Pick a random issue of “Witchblade” prior to the last year or so of its run and you’d be hard-pressed to find a cover that didn’t feature the main character sexualized. Obviously, the biggest reason for the sexual nature of the covers is the fact that the character’s costume is basically the most unrealistic armor ever seen. Basically just enough armor to cover her arm, her nipples and only the bare minimum below the belt, Sara Pezzini’s costume is pretty ridiculous. It’s no surprise when most people would define the character based on her appearance than on her actual heroics.
Soon, other artists streamlined Shuster's original design and made it look more like spandex. Thus, the classic Superman look was born. This was not just the ideal Superman look, but it became the ideal look for superhero costumes period. The success of this design informed essentially every superhero costume ever to follow after it. For a character as popular as Superman, who has been adapted into so many different forms of media, it is an amazing testament to how good his first costume was that when Action Comics hit #1000, Superman was wearing essentially the same costume that he wore 999 issues earlier.
Artist Dave Cockrum had already famously re-designed most of the members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, giving them modern revamps to their rather staid older costumes. His Lightning Lad re-design was particularly good, as while many of the character got later revamps over the years, Cockrum's Lightning Lad look became a standard one for the character for decades. Essentially, Cockrum was so far ahead of the game that when the team was revamped in the 1990s, his early 1970s design fit right in. While working on the Legion, Cockrum designed a new team of heroes called the Outsiders who were set to team up with the Legion. DC passed on the concept.
Vartox belongs on this list, not because of his sexy nature, but because of how he was created to be sexy and ultimately failed. Unfortunately, over the years, the sexy nature of his design was lost, and the ridiculous costume and silly look defined the character. His look is also lampooned a bit in his appearance in “Power Girl.” There, he tries to woo Power Girl into helping him repopulate his home world. He dons a black leather speedo and see-thru robe, trying to show how sexy he is. Unlike others on this list who are actual sex symbols, Vartox is here because he was created to be a sex symbol, but fans never really bought into it.

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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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Thor, Captain America, and even Hulk and Iron Man all got new looks for Marvel's groundbreaking blockbuster, and while the characters all looked great in their own films, they never looked better than when they finally came together under and unified aesthetic. From Cap's streamlined look, to Hawkeye's subtly comic-influenced S.H.I.E.L.D. garb, the Avengers were most visually powerful as a unit, where their comic book essence was captured nearly flawlessly by pitch-perfect visual cues.
Thor, Captain America, and even Hulk and Iron Man all got new looks for Marvel's groundbreaking blockbuster, and while the characters all looked great in their own films, they never looked better than when they finally came together under and unified aesthetic. From Cap's streamlined look, to Hawkeye's subtly comic-influenced S.H.I.E.L.D. garb, the Avengers were most visually powerful as a unit, where their comic book essence was captured nearly flawlessly by pitch-perfect visual cues.
In the late 1960s, Marvel wanted to make sure it got control of the name "Captain Marvel" for trademark purposes, so Stan Lee and Gene Colan quickly came up with a character to go with the name. For the costume, creators had him wear a literal Kree captain's uniform, which in this case was a green and white outfit with a little flair to it. It was a decent enough costume for a rank and file character, but it was a weak design for a superhero. Unsurprisingly, the Captain Marvel series was a hard sell for Marvel. Marvel needed to keep it going, though, so the company brought in Roy Thomas and Gil Kane to revamp the series. 

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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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