Thursday, June 22, 2006

Nineteen Hate-y Four

So I bought the first issue of the new Eternals comic yesterday. And I used one of Jeremy's credit cards, which means I also treated myself to a pedicure and a massage and brunch at a nice restaurant. Really, I made a whole day of it! Anyway, when I saw John Romita Jr.'s depiction of Sersi, with the Suzanne Somers bangs and the great wads of mascara, I suffered a flashback to my very own Vietnam -- namely the X-Men comics he drew over twenty years ago! The feminine portion of the X-Men have always been burdened with god-awful costumes, and Junior was responsible for more than his share. How many different costumes did he design just for Rogue? Twenty? Three hundred? And each was fuglier than the last. That's quite an accomplishment. Let's take a glance at a few frightful designs from John Romita, Jr.'s Galleria of Horrors.

(From "The Uncanny X-Men" #177, January 1984.) You think my fashion criticism can be merciless? At least I don't kill people. I wonder if Wolverine dispatched her with an 80's movie-style quip, like "Disco is dead. *snikt* And so are you."

To be perfectly honest, this isn't Wolverine; it's Mystique. And it isn't Kitty Pryde, either; it's one of Arcade's Murderworld robots. So I don't know if Kitty really had an outfit like that, or if it's something a guy in an oversize novelty bowtie thinks she might wear. (He's right on the money if you ask me.)

Oh, and inside the comic the costume is colored a reasonably tasteful blue-and-white. But yellow, magenta and brown is also a fine combination. If you're a chocolate cupcake.

(From "The Uncanny X-Men" #282, June 1984.) It's Rogue-y the Flying Squirrel! I suppose that blinding orange is to keep hunters from shooting at her. How do you know when a woman doesn't like people to touch her? When she's wearing a cowl neck over a turtleneck. It makes her sweater look like it's been circumcized. This ensemble also features two of Romita The Lesser's favorite things, like, ever: tights and a sash. Lotta tights in the 80's X-Men comics. Ditto for sashes. This sash isn't as brazenly huge as a Dave Cockrum sash, but it's still grandly pointless. The down side? If Rogue flies backwards it snaps up and smacks her in the kisser. Although she's really kind of asking for it.

(From "The Uncanny X-Men" #189, January 1985.) It's Rachel Summers in "The Trampiest Gun In The West!" Hey look, a sash. What complimentary things can I say about this look? Er... um... at least she doesn't have her signature mullet. Okay, I'm done. The part I cropped out had Amara "Fire Crotch" Aquila wearing nothin' but lava, and Selene in her insanely slutty "Black Queen" costume (leather bondage gear, approved whole-heartedly by the Comics Code Authority.)

Wait a gol-dang minute... I thought Rachel had a buzzcut! What's with the sensible "farm wife" 'do? Is this a continuity error? Nope! It's all a hallucination.

See, this is what Rachel dreams of wearing. Kind of like how Jeremy dreams of having a 32" waist. Can somebody explain the sash to me? Because I don't understand the point of it. At least on Rogue's get-up it cinched that gargantuan sweater she was wearing and gave her an hourglass figure, but with Rachel the color doesn't coordinate and it interrupts the lines on her bodice without providing an interesting contrast to them. In fact, it's like she doesn't even realize she's wearing it. Maybe it's police tape, and her vagina is a crime scene.

That concludes our tour of the Galleria. The exit is to your left, and please take care not to slip in the vomit of your fellow patrons as you leave. Good day to you all!


googum said...

If you see a copy in the quarter boxes, try New Eternals: Apocalypse Now. It's another one-shot for the Eternals, with new members and new costume designs. Think Kirby by way of Liefeld: neither really had anything to do with this comic, but that seems like where they were trying to take it. I make fun of it a little, but costume critiques should be left to the pros.

Personally, I'm about a hockey mask away from dressing like Wild Dog. Unfortunate.

philip said...

"Maybe it's police tape, and her vagina is a crime scene."

I look forward to the day when I can use that line in conversation. Until then, I will write it down and carry it in my wallet, so I will always have it with me.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Gets up.
Reads Blockade Boy.
Volume of laughter confirms all is right with the world.
Goes back to sleep to dream of circumcized sweaters.

Chawunky said...

There was a brief period where I actually quite liked Rogue's '80s couture. Not all of it; that big orange sweater thing was about six years out-of-date at the time. But there isn't much that's worse than that damn green & yellow thing she wore a leather jacket over. Feh.

