Recently, Marvel Comics has gone to great lengths to deliver an in-universe 616 version of Nick Fury that resembles the one seen in the movies (i.e., looking like Samuel L. Jackson instead of Napoleon Solo.)  The only real carry-over between the two characters is Nick’s eyepatch, which got me thinking about the visual cues that make a character who they are.  Batman’s 1990’s Azrael variant doesn’t say Batman to me, even with the cowl ears, but the all-black variant does, because it keeps the scalloped gloves from the original design, a key indicator of “Batman” for my eye.  Even The Doctor, known for changing his entire BODY, has trademark bits, though they vary by incarnation: the velvet smoking jacket, the bow tie, the ridiculous scarf, the even more ridiculous coat, the brainy specs and the question mark motif on his lapels and his umbrella.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced “Miz-rah-hee”) wants to let you know that those shoes DO NOT go with that outfit, asking:  Which iconic accessories do you find absolutely necessary for the character to be “done right?”


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. James Winston on

    Let’s see….how about the G.I. Joe Snake Eyes with the signature black outfit and a mask with “no” lips.

  2. The first thing that sprang to mind was Captain America and a shield. It just isn’t the same if he doesn’t have a shield. I can accept it if it isn’t the trademark circular shield, but he has to have some kind of shield.

    Another big one for me is Thanos’s classic outfit. For me, it just doesn’t work if it isn’t the blue(or purple depending on the book) and gold costume with the helmet. Thanos in Annihilation just didn’t look like Thanos to me.

  3. The Doctor – Not an accessory exactly, but I find it really doesn’t feel like The Doctor unless his outfit has some key eccentric bit. Tennant had the canvas sneakers worn with a suit, Smith has the bow tie and “older man” outfit on a younger form, Tom Baker had the scarf (and the Jelly Babies), and so on. Just as much as the sonic screwdriver and the TARDIS, it just doesn’t quite feel like The Doctor without him looking a bit eccentric or having some odd accessory.

    Spiderman – Web shooters. One of the things that bothered me the most about the previous movies was the absence of the web shooters. I always liked that Peter made them himself. It gave a sense that he wasn’t just some guy with superpowers, but a pretty smart kid who was creative enough to make them himself.

    • I like that the new movie is bringing them back but I hate the way it seems to be playing with the origin (gentically engineered by his parents and Curt Conners?) so much that I don’t want to see the movie

  4. To follow up on Nick Fury- I also think he needs his cigar to have the full iconic look, but I know there’s no smoking in comics today but it was so prevalent for so long…

    And I’ve always loved the hovering yellow ‘wheel chair’ Prof Xavier sported in the 90’s. It seemed to work somehow. Half the time he’s walking around these days (actually, where is he lately?) and it’s not the same.

    • And thus lies an issue for me. Ben Grimm smoked cigars for years with Jack Kirby (also a cigar affectionado) drawing him. Nick Fury had his ever present “nub” (during the early years he smoked….shudder……..cigarettes!) as has Wolverine, “Dum Dum” Duggan and several others. I have my own humidor with Montecristos, Partagas, Troyas, Belindas and other imported beauties. Now all that’s left is that nasty piece of work John Constantine who can smoke all he wants because neither heaven or hell wants him. Stupid political correctness….

  5. Superman’s “S” emblem. Even if it’s a modernized version of it like the Superman in “Justice League Beyond” it ain’t Supes without the big “S”.

    Wonder Woman’s llasso. Come on, I know it’s a cheezy throwback but without the lasso she’s just a big strong woman.

    Captain America’s mask wings. (See “lasso” above).

    Zatanna’s fishnets. (Giggidy….)

    Jay Garrick’s helmet. I’m not really thrilled with the Earth-2/52 version of it but having Mercury wearing his when he gets his powers was a nice tip of the hat (pun intended).

    Thor’s helmet. Loved the Avenger’s movies but it just didn’t look right without that little beanie with wings.

  6. Spiderman’s Web Shooters. I missed them during the Toby McGuire movies and am pleased as punch to see their return.

  7. Hal Jordan needs to have the grey temples. Distinguished experienced world weary Hal was MUCH better than Geoff Johns hot to trot jerkwad.

    And Superman needs red underwear.

    • I agree that Hal’s gray temples made him look more distinguished. Superman not having his red undies never really bothered me much.

      Alan Scott’s red shirt should have stayed. It helps to emphasis that he isn’t the same as a green lantern corpsman. Plus, the whole idea behind him in the first place was to mirror the railroad lanterns that were colored green to indicate a train could go. But they also had a red lantern to indicate they had to stop. Alan’s costume made it seem like he had a power that encouraged action and positive movement, with the added idea of ‘stopping’ evil. He was the boon to all good people and a bane to all bad people.

      That, and red is green’s complement. What I could go with would be a costume with green pants and cape (the cape is also essential), but a red shirt. Before, he was sporting a purple cape, so changing it to green would help keep the design more balanced towards the complements.

      • Your points are very good and I will forgo the usual “cromag” jokes about the currently gay character trying to decide on the colors in a costume. No need for me to get stereotypical about that.

  8. Shang Chi’s nemesis Razor Fist’s sword hands. I mean, if he doesn’t have the blades he is not “Razor Fist” right? BTW how does he…go number 2?…

  9. How bout the Questions Fedora Hat/Classic no face?

    Vic Sage and Montoya are rocking the look but you know its The Question :D

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