For over 80 years, superheroes have been showing their muscles in sleek and tight costumes in wild colors. And while each hero has seen their appearance change from their first appearance until today, some of those changes are minor while others have gone to vastly different designs. Batman, for example, has had a number of costumes, but in the end his look is basically the same as when he first appeared in Detective Comics # 27.
Most superhero costumes don’t have much of an effect on the world at large, but there are some that completely changed the game. Costumes that were so different from what had happened before that they did. caused a change in the way characters were designed in the future. Some of them have even had an effect on the real world.
ten Superman kicked it off with his now classic costume
Being the first superhero means Superman has to lay the foundations for superhero costumes. From the underwear on the outside to the symbol on the chest to the cape, the Superman look is the definitive costume. The design created by Joe Shuster is still used as a template for costumes today.
And while Superman’s costume has changed over the years, the Man of Steel still seems to be finding his way back to something close to the original look. Even the iconic exterior design underwear has returned after years of disappearance.
9 Flash made it smooth
The original Flash costume worn by Jay Garrick is a beautiful design, but it was the look created for Barry Allen by Carmine Infantino that was a game-changer. Considered one of the best superhero costumes ever, Infantino made The Flash look classy by keeping the costume shiny and bold.
Infantino’s design appears to be a hood ornament, which only helps sell the idea that the Flash is fast. The way Infantino used costume colors to show off Flash’s speed also helped change the way other artists showed movement in comic book panels.
8 Cable brought the pouches
It can be hard to understand just how big the pockets on superhero costumes got in the early 1990s, and it all comes down to Rob Liefeld’s design for Cable. With his big epaulettes, pouches, and massive pistol, Cable ushered in a new look for the heroes that Marvel and DC have desperately tried to emulate with little positive effect.
While the use of covers has gotten easier over the years, they still appear on many characters, and for good reason; it makes sense for the heroes to keep items in pouches. After all, their suits rarely have pockets.
7 Challengers of the Unknown Match
Superhero teams are usually made up of various characters with different looks, but the Challengers of the Unknown brought something new to the team dynamic by having matching costumes. The four members of the Challengers all wore purple overalls with their logo on the top right of the shirt as well as white boots and gloves.
Jack Kirby, who created the Challengers of the Unknown, would later use the same concept with the Fantastic Four. Over the years, other superhero teams – notably the X-Men – have played in matching costumes, but few have stayed there.
6 The storm has gone punk
While she wasn’t the first superhero to add a bit of punk to her look, when Storm first appeared with a mohawk, leather suit, and choker, fans of the bands comics have noticed. Storm’s new look heralded a new era of X-Men comics where things would get dirtier and sexier. The 70s disco-ish designs were giving way to something new and Marvel’s mutants were going to show everyone the way with their new boss and cool new style.
While Storm’s punk look only lasted a few years, it had such an effect on readers that it remains one of the most common looks for cosplayers who want to dress like their hero.
5 Wonder Woman reminds us that change isn’t always good
Not all superhero redesigns are as successful as Storm’s. When DC Comics chose to ditch the iconic Wonder Woman look and put her in a white pantsuit, fans revolted. DC quickly gave the Amazon back its classic look, but that didn’t stop them from trying several times over the years to update its style, and almost always for the worse.
The look of the black bra and biker shorts was another attempt to update Wonder Woman’s style that was quickly ridiculed by readers. If anything, DC has learned that sometimes it’s better to stick to the basics than trying to keep up.
4 The shield becomes patriotic
While Captain America may be the most famous patriotic superhero, he was not the first. This honor goes to The Shield. Debuting in Pep Comics # 1, The Shield, as the name suggests, wore a shield on his chest that was painted to resemble the American flag. When Jack Kirby and Joe Simon would introduce Captain America to the world 15 months later, the resemblance was enough to Pep Comics MLJ Comics publisher must contact Timely Comics and threaten to sue him.
To keep things from getting contentious, Kirby and Simon redesigned Captain America’s shield.
3 Iron Man makes the armor look nice
At the start of the comics, superheroes who wore armor tended to look clumsy. Even Iron Man’s first design was far from sleek – it looked like a big gray trash can. But on his second appearance, Iron Man traded his MK I armor for the much cooler MK II.
The yellow and red design was form-fitting and less robotic, and the rest is history. Iron Man’s second look took armored heroes to a whole new level, and while Old Shellhead has had a number of looks since then, it still comes back to the same iconic color scheme and base design.
2 Spider-Man’s black suit opened the doors to change
While DC’s attempts to change Wonder Woman’s look had disastrous results, when Marvel decided to give its most famous character a new costume, an iconic new look was born.
After damaging his classic red and blue costume during the Secret wars, Spider-Man found himself creating a new costume with alien technology. Although he didn’t want to, the costume he “created” ended up being all black and endowed with special powers. The black suit was going to become Venom, but to this day Spider-Man decides to go back to this look sometimes, and fans love it.
1 Captain Marvel Jr. gave Elvis his style
While the other superhero costumes here have led to changes in the comics, only one hero has had an effect on rock and roll. Captain Marvel Jr., Shazam’s sidekick, caught the eye of Elvis Presley, who became a big fan of the character’s adventures. Elvis was so excited about Captain Marvel Jr. that he had his hair styled like the teenage hero and even designed his wardrobe to look like the Captain Marvel Jr. costume.
Even in death, Elvis continues to show his love for the character. At the Graceland Museum, a copy of Captain Marvel Jr. # 51 is prominently featured in a recreation of Elvis’ childhood bedroom.
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