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Off THEIR Minds: Should Superheroes Change Their Costumes?

Comic book creators are asked the question whether or not characters should be allowed to change their iconic look.

Last June, I brought up the question should superheroes be allowed to change their costumes. This is something that happens from time to time. Sometimes there seems to be a good reason while other times it feels like a gimmick. One of the latest example is Wonder Woman and looking at comments from last week's article, people are ready for a return back to her classic look (or at least the jacket needs to go).  
 
Change can be good. If characters are to be given a sense of realism, they would likely want to change their look from time to time. There's basically two problems with this. As a reader, people want stability. They want the characters they grew up with to look the same. Often regardless if the costume is good or not, it's what people recognize. That leads into the second issue. If a hero is trying to be a symbol of hope or reassurance, changing their costume will confuse the people they're trying to save. Being close to a super-powered battle could be intimidating and if you can't recognize the hero, your sense of hope is gone. 
 
Since I already touched on this topic, I decided to ask the comic creators at the recent Long Beach Comic Convention to get some insight into their minds. 
 == TEASER == 
  
     
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the creators? Does it make a difference if your favorite character changed their costume? 
116 Comments
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Edited by PowerHerc

If it's an iconic character, then no.
Posted by NightFang

If theres an reason for the change i'm fine with a new costume, but it should be updated version of the old one.

Posted by .Sha

I agree with Arthur Suydam; if you want that look to be branded you need to stick with one. 
 
I hate the NEW WW Look.

Posted by Gokujam

There's also the issue of your  brand recognition. I've been kicking ass for years in black and red as "The Ass kicker" . If I go change my outfit now the criminals that knew how badass i was before and to be afraid of me probably wouldnt recognize me or fear me, thus causing me to lose that slight psychological edge.

Edited by ComicMan24

I am ok with change if there is a good reason behind it. Although change isn't always necessary if they want something new, they can just update their old costume.

Posted by Vitality
@.Sha said:
  I hate the NEW WW Look. "


Everyone has their own opinion. 
 
In my opinion...WW's new look is not only the best WW look...but I think it's the  best female superhero look.
Posted by jubilee042

yes

Posted by ReVamp
@Vitality said:
"@.Sha said:
  I hate the NEW WW Look. "
Everyone has their own opinion.  In my opinion...WW's new look is not only the best WW look...but I think it's the  best female superhero look. "

I also kind of agree, I am not sure about the book storyline wise, because in all honesty I have yet to read it. But I do think that the change in costume makes a nice change of pace, looks great and also looks kinda modern. We all know she isn't gonna be like this for all of eternity, she's gonna probably change back after this arc or the next one, specially with all the negative feedback that the costume is currently getting.
Posted by Adnan

I think this article made me even more confused about where I stand on this topic :S
 
I want to say that a character's looks shouldn't really be tampered with, and I can see the logic in 
Suydam's statement. However...I like WW's new look, and I liked Superman's Godfall look (although, due to how radically different it was from his standard look, perhaps it was for the best that he didn't keep a similar look? hmm...)

Posted by comicbikerscott

who cares people will always know clothes dont make a person
Posted by NightFang
@comicbikerscott said:
" who cares people will always know clothes dont make a person "
Yes, but it makes them look good. 
Posted by kapitein_zeppos

I have no problem with a costume change if it fits the character. 

Posted by marvelunivers_deleteme
@PowerHerc said:
" If it's an iconic character, then no. "
Posted by Blackestnight

There is a reason heroes like pro wrestlers wear the same thing every time. It helps the reader identify them. Just imagine if all the X men wore different things everyday, it would be hard to tell who was who.  heck if Superman isn't dressed as superman I could mistake him for Bruce Wayne.

