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Release the Sewing Machine of Justice

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I like capes and body stockings for a certain type of character: the cheese heavy all round good guy/girl.

 

But some characters are better suited to practical outfits. My last character had darkness powers and was all about being "one with the night." He wore black cargo pants and tight t-shirts/sweaters. At night. Not during the day. He had a weakness to sunlight and if he went out during the day he wore a huge sun hat and a mumu.

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Tights: Athletic/mobile.

Bold color/emblem/capes: Openness or flamboyance.

Cloaks/loose clothing/masks: Mysteriousness; concealment.

Armor/street clothes: Low powered character or campaign.

Guns: Wrong genre.

Nudity: Painful awareness of target demographic.

 

Generally speaking.

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I don't like the idea of a woman showing off her midriff for no readily apparent reason. Some of the designs for example of Supergirl were daft. Also using a more realistic body shape as it would seem to encourage anorexia otherwise. The classic Wonder Woman design is really the most flesh you should see on a Superheroine. And no high heels unless you are flying almost all the time.

When Captain America was fighting Superia and there were a horde of women villains, almost all had costumes which were serviceable and non revealing.

 

Yeah, I never quite got the high heels on the female supers.

 

Then, again, I don't get why high heels are supposed to be attractive in real life for that matter.

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I like capes and I like chest emblems. But not necessarily for every character.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary turns both heads to look over its body, turns them again to look at you with that double barreled gaze, and asks "Costume?"

 

"No capes"

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The recent discussion about Powergirl got me to thinking about chest emblems. Not that I'll quite qualify her boob window as a chest emblem. Which type of emblem do you prefer? Superman, Robin, Aquaman, and Mr. Terrific have emblems tha either spell out their name, or are a big first letter of their name. Batman and spiderman have a symbol. Which do you prefer?

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*Points to avatar*

 

Captain Third (originally done in City of Heroes) goes with truth in advertising. A bloody big "3" on the chest does the trick there :)

 

It's not *wholly* clear from that tiny .jpg but he's a rarity in wearing (orange) pants with his upper body lycra and cape. Literally jeans.

 

I'm usually a logo fan and a cape fan, but a review of my old NPC character sheets does suggest that my default back in the day was no logo and a full, one piece body glove without a cape. This would have been between 1985-1995 or so.

 

Of my actual characters, Robobushi was a flying 1m spherical robot with six tentacle arms. No costume or logo. He got rebuilt into Warrior, who masqueraded as a guy-inna-suit, so looked somewhat Iron Man-ish with a stylised "W" on the chestplate. Later he came out to the group as being Robo and while remaining humanoid didn't hide being robotic (no logo).

 

Dwarfstar used a black/yellow full body glove with an eight point star on the left breast.

 

Alpha Man had a full body glove in green tones with a Greek alpha in his chest. He split into duplicates, but shrank to match, with density increase used to keep the mass amount the same total. Each of the duplicates somehow got a different Greek letter (Beta, Gamma etc) on the costume while in play. One session was enough to make me realise that concept was almost unplayable (never, EVER run 16 duplicates at once).

 

Photon was another one-session character, though nothing wrong with his design. Fairly standard light power flying blaster inspired by the Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel (who later did go by the name Photon. But I did it first, dammit.) Yellow full body glove with a white star design edged in black that extended across the body top left to lower right.

 

More recent efforts (which include Cap):

 

Thunder-Man is a deliberately retro character (so far only an MMORPG one, though he has Champions stats written up). Black and yellow design with tights, trunks, cape and boots. "T" logo on the chest, with a lightning bolt tail on it if I can manage it (usually not for the online games).  

 

Big Girl usually wears purple sports top and shorts and a wide white belt, purple fingerless gloves and white boots with heels. Mixes it up a bit, including stylish black evening wear and a playboy style bunny outfit for Easter. But she's bright orange and 8 feet tall, so barely needs a costume to stand out anyway. Has been known to use the Venus symbol on costumes.

