Poll Position: When badness is so bad, it’s great


Click any image to see it at a larger size. The linked name goes to the original "Bad Costume" entry I wrote.

  1. Angel: "Cap off this sartorial wonder with a hideous yellow-bellied color scheme (seriously, if you fly and have wings you should never wear yellow, or you deserve every “chicken” joke you get) and red stockings with combat boots and you quickly see why he’s closer to fashion Satan than fashion Angel."

  2. B'Wana Beast: "I sense the costume designer had an issue of National Geographic in front of him while watching Mexican wrestlers on TV and enjoying the company of Mister Jim Beam."

  3. Boom-Boom: "Tell me you can look at that costume in those colors and not think something blew up. I dare you."

  4. Deimos: "I say, if you’re a man about to take on the world in a masterful plot of pure evil, why not put on a sexy red velvet, midriff-baring, slit-up-to-the-hips, wide-sleeved dress, with matching pointy slippers? And heck, while you’re at it, get yourself a nice, long-nailed manicure, because if you look good, you’ll defeat good."

  5. Mad Dog: "I suppose if you’re going to name your super-hero self after a cheap and fruity wine beverage, you ought not to be surprised if your costume also looks cheap and fruity, as if you’ve just staggered out of “your” alleyway after a long drunken night of homelessness."

  6. Prince Chaos: "I’m tempted to love the mutton chops, or maybe the fur fringed, plummet-to-the-navel neckline, or even the strange hash marks all over the ruby red outfit. But I’m going to have to go with the tiny “Kilroy” type face peeking up from his crotch as my absolutely favorite bit of this ensemble. I like to think that in some future issue, this tiny man will get his own dialog, which, believe me, will rock."

  7. Bantam: "Here’s a quick tip if you’re considering going into the super-heroing business: Unless your opponent is The Human Casserole, no one is afraid of oven mitts."

  8. Dr. Spectro: "You gotta love DC, the company whose mid-80′s motto 'No idea too ridiculous to publish' still serves as an inspiration to us all."

  9. Dr. Strange's Vampire Brother: Besides the ghastliness of the color scheme, you have to wonder why a vampire — who, let’s not forget, can actually turn into a real bat! — would need to dress up as a bat when in human form. Because if he wanted to look like a bat, wouldn’t he just, you know, turn into a frigging bat?! The giant fake ears, the giant fake wing/cape, it’s all unnecessary. It makes you wonder if, in his bat form, he wears a tiny little tuxedo and Count Dracula cape. “Look at me!” he would squeak, “I’m a human!”

  10. The Harlequin: "But then again, since her power is in her super-hypnotizing glasses, maybe the whole point of the outfit is to be so horrifically bad that onlookers are momentarily stunned, giving her a chance to slap the ol’ googly-eyes on ‘em. If so, it was brilliant, because I frankly can’t look away."

  11. Killraven: "That’s Marvel Comics’ “Killraven“, sporting a San Francisco Gay Pride Parade-worthy outfit featuring leather suspenders AND leather hot pants AND leather thigh boots AND a mini-corset string set AND an Eighties workout headband AND a mullet AND roll-top gloves.

    That’s a lot of suck to go into a costume that contains a total of, at the outside, three square inches of fabric."

  12. Living Monolith: "Marvel has had some “interesting” costume models over the years, but had you told me they could combine the likes of the Shoney’s Big Boy, with German lederhosen, by way of a super-powered S&M fetish and a glowing, creepy, vaguely obscene mouth-hole in order to give us this, I’d have said the only thing that’s a Living Monolith to is Bad Fashion. Youch!"

  13. Manhunter: "To start with, why does he have those unbelievably long ties flying out of the back of his head? Are they trying to tell us that all the teeth and the glaring and the eye mask bits and the neck — sweet fancy Moses, the neck! — are actually part of a hood and not his head? But if it’s a hood, why does it have ties like a half-mask? Why isn’t it stretched back towards the ties? How in the name of Top Model does it stay that tight across his face, to the point that we can see the sad-face frown lines creasing his worried brow?

