The best Marvel Comics costumes of all time
Marvel comics showcased some of the greatest characters in pop culture history, with many of their best heroes and villains sporting iconic and unforgettable costumes. From Jack Kirby to Steve Ditko, Jamie McKelvie and Sarah Pichelli, a number of talented artists have helped create and design some truly amazing costumes that will be remembered forever.
Choosing the best costumes in Marvel Comics history was a daunting task, as there are hundreds of them that stand out in the more than half a century of Marvel superhero stories. Some of those that narrowly missed the cut include Daredevil’s iconic red look, Jean Grey’s Phoenix costume, Captain Marvel’s revamp, Moon Knight’s Mr. Knight costume, Ms. Marvel’s new modern look, the shiny set of Silver Surfer and many outfits from X-Men. There are many costumes that deserve recognition that are not on this list. That’s not to say they aren’t spectacular or deserve praise. Of the thousands of outfits that have debuted in the last 60 years on the pages of Marvel Comics, five stand out as the best of all time.
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Wolverine in Giant-Size X-Men
When Wolverine first appeared in the pages of The Incredible Hulk, his mask was quite different from what readers are used to today. Instead of the long ears and white eyes, Logan was originally drawn by John Romita Sr. with much shorter ears, as well as eyes visible in his mask. According to legend, when Wolverine appeared on the cover of X-Men giant size # 1, artist Gil Kane accidentally drew Wolverine’s mask with the much longer ears and blank eyes. Giant size X-Men # 1 Artist Dave Cockrum is said to have dug the design so deeply that he redesigned Wolverine with the long ears throughout the issue.
Wolverine has been redesigned several times since its debut in 1974, but only a few new looks have even come close to the classic blue and yellow costume. The look was featured in the X-Men: The Animated Series and can still be seen in the comics today, including a similar version worn by her clone daughter.
Jane Foster’s Thor
When Jane Foster became the new version of Thor in Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s 2014 run on the hero, it was a bold new direction for the character. The storyline ended up being a huge success as Foster’s Thor proved to be more than worthy of Mjolnir in a fun yet heartbreaking adventure starring the longtime Marvel character.
While the storytelling and artistry featured in the series was sublime, one of the main reasons Foster’s Mighty Thor resonated with readers was its near-perfect design. Thor’s helmet, armor, cape, and long hair fluttering as she flew through the sky with Mjolnir made the hero epic. Marvel would be wise to adopt the look as is for the MCU when Natalie Portman wields the hammer as Foster in the upcoming one. Thor: Love and thunder.
The appearance of a comic book character has rarely stayed about the same in nearly 60 years, but the Spider-Man costume is the perfect example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t it. not fix “.
Yes, Spider-Man has worn alternate costumes over the years, including the Iron Spider armor, the Superior Spider-Man look, and the black alien symbiote suit. While these are all great, there’s a reason Marvel keeps coming back to the costume designed by Steve Ditko. It’s perfect. Of course, there have been a few tweaks over the years to modernize or add a new feature to Spidey’s costume, but the web-slinger’s costume never needed a major overhaul. It’s just a great look – even though the colors of Spider-Man’s costume were originally supposed to be different.
Spider-Gwen / Spider-Ghost
There have been hundreds of different variations on spider heroes over the years, with Marvel’s Spider-Verse series featuring a slew of brand new wall-crawlers. However, of all the heroes who have followed in Peter Parker’s footsteps, the Spider-Gwen costume is without a doubt the best.
Spider-Gwen’s white mask, hood, and ballet flats pair perfectly with a pink, white, and black color scheme. Not only does she look cool, but the costume looks quite practical as it is easy to imagine a young hero wearing the outfit. It’s stylish, colorful, and just a ton of fun to see in action. Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez hit a home run with Gwen’s design as the character who was initially just a fun alternate version of Gwen Stacy became more popular than the character she was based on. While Spider-Gwen has had a few name changes as a hero, changing her outfit from the hoodie look would be a crime.
After appearing in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Gwen’s popularity has grown significantly, which is having a noticeable impact on young readers and cosplayers. It’s not easy for a character in the modern alternate universe to have such immediate recognizability, but Spider-Gwen has accomplished this and more.
Steve Ditko’s work on Doctor Strange is one of the best in Marvel Comics history. He took what could have been a silly character and turned him into a legitimately cool hero whose costume was way ahead of his time.
The classic Doctor Strange costume occupied in all the right ways. With a tunic, a large levitating cloak, Agomotto’s eye, and gloves, Stephen Strange’s costume always looked magical. Since the hero has experienced a number of psychedelic adventures across the cosmos and different realities, especially in his early stories, he needed a matching costume. Doctor Strange’s original look was flamboyant, over the top, and almost perfect. Although her look has changed over the years, different versions of the character have remained somewhat true to her original look. It would be really cool to see Benedict Cumberbatch get a more Ditko-style costume in the next one. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While the MCU definitely pays homage to Ditko’s design, he could use a little more color to really make him look like his original look – like when he wore yellow gloves in Thor: Ragnarok. Her original outfit is truly a classic Marvel comics suit.
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