But I'm distracted--The dialogue Claremont has Rachel thinking in that last panel is overwhelming me! Heck, the first balloon has layered parenthetical phrases, for the love of Odin's Overalls.

Word verification (because it's too good): "auiiiahz": uttered when one happens upon heavy dollops of Claremont script unpreparedly.

Anonymous said...

I always assumed that Rachel's sash was a tribute to her mother's Phoenix costume. It's the rest of the outfit that defies reason.

Michael said...

In that second panel, with Rogue's "Madness", how in the world does she lift her arms any higher than they are right at that moment? Her arms are constrained to her sides. Of course, she'd have a bit more room if she didn't have that sash.

crowdedhouse said...

I figured out the appeal of the sash: use the excess cloth to tie the heroine's hands behind her and viola: instant bondage gear!

Of course, Rogue's already got her arms pretty well restrained judging by that panel, so this must mean she's already really into the whole bondage thing and apparently likes being tied up more than she already is, which is a little more than I wanted to know about her.

Word verification: voine, I swear to God that was a hair product in the 1980s that was banned because it was more flammable than gasoline.

Blockade Boy said...

Googum: I hate to admit this but I bought that damn comic for full price. And it was mainly because of the costume designs! But it felt like it was meant to be the first issue of a continuing series that got cancelled before it was even released -- and then Marvel tried to eke some spare change out of the fanboy public by repackaging it as a "special." Long story short, I think I got ripped-off.

Chawunky: And remember her spiked-out Pat Benetar hair? Oh, the humanity!

Mindbender: I see your point and I bet you're totally right, but aesthetically it's like me wearing elasticized sweatpants all the time as a tribute to my father.

Michael: I bet when she fights in that get-up she looks like a T-rex.

Crowdedhouse: Wait a minute -- Voine is flammable?! Oh, shit. *runs to the shower*

Phillip and Anonymous: Thanks!

Chawunky said...

"And remember her spiked-out Pat Benetar hair? Oh, the humanity!"

Ooooh yes. There was a time when I liked that too. Particularly Art Adams' full-bore interpretation: Check the character roster in the X-Men Asgard Wars annual.


gus said...

I demand more JRJR cirtiques!



Blockade Boy said...

Chawunky: Art Adams can make anything look good! And yeah, Jeremy tells me he thought that look was the bee's knees back in the day as well.

Gus: Oh, you can count on it!

Anonymous said...

Ah, the 80's. Anyone remember the studded gloves-with-no-fingers that Kitty Pryde wore? Or when she went out on the town in San Francisco with prodigious amounts of eyeshadow and spiky hair? There was even an issue where Rogue wore these huge parachute pants! Of course, Storm's whole mohawk-leather jacket-crisscrossing belts look from that time is the epitome of the 80s possessing our super heroes.

I get embarrased lending those comics out to new fans. I have to lay down the disclaimer, "The stories are good...just ignore the hairstyles and the fashions...yes, that was fashionable at one time. Just pretend it's not there."

Dude, how can you spotlight an outfit that Rachel wore, like, once, and not show her lavendar leotard/white tights/legwarmers ensemble? I think it even had a belt or a sash, and it was topped off by a buzzcut with rat tail haircut.

Anonymous said...

John Romita Jr. was also awfully fond of outfits that showed off one shoulder of the character. The x-women were always in baggy shirts that fell down to one side, and the Marauders Vertigo, Arclight, Blockbuster, Riptide, and Scalphunter all rocked that look.

Fenris wore sashes, too, if memory serves.

Blockade Boy said...

Most Recent Anonymous #1: It must be weird to think that the fashions of a decade you lived through could be looked upon by a younger generation as tacky. But since I'm a jaded time traveler I wouldn't really know anything about that.

I covered a very similar outfit to the lavender leotard one you describe -- back on April 5th, as part of one of my Secret Wars 2 posts. Purple tights with suspenders. A winning combination! And she had the rat tail, too!

Most Recent Anonymous #2: I almost posted about Fenris one time! Maybe I'll get around to it later. The problem is, I just can't work up all that much hate for their look. The jackets are awfully puffy in an 80's kinda way, but other than that it's almost demure. Except for the asymetrical gloves and boots. Those things blow.

And just wait'll I get to the Mark Silvestri years!

Anonymous said...