Ben Reilly recently made his return to the Marvel universe as part of the Clone Conspiracy mini-series, and while he made some questionable decisions during that event, it pales in comparison to the fury that a costume can cause.
The character is now the star of his own ongoing series written by Peter David. In the first issue Reilly is sporting a new costume, and ever since it debuted there have been some loud voices asking why it changed. David spoke about this during a recent appearance on the Clone Saga Chronicles Podcast (via Bleeding Cool). Marvel announced he would be returning to the classic look in issue #3, and David was asked if that was always the plan.
"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," said David. "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?
While David doesn't get the outcry, he also doesn't get why fans love the costume so much in the first place. "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."
If you thought Marvel wasn't listening, it turns out they are, at least on some things. Fans will be reunited with their favorite costume in issue #3, but Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #1 is in comic shops now.