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Six by 6 | The six best superhero costume redesigns of all time

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1959’s Green Lantern redesign by Gil Kane: Reboots and revamps are nothing new in comics — it was being done as far back as the 1950s. One of the most successful revamps of all times was the decision by DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz to revive Golden Age characters like The Flash and Green Lantern. In this one, Schwartz tasked artist Gil Kane and writer John Broome to revisit the circus performer-looking Green Lantern and recreate him as more of a sci-fi figure, and Kane created one of the first superhero outfits that was for not only a character, but an entire team in the Green Lantern Corps.  I can’t even begin to imagine how the Hal Jordan Green Lantern would have fared had he kept Alan Scott’s costume, and I’m glad it never happened.


1970’s Black Widow redesign by John Romita Sr.: Introduced six years before, Marvel’s Black Widow wasn’t that major of a character, despite appearing as an ally to the Avengers from time to time. But after she dropped her gothic evening-wear attire in favor of a skintight catsuit, bracelets and belt, she became more than just another character in the mind of the House of Ideas. If she looked the way she did in 1964, do you think she could make it in today’s Marvel comics, let alone in movies like Iron Man 2 and The Avengers?


1956’s Flash redesign by Carmine Infantino: For its time, this redesign of DC’s Golden Age Flash was arguably one of the most drastic changes superhero costumes had seen. Infantino threw out the original costume’s references to the god Mercury and instead took cues from runners’ outfits, boiling down the suit to its basics and making it one of the most simplistic yet memorable designs comics has seen before or since .

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I agree with some of these, but the classic Flash outfit is one of my favorites on all time. And while the black costume is very iconic, it really never fit well with the friendly character of Spider-Man.

On the Green Lantern section: Hal Stewart?

Bill Everett designed the original Daredevil outfit, not Kirby.

Always thought it the change in design of Captain Marvel from Gene Colan’s to Gil Kane’s was a big step up. As was the redesign of Kirby’s Him to become Gil Kane’s Adam Warlock.

Basically, I’m a big Gil Kane nut, alright?

@ Mark

Totally agree – Kane’s Captain Marvel costume rejuvenated the character and gave Starlin the impetus to create some great storylines.

If I was going to expand this list then I would have to add the following:

1. Neal Adams Robin the Boy Wonder costume redesign. Shame they had to ruin it with subsequent redesigns.
2. George Perez’s “busy” Nightwing costume redesigned by Scott McDaniel.
3. The green Falcon costume that was replaced by the classic red and white version. They muck around with this one too.
4. Iron Man seems a pretty obvious no-brainer too (although I would like to see Silver Centurion return.)
5. George Perez’s Zatanna replaced by the current “magician” look.
6. The Jack Kirby Cyclops costume redesign – the Cockrum redesign best used by John Byrne.
7. I’m surprised that Superman isn’t on there too. Not the New 52 redesign, but the shift from the original look in his first appearance to the look prior to New 52. His classic look, underpants and all. I suppose you could add Batman too.


The Kid Flash redesign remains one of the most striking and enduring redesigns, though some people don’t realize it is a re-design. The original KF uniform was a clone of The Flash.

Vibe’s new look is a good redesign.
The red-and-black Robin costume was good revamp.
Disco-wing to cool blue on blue Nightwing was a great revamp, especially when they cut off the ridiculous calf-length ponytail in the first issue.

I hate the black costume on Spidey or any of the other parade of variants that they have trotted out (with the exception of Ben’s Spidey costume by Mark Bagley) For one, there’s just not a damn thing wrong with his original suit. I don’t know how anybody looks at that and decides he should be in something different. In the black he might as well be a ninja version of the Punisher. Spidey’s not about being “badass” in that grimdark obsessed sense of the term, he’s a hero.

Plus there’s just something intrinsically off about a “ground level” character like Spider-Man having space laundry. ..that is trying to eat his brain.

Best superhero costume ever = The Flash.

IIRC, Spidey’s black costume wasn’t designed by Mike Zeck, it came courtesy of a fan submission; I think the fan was actually paid for his idea, and they had Rick Leonardi sketch out the final version in some concept sketches. I think Brian did a CBULR article on it….

“Aaron Poehler — March 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm — Bill Everett designed the original Daredevil outfit, not Kirby.”

Mark Evanier contends that Kirby designed it, and the cover and splash page were created based on Kirby’s concept drawings. Kirby designed the billy club, also.

I love Daredevil’s yellow and red, but I agree, the all red was better in those circumstances. Yellow is always good for throwback’s, I suppose.

I was never that big a fan of the black Spider-Man costume. In fact, for all the bile heaped upon the Clone Saga, i think the redesigned blue-n-red costume that was used during that period (and later re-purposed for Spider-Girl) is the best Spider-Man costume.

On what Earth is that Spider-Man better than Carol Danvers’ new digs? Are we saying that doesn’t count because she also changed names?

Besides, you’re missing the king of all superhero redesigns, although maybe it’s so good it doesn’t deserve to be on a list with any others. Brian Stelfreeze’s Nightwing is the best superhero re-invention in comic history.

Wolverine’s brown and tan will always be his superior look. Wish it would get new life sans the outside underpants and longer pointy mask.

Yellow and blue just don’t make sense to my understanding of the character.

How about Magneto’s new white suit?
Oh wait, that goes on the worst redesign list.

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