Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Who's the Best... Costume Redesign?

Doug:  I'm sure at some point we've tackled this topic -- the memory fails.  Regardless, let's hear your thoughts on faves (and even not-so-faves) today.


Doug:  I think we'd be remiss if we didn't note the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City on 9/11/2001.  We're still standing.


J.A. Morris said...

I'm going with Spider-Man here. I prefer the original, but the black & white costume is a classic look in its own right. It was also a gamble to change the costume of Marvel's signature character.
Mar-Vell's 2nd costume is also pretty cool and was an improvement over his original green & white threads.

Redartz said...

Agreeing with J.A; Spider-Man's black costume tops the list. Both costumes are visually striking and instantly memorable.

I must give credit also to Robin's costume change, as well. The hot pants look never worked for me, even as a kid...

Anonymous said...

Captain Britian - The original all red bodysuit with gold trim and lion chest emblem was kinda... bleh

B Smith said...

The Black Widow - from, er, evening dress (complete with pillbox hat) to that black one-piece with belt, and surprisingly for today, a zip that went all the way up to her neck!

Ms Marvel - from a completely pathetic copy of Captain Marvel's outfit (with bare midriff, yet) to a Dave Cockrum winner, with standard sash around her waist.

Doug said...

Seconds from me to all the suggestions so far.

Of course you could fill an entire column on the Pyms (and we have), but I'd state again that Hank's first Goliath costume (sewn by Wanda in case he ever returned... yeah) is pretty sharp.

Here's a pan: nothing Colossus has ever worn improved on Cockrum's original suit.

And I've always liked that Lightning Lad costume.


david_b said...

Lest we forget Ollie Green..? His change in that classic Brave and Bold was phenominal.

I presume I'm one of the few that liked Namor's black leather outfit..? I for one thought it was pretty stylish and noble.

And of course Kid Flash back in Flash 135..? From a lame unimaginable copy of his elder became one of the most memorable ever ~ Same for Donna Troy's red jumpsuit..!!

Tony said...

Saturn Girl's pink bikini comes to mind along with the rest of the Legion's new costumes

Anonymous said...

I liked when the Black Panther fitted the Falcon with wings. I thought the way that was done fit in well with the whole falcon inferiority complex to Cap.

david_b, I also liked Namor's suit and loved the irony that it was Reed who saved his life with it.

And how about the decision way back in the day to change the golden avenger to red and gold? Now there's a guy who, technologically, naturally lends himself to having his armor and weaponry updated constantly. Yet, it was that simple change back in the Tales of Suspense days that defined his signature look that, despite some modifications, doesn't really look a whole lot different than it did in ToS #48.


Doug said...

David --

I'll agree with you on the Namor re-design. I always liked that better than his trunks. No one else in Atlantis dressed like he did -- the Reed Richards fashion upgrade made sense.

But, I'll disagree with you (and others) in that I have always preferred Wolverine as designed by John Romita. I think the brown outfit is drab. More practical color-wise for the character's namesake, but I like the original the best.


Anonymous said...

One of the worst re-designs was the Fantastic Four's horrible white collars and gloves, it was bad enough when John Byrne brought back the wide black collars of the early days but then they became white, yuk !

Doug said...

One of the best subtle changes (apparently Colin didn't find Byrne's changes "subtle" ;) ) was the redesign of Cyclop's visor and the switch to big cuffs on his boots. I remember really thinking the old visor, which I saw after the All-New, All-Different update, was clunky and plain.

Over at DC, the change from the eagle crest to the stylized WW seemed to be an improvement for Wonder Woman. I generally don't care for updating on Batman and Superman, although I do think the pouches on Batman's utility belt (added by Frank Miller in TDKR?) was very practical.


david_b said...

Tom, I for one grew up with Sam Wilson in white/red, and enjoyed the Panther's wings upgrade as well.

But when I checked out the early issues with Sam in green/orange, I found a keen fondness for that hip, groovy uniform with necklace. I was SO close to making a Famous Covers green/orange custom Falcon, but my customizing interest didn't hold up..

Costume Redesigns..? Whaaat, no mention of (shuddering...)

Wonderman..? It always seemed once I started loving the current outfit, he'd change it..
Loved the original the best (just screams krazy-kool 'retro'..), I even loved the short-lived Avengers 161 outfit. Once I finally accepted the red hunter coat ~ Yep you guessed it, the dark blue jumpsuit arrived.

