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.
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.
That's where we come in. We can help you to look like almost any kind of superhero you want to be. If you have a particular favorite character, chances are we have a costume for him/her. We have officially licensed costumes for most of the major DC and Marvel Comics characters. Plus, we have independent or spoof characters such as Ace & Gary, Kick-Ass, Duffman, Hellboy, Shazam, and the Watchmen.
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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.
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Part of the appeal of the character was his awesome costume, which was designed by C.C. Beck. Fawcett's attempt to make Captain Marvel different from Superman was to try to work the magic angle more with their character, as Billy Batson says a magic word, "Shazam!" to transform into Captain Marvel, Earth's Mightiest Mortal. As a result, Beck went for a more ornate costume than Superman's, with a lot of flair thrown into the design. Elvis Presley would later mimic a lot of the elements of Captain Marvel's costume for his Las Vegas show outfits. If your superhero costume is cool enough that the King of Rock 'n' Roll works it into his stage outfits, then we think that merits a high spot on this countdown.
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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But some female heroes haven’t been so lucky as to get more practical makeovers. Take for example Elizabeth Olsen's cleavage-baring Avengers: Infinity War look, which Olsen says isn't exactly her personal cup of tea for a character wading into battle with Mad Titans. Even she'll admit it's a step up from Wanda's comic book look, but in her words costumes like hers aren't "representing the average woman."
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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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.
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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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As we noted in the introduction, when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster sat down to come up with the very first superhero costume, it is not that they did not have any influences to work with. In fact, it is quite evident that their super-strong hero's initial costume was modeled after the outfit that a circus strongman would wear. However, beyond the powerful primary colors used for the costume -- the blue in Superman's costume is literally the darkest shade of the traditional blue used for comic book coloring -- the costume also evoked a sense of wonder that was so unusual in comics of the time.
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.