Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Supergirl's Super Shorts

Supergirl's costume has always been a hot topic for debate among fans, especially in regards to her current exposed midriff version. However, a recent article on Newsarama brought to my attention that the costume received a minor addition in Supergirl #36 in the form of the red shorts you see above. I actually own the issue the banner image is taken from and failed to even pick up on them, so am a bit disappointed with myself for missing it. It just goes to show how subtle a change it was and how they didn't attempt to draw attention to the shorts either.

When asked for the reasons behind the shorts, Supergirl artist, Jamal Igle, had this to say:
“One of the reason why I went with the shorts rather than just draw the skirt in a way where it was either longer, or I never showed it flying up was that I wanted freedom of movement,” Igle said. “With the fight between her and Reactron on the rooftop in issue #40, she’s doing martial arts and moving around. It makes sense that if you’re doing martial arts, you’re going to have something that’s going to cover you a little, especially if you’re wearing a skirt.”

Hit the jump for more on Supergirl's costume, what I feel is wrong with it and some thoughts on how I'd fix it.

Super Shorts Are A Start

While I like the change over to the shorts (it's practical and makes more sense than fighting crime in a mini-skirt, especially when you can fly), it doesn't fix the underlying problem that this costume is just plain bad. I'm not the type of person that gets all worked up over gratuitous T&A or makes a big to do about how women are generally objectified in comics all that often, but Supergirl's costume just plain does not work for me. It's trashy and deliberately sexed up for an underaged, teenage girl. To fight crime in it is just plain ridiculous and I shake my head everytime I see her in a comic.

Super Skank

I don't think I have to explain just how wrong this looks to anyone. Those saddle bags on her sides are actually her hips. While Igle has been doing wonders with lengthening the skirt, adding shorts and various other minor touch ups and fixes to the character, it doesn't fix the fact that this above image is the standard appearance of Supergirl by just about every other artist in DC's stable.

Blue Diaper Syndrome

Here, we see why the skirt is just plain impractical from both a functional and artistic standpoint. No, that isn't a blue diaper Supergirl is wearing. It is, in fact, her skirt magically flying up to cover her panties. Having her in a micro skirt forces artists to do just what Igle wanted to avoid and used as his reasons for adding the shorts to the costume. While the red shorts help fix this problem, it's just a bandaid for the bad costume design.

JLA: Cry For Skin

In the same interview, Igle made mention of a new costume in the works for Supergirl and I had hoped it was to line up with this promo shot of JLA: Cry for Justice where Supergirl is shown in the classic, midriff-less Supergirl costume:

However, that was not meant to be as DC went back and forced the artist or colourist to fix the piece, as evidenced by the newest previews for the issue:

Yes, as you can see, the midriff is back again. Disappointing, to say the least.

How to Fix Supergirl's Costume

A recent preview from DC's The Source featuring Supergirl's mom shows off a costume change I'd like to see Supergirl adapt:

While it could use a little work for Supergirl, making the switch to the classic Supergirl costume and using the pantyhose/leotard pants for the legs, similar to her mother here, would look good while still resembling a costume someone would actually wear in public. It would line up with what other Kryptonians are wearing as well and just generally look better than the current Penthouse pin-up costume she's been wearing.

Red Shorts - Yay or Nay?

While I've outlined many of the problems I have with Supergirl's costume and what I think of the shorts, I want to know what you think. Do you like the current costume? Did you know about the shorts before this? Are the shorts a good addition to the costume or just a temporary fix? How would you fix her costume? Sound off in the comments below.

Related Posts


Ryan Schrodt said...

Great post, Kirk. While I do think the shorts are a great start and I applaud Jamal for taking strides at fixing the problem, she really needs a total redesign. You can still play her as sexy without making her skanky, which the current costume is. I think you can do classy while still retaining the attractiveness. I look forward to seeing how DC fixes this problem and I hope that someone like Igle, who clearly loves the character but also approaches it maturely, gets to do the redesign.

Matt Ampersand said...

Good god, who the hell drew the "Super Skank" version? I don't think that artist has ever seen a woman wearing a skirt.

Kirk Warren said...

@Ryan - Igle mentions some internal changes they have for a new costume, but nothing set in stone and with how much pull Warner Bros has with DC's properties, especially anything batman or Superman related, I'm not sure how fast any changes can or will be made to her costume. I'd also like to see Wonder Girl get a new costume (seriously, a belly top and denims?).

@Matt - I believe it's Ian Churchill.

ryan said...

The red shorts are a welcome addition. I do not want to look at a 16- or 17-year-old girl's underwear. I do not want artists to do ridiculous things to keep her underwear out of sight.

I do agree that her costume could use a change but I'm not sure what. A skirt over leggings, however, is not something I would approve. A skirt doesn't practical at all. Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Black Canary, Batgirl, Batwoman, Zatana, Wonder Girl, and Donna Troi all do without a skirt.

Actually, this would be something that the women at would be good at (they don't generally criticize people, just the clothes that people wear and are fairly kind about it). They're very friendly. You should ask for their input.