Haven't mentioned villains yet.. I always enjoyed the green Sandman outfit first appearing in FF 61 the all-time best:

Anonymous said...

Does making the Beast blue and furry count as a costume redesign? If so, put that one at the top of the list tied with the Spidey black costume (if only the symbiote had been allowed to die honorably in Web of Spider-Man#1).

The Ms. Marvel re-design was cool and necessary (as someone mentioned).

Switching Daredevil to all red was also a HUGE improvement.

I don't care much about Wolverine's costume one way or another.

Garett said...

One redesign I didn't like was Dreadstar. His original hoodie look was great and original, then he changed to a costume that looked like another Starlin Captain Marvel.

Anonymous said...

I heartily agree about Ms. Marvel. I also like Mockingbird's sleeker look...I always figured those billowy sleeves on her old costume would get caught on everything.

There were lots of Legion costumes that were improved in the 80s; I also preferred Mary Marvel's black outfit over the orange or white ones...gotta love the bad girls!

Mike W.

Fred W. Hill said...


Fred W. Hill said...

I'll bring up Daredevil's switch from yellow & red to plain red, courtesy of Wally Wood. That's really stood the test of time. Also agree on both Captain Mar-Vell and Ms. Marvel ...his upgrade looked great on him but the modified version didn't suit the lovely Carol Danvers at all, but she looked much better in the Cockrum suit. Besides, it was rather laughable for a superheroine whom Marvel apparentlhy hoped would appeal to feminist readers and who by her very name represented the company, was given a costume that was a knockoff of a male superhero's, minus the leggings, modified to show off her legs and belly. Actually, I also like her latest costume. Yeah, yeah -- it isn't as appealing to us guys' purient interests but far more suitable for fighting bad guys rather than strutting sexily on a catwalk

Fred W. Hill said...

Hmm, cat must have gotten my tongue (or fingers) on that next to last one.

Garett said...

Mention was made of Robin, and the only version I can think of that I liked was Joe Staton's in the JSA. I looked around and found this interesting article by Paul Levitz, from the Amazing World of DC Comics in 1977. He talks about how the characters in the JSA have aged since WW2, even what specific ages he imagines them to be, and what they've been doing since then and their personalities now. Then he contrasts the older ones with the younger JSAers like Power Girl, etc. There's art too, including a nice Staton JSA vs Hitler drawing I'd never seen. Here's the article:

Ace Frehley Jr said...

Black Widow WINS!

Anonymous said...

Maybe this wasn't technically a costume, but I preferred the Hulk's big purple pants to those little purple bicycle shorts. They left nothing to the imagination.
How did those pants stay on, anyway? I guess maybe we should all just be grateful they did.

Humanbelly said...

This may rankle some of you fine traditionalists (above), but I think Byrne's eventual take on the FF uniform (midnight blue w/ white trim) is my personal favorite. It looked more. . . professional. . . to me (for want of a better word) than the long-beloved robins-egg blue. Now the hideous white-thingy they came up with for "Future Foundation"- or whatever they'd morphed into after Johnny's faux-death? Ugh-- the WORST! Made no positive visual statement at all-- just looked silly, something you'd expect to see a marketing dept. come up with for a bathroom cleanser super-squad marketing concept.

Hey, let me toss in a vote yet again for the original X-Men's "new" uniforms, which they donned right after Prof. X's first faux-death (back in '67 or '68). The original uniforms certainly made them look like a school team, I suppose, but I LOVED the primary-color re-design so much more. Do we know who was responsible for that look?


Ray Tomczak said...

It may not be the best, but the Neal Adams designed costume for Earth 2's grown up Robin (which was actually first worn by the Earth 1 Dick Grayson in the JLA/JSA team up in Justice League of America #92) was, to me, the most welcome, as the character's previous outfit was just plain hideous. I'm not talking about the original Robin costume. That's a classic, even with the brief's and booties. I'm referring to the first costume he wore as an adult, a weird hybrid of his original outfit and Batman's costume, first seen on the cover of JLA #55
In my opinion, that is the worst super-hero costume design EVER.

Humanbelly said...

Ohhhhhh, Anonym.-- you are echoing one of the LONGEST-running tropes from Greenskin's letters page-- going clear back to Tales to Astonish! The eventual answer that everyone enjoyable agreed to live with was: The Comics Code Authority keeps the Hulk's pants up!" (Given the alternative, that was enough to settle the matter).

