She Has No Head! – Superhero Fashion Week Edition

If ever there was a She Has No Head! to check out, this is it, filled with dozens of stunning images by dozens of great artists of superheroine fashion.  Check it out!

A very fashion forward Rogue by Nuno Alves for Project Rooftop

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6 comments

  1. Puckett’s avatar

    Love the Supergirl redesigns, but can’t help thinking that Water Baby and Wet Moon played into Ross’ Supergirl design. Maybe I’m on the haircut, but core elements of any Super-person costume are red, yellow and blue. The colors are part of what make it iconic – think back to that blue / white Superman costume – didn’t feel like Supes, did it? ;)

    Anyway still think that Ross’ stuff is awesome and, IMO, it’s a fantastic look for a new superhero – just kinda hesitant about it being a look that Supergirl would wear. REALLY loved the Wieringo and ESPECIALLY the Walker designs (they may have added white, but they kept the core color palette and look fantastic).

  2. ross’s avatar

    i wish my comment over on your post hadn’t been so nerdy.

    Puckett: glad you like my stuff, thanks! my old Supergirl design wasn’t meant to be the in-continuity/regular Supergirl, if that makes a difference. i don’t really believe in the concept of “iconic” when it comes to superhero costumes and i think history can be shackling, so i figured what the hey. if that blue/white Superman had come first, we’d all be saying how the blue/red/yellow Superman didn’t look like Superman, either. ;)

  3. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    Puckett: Well Ross already answered you, but I will say one of the reasons I included his design (beyond the fact that it’s just great innovative forward thinking design) is because while I read Supergirl now (and in a way I wouldn’t want to change her as there are too few titles like hers out there that can be read by young girls interested in female superheroes) I don’t really love the book…but imagining an alt reality book with Ross’ Supergirl…I suspect I could get WAY into that book. :)

    ross: I’m glad you were nerdy (although I didn’t really think you were nerdy)…you’re a nerd, I’m a nerd, we’re all nerds…we should embrace it. I also love that you brought up some less mainstream superheroines. Had my list been longer I was going to try to go more outside the box…less “big two”…but time limits among other things got in my way. So I’m glad to see something beyond included y’know?

    As for iconic…I don’t know that I agree with you that the ability to be iconic isn’t important…but I do agree that sticking too close to the history is a mistake sometimes and kills any innovation. To me, anything can be iconic if well designed and considered – case in point your Supergirl. Put the force of DC behind her and she’d be considered “iconic” in no time…even though it’s a departure from the “original”.

  4. ross’s avatar

    i think people tend to throw the word iconic around a lot to the point where i’m not convinced it really means much anymore, or at least it’s taken on a new meaning. i thought iconic meant something that either represents a widely recognized idea or something that’s immediately recognizable in a cultural way, whether it’s a visual thing like a logo or a phrase like “Luke, I am your father.” i’m not saying that’s not important, but the ability to be iconic can be ANYTHING, you know? just having a simple, well-designed superhero costume doesn’t make it iconic or even give it the ability to be iconic, unless the hero or costume has staying power enough to immediately convey the character. how do you determine that? is a costume potentially iconic just by having a good, communicative design? is that what “iconic” means when referring to this stuff?

    and yeah usually something iconic is something that’s been around for a while, like Superman or Batman, say, and so they have the history and duration behind them and that’s what’s allowed them to be so widespread and ingrained into people’s minds and culture. but like i was saying to Puckett, why couldn’t the blue/white Electric Superman be iconic or be representational of the character? what if tomorrow Electric Superman becomes the official version of Superman, what if DC goes “no more yellow or red on Superman!” and obviously people would still associate Superman with red/yellow/blue, but would the tide shift eventually? and i think the blue/white costume/look is solid enough, but it would take years or even decades for that to become “iconic” in the same way the original Superman is, but it’s totally possible.

    and is all this iconic in a comic industry way or a general culture way or…? what’s the cut off? like Pinhead from Hellraiser is iconic in the horror scene but probably doesn’t mean anything in the culture-at-large. XD

    i guess on the other hand iconic things can crop up almost overnight so maybe they don’t need the history factor at all, like a movie that is really financially successful or effective right off the bat, like i’d argue that Jaws was almost immediately iconic-ized when it was first released (“you’re gonna need a bigger boat!”), or maybe Avatar for a recent example.

    la la la, blathering

  5. Puckett’s avatar

    I’d be stoked on that look as an alternate universe Supergirl, but then again, I thought that Frank Quitely’s pregnant female version of Jack Hawksmoor was awesome too, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. With that said, yeah, after Water Baby and the other work I’ve read, I’d read an OGN of an alternate reality / out-of-continuity Supergirl looking like that. Supergirl with an attitude problem? And why not? She’s been called Supergirl for 60-some !@#$%&* years now!

