5 Comic Book Halloween Costumes That Won’t Objectify Women (And 5 That Will Objectify Men!)
Halloween is less than a month away now, meaning that those of you who’ve yet to start thinking about a costume are getting ever closer to achieving that dreaded status of “waiting until the last moment.” Some of you may be looking to comic books for inspiration, and both DC and Marvel have a number of licensed costumes available for you to choose from. But, as ComicsAlliance has already pointed out, those options can be somewhat limited. Just take a look at these examples:
On the left you can see the Captain America costume from what Marvel calls its “Sassy Deluxe” line. And on your right you see a man with a more traditional interpretation of Cap’s costume, albeit one that has prominently Liefeldian abs. Consider these exhibits A and B for the argument that superhero Halloween costumes tend to skew heavily towards male fantasies. Admittedly not a surprise, as many actual superhero costumes are also designed for the same demographic. But this time of year that leaves few choices for people looking for something else. So in an effort to be a helpful, we’d like to present this list of…
5 COMIC BOOK COSTUMES FOR WOMEN THAT WON’T TURN YOU INTO A SEX OBJECT
Over the course of DC’s weekly mega-event series 52 Vic Sage, the first Question, passed away and his mantle was taken up by former Gotham City Police Detective Renee Montoya. All five fans of the original Question were furious and swore to never read anything DC published ever again, but on the bright side it meant a larger role for one of the best new characters introduced to the DC universe in the last twenty years. And while Montoya’s character in Gotham Central by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark drew a lot of critical praise, DC wasn’t happy with the sales figures. Thankfully Montoya’s switch to a costumed hero means DC’s still willing to print stories that feature her and you’ve got a Halloween costume option that consists of more than just someone in street clothes holding a gun.
Strapping enough weaponry onto your body to obliterate a small army should not be a joy for men alone. In the pages of “Top 10,” written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Gene Ha and Zander Cannon, Irma Wornow’s thermonuclear-capable outfit is more for business than pleasure, considering her job is a police officer in the superhuman populated city of Neopolis. Admittedly Irma does like her work; she is quick to resort to violence as a solution, and her idea of gun control seems to be using as many firearms as possible at once. But who among us wouldn’t do the same if someone gave us our own battle armor with a rack of missiles on top?
For quite some time, Jennifer Walters’ career in the law took a back seat to her life as a superhero. But certain events leading to the destruction of an entire town (which, in her defense, was only in Idaho) caused her to later rethink her life and return her focus to working as an attorney. And so with the start of writer Dan Slott’s run on “She-Hulk” in 2004, Jennifer began working for the law offices of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway, trading in her normal costume for something a bit more professional. Granted it wasn’t much of a change in the company she kept, as her new firm specialized in superhuman law, and admittedly she still looked one ’80s power chord and loosened hair bun away from looking like . . . well, looking like what She-Hulk normally looks like. But the green skin and hair with the power suit all combine to create an appearance that says “I’m smart, I’m capable, and the first person to make an inappropriate comment about wanting a look at my ‘legal briefs’ is getting punched through the nearest brick wall.”
Yeah, I know. Some of you out there are looking at this choice and going, “No, no way. Delirium is totally hot.” Well, I’ve got a few responses to that. First, the affection you’re feeling for the youngest of the Endless from Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece Sandman probably has more to do with the way her character’s been excellently crafted by her writer and artists than it has to do with the clothes she’s wearing. Second, I should point out to you, dear friend, that in case you’ve yet to realize it you’ve probably got what psychologists refer to as “a thing for crazy chicks.” It’s a path that will no doubt cause you a fair amount of suffering, so have fun with that. But back to the matter at hand: The great thing about choosing Delirium as a costume is that her level of sexy is scalable to your taste. Due to the varied depictions of her throughout the run of Sandman, you’re free to pick your favorite or come up with your own take and present whatever amount of sex appeal you’re comfortable with. Just remember that the real key to the costume is getting the personality right. And it would be wrong and possibly illegal for me to point out that the two most likely ways to accomplish this are either kidnapping and questioning Neil Gaiman or taking fatal amounts of potent hallucinogenic substances.