    Whatever, the important part is that the white flyouts match the equally ridiculous red flyouts on his biceps. Why does metal armor on your arms require a cloth sash, you might ask? Clearly the answer is STORMS ELECTRICITY FIRE METAL CLUB HAAAAA!"

  14. Captain Ultra: "So just to be safe, budding super-hero sidekick (dare you go with “Captain Ultri-mate”?), take a page from your mentor’s book and go with blue and red and yellow and orange and green and black. Because Superman might have more powers, and Batman more balls, but nobody wears more colors than Captain Ultra!"

  15. Atlas: "There’s a reason Pampers doesn’t make leopard-skin diapers, and besides a complete lack of absorption that reason is this [costume]. Because even babies wouldn’t be caught dead looking that ridiculous."

  16. Looker: "Given this bizarre melange of magpie-like thievery and eye-bleeding color choices, you’re hard pressed to pick out just one element as “the worst”. Luckily Looker has thought of that, and helped us out by thoughtfully having gigantic white nipples sewn to her breasts. That kind of altruism will go far in your heroic career, Ms. Briggs."

  17. Shriek: "Because, you know, boobs mean girls when you’re a boy. OK, or a grown up male as well, let’s be honest. Also, just in case those gender stereotypes haven’t sunk into their young brains yet, it’s important to name the only female something shrewish, like “Shriek” because those girls just won’t shut their yappers, amirightguys!?"

  18. Slipknot: "He’s got one rope lassoing his face, and the other about to ensnare his package. One can only assume this outfit was designed and stitched by his passive-aggressive wife, too afraid to outright tell him to keep both his mouth (and everything else) zipped, and so reduced to this subtle yet menacing textile rebuke."

  19. Cosmic Boy: "Now, maybe in the future it’s cool for men to run around looking like half-naked ladies of the night. And I’m down with whatever gets your jollies, at any point in our timeline, but that’s just flat-out bizarre. In a group that has Giant Bondage Lad, a guy whose super power is to eat stuff, and a chick in bell bottoms, it’s really saying something when you draw the biggest laugh when entering a room."

  20. Iron Skull: "He was much better off when he just wore a suit and tie and tried to taunt his enemies into only firing at his head. Although apparently he took one too many slugs to the ol’ noggin and switched to this outfit instead. Pity."

Choosing just one is a tough challenge. I was really tempted to go with Prince Chaos' tiny little costumed penis, but I can't in good conscience vote for something Hugh Hefner is likely to be wearing on any particular day.

Many of the others are awful, but no quite well-known enough to qualify in my back of "Worst Ever." I think you need to achieve a certain level in the super-powered world to be the "Ever" of anything. And so my vote is going to go to "Boom Boom", for a costume that's almost literally an assault on both the eyeballs and good fashion sense. Not only is the costume bad, but the accessories and hair are even worse. I mean honestly, who goes out to fight crime still wearing their headgear? I'll tell you who -- the kind of person who needs to write their name on their pants leg in neon yellow so they don't forget who they are. It's humiliating.

But that's just the opinion of one fashion-challenged bald guy. The overall Worst Costume Ever winner (?) is really up to you. So cast your vote and make your case in the comments! If I left anyone out, let me know that too.

53 Responses to Poll Position: When badness is so bad, it’s great

  1. dblade says:

    Hey Jeff,

    You put “Colossal Boy” instead of “Cosmic Boy” in the poll buttons.

    Helpful Boy

  2. Jeff Hebert says:

    Thanks dblade, fixed now. Good catch! I actually had a Colossal Boy entry as well that I took out at the last minute.

  3. John says:

    I laughed all the way through this. Well done, Jeffrey. Well done!

  4. X-stacy says:

    I had to go with Prince Chaos, because he so clearly wants the title more than the others. I mean, it’s not just a little devil face on his crotch–it’s a little devil face that’s brighter than any other element of his costume. Dude wants you to look. And you did, didn’t you?

