Ah, the ’90s. AOL ruled the world, everyone was watching Seinfeld, and people were positive that they were going to be able to retire on the money they would make from selling Beanie Babies. While the ’90s gave us many awesome things, it also gave us many… many terrible things. Remember toe rings, No Fear shirts, and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch?
Likewise, while there were plenty of great things that came from comics in the ’90s, let’s face facts: Comics in the were, by and large, kind of terrible. Holographic covers, way too many #1 issues, new characters being introduced every other week, and Rob Liefeld. Lest we forget, there were plenty of truly terrible costumes! No character was safe. Captain American swapped out the “A” on his head for an eagle, Wonder Woman took to wearing bike shorts, and Spider-Man got a hoodie. We’re here to drag you kicking and screaming through nostalgia as we present the worst of the worst of ’90s costumes. Join us as we take a look back at the ugly, the unfortunate, and the truly terrible. So throw on your Smashing Pumpkins CD and buckle up: these are the 15 WORST ’90s costumes!
15. ARMOR DAREDEVIL
Matt Murdock is a nimble guy, and his nimble ways necessitate a costume that allow him said nimbleness. The more you type that word the weirder it gets. Anyway, the nimble Daredevil, Murdock requires a sleek, light costume to allow him to flip and cartwheel to his heart’s content. The unfortunate “Armored Daredevil” costume, however, is not sleek. In fact, it’s pretty much the exact opposite. And boy is it ugly.
Donning these new duds in 1993’s Daredevil #321, Matt’s new costume was intended to allow the vigilante to be able to take hits from the heavier hitting foes he regularly found himself contending with. But with its litany of plated armor jutting out of every body part (seriously, plate armor only on his thighs?), and a chest design that basically served as arrows directing to Matt’s crotch, the costume just looked silly. Being blind is no excuse for a costume this ugly, Matt.
14. BOOB WINDOW INVISIBLE WOMAN
While we’re on the topic of costumes that haven’t changed much, the Fantastic Four have rocked sleek, minimal jumpsuits pretty much exclusively since debuting in 1961. The outfits have been tweaked over the years, but they have largely remained the same iconic ones that fans know and love. But Susan Storm had a pretty massive change made to her outfit in the ’90s, and it cemented her place at the top of our list.
The Invisible Woman is renowned for her intelligence, her love for her family, and her incredible power set. What she is not known for, however, is her love of showing off her chest. But this didn’t stop Marvel from slapping a skimpy outfit on Susan, who was possessed by a personality-altering persona at the time, topping the unfortunate number off with a four-shaped boob window. Remarkably sexist and completely insulting, the costume immediately drew the ire of fans, forcing Marvel to resort to Susan’s classic look.
13. FERAL WOLVERINE
Wolverine is always claiming to be the best there is at what he does. This isn’t necessarily true when it comes to picking costumes, and we need look no further than Wolverine’s most unfortunate threads: the costume he donned when he went feral.
It’s pretty hard to make a mutant murder machine with claws more x-treme, but Marvel gave it the old college try in 1993. After having the adamantium ripped out of his body by Magneto, Wolverine went feral, becoming a snarling, animalistic shadow of his normal self. Also, he lost his nose. For some reason. Still not super sure about that one. In addition to misplacing his shnoz, Wolverine took to wearing a half mask, which, while sounding cool on paper, actually made the pint size mutants’ legendary mane look like the world’s largest mutton chops. The ’90s were not kind to Wolverine, and this costume serves as a depressing reminder.
12. FABIO THOR
For some strange reason, the decision was made to reinvent Thor from the ground-up. Gone were the days of a winged helmet and spot-adorned chest piece; in its place stood the ugly monstrosity colloquially known as “Fabio Thor.”
Let’s just list all the things wrong with this outfit: Weird halter top? Check. Random ropes on the wrist? Check. Shoulder pads that look like someone just slapped a Roman centurion’s shields on Thor’s shoulder? Check. Pouches? Check. A headpiece that made Thor look like a contestant from American Gladiators? Check. A codpiece that would give David Bowie in Labyrinth a run for his money? All sorts of check. This outfit would mercifully disappear soon after being introduced, but fans will never forget this fashion abomination.
