Sometimes Superhero fashion is all about technological enhancement. Let’s think about Iron Man? Who is the Superhero here? Tony Stark, or his armored suit? Iron Man is more identified by his costume than for the human inside it. Iron Man is an augmentation of a man, a human that has added technology to himself and become Super thanks to technology. But, this leaves us with a human and non-human paradox. How much of Stark is a machine? How much of Iron Man is human?
Stark envisions and creates Iron Man’s suit. He is the owner of it. However, Iron Man cannot exist without the suit. There would be no Super Stark without the suit. In essence, Stark has a little bit of Cyborg in him since he has a device in his chest that lets him live. However, being a cyborg brings questions on how human Stark is, and even how unique he might be.
Superhero fashion get’s all too real when the costume and the Superhero jump from the comic book pages or the screen to the real world. What does it mean to wear a mask on the streets? Is spandex a good idea to fight meat and bone criminals? Is it legal to “Cosplay” and work as a Superhero in our free time?
Wearing a Superhero costume and decide to work as a Superhero in real life can be challenging. Even if the appropriation of the costume and the mask might be symbolic, wearing them introduces real legal concerns that fictional Superheroes don’t tend to face in fictional narratives. Think for a moment: what would you think if someone dressed in a flashy costume wearing a mask faces a thief who is trying to get your purse? Would you take him seriously? Or, would you think it’s a mad man who wants to make things worse? Would you freak out and think it’s a terrorist?
Superhero fashion is mainly made by the Superheroes themselves; we can see them sewing their suits. This activity connects them with cosplayers, but, do we see Superheroes in the same light when they sew or construct their suits? For many years, sewing has been an activity attached to feminine roles. Thus, women have been seen as more suited to sewing than men have. That’s why we might see Spider-Man complaining about having to sew his own suit again and again in the comics. But, do we see all Superheroes under the same light? Has Cosplay changed our views on what gender roles are attached to sewing? Think about Spider-Man trying to make his suit, and then think about Ironman. What are the images that pop into your head? Who is cool? Who is having trouble and no choice but doing the sewing because no one must know who he is?
What is acceptable or unacceptable for male audiences has changed through time. Even if the number of male cosplayers has grown, we still have the act of sewing attached to a particular gender role. A needle and some cloth seem to dictate that a woman is involved in the activity while steel and computers seem to dictate that a man is to participate in that activity.
Superhero fashion can have more meaning when we take a look to its striptease. When Superheroes put off their civilian clothes and put on their spandex, they’re doing more than just changing their clothing. Even if it seems odd, Superman and Anthropologists share the same ideas when choosing their clothes. But how so? Superman, like many other Superheroes, lives in a fight negotiating the relationship between two different identities: Clark Kent and Superman. This struggle defines the Superhero as much as his costume. In fact, his civilian clothes and his civilian identity define him just as much. Having a dual identity asks from the Superhero to have two different closets: civilian and super, ordinary and extraordinary.
When Superman dresses up in his civilian clothes, what he is doing is doing a role, much like an actor. In his civilian clothes he is also doing another super important thing: putting himself apart from his super self, the Superhero. When Superman dresses in any of his suits, civilian or super, he is performing for an audience. In one, he has the role of what he thinks humans are: sloppy and clumsy. Because let’s face it, Clark is quite silly. But when he is Superman, he acts for the people in a selfless way. In both roles, he has an audience.
Sometimes, Superhero fashion hides behind a mask that makes the hero. Today we’re going to explore the extraordinary power of the Superhero mask through the Amazing Spider-Man. Spidey is one of the most famous masked Superheroes. As a teen, his need to hide his real identity comes as a must. However, what type of powers does the mask give to its wearer? Superheroes create their identities through their fashions, very much like we do on a daily basis. We use to add some extras to our fashion with makeup as to appear more appealing or trying to fulfill a certain role. Costumes and the makeup that might accompany them are associated with certain roles, and as such, they are accompanied by a set of rules that we all know but that aren’t written anywhere. People expect from us a certain behavior depending on the dress that we wear. Thus, there is a direct relationship between the dress and behavior. If so, can someone modify their behavior by adding a certain item to their closet? Let’s take a look at the Amazing Spider-Man when he tries to save a child from dying burned in a car.