Posted by xerox_kitty

I love seeing Amanda Conner dressed as Leela talking about superhero fashion... when Leela's idea daring was adding a stripe to her boots in one of the 'tales of interest' ;) 
 
I agree with Jimmy Palmiotti.  It's more believable for characters to change outfits.  We don't like to wear the same clothes all the time, so why would 'characters' wear the same smelly outfits non-stop? 
 
But ultimately, Jeph Loeb hit the nail on the head.  We all know that if someone changes their look, then it's only a matter of time before it goes back to how it used to be.  Ms Marvel's black school swimsuit with lightning insignia is so much better than the Captain Marvel red & blue rip off.  After years of being Binary, she went back to that look because it's more 'iconic' than the red & blue.
 
But some characters DO need to change.  I'm sad to see Psylocke go back to her crotch-ripping one-piece...  and it is way passed time for Cyclops to ditch the blue body condom.

Moderator
Edited by Vitality
@comicbikerscott said:

"who cares people will always know clothes dont make a person "


Actually...that's only the case when  you HAVE to wear things because you have nothing else. 
 
When you're actually picking and choosing which clothes you wear.......then your clothes are just an extension of your own personality. 
 
They don't "make" you...but they can definitely tell who you are.
Posted by Jake Fury

A slight alteration is ok.
Online
Edited by Neverpraying

I don't really know, you define someone by their style, so when a character changes their style it's odd, but then again it states that the character is evolving or expanding or a combination even.

Posted by Fantasgasmic

I agree with Leela... I mean Amanda Conner, and JT Krull, the key is to use variations on a central theme. If Power Girl has an oval shaped window and her cape hangs off one shoulder, or a rectangular window and her cape attached to both shoulders, the look is slightly different, but you know it's her. When Batman has the yellow backed, oblong bat symbol or the blue/gray outfit or the black gray, you can always tell it's him (although now, the 2 different symbols hep you know if it's Dick or Bruce), and ALL of Iron Man's armors have the same central look: the face, the light in the middle of the chest, etc. 
 
What bothers people is when the new look is a DRASTIC change, like the electro-Superman look. The shield on the chest was recognizable, but that was about it. The more I've seen the new Wonder Woman look the more I realize the things I don't like about it are the things that are unrelated to the previous one: the stupid leather jacket, and leather pants that I swear are attached to her shoes. Without the jacket, I really like everything from the waist up, because other than the much smaller W logo, it's very familiar.

Posted by TerryMcC

Of course the big change was back in the 60s when Batman got the yellow circle around the bat symbol, and that lasted for decades, and even it eventually went away.

Edited by cmaprice

If it's a good change and it's character driven, why not?
 
Imagine if these characters had never changed from their first looks; some of them were around for decades.
 


 
 
 

Posted by Om1kron

50 pages of "I hate wonder womans new look" so I'll get this in while I can. 
 
I think they should change or rotate.

Posted by dragonzord

I'd like to see Spidey get a new suit, but they usually muck it up.  They just need to put him in a costume based off the 2099 costume to make me happy.

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Batman has a excellent wardrobe! 
the right suit for the right occasion!

Posted by Mumbles

its good when its really needed

Posted by xerox_kitty

The main problem is that the majority of comic artists draw a few standard body frames.  A generic male & a generic female body.  After that, they rely on the hair & outfit to make the character recognisable. 
 
In real life we recognise friends, family & colleagues every day, even though we all change clothes.  Yet in comics, there isn't that distinctive difference between characters' faces, build, height, etc.  A lot really does come down to costume & colouring.  Take the Age of X for example, we're still guessing who some of the characters are... purely based on their designs.  We know who Jubilee & Dazzler are because they carried over the same costume these: a yellow jacket & visors for Jubilee, and a blue top with a starburst design for Dazzler.  They're vastly different outfits, but still carry the familiar motif.

