Costumes shouldn’t be changed, ever. Trust me, I know. I’ve been wearing the same feety pajamas and diaper my parents brought me home from the hospital in for over thirty years now. Sure it’s smelly, falling apart, and a mental/physical health hazard to all who approach me. That’s not the point…it’s ICONIC!
DC just changed Wonder Woman’s outfit a few scant months ago and now they’re batting up for Superman’s costume reboot. And recape, and repants, and reshirt. The Fantastic Four are now wearing white, Spidey has had about four different outfits in the last year (Regular, Back-in-black, Iron Spider and that Future black and red glowy thing) and even The Incredible Hulk family had to dye themselves red to stay on top of the fashion wars.
The shelf life on a wardrobe reup is roughly five to seven years…these days even less. Don’t you worry. These are fads and they never stick. Once again it is all marketing to sell more comics. Rather than focus on the negative, let’s accentuate the positive. Here are a few costume changes that were actually GOOD for comics:
Thor had a pretty swanky redesign at the hands of Oliver Coipel. The Thunder God’s inexplicable white circles became armor plating, his tunic covering a plate mail bodysuit. It worked because unlike Thunderstrike, Warrior Thor and all the other awful 90’s redesigns it changed very little.
Subtlety may be the way to go…case in point?
Batman started in grey tights and blue undies. YES it is classic, but the black Bat-armor bodysuit is no less iconic to the American lexicon thanks to movies and cartoons.
One could argue that the all black Batman was a no-brainer after Spider-Man’s famous 80’s costume change…another classic costume switcheroo which has stood as a success. One wonders why the Dark Knight didn’t go Goth sooner…isn’t it easier to creep in a shadow in shadowy tones?
Plus it does make him look slimmer.
Marvel has MANY obscure characters, one of which is the amazing D-Man, a.k.a. Demolition Man Dunphy. D-Man wears a wolverine-esque yellow and brown tunic/jumper with a big “D” emblazoned on his torso…an outfit that used to be Daredevil’s!
Daredevil is so recognizable in his Bright Red, horned head suit that few remember his original costume designed by Jack Kirby and Bill Everett.
This costume certainly breaks the trend of subtle changes being the best, but certainly proves a different rule: Graphic is better! Going from yellow/brown in patterns to flat red catches the eye and the bad guy every time!
The train wreck that was the Golden Age Green Lantern costume shall forever haunt the closet of superheroism’s past. Thank you, Gil Kane, for saving us from a Big Summer Blockbuster film starring a man in a poofy red shirt with a green silk Dracula cape.
SEE, TOLD YA’
Change can be good. Costumes come and go, what is really important is the great stories told beneath the covers.