IIRC, in "The Last Avengers Story" (quite a few years back), the Hulk was mentally damaged and had gone quite, quite bad-- and one aspect of that (although I don't think it was ever directly refered to) was that he simply didn't wear any clothes at all. Wreaked his gruesome havoc in his starkers buff. As if he wasn't already unnerving enough.


Anonymous said...

No big fan of the Comics Code Authority, but that was one good deed to their credit.
Also, I am so pissed that Peter David/Grant Morrison era Aquaman is no more. He was a lot cooler when he looked like an cynical, middle-aged, one-handed biker than a member of a boy's band in an orange T-shirt.
Bring back the old Artie! Also cut of his hand.

MattComix said...

Neal Adam's Robin redesign was perfect because it less about "what can I change?" than it was "what can I keep" Robin still looks like Robin. The mask and tunic were parts of his costume that actually worked it was only the bottom half of that design that was questionable.

Neal brilliantly solved that problem and adding the black made it more congruous with Batman while not taking away the fact that Robin is supposed to be something different from him.

Graham said...

I liked most of Dave Cockrum's Legion re-do's (and the revamped Cyclops visor someone mentioned above), but my favorites were Star Boy (pre-beard version) and Element Lad.

Anonymous said...

I'd go with Ms Marvel - she went from being a cheap knockoff of Mar-vell's blue and red outfit to a real stunner in blue with a distinctive sash, of course designed by the master himself Dave the Dude Cockrum.

Dave, I kinda like Wolvie's brown and orange outfit myself; sure, many people like his classic yellow and blue costume but the brown one suits him better in my opinion - it makes him look more feral somehow.

DD's switch from a yellow to an all red outfit was also a great redesign, as was Iron Man's evolution from a dull bulky grey armour to a gold tone and then to a gold and red streamlined armour.

Hulk has to keep the ripped purple pants. It's funny how in the comics he always ends up with those, even if he's depicted wearing a different colour just before he changes! I think even in the Avengers movie this happened too.

- Mike 'really need a wardrobe design myself' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, not Dave - Doug!

- Mike 'needs to redesign keyboard too' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

To Mike, the reason why the Hulk's pants are purple is due to effect of gamma radiation on cotton fibers. I didn't make this up, somebody else did, and they got a coveted No-prize for it.

Doug said...

I like the Hulk in blue pants better anyway. For him, I don't understand why he couldn't SMASH in whatever Banner was wearing at the time.

Oh, yeah -- branding. Still dumb.


Rip Jagger said...

I'll put my money on Green Arrow. He not only got a new look, but a new attitude which utterly transformed the character from just one more bland superhero into a memorable and distinctive and important character.

For pure nostalgia, I have to give the nod to Captain Atom when he shifted from his gold look to his silver, red and blue. I know a lot of folks don't like those togs, but I adore them. They are distinctive and they work for him somehow, especially when handled by Ditko.

Based on pure looks, the one that leaps to mind is Hank Pym when he became Goliath. The Giant-Man look was always sort of makeshift, but the sleek lines of the blue and gold Goliath costume with the happening goggles really is attractive.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

Green Arrow and Robin had the best up-grades (Iron Man too I guess). They had nowhere to go but up.
I liked the Green Arrow. he was a smartass 70's kneejerk liberal. Reminds me of my favorite uncles. Isn't there a little Ollie Queen in all of us?

William said...

I think Daredevil was one of the best redesigns ever, from his original yellow and black to his classic all red costume.

I'll also say that I always really dug Spider-Man's black costume. While I like the classic red and blue best, if they had decided to permanently stick with the black suit, I think I could have been OK with it.

Doc Savage said...

I don't think anyone has surpassed the improvements Steve Ditko made when he recreated the Blue Beetle.

david_b said...

Agreed with William on Spidey's black outfit... As much as I found myself hating most post-Bronze or Bronze costume redesigns (like the added armor, Avengers jackets, etc..), I didn't have a problem with this change at all..

Made for an awesome 'Secret Wars' figure as well, which I had for years.

Also, agreed on DD's change. What was a circus performer look turned to the darker vigilante under Miller, in many ways changing the course of this hero's personality and history. I'm definitely a pre-Miller fan, but you can't deny how it may have effectively defined him.

Related Posts with Thumbnails