Tag Archives: geeks

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Superhero Fashion

Marvel, X-Men, heroes, capes

Could Mystique’s outfit even be called a costume? Or is it just skin?

When looking at superhero fashion, there are several things we must remember:

  1. The heroes have perfect or godly physiques. Even if slim, or buxom, superheroes are muscular and perfect. (There are exceptions like the Blob.)
  2. They have powers or abilities beyond the normal human.
  3. They are superbly fit and agile, as well as being able to withstand physical abuse that would disfigure, cripple or kill most other people (they never lose teeth for instance).
  4. They’re exhibitionists. This goes for the evil fellows too. Everyone wears flamboyant clothing, even if it’s subdued, flamboyant clothing. That type of style doesn’t make you invisible and suggests a certain level of arrogance.
  5. They rarely get paid unless it’s by the government or supported by benefactors, or they’re millionaires (Batman, Iron Man).

With these suppositions it’s obvious that superheros might not have their wits about them, evidenced by outfits both form-fitting and often more provocative than the sane person would wear. But if in fact there were people who fit the above paradigms in our world today, what would these costumes do for them?

First, capes. I mean, seriously, they were once great for the people of the middle ages, before coats came along, because they could keep a person warm or wrapped up for the night. And okay, vampires. The Bela Lugosis out there need a nice big cape to wrap their victims, and just in case they can’t turn into a bat, well it gives the impression that they can. And speaking of bats; let’s look at one of the more famous superheroes.

Batman, superheroes, hero, supervillains, costumes, fashion, leotards

DC’s Batman by Neal Adams. That’s a lotta muscle to see through a suit.

Some would call him vigilante, some would call him hero, all would call him dark. Batman. The dude is caped and hooded, unlike the caped but barefaced Superman who somehow naively believes that glasses and dashing his hair to the other side will confuse everyone as to his identity. But let’s look at the capes. Whether long and voluminous, or short and sparse, they are not used in most every day criminal or do-gooder capers (get it?). The capes flow behind the hero, denoting movement or speed, but should you have to battle someone or whip around the corner you risk the criminal element grabbing your cape or getting choked, or worse, tripping over your costume and looking stupid. How bad would it be if the bad guys laughed at Batman? Pretty bad for them I guess.

The picture above of different DC superheroes shows Batman, the Martian Manhunter (guy in green, doncha know) and Shazam in capes. Oh and Robin in a little demi cape. But really, if your cape is flowy, it’s only good for show but not for battle. And if your cape, like some of the versions in the Batman movies, is stiff and ribbed, well, you won’t trip over it or have it flap in your face but you’re as likely to have trouble going through doorways and windows as getting into a car. Unless every caped hero is stupid, even the most arrogant wouldn’t want to limit the chances of just taking down the bad guys. And these guys do it for truth and justice and because it makes them look good.

Now we can leave some aspects up to artistic expression, but you have those old pre-60s costumes and the morality codes that once ruled the comic world bringing out those shorts over the tights look. If some guy dressed like that and yes, I’ve seen some women do this, it’s a bit of a geekathon fashion nightmare. But you will notice that these guys to a one have great tailors and their clothes are form-fitting, so tight in fact that I wonder that their butt cracks never show nor underwear lines.  And we have to hope that, like dancers, these guys are wearing a dancer’s cup or codpiece underneath, or you’ll know whether they’re circumcised or not. Flash, in the background, is superfast and his costume is okay because it won’t get in his way.

Hawkman wears a harness of wings and can fly so his costume makes sense, unless he’s in the Arctic. Actually most of these guys would freeze in inclement conditions but that’s part of their powers. They can wear barely nothing and still survive. Hulk wears an abomination of torn purple pants, always. Bruce Banner is certainly a science geek with a limited wardrobe. Utility belts and other paraphernalia make sense if you’re scaling walls and swinging from rooftops. Gadgets are especially the guys’ domain, as is the real world.

