Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Problem with Comic Book Costumes or (Batgirl Get the Hell Out of Those Heels.) PART ONE

As a comic book geek and some what of a feasible fashonista I have always been fascinated with the costumes of superheroes. There is a lot you can tell about a person from what they wear. Do they value comfort or looks? Do they think they're good looking? Are they eccentric? We wear ourselves outside and sometimes we do not. IN fact being an eccentric person but going out of your way to tone down says a lot about you. While many people say "Don't judge a book..." yada yada yada, you can NOT help it. Now I'm not giving you permission to go up to people and be rude and judgemental, but clothes are how we show how we want people to see us. IN a medium such as comic books you are forced to look at someone and decide who they are because good comic books do not need words.(THough I should be the last one talking.

To me costumes in comic books are less about being cool and more about being practical and reflecting the individual. I believe that every artist has the right to take certain liberties, but there is a point where the liberties stop and the nightmare begins. ( Such as the bikini Wonder woman pictured above)

Nightmare costumes often start as basic ideas that escolate into extravagent flights of fancy that do not make sense. Originally back in the Golden Age of comic books the art style emphasized bight colors and dynamic contrasts. Costumes were typically simple for heroes, so that they could repeated easily if the character made repeat appearances. Villains how ever were often given ridiculous costumes when they were super powere. In fact this carried on in mass up until the 90's. I'm sure everybody remembers the riddlers costume.

Ok he does look very badass.

However the rules of simplicity vanished from comics to be replaced by the overly complicated costume designs of the 80's and 90's. This period can NOT HELP but remind me of the golden rules for memorable costumes, "Do not design your costumes for the decade" and "Keep it simple dumbass". Perhaps it is because I look back that I cringe looking at the covers of comics from the 90's and 80's. Maybe I have forgotten all those costume looked cool and practical back then.

Then again....

And yes you may look at these and go "Oh Winterrosa, but you can tell a lot about Boom-Boom...Meltdown...Boomer, Bada bada whatever the hell she's calling herself,"
And yes this is true. I can accept the skin tight body suit because it's sleek and does not hinder movement. I can accept the belt because utilities are very useful and she could carry everything from lock picks to tracking devices.
The sunglasses make perfect sense when considering her powers cause bright explosions.
But the fucking football pads make absolutely no sense what so ever....unless our little Boom-Boom has fantasy football dreams. The bright colors do tell you she is an extrovert, perhaps a dangerous one. Consider this ,true believers, you are working with the X-men running a stealth mission on the terrorist organization Hydra. Stealth, secrecy, and concealment are the only things keeping you and the others from getting your butts kicked.

Then comes Boomer...big flaming boomer in hot pink bodysuit and yellow football uniform with the team "X" brazen cross her chest. Exploding all over the place with her obvious need for attention........You are going to die.

And I know that is not Boom-Boom's worst costume, and you can point out that when she first appeared she was dressed in these VERY 80's outfits that Cyndi Lauper and Madonna would go crazy over. Actually I love those outfits they worked well, and here's why. As I said she wanted attention, she wanted to stand out and be noticed, and she was a teenage girl. She was new and no one was quite sure what to make of her, but the moment you saw that outfit you knew she would make up your mind for her. Yet her version of upgrading was to that odd contraption. If you look at her today it's a very notable difference. She grew out her hair she toned down the bright colors, and she went for practical. Once you look past the style of this particular artist(which is not bad AT ALL I quite like it in fact) You can see a relatively practical costume for her at least. She wears a dress but it's long and has less of a "o-la-la" factor than your usual fair (I'm looking at you Marvel girl). The coat can cover herself if necessary and just works in terms of how she looks. It's not particularly striking but it is very distinct. She can run and explode things without being too obvious. Does anyone else see the contradiction?

My point is that practical costumes can be very indiviualistic. I used Boom-Boom to demonstrate because she is one of the BRIGHTEST characters when given a chance particularly when it comes to costumes.


Spider-man perhaps the simplest costume is the one that divides us all yet we all know he has the best one

Superman- The relevency of red white and blue

Wonder woman...just wonder woman.