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Well let's see now. (Modern)

 

Vigilant:  Dark Blue Hooded cape (detachable) white body stocking with a blue "v" on the chest and a blue "belt" at the waist.  Blue loves and boots.  Vigilant is a legacy character with his father being a Superman knock-off.

 

Elfshot:  Brown off-the-shoulder leather minidress with matching gloves and boots.  Green tights below to preserve modesty.  Bow but no quiver.  

 

Gossamer WIng:  Frilly white negligee-dress, open-backed to accomodate her wings.  She doesn't care about modesty when she's only about as long as your little finger.

 

Sekhmet:  Leather bikini with an opening for the tail.  The rest is natural fur.

 

Quicksilver Girl:  Doesn't wear clothes while working since she's a liquid metal android who only has genitalia when she wants them.

 

Kid Kaos:  Red leather jacket over black t-shirt and jeans.  Domino mask.

 

Brigadier:  Clunky suit of powered armour.

 

(Modern) Zen Bowman:  Bare chested, with black blindfold and tight pants.  Bow and quiver.  

 

Wicked Doll:  Dark red ninja outfit.  Long staff.

 

Enigma Seven:  Body stocking that covers entire head and body and changes colour.  Usually black, white or environmental camouflage.

 

Phreak:  A pair of green shorts.  Although given what his body looks like the result is very much not sexy.  

 

Adrian Messenger:  18th century frilly ascot and cuffs with dark evening jacket and pants.  Lord Byron is his role model

 

Briar Rose:  Green body stocking and half-mask with a red rose chest emblem.  Metal bracers to fire her needles.

 

The Blonde Fury:  Shredded jeans and arm baring t-shirt.  She's not so much into the costume thing.

 

Shakti:  Tie-died stretch pants and halter. "Sexy yoga gear".  Slippers. Jewel in her forehead.

 

Lady Nemesis:  Sculpted dark grey body arrmour with mouth-baring mask.  Black hooded cloak.

 

Demon Samurai:  Authentic samurai armour complete with demon-mask helmet..

 

Black Razor:  90s vintage pouch belts over tight black shirt (with shoulder pads) and pants.  Dark goggles.   Big sword and scabbard.  Obvious codpiece.  Because some people are idiots.  

 

Sharp Breeze:  Fishnet stockings and blue shorts below a blue blouse that is tight in the body but has open sleeves 

 

Able Archer:  Usually environment appropriate urban camo shirt and pants with rubber soled boots, and dark goggles.  Plus bow and quiver.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Yeah, I never quite got the high heels on the female supers.

 

Then, again, I don't get why high heels are supposed to be attractive in real life for that matter.

 

I have strong feelings about any character who will throw a punch not wearing heels.  It's somewhat more forgivable in a character who just relies on her mental powers.  

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I'm reading through my John Byrne Fantastic Four issues at the moment and it just occurred to me that the FF have great costumes that address or sidestep a lot of issues.

 

Unisex.

 

Tops and bottoms, with boots and gloves.

 

Bloody good logo.

 

Full body coverage except for the head (though the Thing hates his and usually goes with trunks).

 

Not actually spandex. How this is drawn has varied, but Kirby and Byrne definitely show the cloth bunching.

 

(Doc Doom is another non-spandex character. Articulated metal suit with cloth tunic, cape and hood).

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Hmm. That's actually right.

 

Thinking about some of the other relatively major early FF characters:

 

Namor. Not a good example, but he's male not female.

Puppet Master. Scientist dweeb. Lab coats, aprons, civilian clothes.

Mole Man. Definitely cloth.

Silver Surfer. Whatever.

Galactus. Weird combination.

The Watcher. Space Roman.

Red Ghost. Fur trimmed coat, pants.

Mad Thinker. Cloth.

 

Some spandexy ones in there too, of course.

 

EDIT: Of course none of these examples are female. A similar approach could, however, be applied to female characters.

 

The fact that it generally isn't is part of the reason for this thread...

