A recent discussion with Major Spoilers EIC Stephen and Doctor Peter Coogan (Look for it in an upcoming Major Spoilers Podcast!) turned a lot of switches in my head, some of which concern the traditional supehero costume. For instance, Barry Allen and his replacements have been wearing the same togs with minor tweaks since 1959, while Iron Man (thanks partially to the technological nature of his powers) is in a constant state of upgrade and change. Heck, since the turn of the century or so, it seems the only constant in Tony Stark’s superhero attire has been his unattractive faceplate. Live action TV and movie adaptations have also changed our costuming paradigm, with Chris Evans changing his costume in each outing as Captain America, lacking as he does the Golden Age comic book problems of multiple artists and questionable printing processes, leading us to today’s quick-change query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) won’t even bring up the sartorial history of Janet Van Dyne, the wonderous Wasp, asking: Do you prefer a character who remains visually stable or one who regularly changes his or her costume look?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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6 Comments

  1. April 10, 2015 at 11:55 am — Reply

    I kind of love characters who constantly change their look, so long as it’s for a make-sense reason. Like with the Wasp or with Kitty Pryde, it’s part of their personalities to play with their costumes. Or with (my mandatory magical girl example) Cardcaptor Sakura, it’s to humor her friend, who likes to make her new clothes. But when it’s clearly a case of “change this costume because the artist is bored/we have a toy deal & need more figures”, it kind of annoys me.

  2. Rome
    April 10, 2015 at 12:22 pm — Reply

    I like some consistency in the Super-suit. I don’t mind changes, as long as the originial asthetic, or at least thematic elements remain, so that we can continue to identify with them.

    Like the Cap America Suit in the Winter Soldier Film. Sure it was a far cry from his original stars and garters, but as the First Avenger movie showed, that first costume is a bit silly after all. The new suit maintains the basic color scheme (Red White, and lets be honest, mostly blue) and the iconic Star on the chest.

    But when they change costumes whole cloth (see what I did there?), like with the fantastic four’s whole scheme, it seems dumb and gimmicky. The FF don’t need red suits . I didn’t so much mind the white suits, because it made some sort of sciency sense (maybe?), but they are known for their iconic blues. Why mess with what works? I guess I should just be happy they’ve scaled back the use of boob-windows on Sue.

  3. Alisha
    April 10, 2015 at 1:34 pm — Reply

    A little of both. It depends on various factors, but while I like some consistency, I also like to see tweaks and changes. For some characters, change kind of NEEDS to happen, like with Iron Man upgrading his armors, but even with change, I like to see some consistency (such as similar colors, patterns or a logo).

    I don’t want the kind of change like there was in the old Batman toyline, where we saw about 10+ different variants of Batman costumes every line (like Arctic Camo Batman or Glow-In-The-Dark Batman), but rather minor changes and tweaks that happen over time. Not enough to completely alter the costume to a point where it is unrecognizable, just minor tweaks and alterations.

  4. TheWolverine
    April 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm — Reply

    I do tend to prefer more stability in the hero’s suits. If a character has been around for decades I would like to be able to point them out from a line up. I’m also not opposed to a certain suit for certain job though either, like with Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman where she could spin into a motorcycle suit or a swimming suit etc. etc. Even with that though there was still an overall style consistency to her suits. So yeah, more stability. Minor tweaks or updates sure, but more stability.

  5. April 10, 2015 at 6:08 pm — Reply

    I dont mind change if its well thought out and maintains the feel and theme of the character. I’ve seen plenty of terrible “armor-mecha-spiky-edgy-black” variants of classic superhero costumes not to be little wary of them, but for example, movie Marvel made Cap’ s uniforms well, there’s been organic change, each instantly recognizable even if its different every time.

  6. Luis Dantas
    April 10, 2015 at 8:47 pm — Reply

    I guess it comes down to the character concept. For the most part, though, I think it is a bit unrealistic and distracting to follow characters without their looks ever changing.

    Ironically, that usually ends up disappointing me. I find the original Captain Britain look far more appealling than any of those that followed, for instance.

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