There is perhaps no more common a comic book staple than the superhero costume. Though more modern designs and costume methodology has leaned towards the more practical and realistic, costumes were originally made out of spandex or other thin materials and occasionally were incredibly revealing. A few months ago, we took a look at the most scantily clad characters in comics. Bare It All-Stars was a lot of fun, both to write and read, and you evidently enjoyed it quite a bit. But we only scratched the surface (so to speak) -- there are plenty more costumes that reveal the human form more than you would think was necessary, and so we’ve elected to go back to the well and bring you more.
With a combination of picks who didn’t make the cut from our first list and characters our readers mentioned in the comments, Bare It All-Stars II is our deluxe list featuring even more of the most scantily clad comic books attires, for better or worse. You’ll find some of these are incredibly practical, and others appear to just be for the sake of sex appeal or selling more books. Regardless, here are 16 more of the most revealing costumes in comic books.
Debuting in 1972, Tigra actually debuted as a policeman’s widow who underwent an experimental procedure, much like 80% of Marvel’s other ‘70s characters. As The Cat, Greer Grant only carried a solo book for four issues before being reworked for Giant-Size Creatures, where she became Tigra the Were-Woman. The transformation into her feline form was accomplished via magic, but she rarely returns to her human form.
Tigra’s costume is pretty much just a black bikini, occasionally with a few accents, but her style and appearance are incredibly notable. Tigra has long been portrayed as a sex symbol in the Marvel Universe and has been involved in an on-again/off-again relationship with Hank Pym for several years. As for Greer’s original Cat costume, it was found by Patsy Walker, who wore it and became the adventurer, Hellcat.
15 CONAN THE BARBARIAN
Since 1932, Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian has been perhaps the most iconic demonstration of the “ideal” male physique. With dark skin and rippling muscles, Conan has been a media mainstay for 85 years thanks in no small part his trademark blend of sword and sorcery. The character’s stories have been told for years, and even today a new movie is in the works.
Conan’s attire has historically not been much of an attire. Though in many stories he is depicted as wearing whatever is customary of the area he’s in, his typical look consists of a loincloth, boots, and bracers. And that’s about it. Occasionally Conan is depicted with a cloak of some sort, but the classic loincloth appearance made famous by Schwarzenegger in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian has been the most commonly recognized appearance for some time.
14 DEJAH THORIS
Introduced in the classic A Princess of Mars in 1912, Dejah Thoris is the female lead. While she is your typical damsel in distress, the story still portrays her as competent and able to stand on her own. She also notably doesn’t wear much so far as clothing goes, a customary trait of her race of red Martians. Given her human appearance, the result is an incredibly revealing attire.
Dejah has appeared in a number of comic publications, such as Dynamite’s 2010s adaptation Warlord of Mars which featured the character’s revealing attire in the form of bits of jewelry and accessories. She also notably appeared in Disney’s 2012 film adaptation John Carter, though the Thoris of this film is typically wearing clothing in keeping with the film’s family friendly release.
13 THE CREEPER
The result of being injected with an experimental “smart skin” formula, the original Creeper was a bizarre hero, to say the least. Sporting yellow skin and a terrifying permanent grin, the alter-ego of Gotham City reporter Jack Ryder has been a mainstay of the DC Universe for some time and often crops up in his own series from time to time.
Perhaps what makes Creeper’s costume so revealing is the choice of what he does wear. With green striped briefs and a flash of red fur coming from his back (originally fake fur, but retconned into being a part of his transformation in later years). As a result, he looks more naked than he actually is! An attempt was made to reboot the character as an Oni that possessed a host in The New 52, but as of DC Rebirth he appears to be back to his original origin.
Psylocke, a longtime mainstay of Marvel’s seemingly eternal X-Men franchise, wasn’t always the stereotypical sexy ninja that she’s been since 1989. The sister of Captain Britain, Brian Braddock, Betsy was stricken with amnesia and had her body swapped with that of Kwannon, the brain-dead lover of a Hand leader.