  5. Dan says:

    I’m going with Angel, because even though X-Men wasn’t Marvel’s top seller when he was wearing it, it was still in a mainsteam Marvel comic at a time when Marvel still only had a handful of superhero teams. There was no excuse for this costume to ever see print.

  6. Myro says:

    I’m having a hard time trying to vote; there is just so much bad here. But I still hold the most egregiously stupid costume still belongs to Shatterstar.

    Actually, that one doesn’t even do it justice. When Liefeld was at the top of his crap-drawing game, he could make that single shoulder pad so big, Shatterstar wouldn’t be able to look over it, making it effectively useless to have a single shoulder pad in the first place. Which is still undone by the fact that he WEILDS TWO SWORDS AT ONCE! And one of those swords has TWO PARALLEL BLADES! Oh, I need to stop now before I start frothing at the mouth.

  7. Lime says:

    I’m laughing so hard I very nearly lost my ice cream! I’m going to have to go with Prince Chaos, at least due to your commentary on Li’l Kilroy as anything else.

  8. The Imp says:

    I voted for Prince Chaos. Kilroy was here!

    I’ve got to say, the more I look over Slipknot’s costume again, the more I like it. Really, the only bad thing about it is the side cut-outs, which are slightly creepy…

  9. Myro says:

    The other one that I’m disappointed isn’t here is Aviax, but then, while the costume is particularly ugly, I think the worst part is the introduction of “mating with dinosaurs.” Oh God, I think I threw up a little in my mouth.


  10. Me, Myself & I says:

    How the heck am I going to decide who to vote for hear? Everywhere I look = bad!

  11. Mr.MikeK says:

    I had to go with Atlas. The horrific blending of really bad spandex with jungle guy trunks could not be ignored.

    Jeff, I updated my email. Remind me not to do that again. Makes my comments need moderation.

  12. Jeff Hebert says:

    Hey, Mr.MikeK, don’t update your email again.

    Although actually, now that the comments are approved I don’t THINK they’ll get moderated again.

  13. zaheelee says:

    Myro(6): YES!!!! Jeff, can you PLEASE make that (the second link) one of the options? I mean, it has Rob Liefeld written all over it! Let’s make a list:
    thigh pouches: check
    lack of feet: check
    lack of hands: check
    completely useless costume pieces: check
    weird hair: check
    complete inability to judge what a normal person actually looks like: CHECK!

  14. zaheelee says:

    oh, and lame modified catchers mask: check

  15. Myro says:

    zaheelee (14): I was thinking “useless boxing headwear” actually.

  16. zaheelee says:

    true, very true

  17. dblade says:

    I wanted to vote for Atlas because every time I look at his costume I think the fist on his chest is trying to knock some fashion sense into him. Alas I went for Cosmic Boy. The Legion of Super Heroes was the first comic book I started collecting and I consider this costume an affront to my fond memories.

  18. RitoruBushi says:

    Wow…. I wish I had known in advance that there would be images of said costumed fashion criminals here. I did an individual search for each one via google, the only one I couldn’t find was Bantam. However, the alternate I found for Deimos was horrifically different than the one here. The one I found was pretty much crotchless with a baby leg sitting on two apples hanging out almost all the time (even when fighting. and his opponents were often the same way). No hero, or villain for that matter, should rock out with his sock out 22/7 like that.

  19. Me, Myself & I says:

    RitoruBushi (18) I made the same fatal error regarding Deimos. Now addmitedly I anticipated that Jeff would put the images here as well but I thought I’d look up a few of these I was less familiar with. I’m just going to call it a learning experience and never do that search again.

  20. Jeff Hebert says:

    RitoruBushi: Hey now, you can’t lead with a great line like “No hero, or villain for that matter, should rock out with his sock out 22/7 like that” and not provide a link! That’s just a tease, baby!

