Let’s face it, sex sells. While comic books have come a long way over the decades, the truth is that female characters (and some men) are drawn specifically to be titillating. Comic book covers routinely feature characters bending over, revealing some “TNA” and fans eat it up. Of course, not all characters fall into this trap. For every Captain Marvel, there’s a about a dozen Emma Frosts. It’s those Emma Frosts of the world that we would like to highlight in this list.
One of the biggest “characteristics” that are accentuated on comic book characters to help them be sexier is cleavage. If eyes are the windows to the soul, then boob windows must be the windows to… well, boobs. The characters on this list all have one thing in common – lots and lots of cleavage. Some are bigger offenders than others, but everyone in this list is drawn to show off a little too much of their “goods.” We have everything on this list, from characters that have gravity defying costumes to those that chose to wear two strips of fabric down their chest. There’s even a Batman character that’s sure to surprise you! So, let’s take a look at the most gratuitous examples of comic book cleavage.
16 SUE STORM
Sue Storm is pretty much the First Lady of the Marvel Universe. She’s been a motherly figure since her debut in Fantastic Four in 1961. That’s probably why comic book fans freaked out when she debuted her new costume in 1992. Going from a costume that covered every inch of her body, Sue Storm started to wear what is best described as a skimpy bathing suit with the number 4 cut out of the chest.
That “4” is the reason she lands on this list. While Sue Storm has always been drawn to be attractive, it wasn’t until then that they tried to make her “sexy.” It was so gratuitous that people look back at this boob window and think how “icky” it is. It’s like your mom showing up at your house in a bikini when everyone else is wearing suits. Completely ridiculous.
To be fair, Vampirella was created to be a sexy character. When you look at the cover of Vampirella #1 from 1969, you see a beautifully painted image from Frank Frazetta showing the title character in her completely crazy costume striking a pose that would be better suited for an issue of Playboy. Vampires, throughout fiction, have always had a sexual aspect to them. It’s just that Vampirella takes that and dials it up to 11.
Her costume (and we struggle to even define it as a true costume) is limited to the most minor bit of red fabric covering her downstairs and nipples. It’s less like she has cleavage, and more like her boobs are in a constant state of falling out of her costume. Like it or not, her costume is one of the most instantly recognizable in all of comic books.
Thanks to the recent Guardians of the Galaxy films, when you imagine Gamora, you think of this badass alien woman in black leather ready to kick your ass. However, 15 years ago, if you thought of Gamora, you think of the sexy green alien warrior who wore so little clothing, she looked nude. But she could still kick your ass.
Throughout the years, Gamora has gone through some radical costume changes, but one thing stayed the same – cleavage. Artists loved drawing her green breasts and doing their best to push the limits on what she could be shown in. There was one costume that would almost make Vampirella blush. Logically, the costume didn’t make a lick of sense, but that’s just how she was portrayed. Thankfully (or not, based on your interests), that time is gone.
13 EMMA FROST
You had to guess that Emma Frost would be on this list. More than any other character, Emma Frost has risen above the rest as the most sexualized hero in comics. From debuting in a costume that was literally lingerie to her more modern conservative-ish look, she has always been the character that people point to as over-the-top sexy.
The pinnacle of this was when artist Frank Quitely drew her for his run on New X-Men. She wore booty shorts and a couple bits of fabric that must have been super glued to her body in an attempt to make a negative space “X” across her chest. More so than Power Girl, this is probably the most gratuitous example of a boob window ever to grace the comic book medium.
12 PLASTIC MAN
Hey, not all cleavage is female. That’s a fact. One of the most egregious offenders of male cleavage is none other than everyone’s favorite stretchy guy, Plastic Man. Over the years, Plastic Man has been on the forefront of the male cleavage trend. His costume is all about showing some skin, and the main draw is always his own plastic boobs.
Plastic Man isn’t the most muscular guy around. Honestly, with his powers, he doesn’t need huge muscles anyway. However, that doesn’t stop him from showing off his chest with his deep, plunging “V” neck. Adding more attention to the boobs is the crisscross pattern that makes you imagine how his bulging chest ripped his shirt and he haphazardly stitched it back together. You have to imagine that every hero that talks to Plastic Man struggles to keep their attention at eye-level.
11 POWER GIRL
Oh, Power Girl. There is probably no other character in comics known only for their boobs as much as you. Sure, you have power that rivals Superman. Yes, you are even a computer programmer! But you know what? For 95% of the comic book reading population, you’re the girl with the boob window. And that's a shame.
Power Girl is basically Supergirl from an alternate Earth, so you can see why they would want to give her a costume that is both reminiscent of other Kryptonians, but also very different. They gave her the red cape. They changed the color of the costume from blue to white. Then, for some odd reason, they removed the “S” insignia and replaced it with… nothing. Not even fabric! Just her bare chest staring back at you. It’s baffling, yet iconic. It’s one of the worst examples of sexualization in comics, but is nonetheless adored by fans.
Sara Pezzini is a tough-as-nails detective from New York City. She dresses as you would expect a professional detective would dress. She’s not overly sexualized at all. That is, until she bonds with the Witchblade and somehow loses every shred of fabric she was wearing, leaving only this “armor” that does the bare minimum of actually protecting her body.
Witchblade was a comic that debuted at a time when sexualized characters were big business. Her costume is nothing more than some supernatural armor that covers her arm, part of her butt, some of her legs, and her nipples. It’s looks as if two alien hands are pushing her boobs up and showing them off. Because of this supernatural brassiere, her boobs are always a focal point of her costume.
9 BLACK CAT
Black Cat is a character that actually uses her cleavage as a plot point. Felicia Hardy uses her “assets” to her advantage quite a bit. She’s a cat burglar, so naturally a cat-like persona fits. Her costume is very form-fitting and black, as you would expect a thief would have. To hammer the cat-inspired nature of her persona home, she also adds a bit of white fur for trim. However, the focal point of her costume is her cleavage.
