Comic books are weird. The highlight of any given issue might be the strange powers, unbelievable plots, or larger-than-life characters. But that just scratches the surface of what makes the medium so wonderfully bizarre. One of the biggest elements that leads to the unique feel of comics is, of course, the costumes. No matter the company, DC, Marvel, or whatever, all heroes and villains seem to be competing for one singular goal: to wear as little as possible.
It’s pretty much impossible to open the page to a comic and not find someone dressed in an outfit that shows a ridiculous amount of skin. The emphasis of skimpy costumes leans heavily towards female characters, but "baring it all" isn't exclusive to those with two X chromosomes. Men are just guilty as showing off way more than would be deemed reasonable in polite society. This list combines some of the worst (or best, depending on your perspective) offenders.
There are some notable missing faces from our collection. Characters like Vampirella, Tarot, and Bomb Queen didn’t make the cut. This isn’t because their costumes aren’t revealing, because they clearly are - it's that they're too revealing. These ladies’ outfits are meant to push the envelope, as their comics dip their toe into becoming pornography. The outfits on this list at least have the suggestion of being practical, even if the truth might be very different.
Here are 18 Comic Book Costumes That Revealed Way Too Much.
19 Dr. Manhattan
To anyone familiar with Dr. Manhattan, this placement might be a bit surprising. To anyone not familiar with Dr. Manhattan, it should be made clear that he’s a huge, blue, naked man. (Though he has been known to wear a bikini brief or suit when modesty is required.) Dr. Manhattan doesn’t just reveal more than most, he reveals everything. This is the very reason why he’s placed so low on our list.
Dr. Manhattan doesn’t care. He’s not revealing “too much” because he has no desire to cover up. The ridiculousness of comic book costumes is how they cover up some parts but leave everything else so exposed. Manhattan is the exact opposite. His nakedness isn’t a costume, it’s just a way of showing how removed he is from humanity.
The Hulk’s ripped purple shorts are rather iconic, but it’s obviously an incredibly revealing costume. The Hulk looks threatening when he’s all green and raged out. As The Avengers showed so well, once the rage has passed, he’s just a science nerd in stretched out pants that are ten sizes too big.
Hulk’s look, while recognizable, isn’t a costume in the classic sense. It’s not something that Bruce Banner really puts on to transform. The look is just something that happens. It’s Hulk’s green skin that defines his look, not whatever clothing is (illogically) covering his genitals.
The Hulk’s pants are such a comic book standard that it’s not weird when a child reads or watches anything with him in it. It’s a revealing costume, but only in the vaguest definition of that phrase.
From this point forward in the list, things are going to get skimpier and much harder to justify. Tyroc isn’t a particularly famous hero, and when looking at his original costume, that's easy to understand. Though DC would eventually cover the majority of Tyroc’s exposed skin with black cloth, originally, he wore some strange corset thing with way too many chains.
There are multiple problems with Tyroc. He was one of the first black superheroes, sure, but he was introduced as a violent caricature and a racial segregationist. And yet somehow, his costume still might be the most genuinely perplexing element.
Tyroc hails from the far flung future of the 31st century, so it might just be a product of the times. It's the only adequate reason to explain why he looks like an Elvis impersonator who forgot half of his outfit and ripped it straight down the middle.
16 Black Canary
Black Canary is one of DC Comics’ finest heroes, as well as one of its most outspoken feminists. But there is no dancing around the fact that her iconic look is super sexualized. Dinah usually has a leather jacket to cover her arms but when the costume’s taken down to its basic elements, it’s little more than the work uniform of a dominatrix.
There’s a reason that Arrow has covered all their Canaries in black pleather, in areas where the comic version has fishnets. The show would not be on broadcast TV otherwise.
Dinah’s pretty much completely exposed everywhere but her torso. It’s not like her middle section is modest however. It's so tight, her belly button is visible. Forget about her famous canary cry - one big sneeze and the secret is out for Black Canary.
Elektra, like Canary, is another accomplished warrior who wears barely anything into battle. Elektra has had several outfits over the years but her most recognizable look is just loose red fabric with way more ribbons than are practical.
On the page, Elektra's comic book duds always seems to cover just the right parts of her body. This is the benefit of a static and meticulously crafted image. In reality, there is no way that Elektra could keep anything covered while doing all her flips, kicks, and sword murdering.
