Reader-Submitted Legion Costumes
Adventure Comics #403 - besides being a giant-size issue reprinting several of the Legion of Super-Heroes' most dizzingly improbable escapades (complete with editorial footnotes gamely attempting to make sense of the mess - these poor old cats would've had heart attacks if they'd had to ride herd on Zero Hour ...) - showcases one of my favorite (and long forgotten) features in old school comics: COSTUMES SUBMITTED BY READERS! These things almost ALWAYS suck!
It's hard to do wrong by the Legion of Superheroes, a team of fashion-challenged tyros who often resorted to writing their names on their shirts, like it was a really retarded space camp. Also, right out of the gate, you've got to beat waist-bearing belly-covering cuts, flared shoulders, short pants with patriot boots and copious pinkness.
Possibly making it worse, the costumes actually got used (See Superboy #183) and at least two of them were used long-term.
We start off with Duo Damsel, who wears a bisected orange-and-purple costume which advertises her love of Nerds candies. When she activates her sole power - which is to say, when there's MORE THAN ONE normal human being where once there was, you know, ONLY one previously - "One of me wears purple," as she explains, "while the OTHER wears orange." This is a costume consciously designed to rub in her face the fact that her THIRD body is dead, dead, dead ...
Paul Decker of Oconomowoc predicts the whims and tendencies of an entire internet subculture by hypersexualizing Phantom Girl. Or, to some perspectives, he crammed her into really unflattering Frederick's of Hollywood fashions. Either way, I really like slowly pronouncing Oconomowoc in my head every time I have to type it.
I'm not sure if it's the stockings or the absurdly gigantic disco medallion I adore more. All I DO know is that this is comics, and so that goddamn medallion would have been stuffed with crime-fighting gadgets and space cameras and nutrition pills and so on. I mean, if Daredevil's cane had a radio transmitter and speed jammed in the handle, this 30th-century eyesore's bound to have a flat HDTV screen, a couch and a butterfly vibrator.
"Light Lass here..." to bring you an in-flight magazine! Here's Ayla Ranzz during her brief stint as the Legion Cruiser's first and only flight attendant. She made the peanuts float! I know that doesn't sound like much, but you really had to be there.
Sockitome, Sacagawea. How do YOU like this way out costume? I kind of don't, a lot!
I guess we're uncovering the greatest flaw with the Legion of Super-Heroes as a concept, endemic to its very nature - how do you create a believable world of the distant future, without defying contemporary concepts of modern fashion, style and design sensibility. Well, I'm sure that requires a complicated explanation, but I know for a fact that at least part of the equation is DON'T MAKE NONE OF THEM A GODDAMN HIPPY!
It's great that Shrinking Violet goes from the character too timid to speak up to being the character who goes on for hours about why brown rice is better than white rice and never stops quoting the Bhagavad-Gita.
Cosmic Boy in uniform looks a lot like Cosmic Boy in forgetting to wear his shoes and shorts. Cosmic Boy cannot win. You remember his first costume, right? The one that included a bubble-helmet and his name on the chest, all compounded by the fact that his original super-power was MAGNETIC EYES OF SUPER POWER which meant you could blind him with a drawerful of forks. Then he got stuck in some stiff-collared dealie which was, I'm pretty sure, the 30th-century equivalent of a sweater vest, AND THEN HE WORE A SWEATER VEST! No joke! Some super black chest-baring short-pants-and-vest combination that ... that ... Jeezy creezy. WITH GLOVES, he wore it!
To me, Cosmic Boy is eternally the guy who "just never gets it." I think this costume sums it up nicely. "Hey guys, this is GREAT, isn't it? My aunt made it for me!"
Here, Karate Kid displays his great affection for Spanish-language pop band Mano Negra. 'Nuff said.
"Someone who calls himself 'Master O'," starts Ultra Boy, "Is cruising for a fucking bruising. Seriously, I'm fucking coming for you!"
No, this is just what he's thinking, to be sure. Was this monstrosity ever used? And ... and if so, WHY? Apparently Master O "dreamed up" the outfit, which is why Master O needs to be taking his medication. Still, if you put an overcoat on Ultra Boy, bam, you've got a true-to-life Jim Lee costume design right there.
Here's Shadow Lass, wearing a "futuristic fashion," which is probably true because it'll be a long time before this eyesore comes into style. Unless you're on the world of Gor, I suppose. Or you're James T.Kirk, in which case this is honey-bait. I also love the comic book design mentality where, when you're composing a costume with one primary color being dominant, you highlight the damn thing with its opposite. Blue and orange? Yeah, that's fantastic!
Here's irony for you: Princess Projectra's costume, what's that look like to you? If you say "The Animated series Supergirl," bam, well done. Also, get out more.
But yeah, it's fantastic that this ghastly design from the heart of the Seventies reassembles itself in the early nineties as, you know, fashionable girl-positive styles. Oh ho.
"I'm Lightning Lad, and Barbara Jean Scott of San Antonio, Tex., thought I should have a more casual uniform." Uh-huh. Look, nothing says "Stick up your ass" like a leisure suit. And one with a cape, no less!
Paul Decker - he designed the Phantom Girl costume - ALSO designed a couple costumes for the Legion of Substitute Heroes! Like this one for Night Girl, which can now be seen on many strippers these days. Paul Decker is truly fantastic. I kind of hope he has a website. (It's not too much of stretch to assume that they're talking about the same Paul Decker here, are they? Matter-Eater Lad/Element Lad slash fanfiction, erotic Phantom Girl and Night Girl art ... HOW WAS THIS GUY THE INTERNET BEFORE THEY INVENTED THE INTERNET??? )
Paul also designed this Chlorophyll Kid costume. You know what I have to say about it? NOT ENOUGH SKIN!
Also, his belt has pouches to hold seeds. That sounds dirty.
And we wrap up with the costume Saturn Girl wears to PTA meetings.
If it gets too hot, I take off my pants. Saturn Girl and I have a lot in common.