He put the “Bumble” in “Bumble Bee”

The Forties and Fifties weren't all bad in terms of super-hero costume design; sometimes they were downright terrible, as proven by The Red Bee:


Let's ignore the guy's pathetic "powers" -- he keeps a bee in a box on his belt buckle and no, I'm not kidding -- and focus just on the costume which is, frankly, horrible enough to stop criminals dead in their tracks all by itself. Which is lucky because, come on, otherwise he'd have to rely on the bee and clearly that's not gonna work.

The first problem is that The Red Bee has broken Cardinal Rule Number One of the Male Super Hero Costume -- he's wearing pink. Now I'm as fashion-forward a progressive fellow as you're likely to meet, but not in a super-hero costume. Honestly, can you name even one super-hero who's achieved prominence wearing pink? Can you imagine Batman jogging out in a set of pink bat-ears, or The Pink Lantern? And no, the Pink Panther doesn't count, because for one thing he used to pitch insulation and for another thing I'm not even sure he's a guy. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Worse than the mere fact of wearing pink, of course, is that he's wearing pink that clashes with the red in his outfit. While I'm sympathetic to Robin Williams' point in "Good Morning Viet Nam" that "It's a war, uniforms should clash!" I don't think it applies to super-heroes.

But let's say for a moment that you're the kind of guy who can carry off a pink outfit successfully, and let's further pretend that the pink you choose doesn't clash with your other colors, and that you name yourself The Red Bee instead of the Pink Bee and no one complains. Even with all that, you don't put pink on puffy see-through sleeves! That's just wrong. I tell you, if I were that bee stuck in his belt buckle (does he have air holes or what?!) the first thing I'd do when the cry of "Release the Bee!" went out would be to sting this poorly dressed schmuck right in the eyeball for crimes against fashion.

Shockingly the outfit gets worse and worse the lower you go, with the awful red-and-yellow striped leggings and the blue boots. What kind of crack is he smoking that his world is populated a) by red bees and b) by red bees with stripes of yellow? Did they run out of black ink when they were building bees on his planet? And why blue for the boots? That just makes no sense. Maybe there was a law in the Forties that decreed that any super-hero had to have red, yellow, blue, and black in their costumes or they'd get a stiff fine or something. It's the only explanation that makes sense.

Finally, and nothing against the Golden Age here, but who decided that those masks could hide anyone's identity? Seriously. "Is that Bob?! I can't tell because of that paper-thin, inch-wide strip of cloth across his eyebrows, because like any right-thinking American I depend on eyebrow recognition to know who's who!"

Luckily The Red Bee figured all that out and made a costume so sphincter-clinchingly bad that surely no one is ever going to even see his face, much less recognize him.