Super-Embarrassing Superhero Costume Updates
Most superheroes have been around for decades, so they often feel the need to do something drastic in order to stay fresh and relevant. And most superheroes execute this as well as any 60-year-old trying to stay hip and with it: Desperate, but with a hint of hilarious. The following are some costume redesigns that went for "cool" and accidentally landed on "check the fresh threads, fellow cool dudes!" These awful things make the Joel Schumacher bat nipples look straight-up 2 legit 2 quit. Word.
Biker Stripper Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is almost 80 years old, and has gone through a lot of changes in that time. We've already documented some of her more embarrassing phases like when she got caught up in the kung fu craze of the '70s or the racist mockery of the '40s. But she also fell into the most insidious comic book phase of them all: The dark edginess of the 1990s. The '90s was a decade where every hero's costume grew chains and spikes. It was a decade where every superheroine's combat bloomers became too thong-like to even color.
Above: The back of all female outerwear in the '90s.
In 1994, during "The Contest" storyline, Hippolyta (WW's mother) had a vision of Wonder Woman's death. In order to prevent this, she decided to hold a contest to crown some other sucker as "Wonder Woman" in an effort to trick fate into killing a different person. It's a plan at once both extremely clever and impossibly stupid. The poor winner was an Amazon named Artemis, who was given the title of Wonder Woman and the responsibilities and sexy leotard that went with it.
Shown here after a terrible human leg drawing accident.
Wonder Woman herself became just regular old Diana Prince. But after 50 years of superheroics, she couldn't quit cold turkey. So she decided to cobble together an outfit from her gym's lost-and-found and continue the good fight. Instead of the iconic stars and stripes, her new costume was biking shorts, a bra, and a cropped jean jacket. She dressed like she had a job sitting on a floor-model Harley at a gun show.
"Thanks for your help! I'm the new Wonder Woman! You must be LSU Dance Team Lass!"
Diana must have been happy having pockets for the first time in half a century, but as anyone with any sense would imagine, the costume was a huge flop with readers. Wonder Woman should dress like a warrior gymnast, not someone asking if anyone can make change for the condom machine.
Also her waist is the exact width of her elbow.
Unfortunately, changing back to her original suit was easier said than done. Remember the vision her mother had of Wonder Woman's death? In order for things to go back to normal (and as often happens in the comics industry), some poor Wonder Woman had to die. In a shocking lack of plot twists, the plan to have Artemis get killed worked. And before her body was even cold, Diana took her job back. It wasn't her most heroic storyline. In the end, this awful biker stripper outfit ended up being both a fashion crime and just a regular murder crime.
Since he started fighting crime in the 1930s, Batman has made a lot of alterations to his official suit. Most times this only involved a different color of gray or a bigger bat on his chest. He stuck to subtle adjustments on a classic design, though he did keep some flamboyant insanity in his closet for extra-special missions.
"DIE KNOWING ONLY MAGIC AND WONDER, CRIME!"
"CRIME DOES NOT WAIT FOR LAUNDRY DAY!"
Recently, though, the suit went through some very drastic changes. It started in 2015 when Batman died -- a sentence most comic fans know should always end in "again." Batman dies all the time. He dies so often, seven mortuaries in Gotham City specialize exclusively in Batman funerals. This time, however, he stayed "dead" so long an interim Dark Knight took his place: Gotham Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. Because who better to be the next Batman than an aging chain smoker with the most demanding job in the world?
Despite being a tough guy, Jim Gordon couldn't throw on some spandex and suddenly be an expert in acrobatics, ninja stealth, and beating a man only 99 percent to death. So they gave him a new Batman costume. A hulking blue robo suit that looked like a Transformer fucked a police tank.
"This is the DUMBEST idea in the history of Gotham City." -- The New Batman
Yes, for some reason, old Commissioner Gordon thought that the best way to live up to Batman's legacy was to strap himself into a Japanese cartoon labeled with "GCPD" and pass it off as a Batsuit. It had police lights. It had a diaper. And for some reason, Ultra Super Sentai Mecha BatoMan also came with bunny ears. It's like they held a coloring contest and the top 50 children all got to include one stupid idea in the new Batman suit.
"Comes with pudding dispenser, deployable tether ball pole, and talks to kitty cats!"
