When Dick Grayson first debuted as Robin in the pages of Detective Comics #38, comic book costumes were still mostly done in a simpler style. Robin's bright, circus-like costume definitely fit into that era perfectly. However, as the years went by, it was becoming harder and harder to keep that costume looking current when it was placed next to more modern looking costumes. The guy was literally walking around with little green booties and no pants! It was not something that translated well anymore. Dick Grayson graduated to his Nightwing identity, but his replacement, Jason Todd, was stuck with the old fashioned costume.
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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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.  
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.
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!

Harley is one of the most entertaining villains Batman has to fight occasionally, second only to the Joker. She is the Joker's lover and partner in crime, although their relationship is weird on so many levels. Harley used to be a normal psychiatric intern in Arkham Asylum, where she met the Joker and then turned into the crazy person she is today.

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Oddly enough, this is the second entry on this countdown where a writer came up with a basic design and then John Romita turned it into a classic costume. When he was working on a new character to be a sort of villain (more like an anti-hero) in his run on Amazing Spider-Man, Gerry Conway came up with the design of the character having a skull on his chest. Marvel Art Director, John Romita, who had been working closely with Conway on Amazing Spider-Man, despite Romita no longer actively drawing the series anymore, took that idea and turned it into the famous Punisher skull costume. No matter what else you may think about the Punisher, that skull design is amazing.
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.

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Comic book artists quite often have the same sort of elements pop up in their costume designs. Jim Lee, for instance, is well known for how much he likes to use collars, either high collars or chokers. One of the all-time great costume designers, Dave Cockrum, used so many sashes on his costume designs that he even ended up drawing a cartoon mocking his own overuse of sashes by having a few of his characters pointing out the similarity in their costumes.
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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For a character who has been such a major part of Batman's comic book history, Catwoman has had a surprisingly unimpressive list of comic book costumes over the years. When she debuted, she was simply dressed in normal clothes, as the name "The Cat" was more general for a thief than anything, and not something that was actually a costume motif. When she then started to reappear as a villain, she went through a few different uninspiring outfits. Then, due to the Comics Code, she stopped appearing in Batman comics period for over a decade.

Cockrum then revamped a few of the characters with Len Wein to make them the new X-Men in the All-New, All-Different X-Men. However, one of the characters was so perfectly designed that they just adopted him wholesale. That was Nightcrawler, whose circus-esque costume perfectly fit the carefree personality that Cockrum and Wein came up with the for character in the X-Men. It is the perfect swashbuckling outfit. The X-Men seem to go through more costume re-designs than any other team of heroes and yet Nightcrawler's costume has mostly remained unchanged for over 40 years.

A superhero’s costumes should be able to immediately tell you who they are and what they’re about just by looking at them. From the utterly simple to the overly complicated, the best superhero costumes take a regular person and make them an icon. They should inspire readers and evildoers alike. They must conjure specific words in our heads when we think of them, like heroic, scary, or even more simply, cool. 


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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Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow is the most famous female superhero character of all time from the movies. Scarlett’s look as a Black Widow wearing a black suit with lots of guns and gadgets, fighting bad people is a complete bad-ass and also the sexiest of them all. The first when she appeared as Black Widow was in Iron Man 2 and then reprised her role as the same in The Avengers, from which she received popularity and praises. She also appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron and recently in Captain America: Civil War. Scarlett is considered and often listed as the world’s sexiest woman alive. Perfect to say she is the perfect women to be a superhero!

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