So you want a costume that’ll be a challenge? All right then, here you are. Ruby Berserko from “Casanova,” written by Matt Fraction with art by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon, is the consciousness of a sexbot, Ruby Seychelle, uploaded into an organic robot body with three fused heads that formerly belonged to a criminal mastermind. Floating around in a hover chair with big dewy eyes and an curly wig specially made to cover her enormous triple skull, she looks like a cross between Shirley Temple and MODOK. Oh, and she’s usually found performing intelligence briefings for the book’s hero, super spy Casanova Quinn. Now if you’ve actually got the pieces of a working hover chair lying around in your attic I’m probably going to be more impressed with that than any Halloween costume you could make. But I will promise to tip my metaphorical internet hat to you if you’re able to put a convincing Ruby Berserko outfit together.
AND 5 COMIC BOOK COSTUMES FOR MEN THAT WILL SEXUALLY OBJECTIFY YOU
Namor the Sub-Mariner, ruler of the kingdom of Atlantis. We should all consider ourselves fortunate that the speedo-and-belt look has never actually caught on among heads of state in our own reality, but should you desire a costume that honors one of Marvel’s oldest creations and makes even bare-chested depictions of Aquaman look like an overdressed prude, then Namor is the right choice for you. It’s not even that expensive to put together. After you grab a pair of the Spock ears that should be widely available this year, your only remaining investment is going to be a long and painful chest waxing session.
Everybody knows the best part of dressing up like Wolverine is the claws, so why should you even bother with picking up the rest of the outfit? Instead, look to one of the character’s thousands of origin stories and go with the Weapon X test subject look. All you’ll need to do is attach some surgical tubing and electrical wires to your body and then strategically position some random electronic device to provide a tactful cover-up worthy of a ruthless secret Canadian military project. You may very well find yourself being the best at what you do, although what you do might be making certain that your friends never invite you to a Halloween party ever again.
The hero of “Transmetropolitan,” written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Darick Robertson. Already a fairly popular Halloween costume, but one that’s usually achieved with a black jacket and black pants. What I’m suggesting is more of the Spider relaxing at home look, wearing only boxer shorts and showing off his many and diverse tattoos. Getting the tattoos just right is a fun and important part of the look. And all you’ll need is a sharpie and either the ability to contort your body in such a way that you can draw legibly on your own back or, failing that, friends willing to do the job for you. If you really want something special about the costume, why not track down Warren Ellis himself and ask him to add his signature? You’ve got time before Halloween, and I’m sure that if you show up at his home completely hairless and practically naked and then shove a marker in front of his face absolutely nothing unpleasant will happen to you in any way.
Generally speaking, if you’re designing a costume for a hero about to engage in epic amounts of ass-kicking you don’t start with sandals and a skirt held up by one diagonal strap. But when you’re Hercules you can apparently wear whatever you want as long as the results come in. The Marvel version of the classic Greek mythological hero has risen to greater prominence in the comic book world lately thanks to a great run on “Incredible Hercules” currently being written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. As unusual as the Greek-influenced Kirby-designed costume may be, it should be noted that Hercules seems to attract significantly more attention from the women of the Marvel universe than most other heroes. And they only seem to want to kill him about two-thirds of the time.
This one’s not rocket science. It’s a simple equation: You, minus clothes, minus hair, plus lots of blue body paint equals Dr. Manhattan. And there’s no better time to choose to go as one of the central characters from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen.” While in past years you might have had to explain yourself to confused party-goers as “nudist smurf,” with this year’s release of a film adaptation you should be immediately recognized. And if you were one of the fans of the source material who, at around this time last year, was loudly protesting the possibility that the movie might have elected to not include Dr. Manhattan’s degree in manhood, what better opportunity than this to put your dedication to an exact portrayal on display?
Well, that’s all. Ladies, gentlemen, I hope this has helped all of you in your Halloween brainstorming. Personally, I think I’m unlikely to go with any of the guys’ costumes I listed. I figure I’ll end up with something a little more suited to the cold northeastern October evening I’ll be facing. But, hey, I guess I should consider myself fortunate to live in a world in which those last five weren’t typical of the only kind of costume that’s marketed to me.