I would think though, should these heroes walk/fly down the street in broad daylight, no one will miss them. And they will have

capes, heroes, superheroes, Storm, X-Men, costumes, fashion, skin tight

One version of Marvel’s X-Man Storm, with cape. By Greg Land.

to have something of steel to withstand the catcalls, wolf whistles and propositions they’ll receive for such outfits. Hell, they’d be noticeable in a total eclipse. I’ve only mentioned the guys so far but the women have costumes painted on in a much more provocative way. Not all artists go to this extreme but the pic to the right shows navels and nipples through their incredibly thin and skin-tight suits, what there is of them. High cuts, bare asses, low-cut bustiers; really every female superhero is a wet dream or perhaps just a call girl gone wild.

I already talked about capes and how they’re a bigger problem than not. Some exceptions are the X-Men’s Storm. She’s a weather witch and her cape buoys her on the elements she stirs up. Banshee has a sonic power which buoys his wings on the power of sound. But on top of capes some of these gals wear skirts, short short skirts. Of course they all have matching pants underneath, like tennis players, but it’s just something else for your supervillian to hang onto. Perhaps distraction is a diversionary tactic.

superheroes, female costumes, Wonder Woman, Zatanna

Female superheroes show a lot of butt and cleavage and wear high heels.

The gals above have been modernized a bit but Wonder Woman (far right) and Zatanna (right) are wearing fairly tight corsetlike tops. Corsets restrict breathing and movement and should they be made of more supple material, the adequate to the amply endowed gals would pop out of their tops, especially doing acrobatics or hanging upside down. Some accessories, like Wonder Woman’s, serve a functional purpose. Her armbands deflect bullets, her head band is a boomerang (long before Xena’s) and her lariat binds and forces truthful answers (not just for bondage). Very few of these heroes worry about armor or weather with their outfits.

I’ve already touched on the overtly sexual nature of the women’s costumes. They are as sexual, maybe a bit moreso than the men’s, but when you define every indentation and muscle, well, the costumes are just like paint over nekkid bodies. And perhaps their beauty is one way to stun perpetrators. If archvillian Doctor Doom gets mesmerized wondering if Power Girl is going to pop out of her top, that does give her an advantage. I won’t bother going into the high heel boots and the fishnets. We know what it’s like to run and kick in those. (For more on this see The Problem With Supervillains )

Suffice to say, superheroes really aren’t dressed for action, unless in the bedroom. Send Prince Namor or the Angel my way and I’ll find out if their costumes are painted on. I’ve looked at the functional aspects of the costumes but if you want another take on the style, check out the links below for Tim Gunn of Project Runway’s opinion, on Crazy Sexy Geeks.

Part 1 with Tim Gunn

Part 2 with Tim Gunn

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Sci Fi Channel: When Branding Goes Stupid

Sci Fi Channel is trying a new branding idea that is seriously going to backfire on them. Really, I don’t watch TV but I’ve heard enough, including comments on my writers’ groups that say this is one big dumb idea.

The executives, those guys who get paid the big bucks, decided that the term sci fi (pronounced sie fie) which people everywhere identify with science fiction was just too geeky and they wanted to distance themselves from that overly geeky image.

“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,” said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network.

Anti-social boys as opposed to the general public and the female audience? Urr, have any of these guys actually paid attention to the changing world of science fiction in the last fifty years? Have they noticed that the stories and characters are farther reaching, that perhaps they’re thinking cliche here? Yes, the demographics will still have a majority of men but I’m thinking not as big a margin of difference as they might believe. Hmm, well they want to broaden their audience. That’s a good thing, right? “We spent a lot of time in the ’90s trying to distance the network from science fiction, which is largely why it’s called Sci Fi,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s somewhat cooler and better than the name ‘Science Fiction.’ But even the name Sci Fi is limiting.”  They wanted to distance themselves from what they were selling. How odd. The execs must suffer from a lot of split personality disorders.

So, in their infinite wisdom, they have decided that a rebranding of a channel that shows science fiction and fantasy programs will be better if it doesn’t look like sci fi, even though that’s what they’re selling, sci fi shows. The think tanks specialists of NBC worked long and hard I’m sure, trying to find the right name. Over 300 ideas in fact.  And guess what they came up with: SyFy. Yep, if you think that sounds the same as sci fi, you’re right.

