Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Who's the Worst... Costume for Functionality?

Doug: Thanks to everyone who sort of hit around today's topic without landing on it in yesterday's conversation. Today we're not looking for the worst costume -- but the worst costume for all your crime-fighting, swashbuckling, et al. activities. Of note from Tuesday's post were Yellowjacket's "wings" and capes in general. So have at it!


Redartz said...

Doug, you showed my first choice right at the beginning: Red Sonja! Somehow the miniscule amount of armor she uses seems unlikely to stop many sword wounds. At least when first designed by Barry Windsor Smith, she sported a full chain mail shirt. Of course, to be fair, Conan only wears a pair of fur briefs; not exactly prone to enhance your armor class (nod to all you D & D enthusiats...).

Same issue with Robin; short pants just offer no practical protection or insulation. He'll get pretty drafty fighting the Joker on a January night (let alone Mr. Freeze); even Batman is fully covered!

Anonymous said...

All super-heroines who wear high-heels. How do they run and jump?

Vampirella- how does she move without falling out of that body floss?

In terms of practicality and common sense, my vote for dumbest costume goes to Moon Knight. He wears a bright costume at night, a cape, and a hood and mask that cut out his peripheral vision. Sure, it looks cool, but how is he not dead?

- Mike Loughlin

david_b said...

Hmm, Luke Cage perhaps..? As mentioned yesterday, certainly an iconic look from the get-go, but to move, leap and be fast with a HUGE CHAIN around your waist..?

Love the image it immediately creates, but c'mon.

Agreed on Mike's 'body floss' comment. Not sure how DC's Kori/Starfire kept everything held in, perhaps the same is true for Marvel's Shanna.

How about Power Girl..? It would be hard to stop Cheetos from falling down inside her outfit.

William said...

I've always been confused by characters who wear an uncomfortable, vision reducing mask, even though they don't really have a secret identity to speak of. Wolverine is a good example of this. I've always liked his costume, but for him it wouldn't be very practical. He wears that huge mask with those big eye fins, but he takes it off all the time when he's in public. I mean, Logan doesn't really have much of a "civilian" identity to protect anyway. He's not a reporter for a "great metropolitan newspaper" or anything like that. He's more of a full-time professional badass, who mostly only associates with people who know who is. So, why in the world would he bother with such an epic face covering?

Anonymous said...

I mean, fair enough for, say, Supes or Thor, or magic types like Dr,Strange but with a character like Batman.....? Especially with the tendency post-Neal Adams for artists to draw his cape really long, how does he never trip over it? If there really was a mega-rich fitness nut who decided to run around at night beating up people with less money, surely he would wear something more practical.

Domino masks. Not hard for anyone to guess Robin's secret identity.

Agree with Mike Loughlin about heels.
And as for Ms Marvel's thigh boots (again)... how could she ever expect to be taken seriously at an Avengers meeting in those?


J.A. Morris said...

Are we talking post-Bronze Age? If yes, most of the trench-coats,vests and pouches of the 90s were dysfunctional and looked silly.

Doug said...

I echo JA's comment!

So many of the issues we've raised, like Batman's cape (Marshall Rogers sure liked a long cape; Todd McFarlane, too!) and YJ's wings certainly look cool visually. But it's when you step back and think about actually wearing a get-up like that and doing something physically exertive that your disbelief definitely needs to be suspended.

I like all of the suggestions thus far -- keep 'em coming!


Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, all of the skimpy women's outfits (as worn by Starfire, Red Sonja, Shanna, Phantom Lady, Vampirella, etc., etc.) are probably the silliest, most non-functional costumes. If they do anything besides walk slowly or pose for photos at Comicon, they would basically experience serious wardrobe malfunctions.
Another one I would add, as it came up in yesterday's discussion, is Manhunter (the Goodwin/Simonson version). Don't get me wrong, I think it's one of the coolest looking costumes out there, but it's so impractical, especially for a guy who's supposed to be an uber-ninja.

Martinex1 said...

Iron Fist. That collar and sash just seem to be the worst things to wear in any kind of street fight. It is one instance where I think the modern era got it right; they removed some of that in his latest costume and the change makes sense and he still looks cool and recognizable.

