Margarita Vaisman is Marvel.com's Senior Fashion Correspondent. She goes where no fashionista has gone before, exploring styles and trends within the Marvel Universe and beyond. (Photo by Judith Stephens)
Let's say you're a villain with a devious idea to wreak havoc on the world. Having a stellar master plan is probably the priority, and maybe employing some henchmen to do the dirty work comes right after that. However, with all the evil deeds being done, there must be little time to think about wardrobe choices. Which is evident, when you consider what some of the villains appearing on the pages of Marvel comics have worn over the years. "Crimes of Fashion" is a new Marvel Style column dedicated to examining some of the unfortunate ensembles that have been worn in the Marvel Universe. Just because they are comic book characters, doesn't mean we can't learn from their fashion mishaps.
The Vulture (from YOUNG MEN #26)
I understand that when you are a "criminal genius" and "dangerous foe" you have better things to worry about than whether your shoes match your suit. So perhaps we can forgive Vulture for choosing brown footwear over a classic black loafer that would have done more to complement his suit choice. Perhaps he was too busy harnessing atomic power to get his trousers hemmed? They appear a bit short. Also, when you make yourself the enemy of somebody like The Human Torch, you best have a good disguise, so I can see why the mask would be necessary. Here's what I don't get—this guy shares the moniker with a scavenging bird, yet I can't think of any vultures that are bright purple. His disguise resembles a grape-colored ski-mask with giant inflatable lips—not the head of any winged creature I know. What baffles me above all else is the pairing of the suit with a heavy looking cape in the same color family, which tries to match the ensemble but falls short. Vulture has tried to go for a mix of comfort and style, but failed on both counts. Maybe bad fashion is why he never attained the notoriety of the other Vulture, Spider-Man's infamous foe. Even the lady in the green dress behind him seems to be grimacing at his unfortunate choices.
Hela (from X-MEN ANNUAL #9)
Hela's cape isn't terrible and the skull broach is a nice touch, but the rest of the outfit? Disaster. The bodysuit's design is busy and looks like it impedes movement. And the headgear? Oy vey. If I were the Norse Goddess of Death and had the ability to shapeshift, I would shapeshift into something a little more comfortable. Or, at the very least, something that didn't look like giant antlers sprouting from my head and neck. Sure, they're probably great for making a dramatic entrance, goring things and carrying extra shopping bags, but when Hela is your name and death is your game, you don't want to risk being mistaken for a coat rack. She may have come in search of a wolfen prince's soul, but she's going to leave with a migraine if she doesn't do something about that head piece. Hella cumbersome, if you ask me.
Ula, Queen of the Flying Trolls (from THOR #126)
Ula, Queen of
the Flying Trolls
Elaborate headgear seems to be a trend with the evil set, but Ula, Queen of the Flying Trolls, takes things to an extreme. I understand the bouffant was a popular 1960s hairstyle, but how her neck can support one that humongous is baffling, to say nothing of the elaborate red headpiece larger than her torso. Then there are Ula's pointed green shoulder pads, which are too busy and compete with the rest of the outfit. The dress itself could use a longer hemline so that she's not showing all that her Mama Queen of the Flying Trolls gave her. And while the swathe of green fabric around her wrists adds a touch of elegance to the costume, it looks like it limits her hand movement. Even though Ula is capable of flight, one would imagine that in a fight having full use of her arms would come in handy. But let's face it, it's all about that hair and headpiece. Unless Ula is going to be doing back-up for the B-52's or Mardi-Gras parade float, she may want to rethink the entire ensemble.
Samhain (from VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH #1)
When you're an angry and evil goat man such as Samhain, there are a number of effective ways to inspire terror in your foes. Big curved horns, glowing yellow eyes and a giant scythe are a good start. The oversized collar on the robe is a bold statement, but a nice twist on a classic design and works to make the goat man broad-shouldered and more imposing. The real problems occur below the waist. The chain belt starts out promising, with a skull ornament that gives the ensemble just the bit of bling it needs, but then…oh my. The giant, pendulous buckle, or rather, GONG, is astounding in its sheer impracticality and enormitude. Not only does it throw off the proportions of the outfit, one has to wonder how he doesn't buckle (pardon the pun) at the waist from the weight of that thing or bruise his knees just by bumping against it. It's nice to see villains taking fashion risks, but sadly this is one that does not pay off.
Titania (from SHE-HULK #10)
Ah, Titania. Such an attractive girl, but misguided when it comes to attire. Her face is more covered up than the rest of her body. Sure, the old saying goes "if you've got it, flaunt it," but there's a difference between flaunting it and taking out a billboard in Times Square. Titania would do well being a bit more covered up, especially in her bust and midsection, which is not only overly exposed, but appears to defy the laws of gravity. The boots are also a mistake, creating an unflattering line to her leg, when they should be more streamlined. The studs running down the sides of her arms and legs may be there to intimidate and inspire fear in her victims, but the only begging I'm going to do is for a better outfit. One that doesn't look like a gymnastics uniform gone horribly wrong.
Got a "Crime of Fashion" to report? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include digital comic issue and page number.
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