We live currently of awesome spiderman costume. The growth and rise of cosplay culture, the emergence of comic artists using a savvy comprehension of fashion, and the slow diversification that’s making heroes palatable to some broader audience, supply led to a costuming culture with more to offer you than capes and pants.
Superhero costumes have been an focal point in the marketplace, because iconography helps establish character and make up a brand. But the price of costumes in reaching audiences and reinventing characters appears to be recognized now as never before, ultimately causing the growth of artist-designers like Jamie McKelvie and Kris Anka, who don’t even should be over a particular book in order to be called in to make-across the characters. It is a great leap forward in understanding exactly what an excellent costume is capable of doing – as well as the special skills required to get it done.
Moon Knight was a mess of any character before his 2014 revival at the disposal of Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire. Contradictory efforts by multiple creative teams to find 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 – along with a fresh look; a natty white suit. Both elements helped pull Moon Knight out from the mire of Marvel’s many failed faux-Batmen and then make him his very own man for the first time.
Moon Knight’s new costume right away underlines his insanity – his old white suit was never the sane way to fight crime, now it’s a genuine white suit – and exerts his outer calm, his cool lunar placidity. It gives him authority. It can make him scary. Plus it makes him the main one superhero detective who dresses something similar to a detective, which feels as though an announcement of purpose.
The suit is not really Moon Knight’s only costume – with their six issues, the creative team also showed us a crazy bone outfit for fighting the occult and a more traditional yet still refreshed take on his old cape-and-cowl look. Both costumes look wonderful and then make perfect sense to the character – these aren’t Stealth Strike Scuba Assault Batman action figure costumes. However if there’s any sense worldwide, it’s the white suit which will become Moon Knight’s new default. It redefines him. It gives him a fresh place that is certainly uniquely his very own inside a city of heroes.
Great costumes can provide just this kind of redemption. Shatterstar, a joke of the character with his mullet and opera cloak, was suddenly credible thanks to a redesign (along with a fresh haircut) thanks to Valentine De Landro and David Yardin. Jamie McKelvie’s Captain Marvel design – arguably the obvious trigger to the current “golden age” of spiderman costumes – was 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 believe that even Batman group editor Mark Doyle truly understood precisely what he was tapping into when he handed Batgirl onto the latest 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, although the torrent of fan-art that emerged within the 24-hours following the reveal of Batgirl’s new costume was unprecedented. Such was the mania that cosplayers very quickly bought out your world’s supply of Drench Wellington yellow rubber Doc Marten boots.
What went down with Batgirl was the spark of the movement located in large part over a smart new costume that spoke to Barbara Gordon’s character, intelligence, style, and set in everyday life. This design looked less similar to a Batman cast-off, plus more like something a young woman will make for herself to craft her identity within the bat-cowl.
Sure, there were 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 concept of a leather jacket that hid the character’s boobs. Nevertheless 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 know how this fresh look will translate to actual sales – we may never know how well the publication sells digitally, where most of its market will probably reside – but the kind of word-of-mouth and web-based interaction generated from this costume redesign is hugely valuable into a publisher.
A great costume gets a crowd excited by letting them know what you should expect. Cliff Chiang’s handle 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 rather than pandering to some traditional crowd.
And it also works in reverse. Harley Quinn’s New 52 design clearly steered the character in a different direction from the ones fans expected, and sent a transmission 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 your 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 experienced before plus some new ones created for the celebration. And this includes is actually a Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman, designed by Robbi Rodriguez – and Spider-Gwen wears the things i think may be the most popular superhero costume in years.
The Spider-Gwen costume does many things with remarkable economy. It plays beautifully from the iconic design of the highest superhero costume ever conceived, Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man costume. It strikes a contemporary tone with the hood along with the neon Chucks – although with sufficient restraint which i don’t think it will look dated in many years to come. It produces shapes and breaks up space in ways that’s planning to look powerful on the page. Plus it immediately evokes character. I haven’t even read Spider-Gwen’s first Spider-Verse appearance, and so i already have a feeling of a difficult, 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 as it is when women are killed off to further the stories of male heroes, the death of Gwen Stacy feels too vital that you Spider-Man’s development being undone. Yet I love this costume a whole lot that, just before the Spider-Gwen issue of Fringe of Spider-Verse is released, I understand I want Gwen back and kicking ass in this costume.
(I am going to accept a continuing occur Gwen’s alt universe. Heck, in case the Ultimate Universe scales to just Miles Morales, a Miles book as well as a Gwen book will be perfect complements to each other. But I don’t think that’s where Marvel is heading.)
A great costume inspires stories – and tells an audience what type of stories should be expected. Catwoman produced a new form of sense when redesigned by Darwyn Cooke in 2004 – finally she wore the costume of the master thief, not an Olympic luge rider. It causes whiplash whenever that costume appears in service to a story that doesn’t respect the type. The contour-shifting Loki as a puckish young man in swashbuckling adventurer’s attire – one more Jamie McKelvie design – sparks totally different stories on the sinewy old guy using the giant horns. Stuart Immonen’s stylish All-New X-Men superman costumes put the time-tossed X-Men in the modern superior to any volume of exposition.
Costumes have been vital that you superheroes – but perhaps much more than many editors realize. Some artists are wonderful at it, and some are… less great. Like lettering, coloring, inking, editing, or dexrpky99 art, it’s a specialized job that perhaps must be restricted to individuals with the skill set to excel at it.
Thankfully the comic industry has never had such a great deal of designing talent. Jamie McKelvie, Kris Anka, Cameron Stewart, Robbi Rodriguez, Cliff Chiang, etc., are element of a generation of artists who take this task very seriously, and they also make superhero comics smarter and sharper for doing this.
And they’re not the only one. A lot more artists are showing their designer flare along with their grasp of contemporary style. Sites like Tumblr and DeviantArt provide fertile ground for artists to try out around with costume concepts – as well as the excellent Project: Rooftop curates the best examples. The musty superhero industry would benefit hugely from embracing the likes of Cory Walker, Mingjue Helen Chen, Dean Trippe, Corey Lewis, Becky Cloonan, Ming Doyle, Jemma Salume, Sean Murphy, Ron Wimberly, and more, to re-energize the genre for tomorrow.