Though it has been teased from time to time, Betsy never returned to her original body. With the new body came a set of ninja skills and a change of attire. Though more conservative in recent years, Psylocke tends to wear a bodysuit which leaves her legs and arms exposed outside of long boots and gloves. Different artists have had different takes on the look over the years, some giving her a barely-there thong and an exposed back as well.
Vartox is one of DC’s oddest characters. Originally coming to Earth from the planet Valeron to avenge his dead wife, Vartox became one of Superman’s allies when his own planet was destroyed, assuming a secret identity on Earth and even falling for Lana Lang. He did all this dressed like a Dollar Store version of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Purported to be inspired by Sean Connery’s appearance in the infamous science fiction film Zardoz, Vartox sports a pair of briefs with a vest and knee high boots. He also shows off an astounding amount of body hair. Vartox reappeared in Power Girl during Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti’s run, and a more covered up version was the villain of the week on CBS’ Supergirl premiere.
10 PHANTOM LADY
There have been a number of Phantom Ladies over the years, and all have worn roughly the same outfit. Since the debut of the original, Sandra Knight in 1941’s Police Comics #1, the Phantom Lady has been a typically street-level hero with the ability to manipulate light, shadows and/or reality in some fashion. Readers are likely most familiar with the third iteration, Stormy Knight, who appeared in 2006’s Uncle Sam & The Freedom Fighters series, though there is no apparent relation to the original.
Phantom Lady typically wears some form of a green bodysuit that exposes a fair amount of skin. The costume is pretty sexy in its simplicity, and played a role in the inspiration of another notable character: Silk Spectre II in the classic Watchmen, after Alan Moore decided the original Charlton counterpart Nightshade was too boring and incorporated elements of Phantom Lady and Black Canary.
9 AMPHIBIAN (SQUADRON SUPREME)
Originally debuting in The Avengers #148 as a humanoid appearing enhanced human, the Squadron Supreme’s resident Aquaman pastiche was given the unique distinction of a changing appearance the longer he remained in the water. Given his distaste for life on land, it stands to reason he spent a fair amount of time in the water and by 1998’s Squadron Supreme: New World Order had a primarily fish-like appearance.
His humanoid appearance completely gone, the changed Amphibian wore a simple loincloth and some jewelry. He also had pale, gray skin and large eyes, along with webbed hands and feet to allow him to move faster when swimming. A far cry from his original human appearance with a sleeveless top and pants. This iteration of Amphibian hasn’t been seen for some time.
8 AMPHIBIAN (SUPREME POWER)
It’s kind of hard to mention one Amphibian without mentioning the other notable iteration, though maybe this is cheating for the purposes of the list. This Amphibian is essentially a feral child. A mutant born with a fish-like appearance, her mother actually was driven insane by her birth and walked into the ocean, hoping to kill herself and her child. Amphibian survived, thanks to her mutant abilities.
Given that she lived in the ocean from moments after her birth, Amphibian is completely nude and has no evident need for clothes. Unlike the other Amphibian, though, her appearance is much more drastic while still being given somewhat of a striking and beautiful appearance. This Amphibian was a member of an alternate Earth’s darker Squadron but died during an incursion event while fighting The Cabal.
7 COSMIC BOY
Oh hey, it’s Cosmic Boy! A fan favorite and mainstay of DC Comics’ legendary Legion of Super-Heroes line, Cosmic Boy first debuted in Adventure Comics #247 wearing a variation of his now traditional pink and black outfit. But as you’ve probably guessed by his presence on this list, that look wasn’t his only attire.
In 1976’s Superboy #215 (which also featured the Legion in a co-starring role) series artist Mike Grell designed a new costume which consisted of a strangely revealing black bustier with matching gloves and boots, omitting all the pink parts of the uniform. There’s no real reason given for the change of attire, though an in-panel caption does draw attention to the new look. This was Cosmic Boy’s look for a long while, returning to his classic costume a few years later.
6 CIRCUIT BREAKER
Having been mostly paralyzed by an explosion caused by Shockwave, Marvel’s The Transformers radically changed up Josie Beller into a series villain. A computer genius and technical savant, Beller created a technological mesh that allowed her to regain mobility in her body and vowed to hunt down Transformer and Decepticon alike, having gained a mortal fear of robots to the extent of her injuries.
