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.
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.
Harry George Peter was already 61 years old when he came up with the design for the new female superhero that William Marston was planning for All-American Comics, then called Suprema. This was 1941, when patriotic characters were a big hit in comics, so Wonder Woman definitely had a strong Star Spangled Banner take on her design. In the early 1980s, DC Comics helped create a short-lived Wonder Woman charity, the logo of which was the double W's, which led to Wonder Woman adapting the "WW" on her chest emblem. Other than the emblem, the only thing different from her classic look than in Peter's original design is that he had Wonder Woman wearing a skirt instead of short pants.
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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.
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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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.
Not coincidentally, it also featured the best bat-suit yet on film. It may not have looked quite as definitive in close ups as Michael Keaton's outfit, but it moved more fluidly, owing largely to the suit's increased mobility, and especially coupled with its flowing, shadowy cape, cut the best silhouette of any of Batman's onscreen looks -- sorry, Batfleck.
In the 1950s, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the same guys who brought Timely Captain America, had worked on some comic book ideas in the 1950s and one of them ended up becoming the Fly for Archie Comics. When Stan Lee asked Kirby to come up with a new spider-themed hero, The King of Comics adapted some of the design ideas that he had for the earlier spider hero and used them for Spider-Man, including a gun that shot webs. Lee was not a fan of the look and asked Steve Ditko to try to do a take on Spider-Man. Ditko dropped pretty much every element of Kirby's design, including turning the web gun into webshooters that Spider-Man had on his wrists.
Not only are they unnecessarily sexualised, they are also extremely impractical in most cases. For instance, why would a female character with no superhuman durability to speak of go into battle with heavily armoured and massively powered opponents wearing what is essentially a bikini? It shouldn't happen, but it does happen in comic books - and it happens a lot. Of course, there are characters whose durability is such that they don't necessarily need to wear full body armour in battle but, even so, revealing 90% of their body is still unnecessary.
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He’s bold, he’s brash, he’s genetically enhanced. He’s Captain America, the patriotic Marvel hero who’s ready to throw down to defeat Nazis, Hydra, or any other threat facing his country. Chris Evans brought Captain America to life in the popular Marvel Universe movies, and Captain America: Civil War took the actions to new heights. He also brought some new threads to the Cap’s look, with a modern take on the classic blue design of his uniform. This boy’s superhero costume will let any little one become the classic American hero. Vivid colors bring to life the polyfoam-molded muscle effects, and printed costume details like the attached foam belt and shoulder straps recreates the movie style in true form. This costume is completed with a vinyl half mask, all he’ll need to do is put it on and practice a very stoic face for all of the photos.
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.
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.