Most super-hero costumes are ridiculous.
Really. Think of real-life people who have to face danger, like cops or combat soldiers or firefighters.
They generally stand covered — or to put it better, protected — from ankle to neck and wrist to shoulder. But that’s not true of Hawkman, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, the Sub-Mariner or the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing.
You can say that some of these heroes are indestructible, so they don’t need to be covered. Sure, they can bounce live grenades off of their chests — but just as soldiers face enemy soldiers, super-heroes face super-powered enemies and other entities that can disintegrate them. In their realm of massive forces, super-heroes are as vulnerable as cops, soldiers and firefighters.
Virtually all of these human heroes wear a hat or helmet to protect their heads. But Superman’s head stands exposed to anything that a super-villain wants to shoot at him. It’s the same for Robin, Aquaman, Nightwing, Storm, the Black Widow, Nick Fury, the Punisher, and every member of the Fantastic Four and the Green Lantern Corps.
But enough of the clothes that real-life heroes wear and super-heroes don’t. Let’s look at what super-heroes wear that real-lifers don’t. Most super-heroes zip around in outfits that anyone who faces daily violence and death would laugh at.
Tights, for example. They’re great for ballet dancers and gymnasts, but anyone facing flames and guns wants more than a thin sheen of nothing much stretched over her skin. You can call your high-tech ultra-Spandex indestructible, Edna Mode, but Sinestro and Doctor Doom could tear through it like tinfoil.
Then there are the costume accessories, like capes. They look swashbucklery, but they drag you backwards when you run and bind your arms when you make a quick turn.
I realize, of course, that super-heroes are fantasy and that much of the appeal in their visuals is in their wild outfits. I’m not trying to take away anyone’s fun. I love the costumes, even as I realize how utterly impractical they are.
So let’s look on the nicer side. Who in comics wears a reasonable outfit?
Iron Man’s suit makes sense in that it protects his whole body — although like all complex tech, it runs the risk of system failure. Captain America’s chain-mail shirt and head-protecting cowl are just right for someone facing danger. And neither man wears a cape.
The rest of my heroes, though — God knows I love you guys, but please, put on something sensible.