We say that’s the focal point of her costume because over the course of her many, many appearances, she is always attempting to use her sexuality to get the upper hand. Whether that’s as a distraction or to seduce Spider-Man or a fellow thief, she uses her cleavage to great effect. It’s gratuitous because even Catwoman zips up from time to time.
8 LADY DEATH
Lady Death is another character that comic book fans probably don’t know much about other than her breasts. If you grew up reading comics in the ‘90s, and read Wizard Magazine, you probably remember those ads for Lady Death comics. There were no plot points or action shown in the ad, just a woman with completely white hair and skin wearing the skimpiest of bikinis in a very suggestive pose.
What pushes her cleavage over the edge is just how every image of the character has her chest as the emphasis. Other characters might have large breasts and revealing costumes, but they aren’t always bending over and pushing them out. Lady Death is a character that is defined by her bust, to the point where, sadly, nothing else matters.
7 STAR SAPPHIRE
When Star Sapphire debuted in All-Flash Comics #33, way back in 1947, she was actually drawn to be quite revealing (for the time). She had fishnets and the most slight “V” neck ever, but for the time, it was pretty daring. Over the years, as sexuality became more and more acceptable in comics, Star Sapphire started to lose more and more clothing.
The tipping point for this trend came in modern times when she was drawn with a “V” neck that went well below her navel with the Star Sapphire emblem right near her bikini line. For a cosmic warrior with the power to rival a Green Lantern, you have to assume that she could create a costume that wasn’t so revealing. Maybe a Lantern is vulnerable to the color yellow and also women's chests?
6 RED MONIKA
This might be a deep cut for modern comic book fans, but back in the late-‘90s, superstar artist Joe Madureira was coming off a huge run on Uncanny X-Men and took that popularity to launch Battle Chasers. The comic was decent, at best, but plagued by lateness. However, if you remember anything about the book, it’s probably Red Monika.
To say that Red Monika has large breasts is an insane understatement. She was routinely drawn to have breasts that were bigger than her head. Her costume did nothing to suppress them either, with the requisite plunging neckline and glued-on armor pieces to cover her nipples. Supposedly, she was a bounty hunter of some sort, but the truth is that she was Madureira’s marketing tool to sell books.
Back before Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, was known for his rear end, he liked to show off his chest quite a bit. He is known mostly for this modern costume that is super simple, with just a colorful V across his chest and shoulders, but before that, Dick loved having some flair. His original costume had the same dark elements to it, with some gold grim, and a lovely “V” neck that showed off Dick Grayson’s ample cleavage.
Maybe when you dress as Robin for years, you can’t go directly into a Batman-esque costume. Dick was so used to showing off his legs that he just felt weird covering his whole body. Perhaps, he noticed all the female characters with their plunging necklines and decided that he could rock it, as well. Whatever the reason, Nightwing has since realized that his booty is where it’s at.
4 BLACK WIDOW
Compared to the other men and women on this list, Black Widow dresses like a nun. Sure, her costume is tight and all black leather, but there’s really nothing gratuitous about the costume itself. Well, that is until she decides to unzip the costume half-way down her chest. We’re no Russian-trained super-spies or anything, but common sense would say that unzipping your costume like that isn’t going to help fighting much.
The unzipping is so iconic that when she was adapted for the big screen, actress Scarlett Johansson always has the suit unzipped, even when she’s doing flips and kicking bad guys’ asses. You could make the argument that she uses this as an advantage to distract opponents, but we all know it’s so that she looks as sexy as possibly killing people. It's not for them. It's for you.
Starfire is just another example of the long list of female cosmic characters that just hate clothing. Apparently, if you’re a warrior from another planet, you just ditch the whole armor thing and go for a more “natural” look. What other reason would there be to wear the costumes that Starfire has worn over the decades?
Up until very recently, Starfire has always been the go-to for people wanting to point out how gratuitous female heroes were drawn. It seemed as if artists took any opportunity they could to draw her showing skin. Worst of all is her New 52 costume. That costume gave her the least amount of fabric of any costume on this list. They made sure to show her boobs, with literally just enough costume to cover her nipples, but for some reason gave her a collar and shoulder coverings. Thank goodness for that collar, wouldn’t want her to get a cold, huh?
There are probably two things you know about the way Moondragon looks. First, she’s bald. That is perhaps her most iconic physical feature. Next is definitely her oft-showcased chest. Like many on this list, she is another example of an incredibly powerful woman who is drawn with almost no clothes.
Like Star Sapphire and Starfire, the most baffling aspect of her most iconic costume is the unnecessary collar, as well as her cape. Her costume consisted of a green version of Vampirella’s look, but with this huge, flowing green cape and massive collar. It’s almost as if they wanted her to be powerful and mysterious, but also over-the-top sexy. You always hear about how cold space is, but apparently it’s not so bad at all, if you can wear what she wears!
Tyroc is controversial for many reasons. As one of DC Comics’ first black costumed heroes, there was a lot of importance that was thrust upon the character. For a variety of reasons, many of which are more important than his ridiculous costume, Tyroc was not a very beloved character when he was introduced in Superboy #216 in 1976. He was disliked by many, including the artist who helped design him, Mike Grell.
Grell was so upset with how stereotypical Tyroc was written that he wanted to make sure everyone knew it, so he purposefully drew him to look ridiculous. The result is a costume that is so over-the-top and gratuitous that it overshadows many women on this list. His man-cleavage is so pronounced that its comical. They even put gold chains across his chest to accentuate it further. It’s a low mark for gratuitous superhero costumes.
Did we miss any titivating entries? Let us know in the comments!