Top Ten Most Naked Superhero Costumes

As Michael Chabon recently noted "In their unitards and tights, all comicbook superheroes, male or female, are fundamentally naked people." Well, not all superheroes are created equal, and some are substantially more naked than others. Let's take a look at them, and give credit to those brave heroes who're willing to bare all in their pursuit of justice.


Silver Surfer1. Silver Surfer
He's a perfect, naked, chrome man (and he's on a surf board, just to cap off that ridiculous, surreal visual impact). Obviously he's missing some fundamental physical attributes, which might be one reason that he's so comfortable without a costume. Maybe his skin is his costume? But for all outward appearances, whether he's got all his bits and pieces or not, he's still flying the cosmos without even the flimsiest fabric.

Girl One2. Girl One

The tough, funny, synthetic cop in Top 10. Though most of her colleagues didn't know it, she was entirely naked, changing her skin colors and patterns to look like a costume. I do love the concept (so much so that I was inspired to get my first and only tattoo which covers all of my back – and it does indeed make me feel kind of clothed even when I'm not). Realistically, she'd never get away with it, people would notice; if not the folds and crevices, they'd notice the bounce factor when she fought. And would she really want to fight without any support?

Swamp Thing3. Swamp Thing

It's our old friend Swamp Thing. Not only is he a considerate and masterful lover (see my last Top Ten list), but the man/plant is entirely naked too. How liberated of him. Now obviously he's a plant, (albeit with the mind of a man inside of him), but he's also undeniably a superhero, so he still qualifies for the naked superhero pantheon. Like so many of these exhibitionists, he has no human sex parts to cover up or support (at least not externally), and so his lack of costume makes a lot of sense.

Dr. Manhattan4. Dr. Manhattan
Once in a while he wear shorts to placate others, but mostly he goes entirely without. He is unique among his naked compatriots, in that he's got genitalia. And why not? Unlike those others, he has almost no connection with his own emotions and is essentially omnipotent. I still believe that it might cause some discomfort to have things moving around in the wind, but maybe his invulnerability combats that.

Thing5. The Thing
Speedo. He's wearing a Speedo. Why? I mean, I read Fantastic Four a lot when I was a kid, and Ben Grimm never seemed like the exhibitionist type. He gets a slight skin change and suddenly runs around almost naked? I don't think so. It's been a while since I read FF regularly, but as far as I can see, his character is uncomfortable with being seen and being different, so surely he would prefer a costume which is similar to his teammates? Poor thing.

Namor6. Namor
Again with the Speedo. But with Namor it makes a lot more sense than the Thing, since he lives underwater and gets a lot more benefit out of that whole streamlined factor. Besides, he's an extremely arrogant guy (well, he is royalty after all), and he looks good naked, so it makes sense that he'd swan about in briefs. He's a bit of a rarity amongst the nearly nude superheroes, in that he's actually human flesh-colored and so his nudity is that much more apparent.

Spectre7. The Spectre
This is a very intense, serious character, yet he's essentially wearing underpants and a cape. Luckily he's light grey all over, so he doesn't scan as naked on first glance (though like Girl One, I really have to wonder if he'd look a lot more naked if he existed in real life). Unlike a lot of other caped crusaders, he tends lets his cape hang ominously, skulking in it's shadows, rather than encouraging it to flow and billow in the wind.

Starfire8. Starfire
What is that anyway? A pair of panties and 2 thin strips to cover her nipples? It's not so much that she's 90% naked, but if she moved at all, the whole thing would come off. And what about super-speed flight while on fire? That would dislodge those little strips of fabric. Unless the whole thing is made of body paint, I'm unclear as to how it'd stay on when she was just standing still, let alone fighting. Her costume is not only nearly naked, but it's completely implausible too.

Hulk9. The Hulk
We all know that Bruce Banner's pants become incredibly shredded when he transforms into his incredible alter ego. At any moment they could just fall off him. The fact that he's wearing half a pair of shredded pants would be enough to get him on this list, but add to that the fact that they are only tenuously holding on by a few strained threads, and I'd say that he's pretty close to naked most of the time.

