Saturday, June 03, 2006

I left my pants at home...

I finally got last week's comics today and I was excited to see Skye Runner #2. Sadly it wasn't quite as good as the first issue, but it was still enjoyable. It did however have me thinking more about the Eric Larson article Jeff emailed me the other day.

As much as I don't agree with everything the man says I can't help but agree with some of what he says about costumes in comic books. I mean, cmon, superhero costumes are pretty silly as a rule. As much as I believe Phantom Lady's costume to be ridiculous it doesn't offend me. I'm not sure why it would offend anyone really. I mean I grew up with Starfire's costume and it never bothered me.

The only things that bother me about drawing superheroes is 1. When they all look like clones and 2. When they look drastically different from one comic to the next. I swear Hawkgirl's breasts are only that huge in her own book (and only when she's in costume... maybe it's part of her disguise). I believe there's even a superhero song out there about wearing your underwear outside of your pants. They actually make fun of that in one Batman Animated series episode with the Condiment King (yes, you heard me, the Condiment King - if you haven't seen that episode go purchase Batman season 3 NOW... the Condiment King is kicking Gorilla Grodd off of my list and them bumping everyone else back as he takes Magneto's rank). The man is actually wearing his underwear outside of his pants. And you know what? That's okay in comics and comic book genres.

I mean sure, it's got to be seriously uncomfotable fighting crime in a thong and high heels. But hey I wouldn't be caught dead in some of the costumes out there if I was a guy either...

Anyway, the reason Skye runner had me thinking about this was because of Skye's costume. I mean the girl is wearing very little. But the thing is the writer himself makes fun of it. He's playing to the fantasy genre and dressing the warrior-girl up in very little clothing, but he makes it part of his story and has fun with it. So not only am I not offended at the scant clothing I actually end up enjoying the book more because of it.

You have to take several steps away from reality to envision the world of comics anyway. So what difference does it make that Red Sonja has a chain mail thong? As far as I'm concerned, very little.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Jim said...

I agree that the whole costume thing only works in comics. I also wondered how these heroes would look or act in a true real world scenario. Would Batman just wear a mask and maybe a shirt with a bat emblem and kevlar, what would a real life hero wear?

Saturday, June 03, 2006  
Anonymous Jeff said...

I just think that the more revealing female costumes are a stroke of strategic brilliance. If you're a male villain going up against Phantom Lady I'm sure hitting her isn't the first thing on your mind. It's hard enough for a lot of us guys to stay focussed, these costumes would have us off our game completely.
Why do you think that the Hollywood types hate superhero costumes so much? What they did to Bullseye's was sacrelidge. And Jen Garner would have looked great in Elektra's real costume instead of squeezing her into those tight leather pants. And all the x-men have the exact same costume if any at all in the movies. Boring!
What happened to fun in comics? Bendis brought us a run on DD that played down costumes, secret identities and supervillains. These are some of the great things about comics. Let's not lose them. And Condiment King rules! So happy that Chuck Dixon brought him to regular DC continuity. A total joke character but handled very well. Next time you watch his episode of BTAS check out how many condiment references the writer inserted in the dialogue. Genius!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006  
Blogger Arielle said...

Electra would have been one long series of 'wardrobe' malfunctions if they had kept the costume the same as in the comics. That thing would have had to be literally glued on in order to stay put during any activity more strenous than walking. =P

You can probably blame the feminists for the fact that female superheroes have their sexiness toned down for the movies. "...sex-object...blah-da-blah-da-blah-dah"

Saturday, June 03, 2006  
Blogger Brainiac6 said...

Actually I liked what they did with Elektra for the movie. Like Arielle said they'd have to have glued it on Jennifer to make it stay put. And honestly I can understand why an actress would want a little more clothing for something like that. But in comics where physics hold little meaning - sure, why not.

Saturday, June 03, 2006  
Blogger Arielle said...

Y'know - one has to wonder - when a female villian and a female superhero are duking it out (both scantily clad) how would any guy in the area, whether villian or hero, be able to keep fighting? One would think the fight would pretty much grind to a halt right there, except for the two femmes...

