laughs) We were originally going to stick with the new one,and you know, there was so much fan opposition to it, that we all kinda shrugged our shoulders and said: “You know what, at the end of the day, the comic is about Ben Reilly, no about his freaking costume and you know, why would we make this book about the freakin’ costume,let’s just you know, let’s just give the fans what they want! I mean for decades Marvel Comics has always said, we give the fans what they want, you know, the fans are the true editors at Marvel Comics.
Well, to my mind, there has never been a more precise example of that being the case, than the Ben Reilly Costume. I mean to me it’s of little relevance, what somebody wears when they are going about doing their job really kinda beside the point, but if it means that much to the fans, and honestly means so little to me, you know Marvel said “let’s come up with a reason to go have him go back to the original”, I went okay and came up with a reason to go back to the original, and just as a nod to the fans [in issue 3], as I said, I have a Spider-Man fan criticizing everything they dislike about the Ben Reilly costume, I even have them quoting twitter things! I mean I just have them saying “what’s with the smile? I can see your mouth! What’s up with that?” You know, so what the hell? Why not?