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.
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It didn't innovate, and it didn't try to, but the original film's Superman costume faithfully and lovingly recreated the colorful, larger than life look that every kid - and most adults - love about Superman, from his shameless trunks, to his flowing, flying red cape, to his perfect spit curl, this was Superman given life, and it paved the way for every superhero film since. Recently, Man of Steel saw a much more stylized take on DC's Krytptonian hero, and while that look had its merits, Reeve's original look is still the definitive take on Superman on film.
Thomas cleverly adapted the concept of the original Fawcett Captain Marvel by making it so that Rick Jones and Captain Marvel change places whenever Rick clangs two Nega Bands together. Kane, meanwhile, re-designed Marvel's costume, giving him a primary color extravaganza. It was bright, it was bold, it was a complete 180 from the drab outfit that Mar-Vell wore before. In recent years, when Carol Danvers took over as the new Captain Marvel, Jamie McKelvie's take on her new outfit adapted the color scheme and a lot of the elements of the original Kane design.
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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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.
Just in case you thought loving comic book characters and superheroes at your age wasn't normal, you will be surprised to find out that even our favorite Hollywood celebrities love them. These celebrities go further to buy costumes, whether for Halloween parties or to attend conventions and appear at parties and such events dressed as their favorite characters.
Mike Zeck came up with the actual look and it is a stunning piece of design. All black except for the prominent white spider. Rick Leonardi also did some tweaks to the costume and it soon became the most controversial, yet surprisingly popular costume change in comic book history. Fans were aghast at first but then really started to enjoy the new look. Eventually, the design was adapted for the villain Venom, with Spider-Man returning to his classic look. It is popular enough, though, that it still makes occasional comebacks.