As every Batman fan knows, he always loved guns. So to carry on with the Batman tradition, the Mecha Batsuit is armed to the teeth with enough firepower to level Gotham. All in the hands of a man who almost certainly has arthritis, coughing fits, and no idea how to work bleeding-edge neural bat-interfaces. This thing was, in almost every way, the exact opposite of Batman: A noisy, clumsy murder machine. Thankfully, Gordon didn't stay Batman for very long. The armor was soon destroyed by Mr. Bloom, the only villain embarrassing enough to finish off this crapfest of a story.
"THE LOVELY MEADOWS OF GOTHAM'S SUBURBS WILL FEAR THE MIGHT OF MISTER BLOOOOOOM!"
Even if you're not a comic book fan, you've probably heard of Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye. He's the answer to modern cinema's most frequently asked question, "Wait, does that one just have a fucking bow and arrow?" Well, there is a bit more depth to him than you might imagine, and as with all comic book heroes, it's pretty nuts.
Clint Barton has had no fewer than four separate superhero personas. He was constantly bounced between jobs and identities like a grabby priest. He started as a supervillain, gained growing powers to become Goliath, went back to archery as Golden Archer, and even became the nunchaku master Ronin.
"You guys need a superhero?! I'll literally dress like anything and hit people with anything."
But of all the low points in his career, the lowest came after his time as Goliath. He showed up at a fight wearing a purple-and-blue mini-dress with no pants underneath and a headband. He didn't even wear a mask, presumably because onlookers would be too distracted by his dangling balls to identify his face. And, of course, his reboot did nothing to address the reason he quit being Hawkeye in the first place: His main ability is carrying a weapon that has been outdated for centuries.
"THY CLUB OUTFIT AND UNKEMPT HAIR! 'TIS SURELY A WALK OF SHAME!"
Mercifully, the costume switch would prove to be short-lived. Not because Hawkeye came to his senses and realized that running around like a Medieval Times go-go dancer wasn't the way to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. He ditched this outfit over girl trouble.
See, just after his return, Hawkeye started putting the moves on Scarlet Witch. Scarlet Witch wasn't into it, preferring the cold, robotic touch of their teammate Vision. She chose an android with no skin or (probably) working genitals over poor Hawkeye, and he was so broken up about it he quit the team and went back to his original costume. When you were in the 7th grade, did you or someone you know ever show up to school as a completely different genre of person, barely survive a day of ridicule, then go home vowing never to wear overall shorts, a sequin shirt, or a velvet cape ever again? Well, that exact situation was Hawkeye's third and most defining origin story.
In one page: Broken Heart, Quit His Job, Redefined Himself, Giant Surprise Hand.
Giant "M" Magneto
By 1983, Magneto had been doing his Mutant Malcolm X bit for close to 20 years and didn't have much to show for it aside from an asteroid base and a huge PR problem. Looking back, it probably wasn't the best idea to name his super team "The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants." He was an absentee father to his children, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch -- whom he often tried to kill -- and he'd attempted to take over the world several times. He also dressed like a color-blind Darth Vader and had a deep, racist hatred for all humans. So naturally, Marvel decided they should try making him a good guy.
"Die, inferior gene trash! So demands your newest hero!"
In order to make such a drastic shift, Magneto would need a new costume -- something both heroic and iconic. He wouldn't get it. In New Mutants #29, he arrived to replace an incapacitated Professor X as the leader of the X-Men. This was a pretty insane hire since Cyclops was being groomed for that role for decades and Wolverine was the most popular superhero on the planet at the time. But when Magneto actually appeared, the question wasn't "What the hell is he doing here?" It was "What the hell is he wearing?!"
"My greatest crimes were the ones against fashion."
His costume was a sleeveless sweat suit with no features aside from a giant M and a cape. He accessorized only with sexy burlesque gloves. His original costume may have looked like a knight sworn to defend flavor in a rejected Bubble Yum campaign, but this new one looked like he jumped into Whoopi Goldberg's monogrammed dashiki upside down.
In the context of Magneto's life, it is nearly impossible to find an outfit that looks this silly.
Yes, for some inexplicable reason, Bill Sienkiewicz, the artist who designed the costume, decided that Magneto needed a chest emblem. And maybe because a picture of a magnet looked too much like a warning to keep him away from floppy disks and VHS tapes, he went with the first letter of Magneto's name instead.