“When we tested this new name, the thing that we got back from our 18-to-34 techno-savvy crowd, which is quite a lot of our audience, is actually this is how you’d text it,” Mr. Howe said.

Hilarious. I mean, if I was being techno savvy and texting I would use SF, pronounced ess eff. My techno-savvy friends would figure that out and it takes fewer letters. And aren’t they trying to bring in new viewers besides those techno-savvy viewers who are already watching? But “SF”, maybe the general public can’t recognize what that stands for so SyFy will look better and “cooler” as the execs proclaim. Cooler. Yeah, way cool. And of course more identifiable as umm…science fiction but not science fiction.

I wonder why they didn’t go for “skiffy,” one former pronunciation of the term sci fi, which I was told once was what the nongeeky people called SF. It just sounded too goofy to me. In the world of speculative fiction where we who are female or older than sixteen but perhaps still geeky tend to say sci fi, or SF or science fiction even. We even say speculative fiction to encompass horror, fantasy and science fiction. I’ve not noticed people at the theaters worrying about what category the films like Wall-E, Watchmen or Star Wars fit into. In fact, Vancouver’s top grossing movie last week was Watchmen. But then:

Mr. Brooks said that when people who say they don’t like science fiction enjoy a film like “Star Wars,” they don’t think it’s science fiction; they think it’s a good movie.

And that’s the point. They don’t think sci fi, SF or SyFy. They look at what they think they will enjoy. A rose by any other name? But hey, if these big execs want to spend their time mixing letters up, well that shows what’s important. I wonder what their programming will be like. I’d like a job like this, to spend time thinking up a new way to spell the same word.

Oh and I really hope they haven’t gone international with this. If they have, people in Poland may not be so quick to jump on the bandwagon as “syfy” translates to something like heretical and unclean. The full article is below and people’s comments are worth reading as it indicates how well the brand change is going over.

http://www.tvweek.com/news/2009/03/sci_fi_channel_aims_to_shed_ge.php

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Dating Site Pictures

So it’s just past that big day brought to you by Hallmark, florists and chocolate companies. I’ve never been big into it, single for a lot of it and find it contrived. On Saturday I bellydanced at a 50th birthday party, then stopped in the local watering hole for a drink or two before home. A woman was writing up a note to pass to a band member because she said she was there with her boyfriend, it was Valentine’s Day and he wouldn’t hold her hand. I kinda wondered if he knew he was supposed to and was thankful not to be in that boat.

But it got me thinking of the dating sites I’ve tried before (Okay Cupid, Plenty of  Fish, Lavalife) and the pictures men post. I wrote this up a while back but it’s still apropos to dating.

I have this word (many in fact) of advice for people:

  • Try updating those pics, or more likely your fashion sense. Giganto aviator glasses went out in the 70s or the latest, the 80s, and even if you were going to wear them, you’d need to have a way funkier wardrobe than is revealed by your pic.
  • And the moustache, gah! If you’re going to go with something that only cops wear you may as well go crazy and have handlebars on it or a Hitler style brushstroke.
  • Don’t stand like tweedle dee with your belly sticking out and your hands down by your sides. You look retarded.
  • Try getting a picture that is actually clear. A fuzzy pic in low light does you no justice. Unless you really want to defeat yourself at the dating thing before you start.
  • Having one eye doing something way weird from the other one makes you look like a psychopathic killer and although it may do to weed out the nonserious, it will also get rid of any sane thinking person too.
  • Putting a picture of a monkey, a horse, a tiger or any other wildlife is nice. But I don’t want to date them. And if I think you look like a tiger or a monkey’s ass I’m not going to want to date you either.
  • Likewise, lovely landscapes are nice but if I want to see them I’ll go for a walk. You are a landscape of flesh, eyes, nose, mouth. Show it.
  • Putting up your game geek pics (where you’re almost drooling, overly dishevelled, somewhat crazed looking) with words like “blank mindless stare” as the caption, well, hmm, you sound like too much of a winner for me.
  • Looking like you just puked over the side of the boat after downing a keg is not so attractive either.
  • Oh, and a picture of you covered in blood and gore (even if it is simulated) is just downright not gonna have me meeting you for a first date.
  • Pictures from South Park are original…for South Park. But not for you. Try your face. It’s unique.
  • A picture of your hand, or belly, or eyeball, or other lascivious body part, although of you does not tell me what you look like. And if I’m going to meet a stranger from online I want to at least know what you look like beforehand in case my body is never found. Oh, and silly me, I’m really not interested in what your dong looks like (unless it’s Adult Friend Finder where that’s what you’d expect).
  • Wearing your pagan/Dungeons and Dragons/Lord of the Rings robe for a picture might be something you wanna save until you get to know the person. Just listing you play RPGs or are a pagan should be enough.