Superhero fashion can let you inspire fear through anthrozoomorphism, that’s becoming a beast. Some Superheroes, like Batman, base their wardrobes on animals that inspire fear. Granted that a bat might not seem really strong, but it does inspire fear, especially if it appears in the night and surrounded by shadows. Hybrid animal-human figures have been around us throughout our history. Just think about the ancient Egyptian Gods and you’ll find a great pool of therianthropes and half human half beast creatures. This cocktail of human and beast can be terrifying for us as humans, especially if we think of ourselves as the top of the pyramid on earth. On one hand we think of human-beast being as Gods, but on the other we see them as a curse and terrifying. So, why would anyone like to be a beast? Someone who wants to inspire respect and fear. Establishing associations between the features of animals and how humans perceive their personalities, some Superheroes have nailed it when designing their wardrobe. Though predators might be the most logical choice when thinking about what animal to become, some Superheroes have chosen psychological fear and thus, lesser animals to make their enemies scared to death. [Think about bats and spiders here.]
Let’s take Batman as an example of Superhero that chooses a particular animal and bases his super fashion on it.
Superhero fashion is one of a kind, especially because of its tights and masculinity. Or at least, that was at the very beginning. Superhero wardrobes explain volumes about them and their authors. However, there’s a stereotype on Superhero fashion that has tainted all Superheroes since he first appeared: a cape, tights, and funky colors. Yes, the first of the modern Superheroes, Supes, is the one to blame for all that later spandex. Well, not him directly, but his creators. Why did they dressed him in such fashion? Where did the inspiration come from? What were they trying to tell us with all those tights?
Superman is the one who dictated how Superhero Fashion would be on several levels: visually, practically and as a brand. Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 showing off his physical strength and his fashion choices for the first time. As you already know, Superman was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster when they were still in high school, back in 1933. They sold Superman to DC for scraps, and then Supes became the most famous Superhero ever, selling millions of copies of his comics.
In this cover, Superman is engaged in an incredible feat of strength, dress in flashy colors, tights, a cape and his undies on the tights. And it seems he has boots. He’s chosen quite a particular “suit for work,” hasn’t he?
Today our lessons on Geek Anthropology topic is all about what happens when Superhero fashion makes you feel super. It’s not the same walking around with a plain tee than rocking around a Spider-Gwen one. So, what happens when a fan cosplays or wears an outfit that resembles that of their loved Superhero? As you know, I’ve recently had a nervous breakdown. To have more energy and feel better, I’ve been rocking around everyday cosplay fashion items that are into my wardrobe: Captain Marvel’s sweater, Captain America Sweater, Spider-Gwen cardigan and tee, and tons of cool tees. Every time I feel down I tend to dress up into the items that resemble the most the uniforms that my favorite Superheroes wear. But why? What does the Superhero costume have that makes me feel stronger than I am? What does the Superhero costume give me that makes me keep on going despite the doctor assuring me that I should be hibernating? Does Superhero fashion give us Superpowers?
Sometimes we need some geek fashion in our lives to feel marvellous. We Love Fine Marvel Superheroes geek fashion merch is an egoboo for the soul. It might sound silly, but every single time I put Captain Marvel’s knit sweater on I feel like a Superhero. If I’m having a bad day, just the fact of having some geek fashion on that remembers me of Carol Danvers, makes me feel stronger. I know, it’s purely psychological, but it works magic on me! So, what’s up with Superhero geek fashion that makes me feel more powerful, secure and better suited for Mondays? (Yes, I said the word! Mondays. Everybody knows Mondays tend to be gloomy!)
Welcome to Comics THORsday! This week we are going to talk about comics, women, and fashion. Especially targetting Spider Gwen and Silk. As you know, there are more and more women not only reading comics but also creating them. Comics have been always a medium that reflects pop culture, but also where pop culture takes a look at itself and pushes for change. While it might seem an odd topic to touch, fashion in comics has been always there. However, it has been recently that female audiences have found their mirror. Comics are no longer just a place where to find characters to identify with, or cool Cosplay costumes, now fashion can be found on their pages as well.
Comics have been a boys arena for many years. But the irruption and increase of female readers has created a change to the pages. Pop culture is showing up itself into the pages of Spider Gwen and Silk while they are influencing designers to take geek fashion to the next level.