Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wonder Wednesday 08-18-10 It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Not Really)

First off, the trailer for the upcoming Avengers cartoon. I love the cheesy emo theme song! I can just imagine a moody Captain America moaning, "Leave me alone. Everyone I knew in the 40s is dead. You just don't understand!" And then he mopes off to the bathroom to cut himself.

The song actually reminds me of those cheesy hair metal cartoon theme songs I posted about recently. Oh guess what, Emo kids...your the headbangers of this generation. Deal with that!

So in working on last week's blog about goofy super suits, I noticed an ugly trend of creators giving super heroes togs in the Merry color scheme of red and green. Um, those two colors look dreadful together. Not like red and YELLOW, my favorite color combo for super hero costumes, modeled here by the original Kid Flash, in one of my favorite all-time costumes.
So let's start at the beginning with the previously discussed Robin, the Boy Wonder.
Robin also throws a little yellow in the mix, which helps draw gunfire from his darkly clad mentor. His nickname should be the Boy Target or the Boy Decoy! (Hey, that rhymes!)
Also mentioned last time was the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott who took the extra step and threw PURPLE into the mix just to make it even more mind-boggling.
From the 1940s-60s, Green Arrow rocked this look. Not only is the color scheme lame, but the costume overall is just BOR-ING! It's basically a long tee shirt, no chest logo, no cape, tights, boots and gloves. Oh and that feathered cap. Then again, I don't get the impression that much thought went into Green Arrow at the time to begin with. In his secret identity, he was millionaire playboy Oliver Queen, who cruised around with a kid sidekick, Speedy, in the Arrow Mobile, took to the sky in the Arrow Plane (okay, that IS kinda cute) and was based out of the Arrow Cave. Also his utility be... I mean quiver contained all kinds of gadget arrows that just happened to be exactly what he needed to escape any narrow situations the pair found themselves in. As Batman once said, "Did you EVER have an original idea?" (It's true!)
Esteemed artist Neal Adams retooled him in the late 70s, giving him one of the all-time most bad-ass super costumes ever! He's been redesigned a few times since then, but they always go back to a variation of this look. For some strange reason, though, on the current Batman: The Brave & The Bold tv series, they chose to depict him in his lame old suit. Strange.
Green Arrow's suit was mostly green with a dash of red. Starman's is the opposite. Mostly red with green accents. As if it weren't garish enough, they topped him off with a head fin.
Green Arrow's long-time lady love is the Black Canary, whose mother was the original Golden Age Black Canary, who often teamed up with Starman and in recent comics, it has been all but spelled out that Starman was her actual father, not her mother's husband Larry Lance. Scandalous! Who knew a guy with a fin on his head could drive a woman to adultery!
Ugh. This is absolutely one of my least favorite costumes ever. His name is Mr. Terrific. No really! Geez, where do I even start? "Fair Play" emblazoned on his belly? A big ass girdle? Those shoes and rolled up socks? It all sucks.
You'd think there'd be no way this character would work in the present, but DC actually has a modern day Mr. Terrific. He's actually a great character (and one of the most prominent AA heroes around), but still... Mr. Terrific? Fair Play? At least his costume bears NO resemblance to the original's!
One of Mr. Terrific's teammates is Cyclone, the granddaughter of the original Red Tornado:
Okay, first of all, this character is SUPPOSED to look silly. The original Red Tornado was secretly a hefty, middle age gal named Ma Hunkle:
Ma Hunkle was like the Rosie the Riveter of super heroes. With no powers and her silly homemade costume, she went out and cleaned up her neighborhood with her fists and wits. So, surprise! I'm not going to make fun of her! In a completely non-mocking way, though, yes her "helmet" is a cooking pot.
In the 60s, DC introduced a new Red Tornado, an android with no affiliation with the mostly forgotten original from the 40s. The new Red Tornado's red and PURPLE costume is far uglier than anyone else's that I've mentioned.
Which brings us back around to Cyclone. Descended from the original, non-super Red Tornado, but coincidentally possessing the powers of the robot RT, she rocks a silly mall-bought costume with candy cane leggings and SHOES (no boots, see Mr. Terrific above). Her costume is some kind of billowy sack dress, which I mean if your power is whipping up wind storms... maybe not the best of ideas unless you're an exhibitionist and that's not how she's depicted. But here's the kicker, her name is Cyclone and she loves the musical Wicked, so she sports a pointed witch's hat AND in the Amazon, she adopted a (non-super) monkey which she dresses up like a winged monkey. Seriously?!
Like Robin and others, Mr. Miracle throws some yellow into the mix for that extra dash of crazy. One of my all-time LEAST favorite costumes. I have nothing to say except SO! EFFING!! UGLY!!!
But wait, it's everyone's least favorite super hero ever, Vibe, the ridiculously racist caricature Mexican American break dancing, street punk from the poorly conceived Justice League Detroit. Nice neckerchief.

Just to mix things up, there are a few characters who have managed to sport red and green together (usually with additional colors thrown in to offset them) successfully.
I actually love Dr. Mid-Night's costume! The black and brown even out the otherwise bold colors.
Then there's Hawkman and Hawkgirl. I'm not sure WHY but their costumes just seem to work.
Maybe it's the gray wings? Not sure, but I totally dig their appearances.

So far, I've only focused on DC heroes, but Marvel's had a few doozies too. First of all, there's The Vision, who like Dr. Mid-Nite and the Hawks, actually pulls it off well.
Not so much Wonder Man:
No relation to Wonder Woman. She's DC, he's Marvel. And 100% stupid looking. And it DID NOT HELP when he was redesigned in the 70s:
"Like my safari jacket? Leisure suits are gonna be in style forever, right?" But the worst was yet to come. After leisure suits went out of style, he continued to rock one for SEVERAL years until the late 80s, when he went back to his roots in this horror:
"Who wants a Christmas flavored punch in the mouth?" Hey look, the stripes form a W and M. Yayyy.
Which brings us to the 3-D Man and his sartorial legacy. In the 1970s, there was this wave of 1950s nostalgia, with Grease, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and so forth. So Marvel did a book set during that time period, inspired by the 3-D movie fad of that era, 3-D Man gained super powers when he put on a pair of special 3-D glasses. Wow, terrible origin.
Aren't 3-D glasses red and BLUE?! I mean, yeah it's a teal blue, but I still think it's blue not green. Believe it or not, despite being a minor, short-lived character, Marvel actually introduced a modern 3-D Man, who originally went by the slightly better name Triathlon. He went through a costume change shortly after his induction into The Avengers. Even more recently, though, he changed his name to 3-D Man and adopted the costume of the original 50s (by way of the 70s) character.
Yeah, sorry buddy. That would be my reaction as well.

So let that be a lesson. red and green=great on wrapping paper. Not so much crime fighting.

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