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  1. #1
    Comix Addict! Comics N' Toons's Avatar
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    Question Superhero Costumes - Should Icons Be Messed With?

    Since this is a general forum, I thought I'd pose this question here:

    Was having a conversation with my friend on superhero history and the evolution of superhero costumes. We were talking about DC's decision in the early 2000s to retire the yellow oval Bat signal in favor of the black bat, Superman's varying cape lengths and \S/ shield sizes, then the decision to give Superman armor and removal of ALL trunks in the NEW 52, Billy Batson's costume change with the addition of the hood, Captain America's change from the Kirby model to a militarized Flag costume, Spidey's alternate and varying costumes over the years, the changes in the X-men & Fantastic Four costumes over the years, THE LIST GOES ON.
    My question is: Should iconic costumes be messed with as part of character evolution OR should the classics stay as they are to preserve tradition?
    If they should be changed, HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

  2. #2
    DC Enthusiast Tony's Avatar
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    I think it really depends on the character.

    Obviously Superman's no trunks look is garbage and none of the new 52 redesigns really work, but I felt like Jim Lee actually did make Magneto look better when he was on X-men. Reading early Avengers recently I can say Scarlet Witches head frame was awful. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman should always look about the same, they are just too iconic, I prefer the yellow oval and blue cape and cowl gloves and boots with the grey but I can live with the black bats. He is also my least favorite of the big 3 so that may be why I care less. Spider-Man's black costume was great but the original is best, I prefer Captain America by John Byrne to military Cap. FF costumes don't change much other than Sue that one time.

    I think the important thing is to make them look better, or revert back quick.

  3. #3
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Yes. For a multitude of reasons. These characters are iconic and timeless, but only because they're always current with us. They move into the present like we do. Fashions change and the trunks seem silly for example. Sometimes the modern culture wants more grounded and serious - sometimes more camp and colorful. Adam West's Batman didn't match what Bob Kane and Bill Finger created exactly. And then there's the fact artists want to give their own interpretation of these icons. Or that a costume change or tweak can boost sales. And then there's the whole adapting a 2D drawing into a live action suit for the movies, and having the reboots every decade or so look distinct.

    The point is they're icons because they've lasted, and they've lasted because they're not static. Superheroes are always evolving to reflect our times and desires and fears and fantasies - their costumes are just a natural part of this continual evolution.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Captain Craig's Avatar
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    Changing the costume, as tired as that is, almost always ends with the hero back in their iconic/classic look.
    I can think of very real world reasons that happens but they usually create an "in-universe" reason as well.
    Real World: sell another toy variant, tweak trademark/copyright, same reasons to return to classic look most likely. Maintain your legal stance on the characters look.
    In-Universe: reflection of events that happened to said hero. Death or someone close, loss of something important(friendship, S.O.) change in power set even.

    Characters that change and never go back to iconic look would be attributed to a growth change in said character.
    Bucky-->Winter Soldier, Barnes isn't going back in those red/blue tights
    Dick Grayson Robin-->Nightwing-->Spy-->Nightwing
    "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" - Optimus Prime

  5. #5
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    Best example of costume change working-Spiderman black costume.

    Best example of changes not working-New 52 Superman, then again that Superman blue lightning thing was pretty bad too.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member K7P5V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffHanger2 View Post
    Best example of costume change working-Spiderman black costume.
    Agreed. At first, I didn't like it. But throughout the years, it has grown on me...


  7. #7
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    I dont mind a costume change most of the time. I dig alternate costumes. But I really hated Hawkeye's change in the 70's When he had no mask and that kind of skirt tunic thing. Made those issues so hard to read. Sue's costume change was also pretty bad.

    Daredevil Yellow is still my favorite costume of all time! And Scarlett Spider is my favorite Spiderman costume
    Favorite teams. Alpha Flight, Avengers, Fantastic Four, West Coast Avengers, Justice Society of America, Legion of Superheroes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by K7P5V View Post
    Agreed. At first, I didn't like it. But throughout the years, it has grown on me...

    Yeah this cover is so iconic.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member K7P5V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffHanger2 View Post
    Yeah this cover is so iconic.
    Agreed. Along with this cover


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by K7P5V View Post
    Agreed. Along with this cover

    Yeaahhhhh def a classic cover right there.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffHanger2 View Post
    Best example of costume change working-Spiderman black costume.

    Best example of changes not working-New 52 Superman, then again that Superman blue lightning thing was pretty bad too.
    Yeah the Superman lightning phase was an obvious sales ploy and it wasn't any coincidence that he would revert to the classic suit just in time for Superman's 60th anniversary in 1998.

  12. #12
    Incredible Member Primal Slayer's Avatar
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    Everything needs a touch up. You just have to ensure that they are still recognizable.

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