Pictures in different types of clothes: sporty, tux, costume, can be okay as long as you show normal attire as well. Now, albeit there are some perfectly fine pics and you can enlighten with a caption. But trust me, one of the above with: “I’m a perfectly average chap,” or “I’m an outgoing guy who likes walks on the beach,” are just not going to cut it. If you go with the freakish pics, then you better be downright entertaining, erudite and interesting in your profile. Now if you don’t wanna date, no problem. I’m jes sayin’.

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Video Gaming as an Olympic Sport

You think that’s a joke, don’t you? Well CBC’s The Current interviewed Johnathan Wendel today, a champion PC gamer who is campaigning to get video gaming as an Olympic Sport.

I’m sure there are many eyes a’rollin’ out there. But he argues that professional and champion gamers these days are fit and not eyeglass wearing, out of shape, pimple faced geeks. He runs and does sit-ups and his hand-eye coordination and trigger finger must be fast and accurate. As well, he must work out strategies to gain on his opponent or to be able to psych them out.

O…kay. So there is some activity with the eyes and the mouse finger and maybe spinning quickly around in your chair to answer the phone or grab a health drink while shooting down your opponent. But I know some gamers, adults, and I have to say they fit the stereotype of eyeglass wearing and out of shape. They’re past the pimple faced stage but I’m sure they imbibe their share of pop and chips. However, I also know at least one person who’s as likely to have Fillet Mignon and burgundy wine while gaming, and he has a doctorate in computer graphics.

I’m aware that there are more than the stereotypical video gamers out there and that to compete for any length of time in anything, be it word games or running, you have to keep in shape. This means eat healthy, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and exercise. But Olympic level? Mr. Wendell argues that there is as much activity as someone who is skeet shooting. Fair enough, but one thing the Olympics have in all sports and that’s actual physical movement that amounts to more than a shift of the eye or a twitch of the mouse finger.

We haven’t seen chess made an Olympic sport and darts has a better chance. I mean, when I played darts I considered it exercise. Shoot with the right hand, lift your pint with the left. Both sides of the body exercised and you get up to stand before the board. Actually, I’d love to see some medieval style darts where the darts were like short spears of up to a foot or so in length. But then I wouldn’t make it on the Olympic team no matter the length of dart.

I can see it now. The future Olympics; here are just a few sport to watch:

  • video gaming (with streamlined mice and chairs and special goggles)
  • Wii sports (in truth they’re closer to being an Olympic sport) alongside the same sports with real equipment
  • caricature drawing (it takes hand-eye coordination, artists must be checked for doping)
  • writing a book in three days (that takes speed of typing and a calculating, organized and creative mind)
  • dog walking (physical skill to weave around the leash while trying to control the beast)
  • cat brushing (make the pelt shiny and smooth and avoid the swift moving claws)
  • fly fishing (hand-eye coordination of getting the worm on the hook, casting the line and luring the catch, and not falling into the drink)
  • chess (oh heck, why not, it’s uh…stimulating)
  • card dealing (not poker but the shuffling, flipping and turning of cards in record time)
  • prestidigitation (just so I could use the word, sleight of hand, takes wiles and much coordination)
  • political double speak (takes fast wits, dodging hurled insults and making up things on the spot)

I wonder if Mr. Wendel knows just how much he could expand the realm of the Olympics. He could become the father of the new sports Olympics and cyber athletes, just as Bill Gates father the new computer age. And I know I could try out for several areas.

Ah yes,

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