Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Are superhero costume changes a fashion do or don't?

The latest buzz on the Superman scene is that his look has been updated yet again. In a new series that once again goes over his origin,the Young Man of Steel is seen sporting a hoodie and with glowing red eyes. Granted,the amber eyes are just cover art hype but that casual look is definitely not.

Many fans are less than thrilled with what they see as a "Twilight makeover" of the character,giving him a smaller physical build and an air of moodiness about his outsider status-I would contend that the attitude adjustment started much sooner with Smallville but the wardrobe change is pretty consistent with keeping the character more in tune with modern times.

He's not the only DC Comic big shot to receive some fashion consultation recently. A new look for Wonder Woman was announced over the summer,donning the legendary Amazonian warrior princess in leg coverings.

While her overall ensemble is better than one might expect,throwing a few stars down the side of those tights certainly would brighten them up a bit. This may seem to be a superficial concern(no pun intended)but what a superhero wears into battle is a strong part of his/her identity and a new look can either add strength or take away their formidable flair.

A costume helps to establish credibility,for the most part. While characters like The Hulk or Wolverine have powerful physical appearances that let everyone know that they mean business,others have to rely on a solid first impression to get the attention of evil doers and fellow heroes alike.

While a snazzy suit is no substitute for true heroics or amazing superhuman feats of strength,it is important to at least give off the impression that you are a force to be reckoned with rather than a breakfast cereal flavor:

Costume changes are par for the course in the comic book world,with both heroes and villains giving into the styles of their time period. Some have clearly been for the better(those Robin the Boy Wonder numbers,for example)and others so bad that they would even leave the judges on Project Runway speechless(Halle Berry's shredded ensemble in Catwoman-need I say more?).

For female characters,the range of outfits often teeters between sexy and slutty. While showcasing the beauty as well as the brawn of a super heroine is equally important,it takes a tasteful hand to balance them out carefully.

Not that men are immune to being clad in skin tight and revealing costumes in the superhero realm but their major worry is more about coming across as a laughing stock rather than a sexpot:

Of course,a cool costume does not instantly a superhero make. What truly matters is how that character chooses to embrace their abilities and channel them towards doing what is right. Whether Superman is wearing a T shirt or Wonder Woman has to throw on some sweats due to it being laundry day,they're still tough enough to save the day.

What a costume can do best for any hero is to give them an air of mystery. That's why the mere arrival of Batman on the scene causes the bad guys to run for cover. You can amp up that factor with cryptic sayings but don't get too set into a rhythm there or your gimmick will be too easy to detect:

So,even if Superman looks a tad too Twilight in his new duds,his stellar status as one of the top superheroes of all time will hardly be diminished by a trendy new look. It could be much worse,folks,as many a wannabe hero will tell you as they try to strut their stuff in outfits not fit for Halloween. Clothes can make the man but they also can undermine them,too:

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