Hero Costume Changes

A recollection of some changes worth mentioning.
April 03, 2009

Lets face it, we live in a material world. We base many things on the apparel we wear. A sharp dressed man is more accepted and approachable than a man wearing a paper bag on his head or a fanny pack on his robust belly. Now, are superheroes excluded from this judgment we place on ourselves in our society? Hell no! We should place the same amount of scrutiny on them as we do when we look into the mirror, maybe more so. These guys are here to protect our very way of life, and if one chooses to do so dressed like this...

then he has another thing coming to him. I wouldn't stand for a man with no fashion sense to save my butt. He should be more worried about saving face before thinking about saving the world. Hit the drafting table and sewing machines, son, because what you're bringing is weak!

Okay, I only kid. I am the last guy out there to send a fully able superhero away on behalf of his ensemble on his person; especially if he could save my ass. I also admit, there is no such thing as a costumed clad hero out there and I only pray saving the world would be so easy if it were true. My point being, wouldn't it be a much colorful and peaceful world if there were superheroes? We can only dream. On with the article, despite the fact that superheroes are strictly imaginary, I plan on writing about my favorite and most loathed superhero costume changes. This is only a tip of the iceberg of the great/terrible costume changes out there, so stay tuned for more installments. Let's get this article started right, and SUIT UP!!!!

The Correct Way
I'm choosing to do the more pleasing costumes first because I think a good article should end with a bang. What better way to end with a bang than to end with some horrific outfits, because we all enjoy our train wrecks? So here are my favorite costume changes. These were either changing from a decent uniform to a better, a horrible outfit to a pretty average one, or just an enhancement of the first.

Original Costume to Symbiote Costume

Spider-Man has pretty much never gone wrong with his costume changes (minus Iron Spidey). He started off with pretty much the best costume to date, his traditional red and blues. The outfit is trans-generational. It's very modern no matter when it is, but still very timeless. So, where do you go from a very unique and modern/timeless costume? You go simpler. The symbiote costume is basically the silhouette of the original Spidey costume with a larger spider insignia and no web-cartridges. Still, you know who this character is. The costume is not a huge step up in the cool department from the original, but it's newer and gives way to a more dark character (stealth, mood, etc.). I love this version of Spidey's costumes. It makes the most sense. Most spiders a black, Spider-Man can walk around at night better, and brought the sinister fear in criminals with its darker hue. This costume is pretty much a given to be in this article, but it really did improve on a great concept.

Original Ribbon Look to Awesome X-Factor Look

Gaaaaahhh. Gag me please. The first time I saw Havoc's first costume I nearly burned my eyes out with a car lighter, and I was less than 10 years old. I got some Marvel trading cards (I think the first series) and saw this guy and thought, "His costume does not make any sense at all!" He's got these ribbon like things one top of his head that I guess they are suppose to resemble sound waves. To tie down these ugly accessories to his head he has an ugly jewel cemented to his forehead. I guess this is what you get for letting Larry Trask design your costume (meant to help control his powers).

No Louis Vuitton

During his X-Factor days he changed it up, wearing the Gambit head piece, a leather jacket, and gloves. A very natural, yet heroic, look. Definitely an upgrade.

Headband Wearing to iPod/Oakley Wearing

Someone called from the 70's and wanted their wardrobe back. Luckily, they did get it back. Back in the day, Luke Cage (then Power Man) fought crime alongside his pal Iron Fist. Today, he is the voice of the streets. You can't really have that title with a metal headband. People would start to think you're the voice of the roller rink. I fully welcomed Cage's transition into a hardcore looking ex-felon.

Rockin' the Beanie

I'm pretty sure a large black man would not wear an outfit like his old garb in the yard at Seagate Prison. The transition was a slow one to get the look he has today, but as soon as they changed it, it was all gravy. In some cases, you can see some tattoos on his arms. That's more like it! It was more likely that he got some ink than some headwear in the slammer.

Scuba Scott to Hubba-Hubba Hot Scott

It was a small transition, but made the character a much better looking hero. We could see a reason why he was named leader of the X-Men without that silly hood. Don't get me wrong, his old look was a classic, but he looked like a (pardon my French) male reproductive organ. As soon as he cut a hole on top of his head and added a Rambo holster, he became the hunk of a hero he is today. He always had the perfect hair and it was just a shame he once had to cover it. Talk about hat-hair. Basically, every time I look at the newer version of Cyclops I think of the 90's TV show. So, the costume is very memorable to me. Pretty odd that I put both of the Summers (Cyclops and Havoc) brothers on this list. Good job guys in making something better out of yourselves.

Hal Jordan Outfit to Kyle Rayner Outfit

This selection is very subjective. Which ever one of these Green Lanterns you like the most depends on when you read comics. My time of reading was largely based in the 90's, therefore I like Kyle Rayner's costumes. I love Hal's classic green/black/white outfit, but I love the modern look of Kyle's first and second outfits. This selection is pretty much two in one. I think both of Kyle's costumes were upgrades on the ones prior to it. Kyle's first costume screams 90's. It has this odd white shape on the front, a metal mask, and bulky gloves (popular in the 90's, see Impulse). Then during the 2000's, he moved on to an even better costume. It has very simple concepts, but modern ones, too. I love the ripples on the arms and legs, and the glowing logo.


Green Lantern is pretty much the best character to build a great costume around. He's got the best colors, deals with a lot of light, and works alongside aliens who wear the same uniform (so you have more options to expand the costume).

