Superhero costumes have a thankless job. They’re super tight, so that they practically show every inch of a superhero, but then during battles, they have to hold up so that they don’t end up exposing literally every inch of the superheroes. When you’re talking about material that is almost inherently thin, that is a hard thing to ask of them. Luckily, somehow superhero costumes almost always manage to tear in just such a way that they don’t expose the superheroes any more than they would if they were wearing a bikini at the beach (heck, some costumes, like Psylocke, are practically already bikinis).
However, there are sometimes that not even the best superhero costume can hold up under the pressures of the modern superhero lifestyle, and that leads to wardrobe malfunctions. Sometimes, these malfunctions are just a matter of the mask sliding off at an inopportune time, but sometimes, it involves the superhero ending up exposing much more than they intended to expose. Here are 15 more of the most embarrassing superhero wardrobe malfunctions!
17. HULK MAKING EVERYONE ELSE FEEL INADEQUATE
In the storyline leading up to Incredible Hulk #400, the Leader declared war on the Pantheon, the mysterious organization that Hulk had been working for since Incredible Hulk #378. The Leader attacked the home of the Pantheon, the “Mount,” with an army of his own mutated beings as well as the supervillain team known as the U-Foes (they’re basically the evil version of the Fantastic Four).
The U-Foes burned the flesh off of the Hulk, but he shocked them by showing off his impressive healing skills. That doesn’t heal his pants, though, so he was walking around naked in shock when Agamemnon, the head of the Pantheon, cut a deal with the Leader! The Leader told the Hulk to put some clothes on, as he was making everyone feel inadequate, plus there was a lady present (although Athena made sure to note that she did not mind).
16. WAIT, THIS IS A CARTOON TIE-IN COMIC BOOK?
During the 1990s, at the height of the success of the Spider-Man animated series, Marvel decided to come out with a tie-in comic for fans of the cartoon. It was titled Spider-Man Adventures and ran for a little over a year. Then Marvel rebooted it as The Adventures of Spider-Man (basically just to get a new #1).
In one of the issues of this new series, Spider-Man teams up with the Human Torch, who forgot that he turned into the Human Torch while wearing a tuxedo, so when he turned back to his normal human self, he was now naked. It’s a surprisingly risqué joke for a comic book that’s meant for little kids! You could never get away with this joke on the actual Spider-Man cartoon series. Now, Gambit suggestively charging up the tip of a pool cue on the X-Men cartoon? That’s apparently A-OK.
15. BLUE BEETLE HAS A WEIRD TAILOR
After decades of everyone believing that the blue scarab that gave the original Blue Beetle Dan Garrett his super powers was a magical scarab, it was revealed that it was actually a piece of alien technology that was designed to create super-beings on every planet that would secretly serve the aliens known as the Reach. They would become the ultimate sleeper agents. However, the scarab on Earth was broken, so it did not make the user evil.
The Reach then came for the Earth scarab user, Jaime Reyes. The scarab creates a special costume for Jamie when activated, and when non-activated, it uses dirt and other particles around Jamie to create him regular clothes. Thus, when the Reach captured Jaime and forcibly separate him from the scarab, Jaime was now naked! Insult added to injury!
14. VANITY IS THE SUPERHERO’S GREATEST WEAKNESS
If you’re even remotely interested in the fair treatment of women, then you should probably steer clear of Detective Comics #371 (by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene), which was released less than a year after Batgirl made her comic book debut. In this story, her vanity gets the best of her when her mask gets dislodged and she loses track of the villains as a result.
Throughout the issue, Batman and Robin basically treat her like a moron, until the end of the issue, when she saves the day. She does this by distracting the bad guys that Batman and Robin are fighting by tearing a hole in her stockings. She pretends that it was by accident, but she did it on purpose to show that her femininity could help sometimes. Yikes.
