Fashion is a capricious and fickle beast, especially when it comes to superhero couture.  For every perfect Kid Flash or Booster Gold, we have a Prankster, a 3-D Man or a Polka-Dot Pirate.  Sometimes, though, the evolution of fashion works against our heroes in ways that one has to see to fully understand…  Welcome to Ten Things!

Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with ‘An Amateur Comics Historian’, and ‘TV’s Tim Gunn’, Presents:




With the reveal of Will Smiths’ upcoming movie version of Deadshot, it’s clear that the character is poised to break huge, presuming that the Suicide Squad movie is a hit.  That means even fewer people will remember that, in his first appearance, Floyd Lawton was dressed as a gentleman bandit in a tuxedo, top hat and tails.  And don’t get me wrong, I love the Marshall Rogers-designed featureless mask, red-and-silver-suit Deadshot, but the idea of a villain who dresses as half gunslinger/half Phantom Of The Opera is such a perfect visual to me, that I sort of wish it were one of Floyd’s alternate attires or some such nonsense…




Hank Pym is another comic book type who will probably be changed wholesale by an upcoming movie appearance, what with the Ant-Man film taking a very different look at his life and times.  Of the many, MANY uniforms he’s worn in his six or seven different identities, I like this retro take the best.  Perhaps it’s the inexplicable use of antennae to remind us that he’s also Ant-Man, or the spiky boots and gloves, but this Giant-Man looks every inch a superhero, especially at giant sizes…



Thing Helmet

Ben Grimm is an anomaly among heroes in many ways, but his long-time costume of “a pair of boxing trunks” is pretty bland, even more so than Bruce Banner’s stretchy purple Toughskins.  Though the full-body uniform and helmet that Sue Richards designed for him (waaaay back in Fantastic Four #3) isn’t the perfect answer, it’s a cool idea, especially for those times when Ben is particularly hateful of his Thing form.  More recently, he has begun wearing long pants, boots and occasionally a singlet, reminding us that even a big rocky man needs to put on trousers once in a while…




Pink and black and oh-so-80s, Looker’s original suit is a perfect little retro look, flirty and feminine while being so fashion-backwards that it spins right back around into cool again.  Notably, she wears a big ol’ fluffy bow on one hip, the perfect accent for a woman who spent most of her life feeling like an ignored plain-Jane, and the idea that she CHOOSES to be a larger-the-life human-size Barbie doll (especially in the tales where she’s a freakin’ vampire) is one that helps to differentiate her from a legion of telepathic super-duper redheads…



Colossal Boy

Colossal Boy has never had a whit of taste in clothes, with his attire generally involving massive gauntlets, massive belts and harnesses, and weird topless nuns’ wimples, but his best uniform is the original.  It’s a look that I refer to affectionately as the “Bucky Goldstein” look, a future-retro cowboy costume that lacks only a ten-gallon hat to rival Marty McFly’s cowboy duds from ‘Back To The Future II.’  I’ve always felt that applying current fashion trends to the future Legion leads to nothing but heartbreak and Cosmic Boy in a corset, so why not keep a costume that’s distinctive, alien and representative of the weird whims of future fashion?



Sandman I

This one’s sort of a gimme, as many interpretations of Wesley Dodds ignore the fact that he ever wore his purple-and-gold tights in the first place, but I love the “business suit and hat” costume archetype dearly, and the addition of the strange gas-mask makes this one stand out among its brethren.  My only caveat is that you need to keep the green, purple, brown, yellow, blue and pink color scheme intact, as it’s meant to be a uniform that Wesley slapped together hastily, although I’d also be satisfied with seeing him throw the mask, cape and hat over whatever suit he happened to be wearing that day…



Vixen Original

Here’s the one that people will probably hate the most.  While Vixen’s orange/brown color scheme and uniform is excellent (especially when she had her Wolverine-with-beaded-locs hairdo in the 1980s), this blue and gold number is pretty neat.  I like the big cat-ears, even if modern audiences would probably only see Halle Berry’s movie version of Catwoman, and the bicep-high evening gloves are a concept that too few heroes embrace.  In an ideal world, I’d like to see this uniform in a Tigra/Hellcat situation, where Mari McCabe keeps her new attire, but another hero takes up her old suit because it’s just too cool to leave mothballed for so long…



Mary Marvel

Wait, you say…  Doesn’t Mary Marvel wear this anyway?  Well, the honest answer is, I don’t know if Mary Marvel exists any more, but the last time I saw her, DC editorial had switched her over to a white version of the suit (leaving the three main Marvels in a red, white and blue color scheme, which is sort of understandable) which never quite looked as good as the red and gold.  Assuming that Mary ever comes back into vogue, I’d like to see her in red, or at least keep SOME red in with the white and gold accents, because it’s her signature color, dangit!



Hero For Hire

Pirate shirt?  Corsair boots?  Weird headband?  Open to the navel?  Sold!  Sold, sold, sold!  I get that Marvel Comics has been positioning Luke Cage as the hero too cool to have an actual costume for a decade or more now, but frankly, wearing a puffy yellow pirate shirt is cooler than his recent shirtless and/or sleeveless undershirt look.  Recent issues of Mighty Avengers have had Luke and wife Jessica as plainclothes heroes among their more wildly-garbed counterparts, but I’d be perfectly happy to see even part of this uniform make a return in the upcoming rebooted Marvel continuity…




Now that they’ve given Connor’s t-shirt and dungarees costume to Superman proper, the time is ripe for a return to the spandex-and-leather-jacket Superboy of old.  I was never particularly enamored of his mod 90s haircut, so they can keep whatever he’s been doing in the main continuity (Is Superboy dead again?) but give us this angular, belty costume again.  If the local mall is to be believed, much of the fashion of the early 1990s is back in vogue for the cool teens, why not go whole hog and turn into that skid?  Plus, it helps to differentiate him from the other guys wearing diamond s-shields swanning about…

Feel free to follow along (@MightyKingCobra) for more Ten Things madness on Twitter! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, what with the nature of super-hero costume changes and opinions.  (The battle between tutone brown Wolverine and blue-and-gold Wolverine is one that has launched more than one near-fist-fight.)  The comments section is Below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!

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About Author

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.


  1. “Weird headband?”

    As they said in The Super Hero Squad Show:

    Iron Man: [to Brynnie] How about if Uncle Iron Man makes you a pretty new tiara? Like the one Luke Cage wears.
    Luke Cage: It’s a headband.
    Iron Man: It’s a tiara. We’ve all discussed it.

  2. I can’t decide if I really want to know how the heck Looker keeps that outfit from sliding to the side, or if I should just not think about it…

  3. brenton8090 on

    Oh man, I love that Superboy costume so much. To a 14 year old, that thing was AMAZING. So much so that I wore it for halloween. In 2008. When I was 22.

  4. Malone_hasco on

    Mary Marvel is back in red dress, shes seen in the last issue of the Justice Leagues Shazam backup story. Its collected in trade, Shazam vol 1, which I think is easily one of the best New 52 stories out there and didnt get the attention it deserves, I highly recommend it.

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