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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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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That said, like some other cliches, the sashes kept being used because they really do work. When Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum took over X-Men, one of their goals was to revamp Marvel Girl, Jean Grey, and make her a bigger character. One of the ways they were going to do this was to give her a new costume and a new codename to replace the outdated "Marvel Girl" one. Cockrum went through a wide variety of looks for Jean before coming up with this excellent costume that also worked well when John Byrne changed the color scheme to make her Dark Phoenix. Cockrum's design for Ms. Marvel deserves a note here. It didn't make the list as it was a bit too skimpy of a costume, but otherwise, it was a great look (and of course, it also had a sash).
Superman soon had lots of company and lots of competition! What do they have in common? All superheroes have some type of extraordinary power or ability. Their "superpower" can be something they're born with: Superman, Wonder Woman, Thor. It can be the result of an accident or mutation: Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine. Or, it can be simply a skill they have learned, honed and perfected beyond the average: Batman, Hawkeye. They all have a strong moral code and a motivation to rid the world of some menace.
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.
Being a superhero doesn’t give you a ton of down time, but if you find your kids have a few moments to spare, it’s likely an opportune time for a candid shot. You’ve worked on making sure they know to look serious while they’re in costume, so let them show their stares towards the camera while they have their hands against their hips. The bold logos featured on the chest of the boy’s costume will be on full display and any onlookers will feel a surge of reassurance when they see that this trio of heroes are on the scene and ready for action!
Debuting in “Cry for Dawn” #1 way back in 1989, the character has only show up sporadically throughout the decades. However, when people think of the hottest female characters in comics, she’ll always rank highly. She is so defined by her looks that Dragon Con held a Dawn look-a-like contest from 1998 to 2010, even when the character wasn’t seen in any recent comic books. Now, don’t think that we are somehow saying that the character isn’t a great character because her looks are so important, but rather that the iconic design by Linsner has allowed the character to live on through the years based on looks alone.
There were some slight changes from Ditko's armor to the one featured here, mostly with the face mask, but since those changes were made, that basic design has been fairly consistent. Now, Iron Man's armor has obviously been altered in other ways as technology has changed, but the basic yellow and gold design has been used almost exclusively since then. No matter how fancy the armor gets otherwise, the yellow and gold set-up is a catchy design.
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The costumes and designs for our favorite heroes have changed throughout the years, and while many modern versions of heroes are the best looking of the character, there are some that they just got right from the beginning. There are some that are improved though, and other heroes have so many different costumes, it’s difficult to pick which is the best.
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