Category Archives: Bad Super Costumes

“Feral” means “Big Hair”

Marvel can teach us many things about the wonderful world of being feral:

  1. Metal is out, because feral animals don’t smelt.
  2. Claws come out from between the fingers, not from the tops of the hands, because that’s how it happens in nature. To feral things.
  3. No clothing. I mean, when was the last time you saw a beaver in a yellow spandex costume? No, wait, don’t answer that.
  4. Except for loin cloths. Loin cloths reek with feral-ness.
  5. Hair takes on the shape of whatever hat you would be wearing if you were not feral. Only more so. Thus we have the ten-gallon-hat shaped pit viper of the lower Colorado River Valley. It’s both feral and an excellent rancher.
  6. Being feral means your lower teeth are enormous.
  7. Feral things drool. A lot.
  8. Going feral can turn your deltoids into mushroom caps. So don’t do it, kids.

I think we can all be thankful that comics still has so much to teach us. Thank you, comics!

Chris Samnee’s “The Mighty Thor”

Normally on Wednesdays I talk about Bad Super Hero Costumes, but today I want to take a break from negativity to show you what a top-notch redesign can do.

The artist in question is one of my absolute favorites, Chris Samnee. His use of blocks of shadow to give his compositions form calls to mind Mike Mignola, but with a cleaner and more hopeful take to it. I think that blend of stark contrasts and bright designs made him the perfect choice when Marvel decided to create a friendlier version of the classic hero in “The Mighty Thor” last year. They’ve since canceled the title, I believe, which is a real shame.

But let’s take a look at how a truly gifted and thoughtful artist can update a classic look while maintaining the essence of the character.

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Everybody run, the new GL has got a gun

I am utterly ignorant of current DC storylines, so forgive me if this is a stupid question. But I just saw the announcement that the new GL will be an Arab (which is cool), along with this image:

You’re wielding one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. So why do you need a gun? Did I fall asleep and it’s 1995 again?

It’s an ill wind

If your super power is generating powerful winds, you might want to rethink your costume concept to not include a skirt:


Also, underwear. I’m just sayin’.

As if you needed another reason to hate the Nineties

In 1996, the two big comics publishing companies realized they could suck their customers dry with poorly conceived projects elevate their characters to a whole new level by doing what was essentially a series of mashups. In a hybrid effort labeled “Amalgam Comics“, they merged characters from each imprint into one hybrid being. For instance, the main mystic characters from each line merged to become “Dr. StrangeFate”, a name I bet took at least three seconds to think up. At least, you guys. Also it was the frontrunning title for the “Dr. Strangelove” sequel, but shockingly that never came to fruition.

To be fair, somewhere under the deep cynicism of the entire concept was the nugget of a neat idea. Unfortunately, it happened during the Image Nineties, which means — say it with me now! — it had to be EXTREME!!!1! Hence we got the Batman-Wolverine abomination known as Dark Claw:

It’s Wolverine’s helmet but with Batman scallops! It’s Wolverine’s claws but with Batman scallops! It’s Batman’s cape but with … ok, that one stayed the same. They did take the iconic Wolverine massive hair wings and apply them to Batman’s boots, so at least Logan has that much influence in the costume design department. Naturally you also have to have the ripped clothing, because MTV.

I honestly don’t know what the hell is going on with that belt buckle. Did Captain America slip in here somehow? Because you could definitely deflect bullets with that thing.

The worst part of the concept is that this guy is now unkillable, no matter how bad his outfit is. And that’s bad for all of us, people.

(Image and characters © DC & Marvel Comics.)

Hornblew

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Eighties Seventies:

Blue McDonald’s Man and his Magical Kazoo will surely help the Teen Titans in their battle against evil. I love that they’ve outsourced the bad-costume design part of the business to “TT Fan Dave Elyba” because come on, look at the work the “professionals” have produced — a woman in a giant Telemundo Bee costume, an underaged kid in green short-shorts, and a raving lunatic clown outfit. Awesome.

