The costumes and designs for our favorite heroes have changed throughout the years, and while many modern versions of heroes are the best looking of the character, there are some that they just got right from the beginning. There are some that are improved though, and other heroes have so many different costumes, it’s difficult to pick which is the best.

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The hero doing the punching was courtesy of a clever design by Joe Simon, who took the concept of the red, white and blue split of the American flag and worked all three colors into the design of Captain America, giving him chain mail in the process to give him a bit of a classic knight design. Few superhero costumes have remained quite as unchanged as Captain America has for nearly eight decades now, with the only changes mostly been adding things like military belts and the like.

It has been proven in the short-lived “Witchblade” TV series and more recent comics that the character of Sara Pezzini can wield the Witchblade without losing her clothes. Unfortunately, most of the comic book version of the character has never really had this as an option. Eventually, without fail, Sara finds herself in a state of undress. When your main character is almost nude throughout the series, it’s not surprising that readers would associate her with her looks instead of her actions.
The tech that brought Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael to life in 1990 may be outdated at this point, but at the time, the palpable, textured look of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was downright groundbreaking.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.
Hathaway played sly, morally ambiguous cat burglar Selina Kyle (Catwoman) in The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan’s final instalment in his Batman film trilogy. She described the role as being the most physically demanding she had ever played, and confessed that while she thought of herself as being fit she had to redouble her efforts in the gym to keep up with the demands of the role. Hathaway trained extensively in martial arts for the role, and looked to Hedy Lamarr—who was the inspiration for the Catwoman character—in developing her performance.

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That said, like some other cliches, the sashes kept being used because they really do work. When Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum took over X-Men, one of their goals was to revamp Marvel Girl, Jean Grey, and make her a bigger character. One of the ways they were going to do this was to give her a new costume and a new codename to replace the outdated "Marvel Girl" one. Cockrum went through a wide variety of looks for Jean before coming up with this excellent costume that also worked well when John Byrne changed the color scheme to make her Dark Phoenix. Cockrum's design for Ms. Marvel deserves a note here. It didn't make the list as it was a bit too skimpy of a costume, but otherwise, it was a great look (and of course, it also had a sash).
When the Fantastic Four were introduced, Marvel was unsure if it was really prepared to transition from doing science fiction and horror comics to doing superhero comics, so the Fantastic Four originally wore just normal clothes. Even in their second issue, the team is decked out in normal outdoor wear. When the series received a tremendous response from the fans, though, Marvel knew that it had a superhero hit on their hands and so with the third issue, so creators and execs decided to give them costumes. However, they wanted to stick with the basic idea that these were not ordinary superheroes. These were sort of explorers more than traditional superheroes, and as a result, Jack Kirby came up with an awesome sort of utilitarian design for their jumpsuits. Famously, the costumes originally had masks but they decided to drop them.
Having played Buffy Summers to an entire generation, Sarah Michelle Gellar is a high school cheerleader (in Buffy the Vampire Slayer ) who is gifted and can fight demons and vampires. For which she won six Teen Choice Awards and the Saturn Award for Best Genre TV Actress and received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Television Series Drama.

