Monday, April 24, 2006
Moral Realignment Challenge: The Elongated Man And Doctor Light
The above image and the following "next issue" blurb can be found on the letters page of "Doctor Light" #128 (April, 1981) which was published on Earth 3.1:
NEXT MONTH: Why is DOCTOR LIGHT'S glamorous girlfriend, SUE DEARBON: GIRL P.I. being shadowed by that gruesome sideshow performer-turned-criminal, the eerie ELONGATED MAN? The Knight of Light and the Socialite Sleuth have only 24 hours to find the answer, and their only clue is... a horoscope? Don't miss "Identity: Pisces" by Paul Kupperberg, Jose Delbo, and Frank Chiaramonte!
If you're wondering just what the hell is going on, this is the first of my "moral realignment" costume design challenges, in which I reinterpret a comic book hero's costume for a villainous role, and vice-versa. Initially I was going to do just one costume at a time, but I decided it would be more fun to do them in opposing pairs. Let's look at the originals:
For the heroic version of Doctor Light, I ditched the fin on his head and recut the cowl so it could expose a youthful head of hair. And though it pained me, I shaved off his dapper goatee. I mean, I'm partial to facial hair but I know that for a classically styled superhero, it's almost never done. The classic comic book cliche is that beard=evil. So it had to go. I redesigned his costume to show more white and I replaced the black with a friendly Supermannish sky blue. I simplified the starburst logo, which incidentally made it look like the Marvel "Captain Marvel" logo -- not on purpose but I thought it was a cool tie-in so I kept it. And I got rid of the cape in favor of those shoulder patches I like so much.
For the villainous version of the Elongated Man, I almost gave him Doctor Light's old fin, but it made him look too much like one of those lame Golden Age Marvel heroes. They were always fighting crime with their faces completely exposed and a big dorky fin on their heads. So I went the Lex Luthor route and made him bald. And I gave him a goatee! Because facial hair is comic book shorthand for menace. (Pfft. Whatever.) Leaving the head bare, I was inspired to go with the 70's variation on his costume, which had a bare chest. For the rest of the costume, I reversed the red and black, made the yellow trim zig-zag (kinda like Silver Age Marvel, I have to admit) and raised the border on the plunging neckline into a jagged, flared collar. Very 70's Dave Cockrum, very Nightcrawleresque. Finally, I replaced the blank oval on his belt with the Mask of Tragedy to reflect my vision of him as a shape-changing former sideshow act.
And true to comic book form, the good Doctor Light is handsome and the bad Elongated Man is... not.
I'll have another one of these in a week or so: the Flash and Murmur (of all people! But I think I found an interesting take on him).
What reversed hero/villain pairs would you like to see?