Fashion Tips For Mutant Superheros - Y2K
by Spar Sperling
After the innovation of the four-color printing process, the comic-book superhero has almost always had a look involving primary colors. From the radioactive green of the Hulk to the vibrant red and blue of Spider-Man, colors have not only distinguished the superheroes themselves, but have also played a huge role in the designation or definition of characters. With the release of the film THE X-MEN, we get a look at the latest in superhero hues and 'do's.
Hair color has historically been a problem for superheroes. (Why do you think Captain America wore a skull cap?) The X-Men's Dr. Jean Grey has long auburn hair, giving her a warm, soft glow. Her black Armani eye-glasses enhance this look, giving her an air of seriousness and intelligence. Since she is also not overtly sexual, she is non-threatening. This is a woman who can deliver her Phd treatise to the United Nations and have enough energy to listen to her man's problems while giving him a blow job. (Let's hope it's only Cyclops eye's that shoot out searing red lasers - Ed.) In contrast, a flashy, Johnny-Rotten-Red is used for Mystique's slicked-back style. In nature, reptiles bearing brilliant colors usually indicate danger or poison. The contrast between her indigo-colored skin, acid-yellow eyes and her hair reveal a certain attitude lurking beneath her constantly morphing and shapely exterior. She doesn't swallow, she bites. Bright red hair = Bad mutant! Danger!
The fair-haired, Storm appears about as dangerous as a super-model binging at a salad bar. There's something about all that fairy-light, platinum hair that just doesn't translate into, "I'm a scary mutant! Watch out!" Storm doesn't get to do much except look good and it's not until her eyes turn white that you know she has anything going on at all. (Everyone knows that if people have white eyes something is wrong with them.) Conversely, Magneto's handy-man Sabertooth (who also has scary eyes) has straggly, dishwater-blonde hair that makes him look like either an extra from "Conan the Barbarian" or a former roadie for the Edgar Winter Band. (Two things that I find equally frightening.) All this encased in his raggedy, leather/burlap ensemble, create not only a nightmare in haberdashery, but ask the question "Where in hell did he find shoes to match?"
For the X-Men's uniforms, the costume designers followed the lead of "The Matrix," and used a lot of black. Once a signature of evil-doers, black now embodies the street-smart, toughness of the working class (Remember the Chuck Norris action film, "Good Guys Wear Black"), so designers have snipped, clipped, stripped-down and pasted together leather goods to yield what even the most critical of teenagers can consider cool. The look and colors used are familiar in the way that an MTV VJ is. Unlike the skin-tight, blue and yellow-polyester costumes of the 60's, bright colors are used sparingly now in the form of piping or zippers to accent the costume, much like the 1980's space outfits of Michael Jackson. The similarities with the early 80's doesn't stop there, but I will. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something stolen--the recycling of fashion is always interesting.