Category Archives: Bad Super Costumes

Super Pouches!

I missed “Bad Costume Wednesday” yesterday, my apologies. So I’ll take that up today instead, with an interesting take on Superman’s costume:

It’s from the mid-Nineties “Hunter/Prey” mini-series. There are a few obvious tells that it’s from the Nineties. Can you spot them all? I’ll leave that as an exercise for you, the at-home viewer.

My favorite part is the sword, because why the heck does Superman need a sword? You think Doomsday’s going to fall to a bit of computer-generated sharpened metal? Please.

I also enjoy the yellow crotch flap. Because if there’s one thing a grown-ass man in spandex needs, it’s something dangling between his legs that practically screams “Yank me!”. I keep wondering what the Mother Box thinks he’s going to put in all those pouches. I guess maybe a change of Clark Kent vintage suits and hipster black-rim glasses? Maybe some Yoo-Hoo? I’d guess flying around toting all those extra straps would get pretty tiring, and a fellow needs his chocolatey pick-me-up.

You have to admire this approach, though. If you’re tired of a costume, just throw a bunch of random crap on top of it, and done! It’s simple, easy, and there’s so much more room for activities.

Adam Savage builds a Dock-Ock-a-Pus Halloween Costume for Patton Oswalt

This video features three of my favorite things: Adam Savage (from “Mythbusters”), Patton Oswalt, and comic books. Enjoy!

Vartox. JAMES Vartox.

Sometimes a super hero costume is so bad, it leaps off the page and slaps you upside the head with its hairy thighs. OK, ew. But because it’s a drawing you can sort of let it slide. As a case in point, I present to you the classic Superman villain, Vartox:

Note the leather Speedo, the always-repulsive male thigh-boots, open vest with no shirt (the better to gaze upon the hirsute majesty of his manscape), and of course the Bert Reynolds Memorial Mustache, without which no homage to macho would be complete. Yes, this looks like your worst “My Dad dressed up for Halloween” nightmare, because it is. At least, if you’re Sean Connery’s kid, because this wretched bit of sartorial madness originated in his movie “Zardoz“:

And here you see the reality that as bad as something might look as an illustration, reality can be far, far worse. In no universe, ever, have gun belt suspenders holding up orange diapers over thigh-high leather boots been a Good Look for a man. Like, ever. Cap it off with a receding hairline and long pony tail combo and you, my friend, have achieved epic levels of bad costuming.

So on Halloween, please, I beg you, do NOT go out dressed like this. Or on any other date. Or planet.

Human projectiles

Having a big gun is great if you’re a comics fan because big guns are cool. But guns can be taken away, which is not cool, because then how can you shoot things? Luckily a grateful comics nation long ago arrived at a solution for this conundrum — make a gun out of yourself! The glorious breakthrough is exemplified in this Guy “Extreme Nineties Spokeslantern” Gardner cover:

This isn’t really a “costume” per se, but it’s definitely “bad” and he’s a “super” if not necessarily a “hero”. And “scare” quotes are “scary” and “irritating”.

But aside from the obsession with guns so intense it causes you to actually become a gun, and ignoring the spikes (EXTREME!!) and Unhinged Giant Snake Jaw (©Image Comics), what really bugs me about all of these integrated biological firearms (get it, fireARMS?) is, what do they shoot, exactly?

I’ll pause while you think about this.

The only stuff it can fire is stuff that the body itself creates. So at the end of an extended firefight this guy ought to be a withered husk lying smoking on the ground. Granted, there is precedence for humans creating excess material but most of it is disgusting. Which is a nice way of saying that if Guy Gardner comes after me with his giant gun arm shooting snot bullets at me, he wins on gross-out points alone. But I’d sure kick his ass first, because that’s just wrong.

