Sunday, August 28, 2005

Does Bruce know you raided his wardrobe?

Batman isn't the only one who wore stupid gimmick costumes.

Superboy #16, 1951

In Suicide Squad #58 (v1, 1991), Black Adam counseled a group of villains & heroes to change into their costumes, even though many were reluctant to do so. He even argued with John Henry who felt he didn't need one because, "Ah know who I am".

This was back during a period in the 90's when there was a lot of discussion as to why costumes were needed. My impression was that creators andreaders were embarrassed by the idea of super-heroes and comics in general. This is really only embarrassment by association. I blame the awful work that appeared in comics of the late 80's & early 90's for those attitudes. Everything had to be real, grim and dark. There just wasn't any place for brightly colored goodguys. This trend in comics even holds over in today's recent titles. For example it can be seen in the writings of Bruce Jones on Hulk, Bendis on Daredevil and for the TV, Smallville's 'no costumes' rule. The brightly-costumed adventurer is downplayed and not always just for characterization. It's as if the creators do not trust themselves to do it for fear of appearing silly.

Trust Ostrander and Yale to have one of the only characters with any real depth in the DCU to spell it all out for all the fellow creators and disillusioned readers.

The symbol is a power in and of itself.

Now it may be a stretch of logic to think Golden & Silver Age creators had this idea in mind when they invented things like the Rainbow Batman and Superman Red & Superman Blue, but it would be nice to think so. In those stories the iconic image was the more important idea. The character was secondary to what he represented.

Icons have a certain cache and comics forgot about that for a while.

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