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Ah, but you've only looked at villains :)

 

The Inhumans throw up Crystal and Medusa. They also have form fitting costumes (and mostly show cloth folds too) but no cleavage or bare limbs:

 

jack-kirby-stan-lee.-inhumans.-p001-420x

 

And worth pointing out there's no actual need for Inhuman clothes to conform with anything - they're super-high tech. Black Bolt is almost as spandex as they come :)

 

Namor wasn't a Kirby design, but he's wearing sensible swimming attire and his trunks are a fish scale design of some kind. Interestingly, Triton of the Inhumans who has similar fishman powers has a reverse Namor costume - scaled skin and unscaled trunks.

 

And... I have to say, it does appear that Stan and Jack really weren't big on female villains, Medusa ran with the Frightful Four when she had amnesia, and Black Widow started that way, but neither stayed villain for long. Ditto for Scarlet Witch. Not that they had many female heroes either, but you can add Marvel Girl and Wasp to Sue, Medusa and Crystal.

 

Hela has always been an antagonist, though, and Thor has another genuine evil woman in Enchantress... who is far less skimpy in her original 1964 Kirby costume design than later readers are used to:

 

JIM-103-CGC-6.5_1024x1024.png?v=15017238

 

...in fact both Thor and especially the Executioner are showing far more bare skin than Amora does here :)

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I love the classics and I also really like some of the more recent realistic suits.

 

What I really hate with a passion is the Rubber suited Batman from the Burton to Nolan eras. They always looked to me like the hero would have trouble getting up unaided, let alone win a fight.

 

But that's the movies and not really what this thread is about :-)

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Capes:  Capes originated as a low tech raincoat.  As actual coats were invented, capes hung on for a while with the upper crust because they serve the purpose of keeping the splashed mud and dung off your fancy clothing without entirely concealing it.  Certain entertainers retained it as well because it lent itself to dramatic flourishes.  Elvis wore a cape.  James Brown wore a cape.  Bullfighters wear capes. Those are the associations with cape wearers.  They're attention seekers and/or aristocrats.  The capes signal status.  Zorro and Batman wear cloaks because because they are eccentric rich guys.  Robin is a circus aerialist.  Superman is originally dressed like some kind of circus performer who is half strongman, half acrobat.   Later on his look becomes more aristocratic as befits his status as the pre-eminent hero of his world.  Thor is prince of Asgard.  Doctor Strange is Sorcerer Supreme In my list above I have two cape wearers, Vigilant who is the son of the first four-colour super in his world and Lady Nemesis who is the daughter of that super's arch enemy.  They're superhero aristocracy, complete with capes.  

 

There are exceptions of course.  Cloak wears a cloak just because he's the Cloak part of the team of Cloak and Dagger.  Spawn doesn't so much wear a cape as a cape wears him.  It's also worth bearing in mind that there's a distinction between ornamental and functional capes.  Spawn's cape is prehensile and stretches.  Doctor Strange's cape lets him fly without needing to cast a spell.  Devil-Slayer's cape is a portal to hammerspace.

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Interesting thoughts, Clonus. You can add Magneto and Doctor Doom to the list of characters who adopt a cape/cloak to assert their majesty.

 

Most heroes added in the Silver Age don't have them (and the Green Lantern redesign dropped it). Thor and Dr Strange are about the only Marvel ones I can think of, and they both have anachronistic elements. Superman derived characters do still tend to have one (Martian Manhunter, Mon-El, Power Girl)

 

Saw a Fathers' Day card this week:

 

"Some superheroes don't wear capes

 

They're called Dads

 

And Spider-Man"

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Stretchy skin-tight body-stockings:  Historically, martial artists tended to either wear loose-fitting light-weight clothing or virtually nothing beyond trunks to allow maximum range of motion  Modern gym clothes tend use a mix of skimpiness with bare arms and legs, bagginess, and stretchiness fo accomplish the same goal.  Only comparatively recently did we get really stretchy fabrics that approach the capabilities of the modern heroic unitard that tends to be the default.  That's why Superman's original outfit had the trunks.  Without them his costume (or rather the costumes his was modeled on) would become noticeably baggy.  But truth to tell once he started flying around at hundreds of miles an hour he would have lost those trunks instantly.  

