Old Superhero costumes

This small gallery of "original" superhero costumes have a nice tactility to them, looking like they've been crafted from naturally occurring fibers, a far cry from the seamless, shiny lycra aesthetic of contemporary superhero getups.


  1. Yeah, I always liked DC’s JSA costumes better than the Marvel stuff because of this.  There were a lot of interesting vests such as Dr. Midnight’s with the moon crescent fasteners.  Marvel was pretty much lycra from the beginning and even Ironman was often drawn so he looked like just another guy in spandex.

  2. Not much on the provenance of these- I’m wondering if that is an original George Reeves era Superman costume!?

    I vividly remember the CBS spider-man live action series from the late 70’s. Marvel’s style of hero getup didn’t translate that well to live action, before cgi. The costume was very bad, pretty much DIY Halloween quality. The mask was just red a ski mask with mirrored sunglass lenses in it.

    1. Hey jimh,

      The shield on the Superman costume is the same as the one Christopher Reeve wore.  George Reeves’ had a smaller ‘S’.  And no I do not consider that this is an indication that I have wasted my life!

      I too remember the CBS Spider-Man costume and its general crappiness.  But in a way I think that is a more realistic vision of what a teenage kid would actually wear.

      I remember a scene in one of the Keaton Batman films where Batman is running up a flight of stairs and you can see the effort Keaton needed to make to lift his head  to look up.  Broke the illusion for me completely.

      The Batman costume is of course the Adam West version, the greatest Batman ever!

      1. I always hated the Keaton-era Batman getup. He was so stiff in that thing, and generally Batman was known for agility, flexibility. And a good amount of peripheral vision too, most likely.

  3. Those images are from Les Daniels’s books:
    The Complete History of Wonder Woman
    The Complete History of Batman
    The Complete History of Superman
    They’re quite entertaining.

  4. Cory… credit where credit is due.  These images were originally scanned and posted on Hey Oscar Wilde, It’s Clobbering Time, an excellent tumblog that is diligently curated and updated regularly with all sorts of cool ephemera.  The good peeps at How To Be A Retronaut are enjoying “the boingboing effect”, I’m sure… but really, Hey Oscar Wilde should get some of the reblogging link-love!


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