13. EVEN POWER GIRL WOULD THINK THAT THAT IS GOING TOO FAR
This one is cheating a bit, as the “hero” at the heart of this wardrobe malfunction was actually a supervillain pretending to be a superhero. However, Moonstone had previously been a supervillain masquerading as a superhero when she was a member of the Thunderbolts and she actually ended up being a real superhero for a while, so it’s close enough for us to count it.
In any event, Moonstone joined Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers and became the Ms. Marvel of the team. She complained about the costume a lot, noting how it kept riding up more than her old one. When she was confronted by a former Avenger, Tigra, she distracted Moonstone by slicing open her costume, so that suddenly her chest was hanging out of her costume in front of a bunch of reporters!
12. IT’S A PINK MOON
We often take for granted just how amazing it is that Peter Parker not only created the formula to make his own web fluid, which is a remarkable feat in an of itself, but also designed and created his own very cool-looking costume that he wears as Spider-Man. That’s not an easy feat at all, so we should take a moment to appreciate Peter’s do-it-yourself attitude.
That said, apparently that attitude went a bit far in Amazing Spider-Man #213, when he invented his own laundry detergent for his costume and accidentally turned his red costume pink! After moping for a night (this was during Denny O’Neil’s run, so Spider-Man was quite the moper, which only added to his regular moping), he made himself a fresh costume soon after. Not surprisingly, the pink costume did not even last the full issue.
11. THE PERILS OF WEARING A CAPE
In the world of the Watchmen, there were a number of costumed superheroes, but until Doctor Manhattan showed up, there really weren’t any super-heroes. The original superheroes in the Watchmen universe, the Minutemen, were mostly just men and women who could handle themselves really well in a fight (at least one of them could fly through his costume, which was something).
One of the Minutemen, Dollar Bill, was actually a mascot for a bank! However, he was still a legitimate hero, which is why it was such a shame when his cap got stuck in a revolving door when he was chasing down some bank robbers. Since he was trapped in the door, the robbers were free to turn around and shoot him to death with impunity. His death is only referenced in the Watchmen comic book. It was not actually shown until the Watchmen movie.
10. CAPTAIN MARVEL’S MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT
In the context of this list, this moment is particularly fun since it was literally called, at the time, “Captain Marvel’s Most Embarrassing Moment.” You see, Billy Batson was on vacation and was trying to cross a rickety bridge when he fell and forced himself to turn into Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel wanted a vacation, as well, so he stayed in his form and decided to go skinny-dipping.
While he was swimming, though, a local crook stole his costume right out from under him! He turned back into Billy Batson to preserve his modesty, allowing Billy to get a barrel to go around himself so that when he turned back, something would cover up the good Captain. The problem was that Captain Marvel was too big for the barrel to contain!
9. A FIERY RE-ENTRY
When Peter David took over writing duties on She-Hulk in late 2007, he flipped the switch on the character entirely, making her a bounty hunter after she lost her license to practice law. She was actually just hanging out in her recreational vehicle near a lake when she got caught up in some alien intrigue when an alien fugitive landed on Earth, claiming to be a refugee being chased by an evil member of the Badoon.
Instead, it turned out that the alien was a mass murderer and the Badoon was also a bounty hunter. When the bad guy seemed like he was getting away, She-Hulk just latched on to his ship and blocked his rocket engine. It forced his ship to stall out and crash. However, the rocket also burned away She-Hulk’s pants.
8. DUST IN THE WIND… LITERALLY
When the mutant population continued to expand in the early 21st Century, so too did the student population at Xavier’s expand. It was so big that they decided to break students into “squads” that would attend school together and also train to be superheroes together. This, of course, led to rivalries between different squads and the biggest squad rivalry was between the New Mutants (well, the new New Mutants) and the Hellions.
The Hellions went off campus to free one of their team members who had been arrested and the New Mutants tried to stop them. They fought and in the battle, Wind Dancer’s wind powers dispersed Dust to the wind. Later on, she re-corporealized, but had lost her burqa/costume. So she hid in the bushes until her roommate helped her out.
