Spidey is getting a makeover.
Samantha Tannich, design director for university communications, said the idea for the redesign began when the communications team was discussing new outlets for collegiate licensed products. Often, a university’s mascot represents its athletics and the overall spirit of the school and is sold in different forms including stuffed animals, magnets and posters.
Tannich, along with members of university communications and the athletics department, began conducting focus groups to gauge the sentiments of the current Spidey and to judge Spidey’s marketability as a product.
The current Spidey has a fly-like face with two arms and two legs and wears a blue Richmond Spiders jersey along with a red spiderweb cape and red Chucks. This version of Spidey premiered in late 2007 after the university received an anonymous donation dedicated to making Spidey look fiercer. With this donation, Spidey’s legs were condensed from eight to four and he was given smaller shoes and a costume made of flexible material for movement.
The response to Spidey, however, has been mixed and many students and alumni have said they would prefer a mascot with eight legs, Tannich said.
“It looks like a tick,” sophomore Hannah Goodman said. Goodman said Spidey should look more like a spider and more ferocious.
Junior Lexi Wiles said: “He’s not very intimidating. He just looks like a skinny guy with a big head and his cape doesn’t fit because spiders don’t wear capes.”
During the summer, the university began looking into mascot design companies and ultimately settled on Rickabaugh Graphics, which has worked with Ohio State University, Old Dominion University and Vanderbilt University.
“Our hope is that there will be a greater affinity between the university community and Spidey,” Tannich said.
In future meetings, the redesign group will discuss whether Spidey should appear as a clearly defined spider or whether it should be more superhero-like. Spidey, however, will never be allowed to look the same as Spiderman, the Marvel Comics trademarked superhero, Tannich said.
Tannich said the university would have the top contenders for the new mascot by the end of the year and would allow students and the university community to cast its vote for their favorite Spidey in the spring.
Linda Evans, assistant director of media and public relations, said she had been fielding questions from the media since the university’s announcement of the changes. Evans said the group was still in the planning stages and that more information would be made available as the project continues.
Tannich said, “The main thing is that Spidey is selected by students, staff, faculty and alums.”
A meeting will be held with university leaders including both college deans and representatives from Westhampton College Government Association and Richmond College Student Government Association on Thursday, Nov. 4, to further discussion about the ultimate vision for Spidey.
Contact staff writer Sarah Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org