    Myro & zaheelee: Shatterstar IS bad, I grant you, but though the headgear, sword, and hair are all horrific, I couldn’t get too riled up about the plain white uniform.

  21. Myro says:

    Jeff (20): To be fair, I didn’t actually say Shatterstar’s costume was the worst, I said it was the stupidest. Compared to the other costumes here, it doesn’t even rate in the ugly scale, but where it shines is in its abundance of dumb. Liefeld’s threw in every bell and whistle he could on this one, every single one of mindshattering impracticality, in the hopes of making him look “cool.”
    I also notice you said nothing of my Aviax post, which leads me to believe that one was one of your last cuts from the list.
    As for Deimos, I jumped in front of a moving bullet and looked it up. Oh dear God! But, I’m pretty sure it’s not the same character, it’s not even from DC (I’m pretty sure it’s not even Vertigo). So there you go.

    I still haven’t voted. Right now it’s between the real Deimos, Prince Chaos, and Cosmic Boy. The ability to make your costume look like it would fit into a Pride parade is a big factor in my decision.

  22. Jeff Hebert says:

    Actually Aviax didn’t make it very far; his outfit’s bad, but not up to the standards of awfulness on display here. His conduct on the other hand …

  23. Dan says:

    Myro (21), the thing with Shatterstar is it’s almost too easy. It’s like saying Vanilla Ice sucks. We all know it, why bother? The sad fact is it’s not that much worst than the rest of the team’s costumes at the time. Every member of X-Force looked just as stupid. The thing that’s more worth the mockery is that Liefeld was able to leave Marvel to co-found Image and create an intire universe of Shatterstar wanna-bes.

  24. Myro says:

    Dan (23): You have to understand that Shatterstar has become something of my particular whipping boy. A lot of it really comes into my resentment of resentment of Liefeld for driving me away from comics during my University years, and that Shatterstar’s costume in particular combines nearly every, if not all, of Liefeld’s bad costume conventions. It’s like this character in particular had drawn a giant bullseye on himself for my wrath and contempt. Which is why I’m constantly railing against him, when, yes, everyone on X-Force (and subsequently Youngblood and other Liefeld Image titles) looks just about as dumb.
    So the point is, yeah, Liefeld characters are easy targets to go after. Liefeld himself is easy to go after. It doesn’t make it any less cathatic when I do it.

  25. Worst prize goes to Cosmic Boy. Let’s never speak of this again.

  26. punkjay says:

    I can’t believe 3-d man didn’t even make the list, green & red always suck together

  27. zaheelee says:

    Myro, I agree with you. I wasn’t saying that Shatterstar was the worst either, but it is one of the perfect embodiments of every bad Liefeld aspect that I mentioned in my list above. That is why I find this hilarious 🙂

  28. William A. Peterson says:

    I went with poor old B’wana Beast, because he was stuck with that costume through every appearance he had.
    Some of the others are worse, but they were either one-shots, or had a variety of other bad costumes to work with…

  29. logosgal says:

    It was Boom-Boom all the way—until I saw Atlas.

    When I saw Cosmic Boy, my first thought was “So that’s what that piece in the Tops-Spandex section is for!” 😉

  30. Mr.MikeK says:

    I couldn’t vote for Deimos. The costume is really great and would look completely awesome on a woman. Actually looks like something my wife would wear on Halloween. The only problem with it is that a guy is wearing it.

    Prince Chaos is trying just a little too hard to win…

    In the spirit of hate, perhaps a poll of Liefeld’s worst designs ever? The only problem I see is narrowing down the field to a reasonable selection.

  31. Joshua says:

    Reed Richards: Jeff? This is Dr. Reed Richards, Ph.D.– pleased to meet you. Before we get down to brass tacks, I just have to tell you Franklin really enjoys utilizing your Hero Machine programs; being a 12th level intellect doesn’t always guarantee one’ll be blessed in creative endeavors, so it’s appreciated that Franklin has a creative outlet.

