Today's comic books are descendants of 19th-century "penny dreadful" serials. They were multi-part sensational stories printed on cheap paper and sold for, what else, a penny each. These stories became popular among the lower and working classes. They couldn't afford and weren't interested in, the "important" literary novels of the day. Penny dreadfuls and the "dime novels" that followed them had clear-cut good-vs.-evil themes. And they weren't short on action or melodrama, either! By the early 20th century, we had such enduring characters as Tarzan and Zorro in "pulp" fiction. (So-called because of the inexpensive paper on which it was printed.) The first of the modern superheroes was Superman, who launched the Golden Age of Comics in 1938.  

Harley is one of the most entertaining villains Batman has to fight occasionally, second only to the Joker. She is the Joker's lover and partner in crime, although their relationship is weird on so many levels. Harley used to be a normal psychiatric intern in Arkham Asylum, where she met the Joker and then turned into the crazy person she is today.

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Comic book artists quite often have the same sort of elements pop up in their costume designs. Jim Lee, for instance, is well known for how much he likes to use collars, either high collars or chokers. One of the all-time great costume designers, Dave Cockrum, used so many sashes on his costume designs that he even ended up drawing a cartoon mocking his own overuse of sashes by having a few of his characters pointing out the similarity in their costumes.
Similarly, Gil Kane going for a sleek sort of flight suit look for the Green Lantern Corps costume was a brilliant decision in the late 1950s. Kane's simple but striking design has been so good that it continues to be used by Green Lanterns over five decades later and no one seems prepared to go to a different design any time soon, at least as the base look (many lanterns diversify and personalize their looks now). Scientists and test pilots might not be treated like the heroes they were in the 1950s, but this costume remains timeless.
The tech that brought Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael to life in 1990 may be outdated at this point, but at the time, the palpable, textured look of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was downright groundbreaking. It says a lot that even almost 25 years later, the visuals of that film still hold up, and that four mutant turtles could look even sort of natural juxtaposed with the grimy, gritty set-pieces of New York's sewers and colorful, highly fictional criminal circuses.
Could you imagine anyone other than Chris Hemsworth playing Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Probably not. It’s not because his acting is Oscar-worthy, either. It’s because of that scene in the first “Thor” movie where he walks around without a shirt, right? Don’t say no, you know we’re right. No other hero in modern superhero movies is viewed as more eye-candy than hero than Chris Hemsworth’s Thor.
As noted earlier, patriotic-themed heroes were hot in the early 1940s. America was going through a strange period of both isolationism and nationalism at the same time. Americans were really proud of their country, but also didn't want to get involved in the war in Europe. Patriotic-themed heroes captured that feel, by having noble American heroes defeat villains who dared to come over here to mess with us. Things got bolder, though, when Timely Comics introduced Captain America, who broke out of the isolationist viewpoints by having the lead character punch out Adolf Hitler on the cover of the first issue, a full year before the United States actually went to war with Nazi Germany!

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