Superhero Redesigns and Actual Clothing

I can get the logic behind superhero redesigns not just in unofficial illustrations but also in live action adaptations and the comics themselves. It’s just that with some characters, you either have to study real life clothing to make a redesign costume work or surprisingly some of them shouldn’t be that hard to redesign ever so slightly.

Characters like Zatanna and Black Canary shouldn’t be that hard to redesign. If the DCAU and Young Justice cartoons are any indication, you can swap fishnets for opaque/translucent tights and it wouldn’t change a thing. At other times BC’s own fishnet tights didn’t reveal much skin either. In a sense that BC’s costume isn’t that flamboyant to begin with, therefore it should be easy to redesign it slightly.

You could say similar things about Power Girl where at other times her classic leotard had a scoop neckline in place of her familiar chest hole. You could turn it into a turtleneck leotard and it wouldn’t change a thing either. It’s surprising that characters like PG and BC shouldn’t be this hard to redesign as it only involves minute changes.

When it comes to practical costumes, they more often than not look interchangeable, bland and even about as impractical as the characters’ original body paint costumes are. Funny enough with characters like the Flash, some people’s idea of making his costume practical is make it busy and leather never mind that real life footballers/soccer players, runners and sprinters wear less than he does.

Actually a lot of other athletes wear less than what most male superheroes do. Actual fighters wear much less on the ring and not too many people have a problem with it. I can get why so many superhero costumes would look silly in real life but in order to create a truly practical superhero costume, you’d only have to study what real outdoorspeople, dancers and athletes wear.

It’s weird that superhero media has a strong need to be taken seriously, which boils down to the costumes never mind that most people don’t have an issue with certain actual athletes wearing much less than they do and some musicians and fashion models can dress more flamboyantly than that.

The logic ultimately feels misguided as in the superhero world, people would’ve been that desensitised to such costumes. Weirder still is that actual runners, boxers, tennis players, badminton players, mixed martial artists, capoeiristas, gymnasts, skateboarders, rollerskaters, soccer players and wrestlers wear less than what most superheroes do.

Ice skaters and skiers wear tight, flamboyant costumes expected of in superhero comics and most people don’t mind it. There were even sledders who braved the cold by wearing much less. One could say that truth is stranger than fiction but in this case, a practical costume can sometimes need to be tighter or even skimpier.

Most people who watch these kinds of sports don’t have a problem with that. There were even newsreports of police officers wearing short shorts and some men going to work wearing skirts. Even the music industry is desensitised by the presence of musicians wearing weird, ridiculous outfits though you’re more likely to see it among women for some reason.

I feel as if many designers working on superhero productions miss the point about practical costumes: if they really wanted an outfit that a highly athletic person would actually wear, they would have to base it in real life. Be it outdoorspeople, athletes or dancers with varying degrees of modesty. Surprisingly, that’s how it works in actual sports.

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