Thursday, February 23, 2006

I'm About To Dis A Crazed Murderer

(Here I go!) For such a bad-ass psycho killer, Sabretooth sure had a stupid costume. I say "had" because I know he's had other costumes since the first one, and I assume, or at least hope, he ain't wearing this get-up anymore.

It's got a lot of problems, starting with the black underpants. You don't see the old underpants-over-spandex thing very often in new costumes, because most people have realized how silly and pointless it looks. Even Batman toyed with a trunks-free look for a while, although that didn't last too long. I assume the "overpants" feature was a staple of super-hero costumes because the original ones back in the thirties were heavily inspired by circus costumes. And the typical circus strongman way back in the day wore trunks over tights to conform to lingering Victorian standards of modesty. Sabretooth came along during a weird transitional period. In the late 70's/early 80's, genuinely homicidal super-villains started to appear -- something virtually unheard of after WW2. But the "street clothes" trend wouldn't take hold until maybe the late 90's, so these new characters still had to dress like their relatively harmless forebearers.

Another problem I have with Sabretooth's original costume is the color scheme. It's a hideous combination: black, orange, and a sort of "baby poop" brown. Pretty much the colors of a rotting jack-o-lantern. And it's trimmed in a sickly buttermilk-blonde fur that also happens to be a close match for Sabretooth's natural hair color. Nice.

But the absolute worst thing about it? The huge fur "mane" on the chest and back. The fur on the gloves? Fine. The furry boots? Okay, they match the gloves, so what the hell. But the mane? Yikes! It might work if Sabretooth had a similarly furry cowl, kind of like a more hirsute Wildcat. But no, Sabretooth's ugly blonde-headed mug is popping out of this mountain o' fur for all the world to see. This has the odd effect of making the ferocious Sabretooth look a bit like an aging drag queen with a mink stole around his/her neck. It also confused the holy heck out of me the first time I saw him -- in an old "Power Man and Iron Fist" comic -- because the colorist had made Sabretooth's hair the exact same shade of blonde as his fakey mane. I thought Sabretooth was really fur-covered and his costume had a plunging V-neck and an open back. Imagine my surprise and consternation when I found out that he just really went to town on the fur trim.

That's not to say a cat-themed, fur-trimmed costume can't look great. It's just that some restraint needs to be used.

black cat

There, isn't that better? The fur is kept to a tasteful minimum, and the color scheme is a timeless black and white. Hell, even Sabretooth would look bangin' in this costume! (And I'll leave you with that image floating around in your head.)

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