Wonder Woman10. Wonder Woman
She's essentially wearing a bustier and boy pants. I suppose at least her wrists are covered. The costume is certainly fun and patriotic, but it clearly isn't built for real-life action – in order for the strapless top to stay up, it'd have to be boned, or stiff in some other way – it would seriously inhibit movement. Then there's the metal belt. Is it on her waist, or her hips? If it truly is stiff metal, that's going to dig into uncomfortable spots no matter where she wears it. While she's not the most scantily clad (hence her meager placement in the number 10 spot), she is definitely one of the most uncomfortably dressed of the nearly-naked superheroes.

* in his article "Designing Women", in Details, March 2008


Honorable mentions:

Black Canary1. The Black Canary

Classic Black Canary wore a strapless black one piece, bolero jacket and fishnet tights (nowadays they're sensibly putting her in an outfit with a neck, so that she can wear a bra. At one point in the 80's they had her in a very practical baggy workout suit thing.) With that strapless costume, she faced all the same problems of support that Wonder Woman does, with the added disadvantage of it being a one piece. One piece suits can ride up your crotch like crazy when running around a lot. And I know for a fact that those large holed fishnet tights get caught on everything. You can't tell me that's practical. At least she looks fabulous.

Robin2. Robin

That poor boy has no pants. Why doesn't Robin get trousers, or at least leggings? It's got to be cold, slinging about the rooftops of Gotham. And wouldn't some leg protection be helpful when fighting villains? To top it all off, he doesn't even wear real boots, but elfin little booties. And that shortie cape doesn't help much. I've never understood Robin's costume. Maybe he's just got really weird taste, because look at what happened when he went solo, the Nightwing costume definitely a bit too flashy for me (thought at least he's covered up).

3. Colossus

For a big man, that's a very small costume. It's a little belted swim suit thing with cut-out sides, and thigh-high boots – kinky! He's lucky, because unlike the liquid silver skin of the Silver Surfer, his metallic skin is in panels, which (depending who's drawing him) give him a slightly armored look and mitigates how obvious it is that he's basically wearing very skimpy, brightly colored, fetish gear.

Zatanna4. Zatanna

Her costume is like the Black Canary's but with the addition of a top hat, white gloves, and a little white bow tie. While all three of these things are unusually dressed up, underneath all that decoration, she's in fishnets and a strapless one-piece (according to some artists – others draw her in a white shirt type of thing). So her level of nudity might not be enough to get her into the top ten, but it's enough to get her an honorable mention for working in the field with minimal clothing protection.


Our brave naked heroes are many, and my knowledge of superheroes is far from encyclopedic, so please forgive me if I've missed a favorite of yours. If there's a barely-there costume missing from this list, please add them below for us all to recognize, (after all, if you hadn't all banged on about how hot Jesse Custer was on my last Top Ten list, I might never have gotten around to finally picking up the Preacher).


Sonia Harris dresses up in fabulous San Francisco (along with all the other people in ridiculous costumes). She often says that the best thing about going to work, is having an excuse to wear really silly office clothes. Please send your fashion observations and other input to sonia@ifanboy.com.

Comments

  1. Chris Neseman ChrisNeseman says:

    My column about booze just can’t compete with this.

    ;)

    btw. Little known fact. Disney made Marvel put pants on Howard the Duck so he wouldn’t resemble Donald. That’s right, DISNEY demanded that somebody not walk around naked.

  2. Jim Mroczkowski Jimski (@jimski) says:

    I’ve never read the comic, but I feel pretty confident that Witchblade needs a shout-out before this thread goes too much farther. The whole reason I’ve never read it, in fact, is that every time I see the cover I think, "Yikes! Aren’t you cold?… oh. I see that you are."

  3. FACE FACE says:

    Pretty sure Mystique of the X-film series was lettin it all hang out, though, it can be hard to tell with a shapeshifter. 

