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10 ‘Sexy’ Super-Heroine Costumes That Really Aren’t

The world of super-heroes has always had some crazy ideas about what constitutes “sexy.” A great artist can make just about any costume look good — just flip through any Justice League International comics where Kevin Maguire and Adam Hughes draw Fire’s halter-top corset, jean jacket and headband — there are a lot of super-heroine costume designs that have aimed for hotness and landed in what the hell is going on here.

Don’t get me wrong, I like looking at drawings of sexy women as much as the next guy — in fact, considering that I’ve been reading comic books for my entire life, I’m willing to bet that I like looking at drawings of sexy women way more than the next guy — but some costumes go so far over the line trying to titillate that the end result is a lot like what your cousin drew in his notebook after drinking a two-liter of Mountain Dew and staring at wood nymphs in the Monster Manual for three hours straight. That’s why today, ComicsAlliance is breaking it down with a list of ten allegedly sexy costumes that are about as arousing as… well, as a woman dressed like a giant ant.

Unless you’re into that.

Slumming in at number ten, our first pick is a great example of just straight up drawing an extremely well-endowed naked woman and painting her red so that your book doesn’t have to be sold from behind the counter. Well, until the infamous eighth issue that had to be returned when retailers complained that it suddenly took a right turn into the world of hardcore. But what did you expect from title about a heroine based around the Fire Ant, nature’s most erotic insect?

Even if you’re a fan of costumes so skintight that they go all the way up into a woman’s various crevices, you have to admit that this one is slightly marred by a face like the Green Man from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and a pair of barbed feelers.

That said, I have no doubt that there was at least one entomology fetishist out there who was way into that look, but even he thought it was weird that this was a character based on the creator’s daughter. So enjoy that.

Ah, good ol’ Witchblade. She’s the Gold Standard in terms of exploitative costumes, which is only made even more hilarious by the fact that the go-to response from her fans when this is pointed out is invariably “well she’s wearing clothes now!

That’s true, but for years, homicide detective Sarah Pezzini fought the forces of evil in what essentially amounts to an extremely revealing bikini made of demon scabs. What’s more, the jagged, chitinous “armor” would shred through her clothes to leave her mostly naked like… well, I was about to say “like a buxom female version of the Hulk,” but there actually is a buxom female version of the Hulk, and her costume actually leaves a little more to the imagination.

Seriously, though: Demon scabs. And they are all up in the crevices.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the DC Universe, the Huntress is basically like combination of Batman and the Punisher, and for a while there, she had the head-to-toe Kevlar that description would imply. Thanks to a 2003 redesign, however, she’s now rocking the ensemble above, which features thigh-high spandex boot-stockings, a one-piece hybrid of shorts and a halter top that has what can only be described as an ab window, inexplicable golden boomerang clasps on the cape, and — just in case you were having trouble figuring out where to focus — white trim that outlines her breasts.

It’s not exactly the sort of outfit you’d expect from a character based around duking it out with the gritty Gotham City Mafia, which is probably why artists often modify it — and in some cases, completely redesign it — at every opportunity, like Cully Hamner did in Detective Comics.

You know, when even other artists are backing off from a character’s costume, it might be time to rethink things a little.

I’m of the opinion that it would take a team of dedicated scientists working around the clock to craft a costume that’s actually worse than Wonder Woman’s original suit, but in 1994, DC gave it their best shot with the short-lived costume change above. For the record, it also featured a jacket with rolled up sleeves that, believe it or not, Wonder Woman is actually wearing now. In 2011. I know, it’s crazy.

Anyway, you could point out that this costume wasn’t necessarily meant to be sexy and was actually meant to reflect her loss of royal status among the Amazons, but I’d stop you right there with two words: Bike Shorts. There was a stretch there where DC was all about bike shorts with a fervor that was only exceeded by Ice Cube circa 1988. Wonder Woman, Doomsday, hell, even Brainiac wore bike shorts for a while. Brainiac! Bike shorts! This is a thing that happened.

The most curious part of the costume, though, are the various buckles and straps involved. Obviously the ones around her waist are a necessity — everyone knows that skin-tight pants need to be double-cinched to stay on — but the ones over her shoulders just make it look like she’s heading to a con while cosplaying as Mike Haggar from Final Fight. Which… is actually pretty awesome.