This doesn’t explain, however, why she felt the need to leave so much of her flesh exposed while fighting robots as tall as buildings. The mesh is a silvery design, stylized to resemble computer circuitry. While it covers the parts of her body that could get the comic pulled from newsstands, it inexplicably leaves large portions of her body exposed and unprotected. A unique look, but an odd choice for a robot mercenary.
5 BLACK CONDOR I
Another member of the Freedom Fighters alongside Phantom Lady, Black Condor believed he gained the power of flight after being raised by a flock of wild Condors. In actuality, he was exposed to a meteor, the radiation of which activated latent meta powers. Regardless, he re-entered society and assumed the identity of a murdered Senator while operating as Black Condor.
There have been multiple Black Condors with different attire has changed over the years, though the attachment to the Freedom Fighters remains the same. In his original debut, Condor sported a set of “wings” attached to a shoulder harness as well as black shorts, showing off a ton of skin, likely in relation to his life growing up with wild animals. Later Condors dressed a tad more conservatively, though typically sport a bare upper torso and later iterations opted for pants.
4 EMMA FROST
Emma Frost’s appearance as a sexpot in the Marvel Universe is pretty interesting. On her 1980 debut, John Byrne has stated he designed the character to be “flat-chested,” meant to highlight the contrast between Frost and Jean Grey while she served as The Black Queen. Over time, however, this has changed drastically with Emma taking on a design and body type more in line with the sex appeal tropes she embodies.
It goes without saying that Frank Quitely’s take on the character has become something beyond iconic. Sporting a jumpsuit that exposes large swathes of flesh in an X-shaped pattern, Emma’s surprise return in New X-Men #128 turned eyes for her sudden return to the book as much as it did her appearance. Emma has technically donned more conservative attire since, though she’s still one of comics' most revealing costumes.
3 THE WARLORD
Mike Grell’s 1975 creation The Warlord may, at first glance, appear to be in a less revealing costume than others on this list, but he’s another in the “looks more naked than he is” category. A time-displaced pilot passes through a hole in the world and finds himself fighting as a hero in the underground world of Skartaris.
Warlord’s had a few costumes over the years, but we’re looking at his original for this instance. Sporting a furry loincloth, fur-topped boots, a chain bandolier, and a massive winged helm, the accoutrements he wears do so little to cover up his body that he looks like he’s not really wearing anything. He may technically be wearing more than Conan the Barbarian, but he certainly looks like he’s wearing less.
2 SHADOW LASS
Another Legion of Super-Heroes member on this list, Shadow Lass hails from the planet Talok VIII. With the ability to manipulate darkness to create an area impenetrable to light and the ability to see in total darkness, she’s one of the more unique and interesting characters of the LoSH history.
Shadow Lass has worn a number of different costumes over the years, but in the 2010 Legion of Super-Heroes on-going, she donned perhaps her most revealing costume to date. Consisting of a black bikini with high heels and a cape, there’s a lot of teal-colored skin on display here. It’s a good look though and makes Shadow Lass stand out among the other LoSH members. This look carried on into 2011’s New 52 reboot, where Shadow Lass remained a member of the rebooted Legion of Super-Heroes.
A long-running Marvel Comics character and fan-favorite, Hercules’ doesn’t wear THAT revealing of a costume in the long run. Consisting of a sash and skirt or short pants and thigh-high, strapped on boots, Hercules does keep himself pretty covered up, though he displays immense pride in his physical appearance and isn’t afraid to show it off, be it intentional or a result of battle damage.
Hercules has gotten into trouble with this numerous times, with his clothes being blasted off or removed on numerous occasions. In the heat of battle, this doesn’t concern Herc, though he did on one occasion express concern over being exposed in front of Scarlet Witch. Hercules may be typically covered up, but he’s long demonstrated that he’s not afraid to show off some skin.
Can you think of any others that we should include on Bare It All-Stars III? Let us know in the comments!