Moderator
Posted by DEGRAAF

i have no problem with them changing their outfits. I see WW as a character that should be able to have 4 or 5 different costumes, while i see Batman as someone that has alot of costumes that are basically the same but with different little variations. Superman seems like the least likely to change his outfit unless it is absolutely necessary (although i would like to see and artist and writer try changing his up sometime soon in the future for at least a little bit)
Posted by EisforExtinction

Even if it leads to really bad design (see above) I always think it's cool to see new costumes. 
Posted by Vitality
@DEGRAAF said:
"i have no problem with them changing their outfits. I see WW as a character that should be able to have 4 or 5 different costumes, while i see Batman as someone that has alot of costumes that are basically the same but with different little variations. Superman seems like the least likely to change his outfit unless it is absolutely necessary (although i would like to see and artist and writer try changing his up sometime soon in the future for at least a little bit) "

This is good. 
 
I think the same thing. 
 
I believe that Superman should have just the one....although I do think it needs to be made "more modern", while still keeping it the "same".
Posted by Foolkiller

costume UPDATES are needed every once in a while, but there needs to be a reason to it, like iron man and batman had.

Posted by ClawFist
@Vitality:  
 
I agree, I mean what would Wolverine be without those horns? He'd still be Wolverine, but the horns kinda have that don't mess with me look lol. But I think Wolvie is a good example to use here. I like costume changes I really do, as long as it befits the character, like Wolvie's main line-up, his Brown and Tan, his X-Force Black and Grey, and his standard Gold and Blue. He's had many costumes, some that work and some not so much, like the leather biker gear, I thought it looked cool but it didn't speak super-hero in my personal opinion. His Gold and Blue has gotten plenty of updates beginning from its very first look with the whiskers and smaller shoulder pads. The pads got bigger and he got a more iconic mask, I'm probably skipping steps but he lost the blue underwear on the outside (thank goodness) and the blue was better integrated into the costume and his horns were reduced in size as well as greatly reducing the fins along his boots, basically modernizing a classic look. Then further changes were made with the loss of the shoulder pads, new style gloves and boots and the tiger stripes reduced from four to three. I think the evolution of Wolvie's blue and gold has gone great, others like the brown and tan don't really need molding but the X-Force uniform is based off of it and it looks great especially with the menacing red eyes. Of course not all of Wolvie's looks have gone so well, anyone remember the Shiar's Fang uniform? or maybe even when he turned all feral with the bandanna for a mask? Not my favorites but Good times lol
Posted by mesosteros2

You really want to see Wonder Woman's cleavage again G-Man... seriously 2 topics about this, this week?

Posted by difficlus
@Foolkiller said:
" costume UPDATES are needed every once in a while, but there needs to be a reason to it, like iron man and batman had. "
Posted by G-Man
@mesosteros2: Yup, I even used my time machine to go back to October to ask the creators this question.
Staff
Posted by mesosteros2
Edited by ZombieFanatic

I think costume design change can be good as long as it reflects the persons changed personality aka "Mowhawk" Storm........or if they still keep original elements from the orig costume with the newer one...a full blown change meh not so much......still on the fence about spidys "Tron" costume.

Posted by humanfly26
@cmaprice said:
" If it's a good change and it's character driven, why not?
 
Imagine if these characters had never changed from their first looks; some of them were around for decades.
 


 
 
 

"
True! Sometimes, you need to change costumes.
 
here are a couple more:
 
 Nightwing
 
 Red Tornado
 Captain Atom
 Iron Man
Posted by EGoD
 I personally don't mind if a character changes their costumes within reason.  As decades pass then sure some costumes that were designed in the 50, 60, and especially the 70's really need updating.  Like some people posted, there are some costumes that were just plain ugly and seriously needed an upgrade.   
 
Personally I don't really see how a bathing suit one piece is a costume for a female character at all, it gives absolutely no protection, sure it looks good but its not practical, but then since when has practicality and functionality ever played into a comic book character's costume. 
 
There will always be people who hate change to a characters costume, but eventually you will get some artist who comes along and decides to change it again to something a little different or give it a subtle change.    
 