Going back in history a little bit, when the Thing was reverted back to Ben Grimm and he wore a costume / battle suit that looked like the Thing…. that is really kind of ridiculous and impractical and strange on so many levels.

And last but not least Taurus from the Zodiac. Wow.

david_b said...

Guy Gardner's '80s GL outfit.

White turtleneck and big, honkin' moonboots..?

('Course, who really noticed with that terrible haircut he had..?)

Edo, as for the skimpy outfits.., unbeknownst to most readers, they were mostly sponsored (secretly) by 3M, who developed industrial-strength double-sided tape specifically for the female super-hero market.

Betcha didn't know that..?

Doug said...

And, speaking of the 80s and 90s, all the straps, belts, buckles, pouches, etc. have to constrict. Have to...


Anonymous said...

Vampi was the first one that came to my mind; I'm not sure what that says about me.

I always wondered about Mockingbird when she had those big, billowy sleeves...didn't they get caught on everything?

Also Shang Chi...he was always shown walking around barefoot, even in the streets of London or New York...he should've died of blood poisoning after the first couple issues.

Mike Wilson

Anonymous said...

I don't know Doug... I'm not a big fan of 80s and 90s designs either, but theres something to be said for pouches, surely. I mean, it doesn't seem like their costumes have pockets, so where do the heroes of earlier eras keep their keys and money and whatnot?
Except Batman of course - he might have a ridiculous cape, but that utility belt is quite useful.

So I'm ok with pouches. In moderation....


The Prowler said...

One of the questions I always had about costumes, especially as I've been scanning in all my old Marvel Triple Actions and Marvel Super Actions, when Cap was constantly training, in costume, to stay in peak condition, didn't he build up a world class funk!?! I mean, even after a shower, to put the same clothes back on?

Anyway, to add a bit to things already posted; Iron Fist had slippers!?! What kind of traction/footing could he get in those?

Anywhooooo, I'll end with two words: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast. Not only was it skimpy, it was fur!?! Again, funk anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Last two words: When the Avengers wore jackets to look more team-y!?! Really!?!

(Here we go around, (round, round, round)
Run-run-runaround, yeah! (round, round, round, round)
Here we go around, (round, round, round)
She's given me the runaround, oh, ow! (round, round, round, round))

ZIRGAR said...

If we're really being honest here, the worst for functionality has to be the old Iron Man suit. It looked like a muscular human body painted red and gold with no hinges or any kind of articulation to make movement in such a suit possible. It was metal, but apparently it was a super supple and pliable metal? LOL. Still, it was a great costume to look at. The modern depictions of the suit, thanks to Adi Granov's designs (I think), make it more reasonable.

Humanbelly said...

Before I read a single comment, and I want to jump down here and state that Red Sonja always wins in this category--- but that I think the Whizzer should get a notable mention for having the most ridiculously immobile headgear. What a liability!


Anonymous said...

Superhero costumes are supposed to be functional? In all seriousness, there are some that work, IMO, based upon a character's powers. The Supers, especially back in the Silver/Bronze Ages, were invulnerable to a degree where what they wore made no difference, except for the ability to catch the eye. Same with magic-users. I've often speculated that what we see Zatanna, for an example, wearing is not what she's actually wearing. (Squadron Supreme did this very thing with Arcanna.) All "street level" heroes and heroines should be decked out in full military gear, except that that as well would be restricting. Probably why we don't have that many action heroes in real life.

Anonymous said...

Hah yeah like my buddy Edo said all the heroines whose costume is basically a skimpy bikini would fall into this category. Hmm what about DC's the Creeper? Striking costume design but I've always felt it was woefully impractical with all that red fluff around him, obscuring his vision and all!

However, about Luke Cage's costume - for a normal human, lugging a huge chain around your waist would slow you down, but Cage has superhuman strength and steel hard skin, so he probably wouldn't feel the weight too much.

Most of the barbarian type characters like Conan (for most of his Bronze Age run anyway) also qualify - Conan was usually depicted as killing a host of men wearing nothing but a loincloth; in reality, he'd most likely die from a multitude of wounds before he even got a chance to swing at somebody! I applaud those artists who drew him wearing some minimal armour at least .

- Mike 'impractical joker' from Trinidad & Tobago.

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