The tech that brought Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael to life in 1990 may be outdated at this point, but at the time, the palpable, textured look of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was downright groundbreaking.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.
So many people love Beyoncé that her appearance, performance, and subsequent announcement that she was pregnant during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards attracted 12.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched broadcast on MTV since its inception. In addition, her announcement on Instagram this February that she and Jay Z are expecting twins gained 6,335,571 "likes" in just eight hours, breaking the record for the most liked image on Instagram.
Just what is a superhero? Before 1917, there was no such thing; or, at any rate, there was no such word. But there have always been heroes, and some of them have had extraordinary powers or abilities. Ancient mythology has tales of Hercules, Perseus, and Gilgamesh. Medieval folklore has Robin Hood, Beowulf and the knights of King Arthur's Round Table. Then came swashbuckling tales such as The Three Musketeers. The common thread was that the main characters battled against the forces of evil. The evil could take the form of monsters, corrupt or criminal humans, or forces of nature.
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.
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.
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In 1974, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas decided that there should be a Canadian superhero, so he asked Incredible Hulk writer Len Wein to come up with one and either call him the Badger or Wolverine. Wein read up about wolverines and decided to use that name. When the character concept was developed by Wein, Marvel's Art Director, John Romita, was brought in to then give the character a look. Romita essentially designed a costume that made the character look like an animal. That was fine for his first appearance.
Dejah Thoris originally appeared all the way back in 1917 as the princess of the Martian city-state/empire of Helium in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels (the same source that introduced the more well-known John Carter (that guy who got a movie to himself in 2012) - the man who happens to be her husband). Since then, she has appeared in a number of comic books, most notably in Dynamite Entertainment's 2010-11 comic miniseries Warlord of Mars.
Many people claim Megan Fox gets movie roles only because she's hot, a conclusion which might not necessarily be true. We have seen her acting in movies such as Transformers, Jennifer's Body, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and in other franchises, and she is okay. However, we can never have an argument about whether she's hot or not, because she is undoubtedly one of the hottest women in Hollywood today.
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Namor might go down in history as the male hero with the most revealing costume. Wearing only the tiniest green speedo, Namor is the very attractive mutant who rules the seas. He is maybe the very first comic book “bad boy” dating back to his first appearance in 1939. Now, almost 80 years later, he is still known for his sex appeal, in the real world and the fictional world alike.
Let’s play a game. Think of one thing about Lady Death other than her looks. Do you know her real name? Do you know her backstory involving witchcraft and her evil father? Statistically, if you're reading this, you probably just know that she has large breasts, hardly any clothes, and each cover has her posing in a suggestive way. The truth is most comic book fans have seen Lady Death, but maybe haven’t read her series. She is one of the prime examples of the excessively sexualized female characters of the ‘90s.
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.
What's really interesting, then, in retrospect, is how the first attempt to make a Punisher motion picture, starring Dolphn Lundgren as the Punisher, decided to drop the skull motif from the character's chest. Without the awesome costume, the Punisher sure does seem like every other gunslinging hero out for revenge in the world of popular fiction, of which there have been many examples over the years. Few characters have relied on a cool costume quite as much as the Punisher.
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!