    Now, pleasantries aside, I took the time to peruse your latest poll and need to address with you one noticeable absence on the list: Victor Von Doom. Since Victor’s always so headstrong about being included on these polls, I say you and your community should do him the honor of granting him, “Worst Super-Costume Of All Time”. Though not a fashion expert, we all can agree that a suit of armor and a green tunic just seem to clash, don’t they?


  32. spidercow2010 says:

    The attempt to judge involves too much study of the perpetrators, so I quit when my corneas began to bleed.
    But I did have a thought: We have the Pinup, Real Life, Zombie and Rock Star versions of Hero Machine, and I have no idea if anyone uses them. What about, WAAAY down the road, when HM3 is post-Beta, you, or perhaps a young apprentice (turned to the dark side) could develop a Liefeld version to replace one of the aforementioned? You know, a selection of pouches, ginormous guns, shoulder pads, monster packages– oh, just consult Zaheelee’s list (#13). That’s for the men. For the women, a lot of thighs bigger than the waists, gas-giant size hooters, and body parts that will only fit together at anatomically impossible angles. Pointless cross-hatching galore. Ridiculous amounts of facial wrinkles and shadows independent of any light source. And–very important–no feet.
    Think of it: an army of Liefelds, cranking out a veritable cornucopia of craptacular creations. The existence of the original Liefeld will no longer be required.

  33. Myro says:

    Joshua (31): How do you think Doom’s going to take it when you go moonlighting to transcribe the words of his greatest nemesis? Really now? And to do so under the reason of proving your regular employer belongs on some worst dressed list? That takes some real cojonés.
    Well, unfortunately, while Reed Richards may be the go-to guy on quantum multi-planer shifting, I’m afraid he is no fashion expert. Trust me, I’d rather look at riveted metal armor under a green hooded tunic than a blue spandex bodysuit (except on Sue, she can pull it off. Oh, and Jennifer Walters).

  34. Denise Adams says:

    Love the write-ups that accompany the photos, especially the one with the Leiderhosen… Great prose and hysterically funny costumes. What WERE they thinking?!

  35. Dan says:

    Myro (24) I hear ya. And for the record, I totally agree with you that Shatterstar is the drizzling sh*ts. Have you seen his second costume? Now, if you want a truely ugly and hateable costume, that’s the one. It’s so bad that it changed almost every time because it had so much crap on it that the artists couldn’t even keep it straight. And this was post Liefeld, too!

  36. Me, Myself & I says:

    spidercow2010 (32) you can do all of that stuff with HM3 already.

  37. dblade says:

    This looks like a job for CAPTAIN LIEFELD!!!!! http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=76281&d=1301190071

  38. dblade says:

    Captain Liefeld needs shoulder pads though. I see another revision in his future. CRAPTITUDE AT FULL LEVELS! ENGAGE!

  39. Myro says:

    Dan (35): Ow! My eyes!

  40. RitoruBushi says:

    [First, it’s Hebert, not Herbert, but second, yes, you’re right, those are pretty astoundingly inappropriate. I asked for it, I know, but there’s no way I could keep the links in here. Wow. Just … yeah. — Jeff]

    To Jeff Herbert:

    Well, fair is fair, but don’t blame me for the EXTREMELY MATURE CONTENT. You wanted links, here’s just a handful. I’ll start off by providing a link to a comic book cover to prove who it is I am talking about.

    [Link deleted.]

    Here’s one of him in “action”
    [Link deleted.]

    Just another walk along the beach, or perhaps a viewing of the sun setting? You make the call!
    [Link deleted.]

    This one I actually HAVE to state that this is for mature audiences ONLY. Legalities and what not, I’m sure you understand.
    [Link deleted.]

    All of this and, disturbingly, much more by searching on google with “Deimos comics”. I had to add the “comics” to the search because without it a grip of slop that had nothing to do with comics came up.

