We live currently of awesome spiderman costume. An upswing and rise of cosplay culture, the emergence of comic artists by using a savvy idea of fashion, along with the slow diversification that’s making heroes palatable to your broader audience, have got all contributed to a costuming culture with more to supply than capes and pants.
Superhero costumes have always been an focal point in the marketplace, because iconography helps establish character and create a brand. But value of costumes in reaching audiences and reinventing characters is apparently recognized now as never before, ultimately causing the growth of artist-designers like Jamie McKelvie and Kris Anka, who don’t even have to be on a particular book just to be called directly into make-on the characters. This really is a great leap forward in understanding exactly what a good costume is capable of doing – and also the special skills required to do it.
Moon Knight was a mess of the character before his 2014 revival at the disposal of Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire. Contradictory efforts by multiple creative teams to discover the character’s core only served to layer junk upon junk. Moon Knight was meant to be complex; he became cluttered.
Ellis, Shalvey and Bellaire streamlined him down and gave him a clearly defined new role – the hero who protects travellers at nighttime – plus a change; a natty white suit. Both elements helped pull Moon Knight out of the mire of Marvel’s many failed faux-Batmen and then make him his own man initially.
Moon Knight’s new costume right away underlines his insanity – his old white suit has never been the sane approach to fight crime, and now it’s an authentic white suit – and exerts his outer calm, his cool lunar placidity. It gives him authority. It makes him scary. And it also makes him usually the one superhero detective who dresses something such as a detective, which feels as though an announcement of purpose.
The suit is not Moon Knight’s only costume – within their six issues, the creative team also showed us a crazy bone outfit for fighting the occult as well as a more conventional but nonetheless refreshed handle his old cape-and-cowl look. Both costumes look great making perfect sense on the character – these aren’t Stealth Strike Scuba Assault Batman action figure costumes. However, if there’s any sense on the planet, it’s the white suit that can become Moon Knight’s new default. It redefines him. It gives him a whole new place that may be uniquely their own within a town of heroes.
Great costumes can provide just this type of redemption. Shatterstar, a joke of your character together with his mullet and opera cloak, was suddenly credible due to a redesign (as well as a fresh haircut) courtesy of Valentine De Landro and David Yardin. Jamie McKelvie’s Captain Marvel design – arguably the most apparent trigger to the current “golden age” of d.va costumes – was all about re-positioning Carol Danvers as one of Marvel’s premier heroes. The tailored military look drew a line between her present-day “top gun” persona as well as the old, victimized, drunken Carol, who seemed to prefer editing magazines to flying planes.
It’s challenging to suppose that even Batman group editor Mark Doyle truly understood precisely what he was tapping into as he handed Batgirl over to the newest creative team of Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr, with Stewart and Tarr collaborating on the character’s new look. I’m sure Doyle expected great things, but the torrent of fan-art that emerged from the 24-hours pursuing the reveal of Batgirl’s new costume was unprecedented. Such was the mania that cosplayers quickly bought out your world’s supply of Drench Wellington yellow rubber Doc Marten boots.
What went down with Batgirl was the spark of a movement situated in large part on the smart new costume that spoke to Barbara Gordon’s character, intelligence, style, and put in everyday life. This design looked less like a Batman cast-off, and a lot more like something a young woman makes for herself to craft her very own identity within the bat-cowl.
Sure, there was critics. Fans whose philosophy on anything from high-heeled shoes to strapless tops has always been, “it can’t be impractical if she’s wearing it” were suddenly in revolt at the notion of a leather jacket that hid the character’s boobs. Although the thrift-store style, the snap-on cape, the zips and buckles, were all character-first design elements, and that’s how good costume design should work.
We don’t yet learn how this new look will translate to actual sales – we might never understand how well the ebook sells digitally, where much of its market is probably going to reside – but the sort of word-of-mouth and web-based interaction generated with this costume redesign is hugely valuable to your publisher.
An effective costume gets an audience excited by letting them know what to expect. Cliff Chiang’s take on Wonder Woman played up her warrior strength and her status as both mythic figure and iconic hero. Jamie McKelvie’s costume for your new Ms. Marvel respected her youth and heritage instead of pandering to some traditional crowd.
And yes it works in reverse. Harley Quinn’s New 52 design clearly steered the type in a different direction through the ones fans expected, and sent a signal to readers as unambiguous as the one sent by Tarr and Stewart’s Batgirl.
Here’s a statement I never imagined I’d make: I want Marvel to bring Gwen Stacy back from the dead. And it’s all because of costume.
Marvel’s upcoming Spider-Verse event brings together Spider-Men and Spider-Women from multiple alternative realities, including many that readers have seen before as well as some brand new ones made for the event. Among them is actually a Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman, produced by Robbi Rodriguez – and Spider-Gwen wears a few things i think can be my personal favorite superhero costume in years.
The Spider-Gwen costume does a lot of things with remarkable economy. It plays beautifully of your iconic style of the greatest superhero costume ever conceived, Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man costume. It strikes a contemporary tone together with the hood as well as the neon Chucks – though with sufficient restraint which i don’t think it is going to look dated in years to come. It creates shapes and breaks up space in many ways that’s gonna look powerful around the page. And yes it immediately evokes character. I haven’t even read Spider-Gwen’s first Spider-Verse appearance, and I already have feelings of a tough, haunted, edgy young woman. I’ll eat some neon Chucks if that’s not who she actually is.
Gwen Stacy is supposed to stay dead. As grotesque since it is when women are killed off and away to further the stories of male heroes, the death of Gwen Stacy feels too important to Spider-Man’s development being undone. Yet I like this costume so much that, before the Spider-Gwen issue of Edge of Spider-Verse arrives, I am aware I want Gwen back and kicking ass with this costume.
(I am going to accept a regular that is set in Gwen’s alt universe. Heck, when the Ultimate Universe scales back to just Miles Morales, a Miles book as well as a Gwen book could be perfect complements to each other. However I don’t think that’s where Marvel is heading.)
A fantastic costume inspires stories – and tells viewers what sort of stories can be expected. Catwoman crafted a new kind of sense when redesigned by Darwyn Cooke in 2004 – finally she wore the costume of your master thief, no Olympic luge rider. It causes whiplash any time that costume appears in company to a tale that doesn’t respect the type. The shape-shifting Loki as being a puckish young man in swashbuckling adventurer’s attire – one more Jamie McKelvie design – sparks very different stories on the sinewy old guy with all the giant horns. Stuart Immonen’s stylish All-New X-Men deadpool costume put the time-tossed X-Men inside the modern superior to any quantity of exposition.
Costumes have always been crucial that you superheroes – but perhaps much more than many editors realize. Some artists are wonderful at it, and a few are… less great. Like lettering, coloring, inking, editing, or dexrpky99 art, it’s a specialized job that perhaps should be restricted to those with the skill set to do well at it.
Thankfully the comic industry has never had such an abundance of designing talent. Jamie McKelvie, Kris Anka, Cameron Stewart, Robbi Rodriguez, Cliff Chiang, etc., are a part of a generation of artists taking this task very seriously, plus they make superhero comics smarter and sharper for doing this.
And they’re not alone. A lot more artists are showing their designer flare and their grasp of contemporary style. Sites like Tumblr and DeviantArt provide fertile ground for artists to try out around with costume concepts – and the excellent Project: Rooftop curates some of the best examples. The musty superhero industry would benefit hugely from turning to the likes of Cory Walker, Mingjue Helen Chen, Dean Trippe, Corey Lewis, Becky Cloonan, Ming Doyle, Jemma Salume, Sean Murphy, Ron Wimberly, and many others, to re-energize the genre for tomorrow.