Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wonder Wednesday 08-11-10 Top Ten Goofy Super Costumes I Love!

Pretty self explanatory title...

10. Aquaman

Now Aquaman's costume is arguably my favorite, all-time super suit. This being the case, why is it all the way down at number 10? It's because I really don't find it that goofy-looking. People question the orange shirt, but I think he rocks it out. It looks great and always contrasts with the other super heroes gathered around him. And the colors just really work, the orange, yellow and green... and importantly, the black trunks. Very often, artists these days render him as wearing just solid green tights with no contrasting black trunks, but I think those add a lot! The people that don't like this suit are just conformists who are afraid to stand out.
Quick honorable mention to his short-lived blue camouflage uniform from the 80s. Striking and dynamic, it was probably a bitch to draw over and over, so while people loved this costume, it lasted only four issues.
9. Alan Scott, the Original Green Lantern

I just love the audacity of calling yourself the Green Lantern and wearing a costume that isn't primarily green! In fact, the color selection, green, red and purple is nearly nightmarish, but for whatever reason, I dig it. The maniacal design doesn't just end with the crazed palette, either. There just so much going on! The billowy red top, the inexplicable yellow ribbons crisscrossing his boots... it's ballsy but he seems to wear it with complete conviction, so Wurq It, GL!

Another honorable mention to GL's fellow Justice Society member, Jay Garrick, the original Flash. His costume isn't nearly as outlandish as GL's, but that silver winged Mercury helmet is a CLASSIC! I love it! Can that be comfortable? How does he keep it on, when running at super sonic speed? Hmmm?

8. Zatanna (80s Costume)

This is one of those where it's a classic because that's what she looked like upon my first discovering her and for many, many years afterward. Originally, she wore a stage magician's uniform complete with fishnet tights and a top hat. For whatever reason, this is the costume that seems to most resonate with fans. (I'm playing dumb. I know the reason.) But when I started reading comics, she hadn't worn the stage magician look in years and I don't think she reverted back to it until maybe the late 90s or early 00s. So when I think of Zatanna, I conjure this image:
Once again, a whole lot going on! Designer, George Perez, has even admitted that if he had it to do over again, he'd have simplified it a little. Actually, this costume is supposed to resemble a magician's tux, but I don't really see it. What I do see is a red serpent on top of her head, red flares on the sides of her face, frisbee-sized earrings adorned with a "Z" (decades before Carrie Bradshaw made monogramming cool!) and huge, billowy bell sleeves. Yeah, it's a bit much, but it's one of those things where it was my first exposure and therefore will always be my favorite! Also, I like the white cape and the contrast with the rich blueness of her top. It's busy, but not garish.

7. The Shocker (NOT THAT ONE!!!)

The classic Spider-Man villains were all pretty uniquely designed, as was Spider-Man himself, illustrated by innovator Steve Ditko. They certainly didn't look like any other super folk around and still don't. Those hash marks all over his body are supposed to indicate that his suit is insulated to protect him from his vibrational wrist... uh, weapons. The color choice, yellow and brown... gah! That would look horrible in real clothes, like a rotting banana, but on a super suit... eh, I kinda like it.

6. Electro

TWO Spider-Foes in a row! Electro's costume is RIDICULOUS!

The yellow and green together are gaudy enough, but then throw in the jagged lightning bolt designs AND top it all off with that CRAZY-ASS lightning star mask and you start wondering what they were smoking when they created him! I think it's the bold but basic colors that first caught my eye. There aren't very many characters who rock these colors together, so it is unique to say the least.

5. Firestorm

EVERYONE makes fun of this suit. I've heard it compared to a Brazilian Flamenco dancer's costume! It's the poofy sleeves. I get it. But... I mean... that's just... how he looks! That's his costume! It always has been, so... I mean, just deal with it!
Plus, I mean, it's light years better than the costume he adopted in the 90s:
How boring is that? Luckily, he eventually went back to the classic costume. Then he died. Unrelated.

4. Power Man and Iron Fist

Everyone knows how much I love this duo! The original super bromance! You may have noticed poofy sleeves and the color yellow have become recurring themes. What can I say, I like vibrant colors and flowy breathable fabrics. With Luke Cage (Power Man), many question the inverted tiara. I don't really have a problem with it. His head would look kinda naked without it, plus it balances out the chain belt and metal wrist bands. And like I said, I like vibrant colors. I don't even mind the fact that he keeps it unbuttoned down to there! In real life, it would probably look silly, but he could leave it all the way unbuttoned and he'd still be wearing more fabric than most female super heroes.
Iron Fist's costume is also questionable. Not just a deep V-neck but one with a huge pointy high collar... paired with a sash belt and slippers! SLIPPERS! Oh and I forgot to mention the Capri-length tights. But, like with Firestorm, that's just how they look! They wore those costumes for decades! These days, Luke Cage just wears regular street clothes. BOO! Iron Fist wears a suit with full neck. Neither is as distinctive and definitive as these classic suits, though.

