Captain Marvel’s iconic costume redesign has a daring secret origin

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, discover how Captain Marvel’s iconic costume redesign came about thanks to, among other things, a bet!

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and thirteenth episode where we take a look at three comic book legends and determine if they are right or wrong. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions.

NOTE: if my twitter page reached 5,000 subscribers, I will be doing a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Good deal, right? So will follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!


Jamie McKelvie’s iconic Captain Marvel overhaul was born out of a bet with Kelly Sue DeConnick where she put her own money on the line to get an awesome new costume.



When Ms. Marvel debuted in 1976, she essentially only had a “feminized” version of the classic Captain Marvel costume of the day that had been redesigned by Gil Kane five years earlier …

As you can see, however, the costume had a few major issues, particularly the odd cut of her top would never work as some sort of practical outfit, as it would clearly always open whenever she moved ( Dave Cockrum complained about the costume to the Marvel Editorial when drawing what he thought would happen in real life with this costume – it really was an X rated drawing).

Marvel followed Cockrum’s idea and introduced a new costume design that essentially changed just one aspect of the costume – giving it a full top. Cockrum, however, eventually came up with his own more dramatic overhaul of the costume he featured later in the series when Chris Claremont was writing the book …

It’s obviously a striking costume (Cockrum loved his scarves, right?), But at the same time, it’s essentially a swimsuit, and one wonders if the sparkle of the design matched that of the character. I’m not saying it at all, but I can easily see a strong argument that this isn’t the most appropriate costume for Carol Danvers, even though she changed her name from Ms. Marvel to Warbird (and then briefly went on to wore an absurdly drab costume when she became a superhero affair for the US government).

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So Marvel planned to “promote” Carol from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel, and as a result, she was going to get a new costume. However, as Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of the yet-to-debut new series, explained to ServerPlay, the options she was given for the new costume weren’t something she was a fan of. She clarified: “So [editor Steve Wacker] sent designs that were done in-house and didn’t like them. And I was like, “Can we ask Jamie McKelvie to do this?” And he said, ‘No, we don’t have the budget for that.’ “

She continued, “I like to say I’m good at taking no for an answer, but I’m really not. And so I kept pushing for that a bit. And Steve was like, ‘No. But you know… if Jamie did a makeover… all on his own, and you stumble over it and send it to me… maybe I could charge Marvel. ‘”

Then a bold idea struck DeConnick …

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“And so I called Jamie and I was like, ‘Okay, I want you to make a bet with me. I bet if you do a Carol Danvers redesign for Captain Marvel, Marvel will buy you the design. And if I win this bet then I get a recast and you get paid. And if I lose this bet, I’ll pay for the recast.

DeConnick later pointed out how the idea made no sense for her to take it out of her pocket to help Marvel, noting, “My husband would have murdered me, because you don’t pay money for companies. billionaires. I mean, I would have murdered me, that’s absurd.

Well, as you probably imagined, McKelvie’s designs were amazing, spectacular, sensational, and somehow even a canvas of …

DeConnick recalled, “It was amazing, because he’s probably the best designer who works – when it comes to the look of contemporary hero costumes… He took him out of the park.”

It was so good that when they went live it got such a big reaction that there was already a ton of fan art available to work in the FIRST ISSUE of the new series!

Fan art of Captain Marvel's new costume

The exceptional Ed McGuinness was on the cover of this first issue, by the way …

Obviously, the costume paid off and was very quickly adapted by Marvel Studios for the introduction of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel into the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

The funny thing is that McKelvie, who ALSO designed the brilliant Kamala Khan costume, the new Ms. Marvel (I guess they just paid him for that one), had never actually drawn Captain Marvel. like a normal comic, but he luckily got a chance to write AND back-up in a recent issue of the Captain Marvel series (which is written by another Kelly, the excellent Kelly Thompson, who kills him on the show. Go buy it and read it, folks!).

Thanks to Susana Polo and Kelly Sue DeConnick for the great information!


Check out other entertainment and sports legends from Legends Revealed:

1. How did The Simpsons editorial staff “get revenge” on Justin Timberlake?

2. AND was the alien going to be originally a horror movie?

3. Was the Wacky Races animated series originally intended for a live-action game show?

4. How did the graduate inadvertently lead to the filming of Animal House at the University of Oregon?


Check back later for Part 2 of This Episode’s Legends!

Please feel free to send me any suggestions for future comic book legends at [email protected] or [email protected]

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