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Years later, with Wolfman and Wein now working for Marvel Comics, Wolfman brought the character to Marvel's Art Director, John Romita, who took Wolfman's original design and adapted it into the character that would be known as Nova. Romita reduced the starbursts on the chest to three and added a bit of a starburst onto the helmet. Using bold, primary colors, the Nova armor design was often the most notable thing about the character for years. Even as other characters took over the identity as the main Nova at Marvel, the costume itself remained the same, as it was near impossible to improve on that basic design of Romita/Wolfman. If/when Nova shows up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can bet that this is the costume we will see.
This version of Poison Ivy by Shay Mitchell looks so good that DC should really think of auditioning her for the role if it comes up in any of their future films. She even has the right color of hair and the right type of shoes for this character. The only difference between Mitchell and the Poison Ivy in the comics and animated series is she is more decently dressed. With her beautiful face and stunning figure, she would find it easy to seduce Batman, even if it were just for a brief moment.
It has been proven in the short-lived “Witchblade” TV series and more recent comics that the character of Sara Pezzini can wield the Witchblade without losing her clothes. Unfortunately, most of the comic book version of the character has never really had this as an option. Eventually, without fail, Sara finds herself in a state of undress. When your main character is almost nude throughout the series, it’s not surprising that readers would associate her with her looks instead of her actions.
In the late 1960s, Marv Wolfman and Len Wein were two young aspiring comic book creators who self-published their own comic books. In one of them, there was a character named Black Nova, who spun out of one of the stories that they were telling at the time (Wolfman and Wein would trade off issues during their series). They came up with a basic design for the character, including five starbursts on the chest of the character.
While the X-Men's film uniforms may largely be a snooze, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is about as dead on as Logan could appear on film. Sure, he donned the same plain black leather as everyone else, but before that, Jackman captured Wolverine's logic defying hair, his old-man sideburns, and even his sneer in a way that comic fans could only dream about.
Superwomen: UNITE. Show off all of your superpowers this Halloween when you dress up in a signature women’s superhero costume! You’ll love feeling powerful and you’ll be ready to take on whatever gets thrown your way. Don’t let any villains try to ruin your Halloween! There are so many strong and beautiful women in the superhero universe, and it’s time for you to portray your favorite. Here are some of our favorite women’s superhero costumes, so you can find the perfect one for you!
When the great Wallace Wood took over the series early on, he came up with one of the most strikingly simple fixes of a costume in comic book history. He just made the costume red all over and it instantly made it an iconic look. The double-D had already been added before Wood changed the color, but the combination made for a striking costume that comic book artists always seem to eventually default to whenever Daredevil gets a costume change. When it comes to Daredevil costumes, we should always paraphrase Nuke from the classic Daredevil storyline, "Born Again" -- "Gimme a red."

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.
If you have been reading comics since the mid-‘90s, you are probably aware of the (in)famous “Marvel Swimsuit Special” issues. These issues featured the most popular male and female Marvel superheroes in their swimsuits, drawn by some of the best artists in comics. One of the most famous images is that of Colossus getting washed by a few unnamed women, his huge metallic muscles being flexed, with his shorts unzipped. It’s so over-the-top that it’s almost silly.
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.

It is hard to get even one costume on a list like this, but somehow, Spider-Man managed to show up on this list twice! It all started when a fan named Randy Schueller thought it would be a cool idea if Spider-Man had an alternate costume that he could wear. He wrote in to Marvel with the idea and, since this was back in a day when Marvel still accepted submission ideas from the public, Jim Shooter bought the idea from Randy for a little over $200. Tom DeFalco then worked with Randy for a bit on trying to turn the idea into a Spider-Man issue but it never quite came together. A couple of years later, Shooter was trying to think of major changes to be made in Marvel's Secret Wars event and he thought back to the black costume idea.
If Nightwing is known for his toned rear, then Power Girl is known for the “boob window.” While the character has a long, storied history in the DC Universe, most readers will only know her by her incredibly silly costume. While there are characters that show more skin than Power Girl, her costume still ranks as one of the most sexualized because of the big hole in the fabric in the middle of her large breasts that serves nothing reason but to show an abundance of cleavage.

