Thursday, September 25, 2008

Costume Ch-Ch-Changes Part 1: Groovy New Looks for Marvel's Finest

Nowadays, costume changes are a dime a dozen. Everyone does it, even superheroes who don't need to (Spidey, Cap, I'm looking at you!). Back in the Groovy Age, costume changes were big deals and didn't happen too terribly often (unless you were a Pym). Ol' Groove has done some diggin' to come up with some cool costume changes I hope you'll dig! Dig?

I had to lay down some ground rules so I wouldn't overload the whole Internet and make it implode. First of all, the costumes I share had to be worn for a few issues; one-shots, flashbacks, and civvies don't count. Second, I tried to find pics from the Groovy Age, or at least drawn by certified Groovy Age artists. And finally, I just picked the ones I really, really liked or hated. Don't wanna bore anybody. Got it? Okay, then, let's boogie!

First up, is Dr. Strange who tried to change his image by adding a mask, gloves, and boots. Maybe folks were looking at him sideways for wearing that skirt so he tried the macho superhero look. Didn't last for some reason...

Next is Young Groove's favorite Merry Mutant, the X-Men's very own Warren Worthington III, the Avenging Angel. Naturally, WWIII (hey, Stan, did you...?) started out his comicbook career wearing his own tailor-made X-Men uniform.

Eventually, Professor X's students graduated into their own individualized uniforms (X-Men #39). Jean Grey took credit for designing them, but I think Dashin' Don Heck might've lent a hand... (But Jaunty Jim Steranko made it look extra cool on the cover of X-Men #49)

In X-Men #62, artists Neal Adams and Tom Palmer created the Angel's most fab and longest-lasting outfit (seen here in this Dave Cockrum panel from X-Men #100):

When Warren helped start up the Champions, he was saddled with these hideous threads:

Dunno who to blame for that one (John Romita? Don Heck?)

By Champions #8, Marvel had come to its senses and put Angel back in his Neal Adams designed costume, but changed the black and white color scheme to red and gold so our winged mutant wouldn't get lost in the crowd of leather worn by Ghost Rider, Black Widow, and Black Goliath.

Whew. Glad I'm just covering the Groovy Age, 'cause WWIII has had lots more costumes. He must be having a contest with the Wasp!

From a hero with wings on his back, we're gonna switch to a hero with wings on his feet. Yeah, the Sub-Mariner changed from his green swimming trunks to a snazzy black ensemble in his sixty-seventh issue.

Mystical doctors, rich mutants and undersea monarchs weren't the only ones who needed a change of threads during the Groovy Age. Kree captains, one Captain Marvel, f'rinstance, decided green just wasn't his color and changed to the tried and true blue and red (courtesy the far-out Gil Kane) in CM #17 (the actual change took place at the end of #16, just to level with ya).

Even Russian-spies-turned-superheroines like the Black Widow got off on changing their threads in Spider-Man #86):

The Widow's sometimes beau, Hawkeye (or should we call him her "bow"? Ugh, Ol' Groove's puns are reeeeeally bad, aren't they?) traded his classic carny threads for some bodaciously ugly ones when he returned from the Kree/Skrull War in Avengers #98. That's him trying to hide behind Thor on the cover of Avengers #100.

Hawkeye was a good pal of Captain America who had a partner that started off with a hideous costume but wound up with one of the cooler Marvel Superhero uniforms. Yep, Sam Wilson, the high-flying Falcon went from fashion don't to fashion do in Captain American and the Falcon #144 (the supremely cool wings were added in ish #171).

Whew! Ol' Groove is worn out, Groovesters! I'll stop here, but be back next week when I tackle the costume ch-ch-changes some of DC's characters underwent during the Groovy Age!


  1. Neal Adams original Angel costume was the best. Poor WWIII has been through Hell with some of those designs.. eek!

  2. If anyone needed a costume change it was Captain Marvel. That Green and white one was terrible.

  3. Black Widow's change was definitely one for the better. I don't think it would have been possible to make her original suit more generic. The skin-tight run wasn't that much flashier, but at least it had character (and wrist stingers).



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