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The Top Five Costumes You Will Not See at the MET’s ‘Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy’ Exhibit

Through September, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is offering the “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” exhibit, taking a look at the influence of comic book costumes upon high fashion and sportswear.

The symbolic and metaphorical associations between fashion and the superhero are explored in this compelling exhibition. Featuring movie costumes, avant-garde haute couture, and high-performance sportswear, it reveals how the superhero serves as the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body.

How very enlightened of the New York MET to look upon superhero costumes with such respect and insight. I’m sure I’ll be all the rage when I wear my Batman cowl and matching codpiece on my next trip to Paris or Milan.

But somehow I bet the MET neglected these five gems.

5) Sunfire’s Mask

Sunfire Mask 1 Sunfire Mask 2

Not only does Sunfire’s mask conceal his secret identity, but it also allows him to crash an old-fashioned New Orleans masquerade party whenever the mood strikes him.

Side note to aspiring superheroes: when your mask looks like a prehistoric butterfly trying to hump your face, it’s time to head back to the drawing board.

4) Anything Marvel Created in the 1970s

Dazzler Power-Man Iron Fist 1970s Gamora 1970s

Marvel had a very simple formula for outfitting its heroes during the 1970s: skin-tight unitards with v-necklines more deeply plunging than Deep Throat and popped collars more towering than John Travolta’s hairdo in Saturday Night Fever.

Not that I have anything at all against some hearty side-cleavage, but I haven’t seen a look this dated since John McCain got dressed up for President Lincoln’s wedding. (Get it? He’s totally old. I’m here all week, folks.)

3) Ghost Rider’s Leather Ensemble

Ghost Rider

This is what a night with Ghost Rider looks like: he dons his tight leather jacket and pants, wraps himself in chains and spikes, and cruises around on his motorcycle looking for naughty boys to torment.

If that doesn’t scream “S&M,” then I’m a super-brilliant actor named Nicolas Cage. Who likes to eat baby penguins. And koala bears.

2) Nova’a Non-Costume

Frankie Raye Nova

Street festivals here in San Francisco had the market cornered on “naked and flaming” long before Frankie “Nova” Raye came along.

1) Anything Designed by ‘Artist’ Rob Liefeld

Rob Liefeld Captain America

In reality, it would take a steroidal weight-lifter with short, gimpy mutant arms carrying a camping backpack filled with smooth boulders on his chest to fill out the Captain America costume that Liefeld has designed here.

Liefeld’s other abuses of the human form have been extensively and hilariously documented.

Thanks to Nima of Equinox of Insanity for contributing to this post.

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7 comments… add one
  • Nima June 27, 2008, 1:28 am

    Sunfire is wearing a mask? I just thought that was a starfish raping his face.

    That Liefeld pic is freakin’ awesome, but to count as a true Liefeld design Cap needs, oh, SEVENTY BILLION pockets.

    (Sad aside, recall that Liefeld’s ridiculous popularity caused better, more sane artists like Jim Lee to adopt similar totally retarded character design techniques. Remember the ridiculous cargo pants Lee gave Jean Grey? Yeah, those were bad times.)

  • Great White Snark June 27, 2008, 1:31 am

    Don’t you go corrupting my fondness of Jim Lee with your “information” and “facts”!

  • Nima June 27, 2008, 1:50 am

    CARGO PANTS!!! Why does a telepathic/telekinetic need cargo pants? It’s not like they were ever about to be killed by Omega Red and Professor X was like “Hey, too bad nobody has some anti-russian dohickey that we could use to kill Omega Red” and Jean Grey was like, “Oh, I’ve got one of those in my pocket” and saved the day. It’s insane!

    Stupid Rob Liefeld’s influence!

  • Nima June 27, 2008, 1:52 am

    Sigh… I just realized you and I made the same Sunfire face-humping joke. I should probably actually read what you write.

  • Paul June 27, 2008, 1:19 pm

    Nice picks. You really need to do a part two with even more obscure characters!

    @Nima: laff

  • Cindi June 27, 2008, 4:07 pm

    I just keep staring at Captain America’s “little black box.” Wow. It’s really…LITTLE…in comparison to the rest of him.

  • Cindi June 27, 2008, 4:11 pm

    GreatWhiteSnark et. al.: BTW, I assume you saw Michael Chabon’s essay about superhero costumes in The New Yorker, “Secret Skin: An essay in unitard theory”? http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/03/10/080310fa_fact_chabon

    Go ahead, laugh at me, but it’s Michael Chabon, so it’s literary and stuff.

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