    I think the iconography of the costume is a little bit deeper than mere history though – first of all, it’s primary colors. We, as a people, tend to associate those colors with ideas – red for anger, passion, power, love, etc. Blue generally goes with calmness, security, tranquility. If you poke around for a few seconds on the Web about what people associate with yellow, it’s friendship, joy, intelligence, comfort, etc. Now, while I don’t think many people would associate Supes with anger, red is the color that we tend to notice most easily in high contrast environments. As I type this, the spell check in my browser underlined the word Supes … in red. Just to make sure I saw it. While blood turning red when exposed to air is a chemical reaction, it’s also the result of evolution and making sure we realize when we’re bleeding. Blue is the color of the sky, yellow is the color of the sun … maybe this all sounds like some sort of new age hippie nonsense, but we’re talking about colors that are everywhere, some of which we think of as life-giving and others that are life-preserving.

    Moreover, despite the long-time association of Superman with America, he doesn’t actually wear the colors of the flag. Sure, there are countries that use red, blue and yellow as the primary / sole colors on their flag (Andorra, Chad, Colombia, Ecuador and Romania, although I may have missed a couple), but there are tons that use two of the three. IMO, it makes him more of a universal character … or maybe I’m just projecting what I see the dude as onto him.

    So no, I don’t think the blue / white Superman costume would have been as iconic given any amount of time because, quite frankly, the damn thing looked ridiculous from the start. Given a less ridiculous looking costume, I still don’t think it would have become as iconic.

    As an example, despite the time put into it, I don’t think of Ultimate Captain America as iconic either; silly as it is, I prefer the wings on his head even though, from a design perspective, his Ultimate universe costume is more functional and looks better.

    Generally, iconic things are simple – the opening riff to “Satisfaction,” the first Ramones album, grey flannel suits, cowboy hats, a leather jacket, plain white t-shirts, boots, Chuck Taylors, blue jeans, etc. They don’t start as icons – their inherent simplicity takes root, people utilize it because it’s simple and functional, and eventually, it’s iconic through daily use and ubiquity. However, I would suggest that use and ubiquity doesn’t occur when things are more complex and I’ll toss runway fashion out as an example – it’s not practical for daily life, so it exists at fashion shows and red carpet events, but it rarely, if ever, walks into a Starbucks to get a cup of coffee.

    Anyway, just some ramblings and musings on the subject. And thanks for the hours of enjoyment I’ve received from reading your books. I’m glad to know that when my little girl is a little bit older, there will be books with fantastic female characters in them that aren’t likely to cause body image issues that she can read.

  6. ross’s avatar

    Puckett: i like your assertion that complex things aren’t generally iconic, i guess because the complexity (whether a complex idea or a complex visual thing) isn’t easily reproducible or recitable. good call.

    i don’t have anything against the regular Superman color scheme, i love the costume, and i agree that in general the colors correspond to the ideas you bring up, point taken. ;) but the main thing i don’t like about it is that i don’t like red/yellow together because they remind me of ketchup/mustard and fast food, haha. Superman’s red/yellow S, Iron Man, the Flash, Jean’s red/yellow Phoenix outfit, they all remind me of McDonald’s, hehheh. so whenever i’ve done a drawing of any Super-characters i always axe either the red or the yellow (my other Supergirl was blue and yellow). maybe that’s silly or shallow of me, i don’t know. i do think, though, that white is just as idea-related as red or blue or yellow, and white and blue together is also really suggestive of sky, which is what i was also thinking of when i did my new Superman for Project Rooftop (plus black, which in my book equals OUTER SPACE! hehheh).

    anyway, all your points are great, i stand corrected even though i still stand by what i said. ;) i just wonder how things would be different if different colors were used, or why COULDN’T a blue/white or blue/black/whatever color scheme end up with the same iconic status if it’s paired with a good design. i suppose Batman is really iconic and he’s black/grey (and sometimes yellow, or blue/grey/yellow), even though his symbol has never stayed the same. and i also think a lot about how history affects things, like how could we ever divorce ourselves from what’s come before, like are we really objectively equipped to determine if a newly-colored/designed Superman is or isn’t iconic since we can’t ever forget or disregard his history?

    also, thanks so much for reading my stuff, i really appreciate it!! :D i hope your daughter doesn’t totally hate it when she’s old enough, ha.

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