80's 'Fro to 90's Hoe

The sexy vixen named Rogue. Beautiful. Voluptuous. Southern-belle. So many thoughts race through my head when I see this gorgeous hero. So why the hell would she look so fugly in her beginnings? Talk about an ugly duckling syndrome. My take on the situation is that since she was first a villain made it that much easier to make her very dyke-ish. As soon as she crossed over, her look started to change. Looking at the older drawing I see a woman with an afro and no fashion sense. Thinking back on the 90's TV show (again) I see one of those girls that would flirt with you from across a bar, then as soon as you build the courage to go say hey, she turns you down. That's basically what Rogue should be, a sexy flirt, and so, she should look the part. The major transformation between early and later Rogue is her hair. That long, wavy, beautiful hair. I would have preferred a costume change like this, but that's the guy in me.

I wonder if those are adhesive.

The Train Wrecks
True, I could twist some of these selections to fit in both of these categories, but that would be hard for some. In most cases, heroes go from a decent, to a bad, and back to a decent costume, but some are just plain hideous and deserve to be stated on their own. Besides, some bad costumes were a character's first, so you can only get better (see Rogue). I wouldn't go backwards from their 2nd to 1st costumes in this article. That's not really a change. With that explained, here are my most hideous costume changes.

Original Skin to Pineapple Skin

I know, this might seem wrong, but I hated this mutated version of Thing. I know it wasn't his fault, but the sheer fact that the creators allowed this to happen makes me wonder what they were thinking. The look is just plain ugly, like an orange dinosaur. Every time I saw a comic with this version of Thing, I'd pass it up like a joint smoked through someone's butt (drug free since forever, don't worry, just an expression). Looking at the new mutated form I wonder if his dork turned spiky like the rest of his body (thank you Brodie Bruce).

"Is his dork made of orange rock like the rest of his body?" No, it just fell off!

Ha, but seriously, here's what might've happened if they had let him mutate even further.

Poor Thing. The whole concept was soon scrapped after many fan complaints, many of whom used the terms Spiky Thing and Pineapple Thing to describe the ordeal.

Pineapple Express Thing

Kitty's First Costume to Kitty's Amazing Technicolor Outfit

What a cutie pie Kitty Pryde has been over the years. Starting with her innocence and all, to adopting a pet dragon named Lockheed, to having her being portrayed by Juno herself, Ellen Page. But equipping herself with roller skates, leg warmers, and a blindingly colorful outfit? This was just a disaster, and Kitty was the only one to blame. Trying to create her own uniform and scrap the old one Professor X gave her, she made this childish one. Never let a kid dress themselves, this might happen.

"That's what you wanna wear? That's okay with me, then. Good luck walking down the street. That's all I can say."

The costume only appeared in two issues and she soon got her own outfit. Hopefully this was a lesson she learned never to do again.

Really? Face paint? I guess no one's perfect.

Patriotic Chick to Hippie Chick

This was a gimmick to capitalize on the feminist movement during the late 1960's. People attacked the fact that her costume looked demeaning to women, but I feel like the change was a way to sell some books. The whole idea is like changing the recipe for apple pie to have oranges instead of apples.

They messed with an American icon, the costume. The Wonder Woman books during the time changed, as well. They seemed a little more psychedelic than usual, evidence to the times when they came out. Ironically, women wanted the original costume back because the new one separated her from the other DC characters. They needed their female hero back, so the ordeal ended a little more than 2 years after it started. We got our Wonder Woman back! I look back at these books and just feel disturbed. You don't mess with something so original and classy. It's like changing Superman's costume, you just don't do it.

More on that later.

African Goddess to Punk Princess

No haircut irritates me more than the mohawk Storm got in the 1980's. It just doesn't make much sense. You take a beautiful goddess and throw her under a lawn mower.

She lost.

The end result is a trashy excuse to be hip. Maybe she was too claustrophobic under all of her hair? I'm not sure why she did it. In the first appearance of the thing she gave her reason to do it as "aren't I a Goddess? Can't I do anything I want?" Or something to that effect. Sure Storm, you can do as you please, but just don't think I'm gonna worship that broom on top of your head. Anyway, it's that simple, I hate the haircut. Next costume.

Classic Costume to Red and Blue: Electric Boogaloo

I really have nothing against the costumes. I think they look great, are very original, and have a cool origin. I'm just not sold on giving them to one of the most iconic superheroes of all time, Superman. Everyone knows what his costume looks like. It's an American institution. To change the costume you change the man underneath it. People started not to care for the big, strong guy and the story abruptly ended. This story started with Superman losing some of his powers and gaining others involving electricity. Worried that his molecules were going to disperse from his Kryptonian evolution, he trapt himself into a suit. When trying to fight Cyborg-Superman, two entities formed from a contraption that split all of Supe's molecules in different directions (so his nightmare ultimately came true). Each entity represented Superman's two different personalities, a cerebral one and an erratic one. The two entities eventually collided together, forming the original Superman. Just like that, it was done. Like I said, I love the costumes, but what a bad move by the creators to change something we love so dearly.

Teen Conservative to Teen Pornstar

Here at last, the final costume. I promised some train wrecks, but this is the one that takes the cake. We have Cosmic Boy, member of the Legion of Super Heroes. He holds the power to control electromagnetic fields, and power to make you vomit. I don't know the reasoning to change his costume to this monstrosity. It was the 70's, times were achanging, so I guess so were the outfits. It really is a disturbing costume that also doesn't make sense. I always thought that it looked like a man's version of a corset with an opening where the strings used to be. Call it a 'bro'-set, if you will.

I'll just let the costume speak for itself. I can't really say anything else other than the fact that I hate it.

We Made It! The End
Thanks for reading my article. I plan on pumping out some more stuff later, so sit tight. Leave some comments over what costume changes you loved or hated. Maybe they'll end up in later editions. Of course, you may critique my opinions and work, as usual. Until next time...

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