The costume wasn't around for long, but was unfortunately his uniform for the "Trial of Magneto" storyline, a serious drama in which he was held accountable for his crimes against humanity. Through a series of legal loopholes, he was acquitted, and every moment of drama was undermined by his adorable pajamas.
"Could the court reporter read that back?"
"Yes, your honor. The defendant under suspicion of genocide entered. Giggling could be heard from all in attendance. Juror #7 exclaimed 'HA HA WHAT!?!' and buried his head in Juror #12's shoulder. Seriously, look at this asshole, your honor."
Every now and then, a comics company decides to wipe out their entire universe. In 2011, DC did this (again) when they launched The New 52, a full reboot of everything. This meant all new retellings of the early years of Batman, Superman, and dozens of other characters whose origin stories had already been told a thousand times in a thousand different ways.
As everyone knows, Superman is an alien who came here to become the best person ever, battle evil in a leotard, and work as a newspaper reporter. Well, this ain't your dad's Superman, you square! New 52 Superman wears jeans and a shirt! And what's a newspaper, Grandpa? This Clark Kent has a blog! He ... well, he's sort of exactly the same except way less interesting and majestic.
"Is that really Superman, guys? Because I bought that same shirt at the comic book store."
It's like if Batman tried to fight crime with a hoodie and an iPod, only worse because this is Superman. In an effort to make this infallible space god more down-to-earth and accessible, DC turned one of the most recognizable icons of western culture into the kind of douchebag who tweets observations from a Starbucks, usually about Starbucks.
"We know people there order expensive drinks with complicated names, you stupid asshole! Your tweets suck!!!"
On top of everything else, they also took away his marriage to Lois Lane and killed off his adoptive parents. It wasn't an interesting "take" on Superman so much as an editor going in and making sure at least one pointless change was made to every aspect of the character. Soon the editors decided he would be even more interesting if he wasn't super at all, so they took away most of his powers and forced him to fight crime using a motorcycle and above-average strength.
"Guy in a Superman shirt, drop the laser batons. You're under arrest."
"What? No, I'm the real Superman!"
"Come on. Don't make us shoot you, buddy."
Gone are the laser eyes, freeze breath, flying, time travel, super ventriloquism, and invulnerability. They made him a resourceful guy on a bike. It's ironic that in an effort to modernize him, they made him into a half-remembered '80s action show. At this rate, this unstoppable force of truth and justice will soon just be a Youtuber with an S tattoo complaining about Donald Trump from an iron lung.
Sex Pot, Boob-Windowed Invisible Woman
Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, is married to Reed Richards, who is one of the shittiest husbands in the Marvel Universe. He has been neglecting her since the '60s, often tells her to shut up, and his entire body is the consistency of a limp penis. All that started to take a toll on poor Sue who dealt with it in a very desperate, very nude way. She redesigned her costume to expose every part of her body that wasn't nipples or labia.
"Oh, Reed! Does my underboob look nice in my new costume? Notice me! NOTICE ME!!!"
Sue was going to get her husband's attention even if it meant Doctor Doom would spend their fights seeing most of her tits. Actually, it goes deeper than that. The costume change was inspired by Malice, a more evil, way sluttier alternate version of Sue created by Psycho-Man. Yes, that's his name: Psycho-Man.
This wasn't the first time Psycho-Man's evil creation reworked Susan's wardrobe. Malice took over her mind a few years earlier, and put together a costume that made this porn parody outfit look positively Quakerish.
Malice dressed like a stripper at a Hellraiser-themed bachelor party.
Even if her husband didn't notice Sue's strangely exposed, luscious body, her son Franklin did. And he used his cosmic reality powers (comics are weird) to travel from the future and purge Malice from her mind. Soon, she replaced her fuck-me stockings and dental floss with a slight variation of her original uniform: A conservative catsuit, wrapped like a second skin around her sexy, athletic figure.
Looking back, Franklin's first 1500 boners must have been very confusing.
When not obsessing over pointless pop culture trivia, Henrik Magnusson also enjoys harassing the internet with his comics. You can also go bug him on Twitter.
For more things we wish comic books never did, check out 5 Superheroes Rendered Ridiculous By Gritty Reboots and The 6 Most WTF Special Edition Comics Ever Released.
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