Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Who's the Best... Flag-wearer?



Doug:  Today we're looking for commentary not on patriotic heroes, but on the costumes of those heroes and heroines who aren't afraid to put that patriotism on their sleeves.  Or masks, chests, boots, etc.  Let's talk about favorite costumes when those costumes are iterations of a nation's flag.  And if there are some bad guys along the way who've pledged allegiance to a flag, toss out some comments on their sartorial splendor as well.











36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this some sort of trick question?

It's the famous red, white and blue garb of--Captain America!...no contest!

Edo Bosnar said...

I like Union Jack the best: he's basically wearing the UK's flag, but instead of being boring, it's sleek and cool. Captain Britain and Vindicator/Guardian are tied for second. Those are really nicely designed costumes.
By the way, two additional flag-clad heroes that I thought of are Collective Man and Sabra.

Inkstained Wretch said...

You don't have Archie Comic's the Sheild up there. I believe he holds the distinction of being the very first patriotic-themed super-hero, beating out Captain America by a few months.

For my money though the coolest looking patriotic costume design was Howard Chaykin's American Flagg. The dark suit with the flag theme put on the shoulders and lapels avoided the inherent silliness of spandex outfits with something much more stylish-looking but still functional. I could actually see that as a uniform for all the rangers to wear.

The worst patriotic-themed costume? Justice League International's General Glory. The horror, the gaudy, gaudy horror...

Doug said...

I always questioned the use of white for the lower torso/legs on the Capt. Britain image I've shown. Seems an odd choice, as compared to navy blue.

Thanks for the other suggestions made already. For those who don't know those characters, I'm sure a simple a Google search should take care of it.

Vindicator's costume was very striking -- I've always liked it, and Union Jack's as well. Cap seems to be the gold standard, though, for those wrapped in the flag.

Doug

david_b said...

Excuse me.., are we forgetting Sunfire?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/2e/Sunfirex.PNG/225px-Sunfirex.PNG

I believe his costume's a reasonable representation of Japan's war flag during WWII. Slight nationalistic stretch.

Funny, when looking at Union Jack, I'm always humming the Stones' 'Get Off My Cloud', about 'In flies a guy who's all dressed up like a union jack'...

Humanbelly said...

Can I suggest an entry in the "So Unbelievably Bad, It's Good" category?

THE FIGHTING YANK

A old public-domain character that was revived (along w/ many others) by Alex Ross in Dynamite Comics' "Project SuperPowers". A truly silly and (had to be) mortifying outfit for any hero to don. Tri-corner hat; tight white pre-spandex leotard-type shirt w/ an American flag on the chest, domino mask, big green (???) cape, tight jodphur-style (in early appearances) knee-britches, white stockings, and the colonial-style fancy shoes w/ the big buckle on the top.

I daresay the level of courage required to boldly go out and fight crime in an outfit like that would alone be enough to put the poor fellow in the upper echelons of the ranks of brave-itude. . .

HB

Matt Celis said...

Wonder Woman, especially before she swapped out the eagle for a stylized "WW."

Matt Celis said...

Somewhere Alan Scott is thinking, "Why didn't I think of jodhpurs?!"

Doug said...

In regard to Sunfire and Wonder Woman --

I thought about picturing Sunfire, but really had Japan's current flag in my head so felt that he wasn't going to be as much of a slam dunk as Captains America and Britain (and Union Jack). I hadn't considered the War-era flag, but that's certainly a great mention, David! Wonder Woman -- I really thought that the flag-motif on her bloomers was in line with what I was going for but the rest of the costume not-so-much. So there was some consideration of those two as far as the images I used (which was never meant to be an inclusive list anyway).

But this is great -- we've seen several other characters mentioned beyond the few that I tossed out on the post. Keep 'em coming!

Doug

david_b said...

Well, **I** certainly feel patriotic when I ponder Wonder Woman's bloomers.


Matt Celis said...

Especially as worn by Lynda Carter.

William said...

Captain Canuck, hands down.

Bruce said...

Captain America and Wonder Woman are classic costumes for iconic characters. Hard to go wrong with either.

I agree with Edo about Union Jack - his is a really good-looking costume.

As for Sunfire, I read recently that the WWII-era Japanese flag is considered offensive in some places (such as South Korea), as it is considered a symbol of Japanese wartime aggression. I wonder if Marvel has or will address this?

Anonymous said...

No love for Captain Liechtenstein then?

I love Cap’s costume, but it is truly a work of insanity. You can only imagine the conversation between Simon & Kirby:

I dunno, Jack, he’s just not flaggy enough.

Red shoes, blue leggings, red gauntlets, blue chain mail, white arms, blue mask...what more do you want?

Could we give him a kind of red & white striped waistcoat effect?

OK

And how about a big white star on his chest?

OK

And how about his shield ? Can we make it more like old glory?

OK, you want it red, white or blue?

All three.

OK

And put a big white star in the middle of it.

OK

I dunno. It’s still not saying ‘America’ to me.

OK, you want I should slap a big A in the middle of his forehead?

Now you’re talking. And add some wings, y’know. Like an American Eagle.

I just wonder why they stopped there. Miss America got off lightly. On the subject of Guardian, I have a confession to make. I never realised (circa Xmen 109, 121) that his costume was supposed to be the maple leaf flag. I thought it was just a big jagged shape. I only realised, literally 20 years later when I started collecting again, that that’s what it was.

I think out of all of them, I have to agree with Edo & Bruce, I like Union Jack’s look the best. It sort of actually works as a costume and looks quite heraldic, whereas Captain Britain just looks like he’s auditioning for the Xmen. Wonder Woman looked like she was auditioning for the X factor. And I don’t mean the super hero team.