This is a tricky one, since Iron Man has technically gone through a number of different designs over the years, as the outfit is always evolving. It is difficult to pinpoint precisely which armor is the best, so we have decided to pull back a bit and note that the more general "yellow and gold" design is what we're going to celebrate here. You see, when Iron Man first debuted, he wore what looked to just be a suit of big, bulky, gray iron. When he became a regular superhero, Marvel tried to fix that design flaw by literally just spray-painting the armor gold. "Oh no, he's hideous!" "Oh, never mind. He's spray-painted gold. It looks great now!" Then Steve Ditko designed a new armor that worked red into the design and it really clicked.
You don’t have to be a feminist to understand that the superhero game isn’t exclusively for men. Ladies have been busting up the bad guys for years in the pages of the comics, and they’ve started making a splash on the screen in a big way. If you have your eye on women’s superhero costumes , we’re sure you’ll be amazed with our selection. Check out some of these top picks and see if they give you inspiration in making your choice!
Vampirella is a character that is almost entirely defined by her looks. While she has been in comic book series regularly since her debut in “Vampirella” #1 in 1969, the character has largely been known for her incredibly skimpy outfit. Even in her very first comic, the cover is drawn by the legendary Frank Frazetta and shows Vampirella front and center with her legs spread and one hand placed suggestively on her hip.

In the comics, Hercules’ sex appeal has been on display numerous times. One of the most clear examples of this is in “Hercules: Fall of an Avenger” #1, when four separate female heroes all speak of their sexual conquests with Hercules. It’s even hinted that Northstar, an openly gay character, hints that he slept with Hercules. The characters even go on to talk about how he’s a sexist pig. Recently, the Internet went nuts when the recent Hercules series was announced. Not because of any particular story, but because the character looked hot with a man bun and hairy chest.


Also, like Nightwing’s booty, Power Girl’s boobs have been the subject of many, many in-continuity jokes. From characters shaming her for her costume to Power Girl even acknowledging the fact that most males tend to look down at her chest instead of up at eye-level. No matter the controversy surrounding the infamous boob window, in many readers’ minds, Power Girl is defined by her chest. Hopefully, at some point in the future, she will get that chest symbol that she has been searching for.

Catwoman has no shame about her preferred choice of action, stealing and being a top notch catburglar are at the top of her list. But when the times call for a hero, she has no problem standing side-by-side with Batman to team up and defeat the baddies. When she’s on the prowl for precious jewels, though, is sure to be the most opportune time for a quick picture. Once she takes out the vital controls of the security system, she’ll have no problem slipping into the joint and lining her pockets with a little extra cash or whatever she can find in the safety deposit box. Have her show her claws for the picture, and she can smile or look serious—either way this picture is going to be one to remember!

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Now, you can always say that vampires throughout pop culture have always been portrayed as sexual beings. Part of their appeal is that they’re dark, mysterious and sexy. However, the sex appeal dial is turned to 11 with Vampirella. Unlike others on this list that have gone through multiple costume changes and character reboots, Vampirella's costume has consistently been the same character since her debut, in her signature impractical costume. It wasn’t until very recently that creators have decided to cover her cleavage and focus more on the action/adventure side of the character.
Over the years, though, in an attempt to lighten the character up, the black of Batman's costume became bluer and bluer and during the 1960s, DC even added a yellow oval behind Batman's bat symbol on his chest. In the 21st Century, however, artists have re-embraced that classic design and gone in the direction that Jim Lee took the costume during "Hush," which is to make it dark and have the chest symbol return to just a black one without the yellow oval, which brought a little too much lightness to the design. Frank Miller famously was initially stuck with the yellow oval look in Dark Knight Returns, but then had Batman shot in the chest. When he fixed the costume, the yellow oval was gone for the rest of the series!
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.
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.
Okay, let's be real, Daredevil's original costume was kind of garish. But really, Bill Everett's first pass for Daredevil's look really did have some good parts to it. For instance, the idea of the horns on the head so that he literally looks like a devil was a good idea. The part that did not work was to mix yellow and reddish-brown for the color scheme of the outfit. Also, it was odd that he went with just a single D on his chest at first.

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.


Here, we will take a look at the very best of the best when it comes to superhero design. Do note that we are working with at least one major caveat, that the superheroes in question have iconic costumes. It does not do you much good to have a really cool costume if no one knows who you are. As a result, we are heavily weighing in the cultural impact of the costume design when we rank them. Where does a costume stand, historically, within the medium itself? That is one of the most important questions that we address when we start our ranking of the best superhero costumes of all-time.

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