You win this round, Sexy Costumes.

 

Speaking of short-lived costume changes and cut-out ab windows, we have this fetching number that originated — surprise! — in the early ’90s. The reason behind the change was — and you might want to brace yourselves for this one — that in the wake of a tragic miscarriage, Sue had merged her personality with an evil psychic entity called Malice that had previously caused her to get a mullet, and subsequently dressed in a more revealing fashion until her time-traveling son from the future came back to separate her from Malice and instead project it onto an evil alternate universe version of her husband who then died in yet another dimension, all presented with heavy overtones of “women, am I right?”

Sadly, the storyline ended before the issue where she hired Alex Power to clean out the Baxter Building’s swimming pool.

 

Merry Christmas, Emily Briggs! You’re DC’s verison of Jean Grey, but without anything that people actually like about that character! This asymmetrical nightmare pretty much speaks for itself, but on the off chance you need a more thorough set of reasons as to just why this thing’s horrible, have a look at the original design sketch from Outsiders #2, spotted on Armagideon Time:

 

“Bow over left hip — feminine touch, very sexy” is overselling things quite a bit, but the best bit is unquestionably “‘Pupil’ of eye design falls over nipple.

They were supposed to be eyes, everybody. They were supposed to be eyes.

 

There’s no doubt in my mind that Tarot is meant to be sexy, but this is a costume that takes a step across the line into ridiculous, then gets in a car and drives another four or five miles for good measure. There’s just too much going on here. Bra-spirals, crotch-moons, horns, straps, a spider-web thrown in for good measure — the boots alone have spirals, skulls, two sets of pentacles, chains, bat-wings, and gigantic spikes that run perpendicular to the leg. Hell, I read this book for three years before I realized that the straps on her bra formed a pentagram. It’s just overwhelming.

It also seems like it’s probably a pain in the ass to actually draw, which may explain why Tarot usually just runs around naked.

 

I wasn’t originally going to lump a live-actionmovie into a list of costumes from the comics, but really: When you’re talking about attempts at sexiness that go hilariously awry, this one’s darn near unavoidable. You really have to work to make Halle Berry seem even remotely unattractive, but the makes of Catwoman managed to accomplish that herculean task using only another set of ridiculous buckle straps, a pair of leather pants that had been sent through a washing machine in clear violation of the “Dry Clean Only” tag, and a hilariously oversized bondage mask left over from an all-macrocephalic production of Ghost World.

It’s a heck of an achievement, though. I never thought they’d be able to make a live-action Catwoman costume worse than this one:

 

Yeah, I said it. The Batman Returns Catwoman costume sucks. It’s as overrated as the movie it’s in. Deal with it.

 

I’m pretty sure that there’s been more written on the Internet about The Rob Liefeld than Rembrandt and Picasso combined, but this redesign of Boomer / Boom Boom / Meltdown / Tabitha has given me so many questions. Are the garter-looking circles actually attatched to anything? Is she wearing a flesh-colored suit underneath the dark brown parts? Is there an ab window, or just a complex double-helix of unoccupied pouch straps? Why are her breasts attempting to run away from each other?

I will say, though, it’s a step up from the previous design:

 

Yeesh. Putting aside the Lawrence Taylor shoulderpads, the dandelion haircut and the right leg that appears to turn into an elephant’s foot below the knee, who besides the producers of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic thought that much hot pink on one character was a good idea?

Oh, right.

Yes, our final entry is the modern version of the Star Sapphires, who hail from the planet Zamaron. Or as we like to cal it, the Intergalactic Champagne room. Their domain is love (for certain extremely specific values of “love”), and thus they’re called upon to head off conflicts by making out with stalkers. Yes, really.

As to the costume, well, there’s really only two things to mention here. First, there’s the fact that, as you can see, their logohas no place to go but square over the crotch. Second, while I think the effect is meant to evoke shiny, painted-on latex, these costumes just look to me like the Star Sapphires are continually dousing themselves in Pepto Bismol between the panels.

And this being the Internet, there’s a good chance that’s your exact fetish. Enjoy!

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