Spiderman Might Have Actually Been Invented By A Brooklyn Costume Maker in the 1950s

Photo: a4gpa/Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: a4gpa/Flickr Creative Commons

Everyone knows Spiderman as the invention of comic-book pioneer Stan Lee and his illustrator partner, Steve Ditko. But apparently, as per a discovery reported in the New York Post, the original costume worn by Spiderman might have actually first been the creation of Ben Cooper Inc., a long-defunct Brooklyn costume seller. 

The Post reports that John Cimino, a comic-book and toy dealer, purchased a 1960’s era Spiderman costume, among various other collectible garments, for a total of $500 in 2006.

The purchase didn’t pose anything that notable to Cimino at the time, who originally stowed the costume away in his basement. But after Cimino found that the outfit was originally produced by Ben Cooper Inc., he began to dig into the company’s history, and found a trove of identical Spiderman costumes produced in the 1950s–well before Marvel Comics first premiered Spiderman in 1962.

Cimino was contacted by another costume-peddling collector shortly thereafter, whom the Post reports had a stash-pile of prototypical Spiderman costumes stored in an old barn. The other collector’s costumes are yellow–different from the exact red and blue costume worn by Spiderman throughout history, but that fact was telling of their provenance.

Among further research, Cimino learned that the costume he bought was not actually a Spiderman prototype. It was dated from 1964–two years after Spiderman originally debuted. However, the costume of the anonymous dealer who had just contacted Cimino was dated from 1954, and therefore represented a genuine pre-Marvel comics era Spiderman.

“Ben Cooper was 10 miles from Marvel’s offices,” Cimino told the Post, adding that the costume maker” ruled Halloween in New York City, so Ditko had to have seen this costume. When he got the assignment for Spider-Man, maybe something came back when he was designing it. It’s so much like the Ben Cooper.”

So there you have it. Brooklyn, it seems, might just be the real birthplace of Spiderman. It’s a fitting backstory for Marvel’s recent announcement of its newest incarnation of Spidey, who will soon grace the pages of the comic book this fall as Miles Morales, a bi-racial kid from Brooklyn.

Follow Sam Blum on Twitter @Blumnessmonster 






  1. If anyone is interested, and happens to see this post in time, I currently have one of the 1950’s Ben Cooper Spider-man Costumes listed on eBay! Even if you’re not looking to buy, it’s still cool to check this out, since it’s rarely seen anywhere (not sure how many of these even exist today??):



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