Characters like Tony Stark and Diana Prince are more than just good looks, however. When you read the adventures of Captain America, you don’t think about how sexy Steve Rogers is. Well, maybe you do, but that’s not all you care about. Unfortunately, for some characters, their appearance trumps most everything else about them. Let’s take a look at eight male and eight female characters in comics who are viewed as being more “hot” than “hero.”
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Sometimes mutant powers are really just the thing to bring a group together, and if your gang is ready to put their super human abilities to work, then there’s only one team for you: The X-Men! Storm can command the team while Cyclops keeps opponents at bay with his concussive optic blast. If you have a quick-witted member of your group, a Deadpool Halloween costume is sure to turn them into the crass and sharp-tongued Wade Wilson. Up the ante by getting a friend to go in a Wolverine costume, and you’ll have one mutant posse that no villain is going to want to tangle with. We heard Wolvie’s usually hungry though, so you’re going to want to bring plenty of snacks. “Hey. Pass the chip dip, bub!”
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.
When the Silver Age began, there were two particular types of characters who were seen as really cool that no longer get treated the same way in popular fiction -- scientists and test pilots. Scientists were the heroes of every other science fiction comic book from DC and Marvel in the 1950s and 1960s. Reed Richards being a cool scientist was a totally normal thing at the time. Similarly, test pilot Chuck Yeager was one of the most admired heroes in the United States in the 1950s due to his skills as a test pilot. You need to keep those things in mind when you realize how modeling Hal Jordan after guys like Yeager defined the character so much in the late 1950s.
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The 1960s Batman TV series helped to identify the fact that a black leather outfit was her best look, but that did not last too long in the comics themselves. Her most famous costume for years was a tight purple outfit designed by Jim Balent. The late, great Darwyn Cooke, however, came up with this brilliant mixture of a functional,black leather outfit that she wore on the Batman TV series and the film, Batman Returns. The use of the goggle mask was also a great touch. Jim Lee was wary of changing looks during his "Hush" series on Batman, but he adopted the Cooke Catwoman design entirely, that's how good it was.
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.
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!