Saturday, June 03, 2006  
Anonymous Jim said...

Airelle - if I was a hero or a villain I would certainly ask for a truce while we stopped to watch.

Saturday, June 03, 2006  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Elektra's costume is no more revealing than Wonder Woman's. It's also less risque than the bikinis you see at the shore these days. Elektra wears what is a conservative one piece bathing suit that has long sashes that flow around her legs. She wears knee-high boots and wraps from her forearms to her wrists. That's not exactly naked or in danger of wardrobe malfunction. Olympic swimmers and gymnasts wear less. Also, Garner has worn much more revealing outfits on Alias. It could have been done tastefully and kept fans like me satisfied.
Yeah, catfights pretty much make all males stop dead in their tracks. Imagine how the males would drool, especially after the bootleg version of Catwoman and Batwoman's hot night in Vegas got leaked on the internet.
So who wears the absolute tiniest costumes, men or women in comics? I think it's pretty hard to beat Namor and his Speedo Jr. or Benjy Grimm who looks to be wearing Sue's bikini bottom and nothing else.

Saturday, June 03, 2006  
Blogger Brainiac6 said...

I dunno Jeff, I've seen some versions of the Elektra costume where it looks like she glued some ribbons on her skin.

Saturday, June 03, 2006  
Blogger Arielle said...

That was the version I was thinking of, Cshiana! I hadn't seen many pictures of Elektra, and the one I had seen was the glued-on ribbons!

Sunday, June 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My problem with Larsen's column is this: I think he set up the 'costume' argument as a straw man, an argument that can be easily shouted down. People weren't complaining about the costumes, they were complaining about him saying things like 'the only point of phantom lady is her huge jugs' and 'toning down' powergirl's bust size strips her of her identity.
The real problem is that a lot of the comics industry treats female characters not as characters but as plot points and tits-delivery-systems, and Larsen seemed to be okay with that, saying that complaining about it was a form of censorship.

Sunday, June 04, 2006  
Blogger Brainiac6 said...

Perhaps, but I wasn't really discussing all of his article - just the costumes issue. That was why I had the Skye Runner example in there, because it made me think about comic book fashion.

Sunday, June 04, 2006  
Anonymous Pat said...

"So what difference does it make that Red Sonja has a chain mail thong?"

In regards to swords, I'm guessing a LOT less fancy footwork. Ouch.

While, as a man, I've always appreciated some of the more adventurous fantasy armor-works artists have put on women, I have always felt a strong undercurrent of sympathy.

I mean, it's cold, it's biting into the girl's flesh, and it really isn't good protection from attacks. That's triple-bad.

But you're right. The outlandish appearances of our favorite superheroes are really part of their nature as totems. They don't really translate well to other mediums, and I'm just fine with that, so long as the various writers can be tongue and cheek about it.

I think the visual indicator that they are NOT NORMAL is a good thing. I mean, consider the profound psychology revolving around the fact that we can give someone dressed like a 30's circus performer (Superman) almost religious reverence.

That's remarkable. That speaks of some highly codified symbolic language that we've just started scratching the surface of.

Oh, and Skye FTW.

- PGS

Sunday, June 04, 2006  
Anonymous Jeff said...

The costume also serves as a symbol sometimes. Lynda Carter was put in the Wonder Woman costume, perhaps the most challenging costume for a woman to pull off. It could have come across as slutty, but Ms. Carter added a sense of grace and beauty to the outfit. Though very attractive in the costume, in my book the most beautiful any woman has ever looked in any costume, she always maintained an innocence and purity. In short, the costume doesn't make the person, but the person makes the costume. Lynda Carter made you think of certain wonderful human qualities every time you see the WW outfit. She made it a lasting symbol much as Superman's shield stands for certain things in people's minds. I hope Wheedon doesn't put Diana in black leather pants when he makes the movie. Her costume is central to who she is.

Monday, June 05, 2006  
Blogger Arielle said...

Wonder Woman in black leather pants would seem very strange!

Geez, you may as well have Batman start fighting in a leather jacket instead of a cape!

Monday, June 05, 2006  

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