  4. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I’d like to nominate Posion Ivy to share Swamp Thing’s spot at #3.  At least the modern design which is essentially…garnish?  

  5. Tork Tork says:

    I’d throw blue monkey-era Beast into the fray there, too.

  6. superscribe superscribe says:

    What about the chick from Ghost in the Shell?  I’ve seen her interrogate people while wearing a thong and a leather jacket.  Who can take that seriously?  I wonder how much success Vic Mackey would have with that approach . . . 

  7. zenman zenman says:

    Those were all good choices.  Some more "honorable" mentions:  Vampirella, Red Sonja, Phantom Lady, Moondragon, and … Doop.

  8. Mart Mart says:

    How about Cosmic Boy’s Rocky Horror costume, as designed by Mike Grell? Obviously, he kept it up with nipple rings and magnetism.

    http://www.catskillcomics.com/GrellOA/COSMIC%20BOY2008.jpg

    And of course, Tyroc’s Grell creation.

    http://image.comicvine.com/uploads/item/4000/3620/66508-tyroc_150.jpg

    Lovely.

  9. s1lentslayer s1lentslayer says:

    How is Emma Frost not number 1?

  10. drakedangerz drakedangerz says:

    Yeah, that skank Emma Frost needs to be up there.  Storm is also pretty liberal with her choice of fabrics.  Also, if I was Dr. Manhattan I would increase the size of my junk.  Granted he is omnipotent and doesn’t care what others thing about his body, but it would still be awesome to walk around and have someone see your enormous junk and be jealous.

     And you know…I never understood Colossus’ need to be so naked.  Sure the costume might look kinda cool when he is all metaled up.  But in human form, its the most homosexual costume I have ever seen.  Literally, and I have been in SF during Halloween!  Luckily it seems he has chosen to cover up more in the pages of Uncanny

  11. Wonderful article.

     May I add any woman ever drawn by Frank Frazetta?

  12. How about any woman from the extreme 90′s period? God most of the indie books had extreme women and costumes…..Not like I’m calling for that again or anything. ^^;

    I would have to say on the male said Dr. Manhatten should be #1. I mean look at that pic Sonia provided us! You totally see everything, unlike Swamp-Thing and Surfer where they dont have their ‘naughty bits’ drawn….Never heard of Girl One though, I need to find those Top Ten issues.

  13. Kimbo Kimbo says:

    Your sense of humor is great Sonia, I’ve really come to look forward to your articles.  Hilarious piece, the physics of how they run aorund in some of these outfits has always confused me. 

  14. Kory Kory says:

    I agree with the Emma Frost comment.  Her costume is totally impractical and shows a lot of skin.

    Great article.  It just shows how stuff we see in comics and barely notice would look ridiculous in real life.

  15. Neb Neb says:

    Does the Jenna Jameson comic count? :)

  16. *sigh* it’s facts like these that make me hate comics sometime.

  17. CAM CAM says:

    I very much appreciate that the Surfer pic is Moebius (I think).  Well done Sonia.

  18. zombox zombox says:

    In fairness, Girl One is a synthetic organism. She might not jiggle.

  19. edward says:

    do you reckon Collossus waxes or does he have steel wool poking out of his undies?

  20. One glaring omission is the one of the all-time greats:  Vampirella.

  21. soniaharris soniaharris says:

    I cannot believe how many insubstantial costumes I missed. Particularly impressed by that Tyroc bloke. Insanity!

    @FACE: My default is always to look at how the characters look in the comics, and Mystique always had a pretty swanky dress in the comics. 

    @JumpingJupiter: Hey, you didn’t have to do the research. You wouldn’t believe the messed up stuff I found.

    @CAM: Yep, that’s Moebius. If you click any of the images, you’ll get a much bigger one. That one in particular has a credit for Moebius, since it’s the cover of an amazing comic (one of my faves).

    @zombox: I was wondering that too, but I think that if I grew a synthetic human, I’d want them to have all of their wobbly bits intact.

    @edward: That’s a horrible and disturbing thought. But the hair on his head forms a kind of solid metal mass, so maybe that’s what happens in his pants too.