    This version of Deimos is first to pop up in the search. The one you are referring to doesn’t come up until the 8th page, and even then, the only thing he has on is a much MUCH more shortened version of the loin cloth. But now can you see my confusion?

  41. zaheelee says:

    @dblade(37): And his trusty sidekick, Lady Liefeld!!!!!

  42. dblade says:

    @zaheelee (40)

    CAPTAIN LIEFELD: Ouch! My already wedged crotch region has just gotten snugger!

  43. Myro says:

    zaheelee (40): I don’t want to come off as too critical, given that I don’t have the slightest idea how to do it in HeroMachine, but you missed.out on two details.

    1. Her waist is too big. For a regular girl, sh’d be on the thin side, but for Liefeld, any woman with a 20′ waist would be considered thick. Look at Boom-Boom. Now imagine her without the pouches around her waist, her dimensions look around 36-12-32 (and most of that 32 is her bootie, Liefeld women don’t know the meaning of “childbearing hips).
    2. What hips she does have need to be cocked to an impossible angle. Liefeld women typically hold 2 poses: from the side with their ass jutting out, or from the front or rear with one hip cocked up to the wide, neither one of these poses capable without what looks to be a severe spinal dislocation where the spine meets the pelvis.
    Otherwise, good job. As I said, I don’t know how to do either of those effects, and by not giving her feet, you don’t need her walking on her tip-toes at all times (another Liefeldian aspect, generally on feet too small for their legs). But the flaws in your picture are not your fault, after all, Jeff designed the program to create a more normal looking female character.

  44. spidercow2010 says:

    @MM&I (36): Well, yes, but it still turns out too good.

  45. spidercow2010 says:

    btw, I’m curious: Anybody know why Shatterstar was forced to leave Mojoworld?
    [Y’know, thru all my college years I never dreamed I would type a sentence anything like the above.]

  46. spidercow2010 says:

    btw, I’m curious: Anybody know why Shatterstar was forced to leave Mojoworld?
    [Y’know, thru all my college years I never dreamed I would type a sentence anything like the above.]

  47. Myro says:

    Amazing Spidercow (45): Okay, I went and looked it up, (you don’t actually think I own the comics that explain this, do you?) and it turns out that Shatterstar wasn’t forced to leave Mojoverse as much as it was a case that he had joined up with the resistance group opposed to his timeline’s Mojo in Mojoverse, and then left it for the mainstream Marvel Universe in the hopes of getting the X-Men to help him and his compatriots overthrow Mojo, which is where he got mixed up with Cable and X-Force. But, since he had no real emotional connection to Mojov

  48. Myro says:

    err….Mojoverse, after Mojo was defeated, he returned to stay with his friends. Hope that answers it.

  49. zaheelee says:

    @Myro(42): That was intentional. Have you ever noticed that Liefeld draws female hips WAY to big?

  50. Myro says:

    zaheelee (49): I know. Mostly my entry was meant to mock Liefeld some more, and not to criticize you.

  51. Rendu says:

    Re: Prince Chaos-
    Weird coincidence- I was cataloging some old comics, and just went through the original “Warp”, the first Comics series he appeared in. (I suspect the E-Man appearance was either a preview or a cross-over.) Chaos’s costume is nowhere close to the worst in the book! (Check out the cover gallery at: http://www.comics.org/series/2814/covers/)To make matters worse, it was adapted from a stage play. That’s right- real people were actually wearing these things. In public. Because someone thought it was a good idea. Actors don’t get paid enough.

  52. X-stacy says:

    I’m actually not surprised that Patrick Fillion’s Deimos is on top, RitoruBushi.

    Er, that didn’t come out right.

    What I meant to say is, although the niche market of gay men who a) love comics, and b) think Tom of Finland drew dicks much smaller than they needed to be, is probably pretty small, it’s still gotta outnumber the fans of Marvel’s Deimos.

  53. RitoruBushi says:

    Sorry about the typo. I’ve been dealing with constant headaches lately, and my vision gets a bit blurry from time to time. It sucks not being perfect.