One of the most symbolic moments of Superman is when he changes from his guise as Clark Kent to become the Man of Steel. The idea that the wearing of a costume imbues some kind of unquantifiable power is a key part of what makes superhero comics work; otherwise, they’d just be adventurers and action heroes.
But speaking of change, changes in superhero costumes have become as much a part of the comics as the heroes themselves. From Superman’s early days with his golden emblem to the modern “S” today and on through to other years (including Batman’s countless wardrobe changes), the design of a superhero isn’t static and a redesign has proved, many times, to be just the thing to make a character work.
In this week’s “Six by 6,” I pinpoint six of the most dynamic and powerful redesigns in superhero comics. Redesigns that saved a character from obscurity, put them in a new light or simply simplified what was already there.
If you’re a Cyclops fan and still smarting from the end of Avengers vs. X-Men, WeLoveFine.com has a constructive way to express your anger–at least more constructive than, say, unleashing a Sentinel or something. They received a ton of requests for a “Cyclops was Right” shirt (a la their “Magneto was Right” shirt) and were able to turn one around fairly quickly.
Comic creators come and go, but it’s the ones who stick around and become veterans who tend to make the biggest mark on the industry. Some work continuously in comics while others take a hiatus from the business and then return later: Jack Kirby did it, as did James Robinson, Alex Toth, Brian K. Vaughn and others.
One of the most recent big splashes by a returning veteran has been Greg Capullo, who took a hiatus from comics in the 2000s after making a name for himself on Spawn, X-Force and Quasar. In 2009, he limbered up working on Image’s Haunt and sealed the deal when he jumped to DC Comics in 2011 to relaunch Batman with Scott Snyder. That got me thinking: Are there other creators floating around on the outskirts of comics, or outside of comics completely, who could pose a formidable force if they returned to comics — and more importantly, if the comics industry knew how to use them? It’s with that in mind that I compiled this list.
To see what Ed and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
If you’ve been a comic fan for any length of time, you’ve come to appreciate the talent and skills of certain creators. Whether they be mainstream heavyweights to cult-favorite indie cartoonists, they’re a big draw for you as a reader — and someone whose work you’d buy, sight unseen, based on their previous work you’ve loved. But just like childhood friends and lovers, sometimes they disappear, and a small piece of you longs to see them again.
Without getting too sentimental, here’s a list of some comic creators I’ve grown to love over the years that have (unfortunately) dropped off the American comics scene by-and-large. If you know them, tell them I’d raid my bank account for new work by them!
Brian K. Vaughan: Arguably one of the 21st century’s most successful creator-owned comic creators outside of Robert Kirkman, Brian K. Vaughan worked through the ranks at Marvel and DC to do both great company-owned superheroes like Runaways and The Hood, and his own inventions. After signing on to the TV series Lost, Vaughan has slowly drifted away from comics with his last series Ex Machina ending last year. DC just put out a collection of his Batman work, but no new work has been formally announced. In Vaughan’s last major recent interview, the writer states that while he’s become embroiled in movies and television, he “craves comics.” Among several television and movie projects in the works, Vaughan says that he has new comics stuff “percolating in the background.”