  22. Tork Tork says:

    With Colossus, I think the metal plating actually goes over his fleshy skin less so than his skin actually transforming into metal so I’m guessing any body hair (chest, arms, legs, giblets) just gets covered over it.

  23. Kimbo Kimbo says:

    thank you edward and sonia for never allowing me to look at Colossus in costume the same ever again. 

  24. cromulent cromulent says:

    Now I’m horny. Thanks a lot.

  25. I’m a big Captain Atom fan but I guess he falls into the same category as the Silver Surfer…as far as being silver and naked I mean.

  26. lobo lobo says:

    Swamp Thing had to take over John Constantine to have a reproductive organ, so you’re right he didn’t even have a cucumber to hide.

  27. Brandino says:

    uhm…anyone Psylocke anymore? Come on she fights people hand to hand in a glorified bikini.

  28. Heroville Heroville says:

    Witchblade?

  29. Actually, I’m naked  right now.

    You like that, huh?

  30. skinnerbox says:

    @Lobo:  Indeed, you are correct about Swampy. But what about his numerous tubers?  Aren’t those essentially uncovered genetalia?

  31. How about "Fire" the fire green Brazilian.  I think she’s part of Checkmate now.  She’s always got a nice shape.  Maybe if you look at her with polarizing sunglasses….?

  32. minithin minithin says:

    @skinner

    those "tubers" are edible hallucinogenic chodes 

  33. Crippler Crippler says:

    What about invisible boy from Mystery Men?  He needed to be naked for his power to work!

  34. Come to think of it, seems like very few superheros wear real clothes. There’s an article in that Sonia…

  35. VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

    Um, yeah, pretty naked there. I wonder why there haven’t been any characters who have nudity as an overt aspect of their powers. No Nekkid Dude?

  36. mitchster mitchster says:

    Where is Witchblade?

  37. rayclark rayclark says:

    nice article. now that you mention it…there are lots of nudity with no clothes. 

  38. Agzilla says:

    Good read…. i ‘racked’ my brains trying to think of some forgotten classic that wanders without… not as easy as it seems! 

    Although some say the human torch is "Hawt" without clothes on! 

     XZz. 

  39. ericmci ericmci says:

    CharlesVanMAy-  Fire, definitely, she can’t power down until she goes home to change.

  40. azrael1981 azrael1981 says:

    the invisible man from the league of extraordinary gentlemen. every character in alan moore’s neonomicon.i guess i should say most alan moore’s characters.

  41. marvelzombie marvelzombie says:

    I’d also put Iceman on this list.  Most of the time he’s either in the speedo category or just a walking naked guy made of snow. 

  42. comicrelief1 says:

    Funny list. What about Phantom Girl from the Freedom Fighters.  She’s Starfire and Vampirella with far less structure.

    Thanks azrael1981, and  marvelzombie for the assist.

    Martedward, and ericmci and thanks for the big laugh.

  43. comicrelief1 says:

    @drakedangerz  

    Brother you shouldn’t even start down this road because eventually you have to wonder why Mr. Fantastic, Elongated man, Metamorpho and all the other shape changers have not done the same thing.

    Take my word for it, this exercize will drive you mad. 

  44. SteveM SteveM says:

    Good article.

  45. keith7198 keith7198 says:

    Captain Cold?

  46. kcekada says:

    Black Canary’s classic outfit covered most of her skin. She wore fishnets over tights — so the outfit wasn’t as brazen as claimed above. Somewhere in the 90s, it was retconned to fishnets over bare legs — but even the pic used in this article clearly shows little skin.

  47. What about Venus from Agents of Atlas? Her first appearances she totally nude like all the time. Then they finally get her a dress that has got to be the thinnest material ever. You can pretty much still see everything.

  48. tomc says:

    What about Martian Manhunter? He’s got a spedo and suspenders.

  49. TRStrick says:

    The Alan Davis Killraven always made me uncomfortable–a male stripper from the future.