11. ADAM X THE X-TREME
It’s bad enough that Adam X The X-Treme was seemingly named by a guy who gets paid every time the letter “X” gets used. Adam X The X-Treme is basically a walking embodiment of ’90s corporate “extreme” design, which makes him perfect for our list.
This joke of an X-Man hit every ’90s design requirement: backwards baseball hat, long hair, soul patch, and way too many spikes were all featured prominently on Adam-X. Also, he had Wolverine-esque spikes on the back of his hands and takes a page out of Longshot’s playbook with his affinity for knife throwing, basically making him a pastiche of other, more popular mutants. Adam-X is the closest thing the comic world has to a Poochie, and his ’90s lameness has become the stuff of legend.
10. GUY GARDNER: WARRIOR
We get it. Sometimes characters need a fresh coat of paint to reignite interest in fans. There’s nothing wrong with changing things up every now and again, but Guy Gardner: Warrior is a textbook example on how not to reinvent a character.
Looking like an unholy amalgamation of the Ultimate Warrior and a rave kid with an affinity for body painting, Warrior took the mop-topped Green Lantern and turned him into a warrior (go figure) imbued with shape shifting abilities thanks to alien DNA that lay dormant in Guy’s blood. The new mantle was all well and good, but with an outfit that made the tough-as-nails Guy look like a freshman at his first Coachella, Warrior didn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of villains. But it definitely earned him a place on our list.
Thor has an iconic costume most of the time. With his striking red cape and classic helmet, the costume has become synonymous with the character. But according to Marvel in the ’90s, the biggest problem with this outfit is that it was sorely lacking in biker vests and ponytails, leading to Thunderstrike.
After a brief tenure as Thor, Eric Masterson assumed the mantle of Thunderstrike, serving as the Crystal Pepsi to Thor’s Pepsi. Thunderstrike had a remarkably similar power set to Thor, but the fact that his costume made him look like an extra from Sons of Anarchy helped the D-Grade hero stand out from the rabble. Thunderstrike mostly languished in obscurity before dying, but his truly terrible costume shall live on forever. Unfortunately.
What can be said about Bloodwulf that isn’t readily apparent from his name? Bloodwulf is lame. Bloodwulf is SO LAME. As one of the dime-a-dozen violent and edgy anti-heroes to pop up in the ’90s, Bloodwulf only managed to stand out from the pack due to being created by Rob Liefeld.
A blatant rip-off of DC’s Lobo, the Image Comics published Bloodwulf practically exudes ’90s x-treme. He constantly breaks the fourth wall, he vomits up pop culture references like Gex the Gecko after chugging ipecac, and his super power is having a bunch of guns and knives. Looking like the bastard love child of Carrot Top and Wolverine slathered in Cleveland Indian face paint, Bloodwulf pretty much exemplifies everything wrong with comics in the ’90s. Thankfully, at least his ridiculous appearance gives us plenty to mock.
Ah, Rob Liefeld. The ’90s gift that keeps on giving. Despite being one of the biggest name in comics of the time, many of his character designs have aged like milk. Plenty has been said of Liefeld’s creations: they are too muscular, they have too many pouches, they carry too many weapons, they look silly. Liefeld’s Warchild manages to take all of these gripes and combine them into one truly unfortunate character.
Starring in a brief four-issue series from Maximum Press, Warchild is basically a walking punchline for ’90s character design. With bulging muscles that make the character look like he’s smuggling beach balls under his skin, a silly helmet, and pouches out the wazoo (seriously, he has pouches on his WRISTS!), Warchild serves as a reminder to how far comics have come. Warchild lives on for having one of the absolute worst costumes of the ’90s.
6. EVERY CHARACTER AT CHAOS COMICS
In the ’90s, new comic companies were popping up left and right, with every new face on the scene fighting for supremacy in an already bloated industry. With a glut of new titles cluttering the comic racks, companies had to figure out how to stand out from the competition. While some companies opted for well-crafted stories, and other companies opted for interesting characters, Chaos Comics just opted to dress their characters like goth strippers.
Chaos Comics made a name for themselves by churning out horror comics starring characters with eye rolling names like Lady Death, Bad Kitty, Purgatori, and Chastity, with each character a new exercise in just how many different variations on a bikini top/thong costume could be dreamed up. Looking like the Chinese knock-offs of Elvira, Chaos Comics’ femme fatales managed to do well with fans, but with costumes that barely covered their assets, fans weren’t exactly buying their books for the story.