3. Robin (Classic)

Once again, this is how he looked for decades! YES, it is silly! The bare legs are just ridiculous! And pixie boots? And while, I suppose chain mail briefs probably DO add a nice degree of protection to the area where you most need it, it's still... GEEZ! Really?! Lovely gams, though! Do you think he shaved, waxed or used Nair?

Like Green Lantern above, an almost nightmarish color scheme, like Christmas with a splash of raincoat. But, y'know this is just how he looked! This is the classic Robin costume! No one will ever wear it again, of course. The modern Robins (both of 'em) are pretty much all covered up.
But wait. There's more. The Batman writers really didn't want anything to do with Robin. They thought he was an antiquated concept in a ridiculous costume, so in the late 60s, they shipped him off to college and had Batman work, more or less, solo. In the early 80s, Marv Wolfman and George Perez, the creators of the New Teen Titans, took Robin in, made him leader of the team... and their book became DC's best selling. Robin was suddenly as popular as Batman himself! Part of the appeal was Robin's quest for his own identity, as a separate, capable hero and not the second half to "Batman & _____." With his soaring popularity, suddenly the Batman staff wanted him back in their books.

As a compromise, they were given "Robin"... but not Dick Grayson. They introduced a new Robin, Jason Todd, originally an almost exact carbon copy of Dick Grayson, right down to the slain family of circus acrobats origin. (Later revamped as a street punk orphan.) The Teen Titans creators established a new identity for their star, Nightwing.
Nightwing was and still is a hugely popular character on his own. His costume has been revamped and streamlined several times, and sadly, with time, people have come to regard his first solo costume as "disco Elvis." It's the wide fan collar and the deep V-neck. But Dick Grayson had become a bit of an illustrated sex symbol (as nearly half of TT's readers were women!) and George Perez wanted to give them a little skin, since he was covering up his legs. Plus... I mean V-necks never really went out of style! People wear them in real life all the time, so why make fun of it in a super hero costume?

I really like the color scheme, too. I like the two blue tones. You rarely see two shades of the same color in a costume. Then the yellow adds a contrasting pop. The lines are also more ornate and unique than those in most super hero designs. I dunno, I think it you maybe modified the collar, maybe made it more like a banded collar on a motorcycle jacket, it could still work today, but I guess this costume's time has passed.

2. Dazzler

What can I say? I love a good Catsuit.

1. Supergirl (70s and 80s Version)

For years, Supergirl wore a feminized version of her famous cousin's costume, with a blue skirt instead of tights. In the late 60s, with the Mod explosion, she became very innovative by being the first hero to adopt many different costumes, wearing nearly a different suit on each mission she went on. But as the super heroes became more marketable, DC needed to establish one look for her, so that she could appear on various licensed products, so they essentially adopted this version of her costume, but with a few differences.
Originally, she sported shorts with frayed hems (ie Daisy Dukes) and rather than boots, she wore slippers. This look was tweaked into what she looked like when I first became aware of her. Once again, this was my first exposure to her, so this is my favorite costume of hers. It's also one of my favorite costumes ever! The billowy blouse was distinctive among the other super heroines. The idea of having a small logo off to one side rather than a large S shield in the middle of her chest also helped differentiate her from Superman. And the choker was just a nice fashionable touch.
Once again, she sported this outfit for years! In the 80s, with a live-action Supergirl movie pending, DC revamped her to make her more current. Unfortunately... it was the 80s and this is what resulted. Headband, perm and huge shoulder pads. (In the comics, the shoulder pads weren't very pronounced, but check out Helen Slater in this version of her costume in the unused test footage shot for the movie and she looks like she might have borrowed this suit from Bea Arthur.) And then, Supergirl died. Unrelated... or was it?
Since this is the costume she was wearing when she died, it's become immortalized. Also, since so much of DC's licensing artwork is drawn from this period of time, this is the version of her that has appeared on more licensed products than any other! Odd, considering what a laughing stock most people consider it!

So there ya have it! Maybe sentimentality trumps good taste, but I love all these costumes! So Nyah!

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