Symbolism of Superhero Costumes
What makes superheroes so special? Is it their outstanding character and shining personalities? Is it the heartrending and inspiring backstories? Or their superpowers? All of these are all good and well, but the first thing you notice with any superhero is their outfit, right?
The right outfit can elevate even the most untalented superhero to legendary status, and a bad one (read; Superman’s 90-s mullet) will make it easy to forget an otherwise admirable and well-developed superhero character.
Looking at your favourite superheroes it can seem like putting together their outfits was as easy as pie, but a lot of thought and expertise goes into this process. The designer has to pick out the colours while keeping in mind the character’s personality, background story and powers.
If you’re wondering what your favourite superhero’s costume actually means and if it has some fascinating backstory, then you’ve come to the right place.
Read on for a top 5 list of our favourite superhero symbolism stories.
Superman’s costume is unique, particularly his signature red trunks. But, what most people don’t know is that there’s an actual viable reason why Clark Kent has to wear his underwear on top of his pants.
He was the first character designed by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, which means they had no frame of reference. So, they decided to take inspiration from circus performances such as acrobats and strongmen who are known for wearing trunks over their bodysuits.
This is to hide possible pant tears and hide their junk while doing different stunts and this is why Superman wears his pants the same way.
If you’re a Batman fan, then you’ll know that he has one of the most famous origin stories in all of comic book history. But, what most people don’t realise is that he wasn’t always this popular. In fact, he used to have a bright-red bat costume that made him look similar to Superman and thus easy to forget.
Thanks to the co-creator of Batman, Bill Finger, the superhero finally got his own unique costume colour scheme. The writer also added accessories like the cowl and gloves to name but a few, to give Batman a really unique look.
Finger added the cowl for two reasons; to make Batman more intimidating to his enemies and to conceal his real identity.
Did you know? Hulk’s skin wasn’t always this green colour that we know him for. Initially, creators Jack Kirby and Stan Lee had him in grey skin after Frankenstein’s monster who inspired the character and he had purple shorts.
But, 60s technology wasn’t advanced enough to handle the grey colour scheme, so colourist Stan Goldberg had to change the colour to green.
But, that’s not the only reason why Goldberg changed our superhero’s skin from grey to green. The colourist felt that the green colour made it clear that the Hulk is a dangerous and unpredictable character and not your average superhero.
When you think about it, it’s quite curious that as a senior ranking royal member of the Themyscira kingdom, that Wonder Woman would include the American stars and stripes in her costume.
Most people assume that it’s just a coincidence or just taking advantage of the fact that these colours aren’t trademarked.
But, when you look into it you’ll find that one theory states that the Amazons designed the Wonder Woman costume based on a Prince Diana costume that they found on a crashed aeroplane. How interesting!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Although the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles don’t belong to either the Marvel or DC comics universe they’re still an honourable mention.
As an early fan of the show, I remember that Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo and Leonardo used to wear red masks. But, later on, the masks were changed to have different colours in order to distinguish the characters from one another.
But, that’s not the only reason because the creator behind TMNT, Kevin Eastman, states that this team of anthropomorphic turtles are a reincarnation of ninjas that were initially murdered by the villain Shredder.
The different masks are meant to denote their favourite colours from when they were human and the fact that they first wore red masks was to unite them in a common mission to rescue Raphael.
Who’s your favourite superhero? Chances are, there’s a part of his/her backstory that you didn’t know about and that would completely blow your mind if you found out about it.
We hope you enjoyed reading these interesting superhero costume facts as much as we enjoyed putting them together!