Richard

Mike said...

Let us not forget Uncle Sam, the leader of the Freedom Fighters.

http://www.comicvine.com/uncle-sam/4005-3625/

As far as villians, would the Red Skull be a candidate? He wore the swatstika from time to time.

Garett said...

I'll go with Vindicator and Captain America. Always liked that half maple leaf shape. Your image of Captain Canuck is odd--I've never seen these grey gloves and boots, usually white. George Freeman drew the best Captain Canuck, with unusual short white gloves that I haven't seen elsewhere, and looked good.

Union Jack looks good, and better than Captain Britain, but it seems like they should piece those 2 costumes together to come up with one great one.

Star Spangled Kid had all those stars...and I can't think of anything else about him. Was he ever developed as a character?

Looking into Canadian heroes, I came across an interesting find. The first homegrown Canadian hero was...Iron Man!! Debuting in 1941, he was like a mix of Marvel's later Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner. You can read about it and the rare, collectible Canadian WW2 comics here:
http://www.comicbookdaily.com/collecting-community/undervalued/undervalued-spotlight-103/

Garett said...

Captain Nazi had a striking look, Captain Marvel's villain:
http://fourcolorglasses.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/villains-captain-nazi-part-1-master-comics-21-december-1941/
and he bears a strong resemblance to Master Man:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Invaders-16.jpg

Rip Jagger said...

One of the most offbeat flag wavers might just be my namesake Rip Jagger, the Judomaster who worked with the Japanese underground to fend off the imperial troops and so adopted one of their costumes which showcased the Rising Sun!

Even when he worked alongside U.S. troops Judomaster kept wearing the flag of the enemy, almost as a taunt I assume.

Rip Off

Matt Celis said...

Captain Confederacy, anyone? never actually read it.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Hmm, forgot that Wonder's Woman's costume was flag-themed. I must have been thinking of something else when looking at her...

Seriously, though her original look with a star-spangled skirt kind of defines Golden Age comics for me. Having said that, the 80s switch to the WW on her chest in place of the eagle was an improvement.

Also noteworthy: The All-star Squadron's Liberty Belle. It's the rare example of a patriotic American hero costume that breaks out of just using red, white & blue colors.

Matt Celis said...

WW an improvement? Nah! Have to agree to disagree as I think a symbol is aways superior to a letter. Compare Batman's bat to Superman's boring S.

mr. oyola said...

I lean more towards Flag-Smasher than any of the flag wearers.

Anonymous said...

Captain America is probably the most iconic, but I agree with Garett on Star Spangled Kid (and let's not forget Stripesy, the other half of the flag motif). Of course, when SSK changed his name to Skyman, his costuume changed too...but it was still patriotic:

http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/File:Skyman_Sylvester_Pemberton_001.png

Mike W.

Matt Celis said...

That 2-parter is one of the first stories I really distinctly remember. great Captain America villain, great covers too!

J.A. Morris said...

I'm going with Cap & Vindicator, too bad they never teamed up during the Bronze Age (I think there were plans for that at one time that got scrapped).

Matt Celis said...

They did pass each other on a stairway, though.

Ace Frehley Jr said...

Vindicator IS pretty cool looking! Like those Team Canada hockey jerseys from the 70s!

Matt Celis said...

Did anyone mention Red Guardian? I never cared for the name or the costume, but I guess he/she/they qualify.

Doug said...

I actually thought of the Red Guardian, but made no mention. I didn't think the costume represented the Soviet flag -- no hammer and sickle. In my opinion, it was a communist version of Cap's uniform.

Doug

Bobby Trosclair said...

The original Judomaster (Charlton) had one of the most schizophrenic flag uniforms - while fighting in WWII, the American Judomaster wore a uniform based on the Japanese Battle Flag, and this sidekick Tiger Boy wore a uniform based on the Japanese Rising Sun flag.

Has anyone mentioned U.S. Agent?

Anonymous said...

No contest here guys - Captain America & Vindicator all the way!

- Mike 'hmm maybe I should create a Trinidad & Tobago flag wearing superhero' from Trinidad& Tobago.

humanbelly said...

Hmmmm... he would be
"Captain T-n'-T" for short. . .
Heh. . . kinda works. . .

HB

Garett said...

In grade 6 we did reports on various countries, and made a big painted color flag of that country to go with the essay. My country? Trinidad and Tobago! So I know your flag well, Mike.

I enjoyed making it, with the bold colors and diagonal stripe--would make a striking superhero outfit!

Edo Bosnar said...

I agree with Garett, T&T has a pretty stylish flag - versions of it could be worn by Captain Trinidad and his sidekick, Kid Tobago.
However, I have to say one of my favorites ever is the flag of nearby Barbados - those two bold blue stripes with the trident in the middle gold field. Awesome. And it would look great on a superhero costume. Or perhaps villain? He could be Dr. Barbados, Captain Trinidad's arch-nemesis...

Roygbiv666 said...

I would say you forgot Steel, the Indestructible Man:

http://images.wikia.com/marvel_dc/images/0/0c/Henry_Heywood%2C_Sr._%28New_Earth%29_Who%27s_Who.jpg

and the proper Captain Canuck costume:

http://www.bigbcomics.com/wp-content/uploads/george-freeman-captain-canuck-vol-1.jpg

And these guys:
http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Patriotic_Characters

andy said...

I've always preferred Gaurdian and Captain Britain to Captain America. There is a very similar costume worn by Kaptain Briton. His lower part is blue compared to braddock's white.

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