7. BEAM ME UP!
When She-Hulk was working as a bounty hunter, her partner was Jazinda, who was a Skrull living on Earth. That was all fine and good in the early stages of their partnership, but things got screwy when the Skrull Empire declared war on Earth. It was suddenly no longer a good time to be a non-evil Skrull living on Earth.
Still, Jazinda fought against her people alongside She-Hulk and X-Factor. When they were trying to rescue some humans who had been taken prisoner by the Skrulls, Jazinda used her space ship’s teleporter to send She-Hulk to save the people (all while having to worry about fighting against the Super-Skrull, one of the most powerful Skrull warriors that they have). However, the teleporter was designed for Skrulls, so it accidentally only teleported She-Hulk and not her clothes!
6. MRS. BATMAN SCREWS THINGS UP COMPLETELY
In Batman #122 (by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff), we got one of the earliest examples of Batman actually getting married in the comics (here are a bunch more). The story saw Robin helping Bruce Wayne get ready for a date with Kathy Kane (Batwoman). Robin fell asleep and then Bruce came home to let him know that he was going to marry Kathy!
They get married and Bruce insists that she quit being Batwoman. She decides to ignore him and come into action as, basically, Mrs. Batman, with a brand-new costume just like Batman’s! However, her mask is somehow not affixed to her body, so it gets blown off and she exposes both her identity and Batman’s! Luckily, Robin then wakes up and it was all a dream.
5. COME AS YOU ARE
During the late 1980s/early 1990s, one of the greatest threats to the X-Men came from the island nation of Genosha, which was Chris Claremont’s attempt at taking on the evils of Apartheid in South Africa with mutants. Just like South Africa (where the white minority ruled over the black majority), the humans in Genosha ruled over their large mutant population.
A number of times, the Genosha government transported mutants to Genosha to join their slave population, and when they are teleported, they are taken without their costumes. This happened to Wolverine and Rogue in the first Genosha storyline and then to Storm and a bunch of the New Mutants during “X-Tinction Agenda,” the crossover that finally freed the mutants of Genosha. This was just in time for the nation of Genosha to be ravaged by the Legacy Virus. That, then, was cured just in time for the nation’s population to be annihilated by Sentinels.
4. CAPTAIN UNIVERSE KEEPS SPIDER-MAN CLOTHED
In 1989, Marvel had one of its most unusual company-wide crossovers. Titled “Acts of Vengeance,” it was different in that there was no main event series that the other books all tied into. Instead, it was more of a thematic crossover. A bunch of supervillains got together and plotted out an attack on the world’s superheroes, with supervillains switching up, so Iron Man’s villains would attack the X-Men, Captain America’s villains would attack Punisher, etc.
Spider-Man was set on fire by the Fantastic Four villain, the Dragon Man. Luckily, Spider-Man had recently been possessed by the Uni-Power, a cosmic force that possessed various people and gives them superpowers temporarily. So Spider-Man gained even more powers! He was so powerful, in fact, that he could shake off the flames and just create a new costume for himself.
3. A WATER PARK MENACE
In Fantastic Four #512-513 (by Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo and Karl Kesel), Human Torch has been having a hard time, as the Fantastic Four were at a low point, popularity-wise. They had taken over Latveria while Doctor Doom was gone to keep it from becoming an evil state again, but it turned out that unilaterally taking over a country doesn’t often work out. Who knew? So he goes to his friend, Spider-Man, to ask how he deals with being hated.
While they’re hanging out, Hydro-Man attacks a water park. Johnny, though, had been wearing regular clothes, so he had to get naked to fight Hydro-Man and when Hydro-Man doused his flames, suddenly Johnny was naked in a pool surrounded by children. Not a good look for his publicity. Luckily, Spider-Man later helped him look good in front of the public, so things went back to normal.
Who do you think goes through the most costumes per year, Spider-Man or Wolverine? Let us know in the comments section!
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