Costume defines the superhero, disguising and distinguishing him or her from the civilian alter ego. The often garish garb expresses a hero's otherness and empowers its wearers to seek a primal form of justice.
This book provides the first interdisciplinary analysis of the superhero costume and investigates wide-ranging issues such as identity, otherness, ritual dress and disguise. Analysis focuses on the implications of wearing superhero costume, exploring interpretations of the costumed hero and the extent to which the costume defines his or her role. Using examples across various media (comic books, film, and television) with case studies including The X-Men, Watchmen, real-life superheroes such as Phoenix Jones and Pussy Riot, and audience activities such as cosplay, The Superhero Costume presents new perspectives on the increasingly popular genre. A lively and thorough account of superhero fashions throughout history, The Superhero Costume will be essential reading for students of visual culture, popular culture, fashion and cultural studies.