5. POWER ARMOR BOOSTER GOLD
Poor Booster Gold. The plucky, fame hungry hero from the future was deemed to be too bland and boring for the x-treme ’90s. Why, he didn’t even have a soul patch or backwards baseball cap! Thus, the decision was made to give Booster a suit of bulky, ridiculous looking armor.
Up until this point, Booster had favored a skin-tight outfit. When he joined the eye-rolling team Extreme Justice, he swapped out his classic number for a massive blue-and-gold adorned suit of power armor. Never mind the fact that the design of the armor makes Booster look like he’s wearing a robo crop top; the suit just didn’t look intimidating or interesting. The armor was dumped soon after, leaving Booster free to resume his career of being mistaken for Green Lantern.
Dr. Fate has a classic, clean design. With his iconic gold helmet and his striking blue and gold outfit, Dr. Fate has always managed to top the list of many comic fans favorite costumes. But, sadly, he just wasn’t extreme enough for the 90’s. Thankfully, DC found a way to fix this glaring issue; by introducing a brand new character that practically bled x-treme.
The new Dr. Fate, a man named Jared Stevens, who opted to go by just “Fate,” looked like he was designed by a focus group composed of X-Games attendees. He had a single strip of dyed hair, a face tattoo, a perpetual five o’clock shadow, random arm wraps, totally unnecessary pouches, and a penchant for knives. So lame was Fate that he ended up being stabbed off screen and dying at the feet of the JSA, just to allow the real Dr. Fate to resume the mantle.
3. PUNISHER 2099
When the 2099 line launched in 1992, fans were excited to see what the future held for their favorite Marvel heroes. While 2099 introduced fans to some great characters (looking at you, Spider-Man 2099), other characters weren’t quite as good. The line also gave comics one of the absolute worst costumes of the ’90s, with the introduction of Punisher 2099.
The Punisher of the year 2099 is Jake Gallows, a gun-toting vigilante of the future. While Gallows’ costume features the iconic Punisher skull, Frank Castle’s costume worked thanks to its simplistic design. Clearly favoring a “more is better” ethos, Gallows decked his costume out in giant red shoulder pads, pouches galore, and a collar so large and ridiculous it would make Mister Sinister blush. Looking more like a background character from a Heavy Metal story than the Punisher, Punisher 2099 definitely earned his place on our list.
2. AZRAEL BATMAN
Batman had a rough time in the ’90s. After being thoroughly humiliated by Bane and having his back broke,. Bruce Wayne knew that Gotham still needed a protector. Unfortunately for readers, he chose Jean-Paul Valley as his replacement, leading to one of the worst comic costumes of all time.
The religious Valley, who traditionally fought as the anti-hero Azrael, would briefly assume the mantle of Batman in 1992. Opting to skip Batman’s traditional cowl, Valley cooked up his own futuristic interpretation of the Dark Knight. But “futuristic” in the 90’s meant power gauntlets, lots of random metal, and pouches. Sporting ridiculous looking wings, a collar that made Azrael/Batman look like he was rocking a neck brace, and glorified knives jutting out from his calves, this costume was just a big pile of unfortunate.
1. BIKER WONDER WOMAN
There’s a reason Wonder Woman’s costume has barely changed since the character first debuted in 1941: It’s iconic, it’s simple, it’s clean, and, most of all, it works. Princess Diana’s red-and-blue outfit has become synonymous with the character, and it has become one of the most recognizable superhero outfits of all time. But that didn’t stop DC from ditching the classic costume and slapping a leather jacket and a pair of bike shorts on Diana in the 90’s.
When Diana lost the mantle of Wonder Woman to Artemis, she opted to continue to fight the good fight, albeit in her own outfit. Turns out, that outfit was composed of skintight shorts, a leather bra, and a totally unnecessary ab belt. Looking more like a groupie for Motley Crue than a revered superhero, the business casual duds would eventually be dropped, allowing Diana to mercifully return to her iconic stars-and-stripes.
What do you think was the worst look of the ’90s? Let us know in the comments!