Robocop version 2.0

Courtesy of Atomic Yeti, I bring you leaked pics of the updated Robocop suit from the upcoming reboot side by side with the original:

Is it just me, or does it look like they just took off all the chrome parts of the old design and left him in his undersuit? I swear, lines and black leather are the new trunks and spandex when it comes super-hero designs. This may officially be the moment this modern take jumps the shark. The entire Justice League redesign, the Batman movie costumes, all you see are little armor lines everywhere over monochrome. It’s done, people. Look, I’ll prove it:

The whole point of the super hero genre is that its characters are iconic. That’s why they have giant logos on their chests and dress in primary colors, they’re supposed to stand out light bright shining beacons on the hill, inspiring us lesser mortals with their heroism and grandeur. Now they just look like the people the local S.W.A.T. team kicked out for being too weird, interchangeable, generic, faceless urban assault warriors in standard issue Kevlar.

But then, I’m a grumpy old man. What do you all think?

Good Costume Wednesday

Last week I talked about my love for the classic Gil Kane Green Lantern costume design. For my money it’s one of (possibly THE) best outfits in comics history. This week I want to ask you what you think the best costume(s) are.

For my money, some of the contenders would be:

I’m pretty old-school, though. So post your nominations for “Great Super Hero Costumes of All Time” in the comments and let the debate begin!

Iron Man 3 Armors

I’ll put the images after the jump for those who don’t want to have the look of the new movie spoiled, but “Iron Man 3″ stills have emerged showing the film’s new armor. I’m curious what you all think about the design changes.

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The eyes have it

We all know Batman has gone through some pretty weird stuff throughout his history. From fat guys dressed as penguins to Bat-Dogs and a pre-pubescent orphan boy in scaly underoos, the guy runs into more than his fair share of absurdities. For instance, I give you the Ten-Eyed Man:

My favorite part of the character concept is this:

A brilliant doctor named Dr. Engstrom reconnected his optic nerves to his fingertips, enabling him to see through them.

That’s right. In Gotham City, they can’t actually make you see through your eyes, but they can make you see through your fingertips. Let’s pause for a second to imagine all the problems with a setup like this. No, not that dirty. No, not that dirty, either.

OK, class, let’s take a step back and just go with eating. How the hell do you eat when all you can “see” is the greasy burger wrapper and salty fries you’re gripping in your eyeball-tipped fingers? And let’s not even get into picking your nose. Or what happens when you try to punch someone and suddenly you can’t see because your eyeballs are tucked into fists.

Maybe that’s the reason for the disturbing Line of Eyes marching down his torso, leading you down between the pecs, to the washboard abs, down just over the belt and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THERE’S AN EYEBALL STARING AT ME FROM HIS CROTCH!!

Your clothes say something about you, folks, and what this eye design says is “Creeper”. Back away slowly, call the police, and for the love of all that’s holy, do not shake hands!

Green Lantern vs. Green Lantern

A fundamental part of costume design for super heroes is to reflect the character’s origin and story. Just like in the real world, what they wear should tell you something about them. Today I’m going to take a look at one of my all-time favorite outfits, told in two parts — Green Lantern.

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Someone page S.I. stat, we’ve got a swimsuit emergency!

You will hardly ever hear anyone say that the scaly underwear look beats whatever else you might drag out of the closet. But in this case, it applies:

Apparently there are strippers in Atlantis, because it looks like Aqualad mugged them to steal their boots and gloves. The choker isn’t helping that impression any, either. But I want to get past the idea that the future ruler of the seven seas might possibly be a secret cross-dressing mugger and ask Aquaman how he and his wife’s blonde and red hair, respectively, resulted in a child with a black Afro.

No, wait, that’s not at all what I wanted to ask. The real issue here is not “Which of the Royal Atlantean Guardsmen has kinky dark hair” but “How in the name of Poseidon does that shirt stay up with no armpits?” Does he Super-Glue the part that’s over the deltoids? Did he command two starfish to reside there permanently, desperately holding onto the spandex with all five legs?

Regardless, I’m pretty sure the fish’s cut-off dialog in this panel reads “Verily that outfit is about ten kinds of Wrong!”

On the other hand, I bet that metal belt is handy for holding the one dollar bills that routinely get shoved in his face.

(Image and character ©DC Comics and via The Vault of Buncheness.)