Movies & TV / Columns

Comics 411: Favorite Superhero Costumes

October 28, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Doctor Fate

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last time we discussed Scariest Comic Book Moments Here’s what some of you had to say:

Tayo Jones: “Dr light raping sue was tasteless shock value not scary. Scary was the scene from Spider-man tangled Web issue 3 where Kingpin confronts one of his employees after Spider-man ruined an operations he was in charge of. The tension was thick and the image of Kingpin standing over his employee was intimidating. You knew something bad was going to happen but you don’t know when it will happen.

Another scary moment was 24 hours. In the story Dr Destiny uses his powers to manipulate the patrons of the diner. The things he made them do was unspeakable. And when he was asked why he was doing this hge simply said “because I can”. That is scary”

Excollector: “Hands down one of the scariest for me was in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth. There’s a panel where Gordon and the Batman can only listen as the Joker threatens to put a pencil through a nurse’s eye. The scene ends in a scream. At the time the book was so different from everything else out there that as a reader there was no way to know what had just happened. Was this a point of no return in the DC universe.”

Lycanthrokeith: “”What If?” Vol 2 87.
After an ill-advised attempt to tame Sabretooth, he rampages around the Mansion, brutally killing Beast, Bishop, and Iceman, as he hunts down Jubilee. It finally ends when Jubilee lures him into the Danger Room, disables the safeguards, and cries and listens as Sabretooth is torn apart.
Very tense, great “Final Girl” feeling.”

Prishpreed: “Killing joke….I was completely shocked when he shot Barbara. 11 year old me, at that point, had only experienced 60’s Batman joker. A strong second is him beating Robin with a crowbar. It was tough to handle emotionally as a kid.”

El Atomico: “Killing Joke, for sure.”

Captain Mcgloo: “Cameron Hodge sneaking around the X-Men books as this mangled disembodied head with a cardboard cutout of a suit dangling around his neck was creepy as hell.”

J Free: “UXM #143. John Byrne and Chris Claremont’s homage to Alien.

A Christmas theme, a young Kitty Pryde alone in the mansion and a N’Garai demon hunting her.

I remember buying that issue at a local comic shop when I was a kid in the 90’s. The shop had so many back issues and that particular cover drew me in!”

D2Kvirus: “”You sure? You don’t recognise that mole on the right cheek? It’s okay…It’s o-kay…I’ll put it back on” – The Reaver Cleaver”

Some awesome comments last week! Go and check out the rest, if you can. Thanks for the input and keep it coming!

This week we discuss…

The Best Superhero Costumes
It’s Halloween week so let’s end our themed columns with our favorite superhero costumes!

In thinking about what makes a great superhero costume, you have to take in a few factors. First, it should be able to tell you who the hero is right away. I’ve always been a fan of simple designs. Take a look at the most iconic costumes and they all have that in common. That’s not to say complicated uniforms are trash but, especially in comics, how complex costumes come off is dependent on the artist drawing them. Some artists love the details while others will cheat here and there to make their job easier.

Does the costume inspire or make you cringe? Does the color structure work? Too many colors can make it ridiculous and contrasting colors can hurt the eyes. Is it functional? You have to think about the movie aspect as well these days. How will it look in theaters and on TV screens?

Every superhero costume has gone through evolution. Some are better than others and many times we realize that you shouldn’t mess with a good thing. 

Let’s get it out of the way at the start, Squirrel Girl has the most fun costume. Done.

My personal favorite? Doctor Fate. The classic blue and gold along with a sleek helmet drew me to Fate as a kid. His popularity has been up-and-down over the years, thanks to uneven writing and never really getting center stage in big stories but his costume has kept him in contention. He even looked good on Smallville back in the day. I’m hoping we get a good version in the upcoming Black Adam movie. 

If I had to say a really great costume that’s highly underrated, I’d go with the original Deathlok. A soldier zombie cyborg? How is he not more popular? His look works with action AND with horror when you look at it.

When it comes to basic, one color costumes that work, I like Black Bolt, Moon Knight, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch. Each cool in their own way.

Others just outside the winner circle are Green Lantern, Ms. Marvel, and Rorschach. Rorschach’s has been a favorite of mine for a while. It ties in well with his name and mood of the character.

While Thor’s costume doesn’t get the love it should, it conveys his godly status and warrior spirit. Another one that doesn’t get love is Spider-Woman. While her costume pays homage to Spider-Man, the differences make it all her own.

I put Captain Marvel and Captain America in the same category. While Captain America has the iconic status on lock, they both use a basic color scheme that gives it a functional, military feel that let’s readers (and supervillains) know what they are getting into.

While Invincible has ended and doesn’t have the years the others do, his costume checks every box on the greatest list. Some may call it retro but it’s one of the best in the business.

Wolverine might have had a number of costume changes over the years, there’s one thing that ties them together: those claws. Not many characters could pull off the brown and yellow but Wolverine made it work and come off as a badass.

Another one who’s had plenty of costumes is Iron Man. Some better than others, no matter what armor he wore, you knew you were fighting Iron Man. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Flash. Simple and effective. Complex and effective? I’d go with Spawn.

When it comes to the cream of the crop, the last three names usually come down to Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man. The reason is simple. Icons. Their lasting popularity and design have rightfully earned them their place in the Superhero Costume Hall of Fame. But who’s the best to you?

Comment below! I’m guessing I’ll get at least one Power Girl comment.

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!