 

While the unitard took command of comic book art primarily to show off those perfect bodies and displace their musculature (and boobs) to best advantage any character who can move around at automobile speeds or faster is not going to want loose-fitting clothing.  Nor are the female heroes who can fly that fast or faster going to want to want anything cleavage baring .  The force of the wind will produce noticeable drag and will do more than to the outfit, tearing it to pieces or ripping it right off.  Power Girl's cleavage window and speed of flight would produce an effect that would only be sexy to someone with an inflation fetish as the air captured by it turned her into the world's fasted balloon.  Look at the outfits of speed skaters and people who luge.  Athletic characters want freedom of motion.  Fast moving characters want a streamlined silhouette.  I never could figure out how Jay Garrick's hat stays on.  

 

Note however the big downside of the body stocking/one-piece swimsuit that comes with being streamlined.  No pockets.  Batman gets around that with his utility belt but the belt does add weight and reduce streamlining.  One of the advantages of adding a cape to the ensemble is that it gives you an inconspicuous place to put a pocket where you can at least stick a bit of cash in.  

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On the other hand, Bats isn't flying. His acrobatics are performed at much lower speeds where drag isn't as big a factor... and he does have a cape, glove spikes and pointy ears, which add plenty of drag in themselves.

 

I'd actually expect that PG's cape would be more problematic than her chest window as far as drag goes. On the other hand, Kryptonians basically fly by ignoring physics, so it's probably not worth examining too closely. Or you could adopt the John Byrne solution and say they create a personal forcefield that protects the costume and avoids the issue.

 

Hmm... say, if Kryptonians power up by solar energy and are immune to cold etc, it would actually make more sense for them to get around in speedos and bikinis. Or naked, though the law abiding ones would probably avoid that. More exposed flesh = more solar energy absorbed.

 

Just sayin'.

 

And Jay Garrick's hat stays on through sheer moral fibre :)

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On the other hand, Bats isn't flying. His acrobatics are performed at much lower speeds where drag isn't as big a factor... and he does have a cape, glove spikes and pointy ears, which add plenty of drag in themselves.

 

I'd actually expect that PG's cape would be more problematic than her chest window as far as drag goes. On the other hand, Kryptonians basically fly by ignoring physics, so it's probably not worth examining too closely. Or you could adopt the John Byrne solution and say they create a personal forcefield that protects the costume and avoids the issue.

 

Hmm... say, if Kryptonians power up by solar energy and are immune to cold etc, it would actually make more sense for them to get around in speedos and bikinis. Or naked, though the law abiding ones would probably avoid that. More exposed flesh = more solar energy absorbed.

 

Just sayin'.

 

And Jay Garrick's hat stays on through sheer moral fibre :)

 

No seriously the air would rush into that opening at hundreds of miles of per hour out and there's no way to for it to get out again.  "Assume a spherical Power Girl".  Way more drag than her cape.. She could have an air-tight forcefield...but since she needs to breathe that wouldn't turn out well. 

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Well there is going to far with reality. These are comics. Aliens who can juggle battleships fight mutated talking gorillias by firing ice beams from their fingers. The move by some people to put all heroes in combat fatigues, really needs to die. Yes Batman as a combat pragmatic wouldn't have a cape, but it's cool.

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The Batcape's primary function is intimidating criminals; part of his whole look. In effect, it's faux bat wings. You could make a case for some bonus PRE attack dice bought as OIF, though "Reputation: I'm Batman, 18-" would probably suffice.

 

Some versions of Batman have the cape stiffen to provide glider wings (The Arkham video games for example).

 

He also has a line in using it to distract and confuse in close combat. And has been known to use it to smother fires (it is, of course, fire retardant).

 

There's basically no part of the Bat-costume that isn't a useful tool. Because he's the goddamn Batman.

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