I’d be frosty wearing that, too

Emma Frost (aka The White Dominatrix) has for whatever reason become one of the top five pinup characters in all of comics. Unfortunately that’s put her in the line of fire for some of the most overly-sexualized costume designs the fevered brains of artists could conjure. I won’t go into them all, but I will focus on this unfortunate approach:

You have to start with the ridiculous gravity-defying side-boob bra. One assumes she keeps it up either through dedicated TK or really strong double-sided tape, either of which exhibits a truly epic level of dedication to … well, exhibitionism, I suppose. Unless that thing is made of stiff plastic and hides a virtual scaffold of underwires, she’s going to bounce out of it the first time the Blackbird hits turbulence.

What really gets me, though, is the X-Diaper, now featuring gratuitous crotch bulging. Not only is it unflattering and not only does it share the same gravity-defying power as the top, but the all-the-way-down zipper hits an all new low. Literally. This is a piece of clothing designed by someone who has never actually worn pants. Or had lady parts. Can you imagine actually zipping this thing up? Any fashion accessory that requires a hand mirror under your butt to put on is a fashion accessory that has failed.

The topper (again, literally) is that dickey she’s wearing. Seriously, if your costume involves the word “dickey”, you’ve lost before you’ve started. I know they were going for the “stylish slut” look here, but between the diapers and the mid-century failed tuxedo shirt underlining, what they actually got was “Old Folks’ Home Escapee”.

(Image and character © Marvel Comics.)

Look, it’s Copyright Infringement Man!

In the world of advertising and design, two groups inspire more fear than even the Mob or the Legion of Doom — the Girl Scouts of America and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Those people must have a thousand man-eating mutant mind sharks dressed up as attorneys on staff, because if you produce anything even remotely like their logos, they will be on you like The Biggest Losers on the last Twinkie in the package.

Which means you have to give this Golden Age hero a medal for bravery:

You see, your honor, that’s not a red cross on his chest, it’s a red seal. You can tell because it’s in his name, see? No?

Fine, if you won’t take that as definitive proof of his courage, let’s just focus on the fact that he’s willing to go out in public dressed that way. That ginormous chest medallion is so fly I can’t even stand it, but the real clincher in this ensemble is the combination of suspenders and Speedos. That’s a look you just can’t get enough of, Mr. Middle-Aged European Beach Walker. It’s like the Beverly Hillbillies and Errol Flynn had a love child raised in the South of France. “Go away or I shall taunt you with my pallid longshanks a second time!”

Is this already the most random Bad Costume review to date? I report, you decide!

(Image from “Target Comics” volume 2, number 6, 1941.)

Boomerawful

Just because he was the King doesn’t mean Jack Kirby didn’t throw out the occasional stinker. And that the stinker wouldn’t come back and hit him in the face, like with the original Boomerang:

Given the configuration of that helmet, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this was actually yet another Hank Pym incarnation. But no, a closer look reveals that no tiny insect control technology is present, just a primitive version of a karaoke machine:

I love that the giant General Mills Cereal logo on his chest is actually the control panel for his rocket boots. I can’t imagine what could possibly go wrong with that kind of an arrangement in a fight. “I don’t know, Iron Man, I punched him in the chest and the next thing I knew he was launching into the sun!”

You also have to dig the giant puffy sleeves with the throwing discs sewn in. At least, that’w what he wants us to believe, but secretly I think he has a phobia that he’ll lose a button on his pants during a battle so he carries dozens of spares.

This isn’t entirely Jack Kirby’s fault of course. Most of the blame has to fall on whoever thought up the idea of a boomerang-based character in the first place. Did they think guys with bows and arrows were too overpowered in a world with Iron Man level weaponry? I can only imagine the discarded sketches for Atlatl-Man, The Human Marble, and Captain Discus.

(Image and character © Marvel Comics.)

Glorious

With it being Independence Day in the US (celebrating the anniversary of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, rebelling against the authority of Great Britain), I thought I’d take a look at one of the worst “patriotic” super-hero outfits for Bad Costume Wednesday.

You can see an amazing collection of such characters at Comic Book Resources, but I’ve settled on Captain Glory by Jack Kirby:

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