Since I read X-Men mostly then I can point out how for years Storm had the same ugly shoulder padded white costume and finally she went through a costume change and it seemed like every time you got a new artist she had something different done with her costume though in the main stream books it primarily stayed the same but with slight changes.  Even Emma Frost has had quite a few alterations in her sexy outfit. 

@xerox-kitty:  
 
LOL! at the blue body condom, but I do also have to ask, how can you say that Ms Marvel's costume is acceptable but not like Psylocke's crotch ripping suit when aside from colour they wear basically the same thing?  I've seen many images where both characters have the same V line in their costume.

 
Edited by J1ml33

now imagen a world without the x-men and their impressive fashion cents real mutant tread setters  and to even show us that comic book characters can make great fashionable  choices .
and Jim lee was their tailor at one point so that should be put in there as a plus and I have always loved psylocke`s one piece bathing ninja suit thanks jim lee for the gift of sexy ninja catsuits and 90s attitude ! change is a good thing for comic book characters besides tell me you would not want a suits like these in your closet to go out and kick a lot of ass in would ?
 





Repost of art, but in card form.

X-Men Legacy




Posted by untammed
@PowerHerc said:
" If it's an iconic character, then no. "
agree
Posted by Thunderscream

I'm a stickler for the classic looks. I think alot of horrendous costume designs entered the marvel realm in the 90's with baggy jackets and ridiculous pouches all over the place *achem* Liefeld *cough* *choke* I'm not quite as familiar or passionate about DC's recent updates.
 
I actually preferred some of the 80's designs to what followed, especially with the X-Men. There are aspects that just stick with a character like Dazzler's star (which for some reason has sunk from her chest to her crotch), Gambit's trench coat, Nightcrawler's pointy red shoulder pads, Storm's tiara...... 
 
I do think a few heroes are in need of a change. Shadowcat's blue and gold just doesn't cut it for me, she needs something to reflect her personality. I hate that Rogue's shirt is always unzipped halfway down her chest, I'd rather she wear a potato sack than rival Emma Frost's skankery. I'm a huge Psylocke fan and the ninja bathing suit doesn't bother me that much, but I liked the asymmetrical dragon she dawned in House of M. 

Posted by umbrafeline

they should change the costumes only to please me. idc about anyone else lol, but do want to see shadowcat in her blue outfit with matching belt and mask 
 
they should go from this 
 

 

 
to this 
 

 
Posted by EdwardWindsor

i think costumes should reamin true to original or at least most popular designs, unless the character goes through massive changes such as turning evil or perhap even changing the person underneath. Other than that the costume should reamin intact since thats what people invision them to look like.

Posted by Outside_85

Yes, they should change it over time when people start to realise that saving the day and attempt to be taken seriously in a swimsuit or wearing ones underwear outside their pants is just silly.

Posted by LiquidSwords

Every comic book character should at least try out a pink costume...once.

Posted by JonesDeini
@kapitein_zeppos said:
" I have no problem with a costume change if it fits the character.  "
Yeah, as long as their's a reason, I don't care. And some changes are NECESSARY, some costumes just look stupid and silly and past their time. 
Edited by leokearon

I think it depends on the character and the design, of course a reason helps. 
 
Also more costumes means more toys in the eyes of the merchantising dept
Posted by Virus_Warning

The X-Men seem to change costumes all of the time, but they're still the X-Men
Personally, I think change is fine as long as there is a strong thread of cohesion
Iron Man's suits are an example but also something like Hellion (in New X-Men) going from his red and black with jacket to a different red and black costume without a jacket
It should stay similar enough that it still fits
-Virus

Posted by conformist21

i think it really only works for iron man

Posted by Silkcuts
@EisforExtinction said:
"
Even if it leads to really bad design (see above) I always think it's cool to see new costumes.  "
I liked Guy Gardner: Warrior, I kind of miss his Alien bloodline
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