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  1. #1
    S.P.E.C.T.R.E. destro's Avatar
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    Default Silver Age Marvel costume changes

    It became popular in the 80s and on through to the modern age to make changes in costumes fairly regularly, even if they usually end up reverting to the original design eventually.

    But I've been thinking about some of the fairly big changes that Marvel made in costumes during the Silver Age lately.

    I think Iron Man and Daredevil are the two best examples. Daredevil went from the black and yellow costume to all red, something I think most consider to be a positive change.

    For Iron Man it made sense to occasionally update the armor. He started out with the bulky grey, which quickly changed to gold. Then the armor was streamlined and went through a few other changes until it arrived at the design that was used throughout the 70s and much of the 80s. Again, this is something that made sense and I think these are generally viewed as positive changes.

    One negative change that occurs to me was Roy Thomas and Gene Colan's Dr. Strange revamp. We went from the wonderful and unique Ditko design to a faceless version of Strange with a more super hero themed costume. I have always intensely disliked this look, and still don't really know what Roy and Gene were thinking, unless they were trying to associate Doctor Strange more with super hero fans. Very poor design choice.

    So what are some other early Marvel costume changes, good and bad? And which ones ended up sticking?
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  2. #2
    Longstanding Member MWGallaher's Avatar
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    I had been reading comics a few years, and the only version of (Marvel's) Captain Marvel I knew wore the rather conventional blue and red costume. When I first saw his original green and white outfit I was really fascinated by it. That original helmeted sci-fi look was so much cooler than the traditional union suit. That counts as a bad change in my view, but it stuck, where the green and white took many many years to merit a revisit.
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  3. #3
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Not really major, & not really a costume for that matter, but didn't Hulk start off with what looked like purple swim-trunks before the torn purple pants became de rigeur? Must check my first (Barnes & Noble TPB) Masterwork when I repair to the kitchen in a couple of minutes.


    Edit: Looks like the trunks showed up with the 2nd story in Hulk #4. Now I'll have to fetch the first Essential to see when they went away ...

    ... & it looks like he's back to tattered pants by Tales to Astonish #60. In the meantime, he was also in trunks in Avengers #1 & 2 (as well as FF #12), then pants in #3.

    It seems to me that a nice pair of capris would've been a perfectly acceptable compromise, but nooooooooo.
    Last edited by Dan B. in the Underworld; 07-22-2012 at 05:12 PM.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
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  4. #4
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    Doc had a minor change in his costume before the Thomas/Colan masked look when he went from the blue cape to the red cloak of levitation.


    You also had Wasp's endless parade of costumes and Hank Pym's change of identities and tweaks of costumes.
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    Last edited by MRP; 07-22-2012 at 05:18 PM.
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  5. #5
    world of yesterday benday-dot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWGallaher View Post
    I had been reading comics a few years, and the only version of (Marvel's) Captain Marvel I knew wore the rather conventional blue and red costume. When I first saw his original green and white outfit I was really fascinated by it. That original helmeted sci-fi look was so much cooler than the traditional union suit. That counts as a bad change in my view, but it stuck, where the green and white took many many years to merit a revisit.
    I'm on board with you MW regarding the classic retro look of the green and white Captain marvel costume.

    A couple others original costumes I preferred over later alterations:

    I always thought the quaint, sort-of silly, but charming red tunic with the conical head gear, complete with ear pieces and antennae, the wasp once wore was more strikingly effective and, after all, more cool than the later generic tights ensemble she would adopt.

    More Golden Age vs Bronze Age, but the Sub-Mariner's simple swimming briefs were a much better costume choice than his later more elaborate superhero body suit with arm wings.

  6. #6
    S.P.E.C.T.R.E. destro's Avatar
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    Captain Marvel's new costume struck me as one of those that only looks good when drawn by certain artists. His original costume was simpler and I think easier to make look good.

    I kind of liked the Submariner's black costume, but I think I'm probably in the minority on that one.
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  7. #7
    Amphibian Phil Maurice's Avatar
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    Well, Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne changed outfits about as often as you or I do. LOVE the Ant-Man costume, but I wasn't a big fan of either Giant-Man costume. OTOH, the blue and gold Goliath costume was made of win IMO.

    Doc Doom's first appearance with long sleeves was improved in his later appearances sans sleeves.