Sea-of-Green said...

Red shorts were good enough for Supergirl in the 1970s. I say go back to THAT look, but WITHOUT the 1970s cleavage or the modern bare midriff.

Bill said...

Even the midriff thing could be handled tastefully. Igle's version has about half the bare skin area as the super skank version, and it makes the whole thing better. Shrink it by half again, and I'm completely fine with the costume.

mq1986 said...

I'm in the minority in this one, but I really like the bare-midriff costume. I do think that many artists took it a little to the extreme (as they did with the short-short skirt), but I rather like the midriff. The addition of red shorts was very welcome. If they lengthen the skirt a little and lower the top of the costume just some, then it would be really fine with me.

Eric Rupe said...

For me, it's all about how the artist depicts more than anything related to the costume.

Anonymous said...

"It's trashy and deliberately sexed up for an underaged, teenage girl."

Not to be cynical, but have you seen any real-life teenaged girls lately?

Between the Panels said...

I'd really like to see DC use the design for a costume that Kara had in her appartment during Final Crisis.

Jeremy said...

"I do not want to look at a 16- or 17-year-old girl's underwear."

Pfft. Speak for yourself.

Jason said...

I'd like to echo Anonymous's statement about real-life teenaged girls.

"Super Skank"? Hardly. Aside from the teeny-tiny skirt riding low on the hips, the costume is fine. And I think Igle's red shorts is a good practical idea. Other than that, the costume's fine.

The Dangster said...

I dig the shorts.

The costume is fine though. Superheroes are supposed to be super and extraordinary. Sexualizing characters is something they do with males too.

Wondergirl's costume does suck though.

ryan said...


Please tell me you're 15 or 16 and not 35 or 36.

comic book reviews said...

ehhhh, i would rather have a sexy supergirl than an ugly supergirl

Luis Dantas said...

The Crisis costume is probably the best Supergirl ever had - although I kinda like the 1980 version as well, with the modest cleavage and the red shorts (no skirt).

The current version is quite wrong, particularly for an underage character. I don't care that there are teens actually dressing somewhat like that. Supergirl is not supposed to dress like a street whore wannabe.

Anonymous said...

Instead of red shorts, I would rather see a pink thong underneath her skirt.

Isabella said...

cool post!

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet, coach factory outlet, michael kors outlet, coach outlet, tiffany and co, air max, louboutin shoes, coach outlet store online, burberry outlet, jordan shoes, burberry outlet, prada outlet, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, kate spade handbags, oakley sunglasses cheap, nike shoes, longchamp handbags, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, air max, polo ralph lauren, gucci outlet, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, true religion jeans, christian louboutin, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, prada handbags, coach purses, michael kors outlet online sale, louboutin, louboutin outlet, rolex watches, polo ralph lauren outlet, tory burch outlet, nike free, longchamp handbags, tiffany and co, kate spade outlet

oakleyses said...

nike free pas cher, nike roshe run pas cher, air max, ray ban sunglasses, air jordan, michael kors, lululemon outlet online, air max pas cher, michael kors pas cher, north face, hollister, hollister, ray ban pas cher, true religion outlet, nike tn, true religion outlet, nike blazer, sac longchamp pas cher, sac guess, air max, vanessa bruno, sac hermes, polo lacoste, true religion jeans, polo ralph lauren, sac burberry, new balance pas cher, oakley pas cher, nike air max, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, hogan outlet, timberland, converse pas cher, longchamp, nike free, michael kors uk, north face, ralph lauren, louboutin, nike air force, mulberry

oakleyses said...

babyliss pro, valentino shoes, nfl jerseys, north face outlet, reebok outlet, soccer jerseys, nike roshe, new balance shoes, hollister clothing store, mcm handbags, ferragamo shoes, timberland boots, jimmy choo outlet, nike roshe run, abercrombie and fitch, lululemon outlet, north face jackets, p90x, soccer shoes, mont blanc, instyler, nike trainers, ghd, oakley, mac cosmetics, chi flat iron, insanity workout, baseball bats, longchamp, nike huaraches, birkin bag, celine handbags, iphone 6 cases, air max, giuseppe zanotti, vans shoes, asics running shoes, beats by dre, herve leger, bottega veneta, hollister, wedding dresses

oakleyses said...

converse, ugg, ugg, converse shoes, swarovski, coach outlet store online, juicy couture, juicy couture outlet, pandora jewelry, toms shoes, ray ban, ugg boots clearance, karen millen, links of london, marc jacobs, rolex watches, wedding dresses, ugg pas cher, ralph lauren, sac lancel, cheap uggs, ugg boots, pandora charms, uggs, abercrombie, hollister, gucci, supra shoes, ugg outlet, swarovski crystal, uggs outlet, pandora charms, montre homme, air max, thomas sabo, louboutin, ugg, vans

Post a Comment

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Crisis - Comic Book Review Blog. Comments are always appreciated. You can sign in and comment with any Google, Wordpress, Live Journal, AIM, OpenID or TypePad account.