Psylocke comes in as our fourth X-Men character on the list. It’s hard to pin down why the X-Men characters tend to fall into the “sexy” categories, but honestly, you could probably come up with a dozen or so to fill another similar list. More so than the other X-people on this list, Psylocke has been a character almost completely defined by her sex appeal to readers.
Sure, critics might say that her barely-there costume was a product of the time. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, comic book fans responded to female characters that were dressed in next to nothing. However, when DC began the “New 52” relaunch, they came under fire from readers with their new version of Starfire. Her already skimpy costume was reduced even more to being almost non-existent. She appeared in a bikini and nude in scenes, and it was almost as if readers were transported back to the mid-‘90s “Marvel Swimsuit Special.” It wasn’t until recently that the character has received a much more appropriate costume.
When Frank Quitely redesigned the character for “New X-Men,” her costume consisted of an impossibly constructed top that had a huge “X” cut out in the front. The exact physics of the costume were never explained, but it’s clear that the artist was trying to emphasize her sexuality. The costume has since been updated, thankfully, but her sex appeal is still front and center, even today. Just searching “Emma Frost” in Google Images shows you exactly how she’s viewed. There aren’t any panels from her appearances in years of comics. Instead, it’s all sexually suggestive pictures.
However, when Wolverine was then chosen as one of the main characters in the All-New, All-Different X-Men to debut in Giant Size X-Men #1, Marvel turned to Gil Kane, who had become a go-to cover artist for Marvel in the mid-1970s, to draw their cover debut. Kane looked at Wolverine's costume and decided to add a cowl to his face mask rather than the whisker look that Romita had on the original costume. Dave Cockrum had drawn the original costume throughout the issue, but after he saw the Kane re-design, he liked it so much that he went back and re-drew it all the way throughout the issue. Almost five decades later, that Romita/Kane design still stands out as Wolverine's most commonly used costume.
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Starfire might have become the most sexualized character in superhero comics, and that’s saying something. Debuting back in 1980, in “DC Comics Presents” #26, Starfire was always drawn scantily clad. Her orange skin and red hair were the center of attention, with just a few purple strips of fabric covering her body. It’s hard to justify her outfit and sexualization when some of her most famous scenes in comics revolve around her lack of clothing.
Like most things in this world, superhero costumes did not just pop into this world out of thin air. There was a long history of costumes that predated them and influenced their creation. There was the colorful armor that knights wore in the Middle Ages. There were the fantastical outfits that some of the characters in pulp fiction novels and adventure comic strips wore. Perhaps most notably, there was the over-the-top attire that circus performers wore in the many traveling shows of the early 20th century. All of these previous ideals helped to influence the direction of superhero costumes in comic book history.
There were some slight changes from Ditko's armor to the one featured here, mostly with the face mask, but since those changes were made, that basic design has been fairly consistent. Now, Iron Man's armor has obviously been altered in other ways as technology has changed, but the basic yellow and gold design has been used almost exclusively since then. No matter how fancy the armor gets otherwise, the yellow and gold set-up is a catchy design.
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The most famous storyline featuring Namor is actually an ongoing story with the Invisible Woman, Sue Richards. Dating back to some of his earliest appearances in the Silver Age, he has been the bad boy that Sue Richards has been drawn to but can never have. His good looks and anti-hero nature make him a very desirable character. Considering most people know him for his revealing costume, and his pseudo-love affair with Sue Richards, it's easy to see how Namor lands on this list.
Starfox is probably the only hero in the Marvel Universe actually defined by his sexuality, not just to outside readers, but also to the characters in the universe. Describing Starfox as an actual hero is a bit of stretch. It’s more fitting to call him a cosmic womanizer that goes around the Marvel Universe attempting to seduce female characters. He is most definitely more hot than hero.