    Conversely, Galactus was sleeveless in his first appearance and he looks sort of WWF douchey. He definitely looks better with the redesigns (IMO again).
    "Leviathans have tried and failed! You will not eat the true Sub-Mariner!"

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  8. #8
    Amphibian Phil Maurice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWGallaher View Post
    I had been reading comics a few years, and the only version of (Marvel's) Captain Marvel I knew wore the rather conventional blue and red costume.
    I had the good fortune to meet and speak with Pat Broderick at a small con outside Atlanta in 1993. At the time, Broderick was doing exquisite work on "Doom 2099." He'd been signing copies of that series all day when I approached him with a couple of issues of Captain Marvel he'd worked on in the late 70s. I thought I'd be clever and ask him how exactly the good Captain's mask worked, in that it followed his hairline and even allowed for his sideburns. Was the hair attached to the mask? Did Captain Marvel resemble the musician Moby when unmasked?

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    Mr. Broderick gave the sigh of a man who's heard that one many times before and, exhibiting the patience of a saint replied, "You'll have to ask Starlin."
    "Leviathans have tried and failed! You will not eat the true Sub-Mariner!"

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  9. #9
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    I kind of preferred Mar-Vell's old green and white costume as well, but didn't dislike the new one except for the pointless mask.

  10. #10
    NOT Bucky O'Hare! The Confessor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by destro View Post
    One negative change that occurs to me was Roy Thomas and Gene Colan's Dr. Strange revamp. We went from the wonderful and unique Ditko design to a faceless version of Strange with a more super hero themed costume. I have always intensely disliked this look, and still don't really know what Roy and Gene were thinking, unless they were trying to associate Doctor Strange more with super hero fans. Very poor design choice.

    That's exactly what they (and Stan Lee) were thinking. Strange Tales, which later became Doctor Strange's own title, had never been a particularly big seller for Marvel, so it was a way to perhaps get some of the superhero crowd to start picking up the book. There was a crossover with Avengers #61 at around this time too...again to bring readers of Avengers over to Strange's own book. Even Rascally Roy Thomas has admitted that prior to working for Marvel, he had never been a big fan of Doctor Strange, prefering instead their more superhero-orientated titles. Of course, he grew to love the character once he was writing him though.
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  11. #11
    Dorkosaurus Wrecks GavinR's Avatar
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    Easily for me it is when Ben Grimm was wearing that stupid mask.

  12. #12
    S.P.E.C.T.R.E. destro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Confessor View Post
    That's exactly what they (and Stan Lee) were thinking. Strange Tales, which later became Doctor Strange's own title, had never been a particularly big seller for Marvel, so it was a way to perhaps get some of the superhero crowd to start picking up the book. There was a crossover with Avengers #61 at around this time too...again to bring readers of Avengers over to Strange's own book. Even Rascally Roy Thomas has admitted that prior to working for Marvel, he had never been a big fan of Doctor Strange, prefering instead their more superhero-orientated titles. Of course, he grew to love the character once he was writing him though.
    Interesting. It might have worked better with a better re-design. I love Gene Colan, but the design was frankly ugly as hell. Thankfully it didn't last very long.

    I much prefer Doc fairly divorced from the super hero side of things, which is one of the many reasons I dislike Defenders (but that's a whole other subject). But I can understand the reasoning sales wise, even if I dislike the results.
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  13. #13
    CotM Member Rob Allen's Avatar
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    How about the X-Men's change from blue-and-yellow uniforms to individual costumes? I liked the new duds. Anyone know who designed them? Seems like it must have been either Don Heck or George Tuska.
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  14. #14
    Ex-Cheeks Reptisaurus!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by destro View Post

    For Iron Man it made sense to occasionally update the armor. He started out with the bulky grey, which quickly changed to gold. Then the armor was streamlined and went through a few other changes until it arrived at the design that was used throughout the 70s and much of the 80s. Again, this is something that made sense and I think these are generally viewed as positive changes.
    I prefer Iron Man's original costume - As I may have stated a time or sixteen before, I like my Iron Man more "Guy trapped in a Monster Suit" more than gosh wow shiny techno-futurism.
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    S.P.E.C.T.R.E. destro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Allen View Post
    How about the X-Men's change from blue-and-yellow uniforms to individual costumes? I liked the new duds. Anyone know who designed them? Seems like it must have been either Don Heck or George Tuska.
    I don't know who designed them, but I always found it odd that the individualized X-Men costumes were a "reward" from Professor X unless I'm remembering wrongly..
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