Honestly, is it so surprising that Elektra keeps dying in the comics? She doesn't have any protection. Strategically placed cloth might cover certain bits, but it's never going to stop a sword.
Kamandi’s one of the legendary Jack Kirby’s weirdest characters, which is saying quite a lot. Kamandi hails from one of DC’s alternate Earths (Earth-AD to be specific). Kamandi’s world is that of a post-apocalyptic nature, which explains why his stories feel concurrently in the far-flung future and a nearly prehistoric past. However, it never makes sense why Kamandi never finds a shirt to wear.
Kamandi’s look is similar to The Hulk’s, in that he's either sporting a loincloth or a tattered pair of paints. Unlike Hulk, though, this is a conscious decision. Kamandi regularly fights against human-animal hybrids and is constantly toting a firearm, but he never bothers to cover his rippling torso.
This is extra-uncomfortable given the fact that Kamandi appears to be barely out of puberty in most of his appearances. He’s not only basically naked and getting into firefights, he’s a nude child with muscles more developed than the average grown man.
Namor is one of Marvel’s most notorious flirts. He’s the poster boy for Marvel’s infamous Swimsuit Specials and he’s by far one of their most sexualized male characters. It stands to reason that his aquatic costumes have always been very skimpy but his early 2000's iteration is insane.
Namor’s arms, armpits and groin are covered but that’s about it. It’s more distracting than if he was just wearing a speedo, which he has done in the past. The garish garments on his arms really just draw attention to the parts of his body that aren’t covered.
Namor is one of the more powerful mutants in Marvel Comics, so it doesn’t really matter if he’s covered up for protection purposes. It's still pretty hard to take him seriously looking like that, though.
12 Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is hands down the most famous superheroine in history, but this doesn’t mean her costume hasn’t been greeted with a far bit of scorn for showing too much skin. While Diana’s iconic red, white, and blue duds do show a lot of skin, it’s a nun’s habit compared to her 1990s look.
The decade saw Diana forced to give up her title to her fellow Amazon, Artemis. Unable to wear the suit of Wonder Woman, Diana went for a look that was essentially a bra, bicycle shorts, and a little leather jacket.
Even if Diana is usually wearing something akin to a bathing suit, it’s certainly a modest bathing suit. This outfit was mostly just skin with weird buckles and straps being placed in a manner that would give no support to anything. Regardless of the content of the stories where this outfit appeared, the look itself was atrocious.
A much more practical costume could be coming for this character in the MCU, a la Elektra. For now, however, Moondragon has one of the most ridiculously revealing costumes in comics. Moondragon is the daughter of Drax the Destroyer, hence the MCU connection, but no (Earthly) father would want their daughter to wear something like what you're seeing above.
Moondragon’s costume is essentially a one-piece bathing suit that had an unfortunate incident with a madman wielding scissors. Though Moondragon is a telepath, you'd never get that sense from her costume, which can be qualified as a series of strings.
Obviously, this outfit would never work on a real human woman - one of the many reasons it will never see the light of day in the MCU. Still, just imagine Peter Quill’s reaction to Drax’s daughter showing up with this look in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Piotr Rasputin really doesn’t look that exposed in his most recognizable Colossus outfit. Since he typically appears in his steel form, it’s not readily apparent that he’s basically naked. Yet if the silver parts of his body are viewed as skin, which they are, he’s one of the most scantily dressed heroes of either gender.
Though Colossus has different variations on the same outfit, his usual look is a red diaper with an eccentric connected top. Piotr’s sides are completely exposed. This does show off his muscles, even if they do have shiny steel coating on them, but it’s dangerous. If something occurs in battle where Colossus can’t access his mutant ability it would be ridiculously easy for a villain to attack his sides with all those precious internal organs. The outfit is so bright that it functions as a target anyway.
Of course, things get particularly scandalous when he chooses to go shirtless when he's superhero-ing with his fellow X-Men.
9 Cosmic Boy
First Tyroc and now Cosmic Boy; it’s obviously that there's something very strange going on with fashion in the 31st century. Like Tyroc, Cosmic Boy’s area of exposed skin would eventually be covered with (a really ugly) pink material, but his early appearances are bonkers.
It’s as if Cosmic Boy looked at fellow member of the Legion of Super Heroes, Tyroc, and decided he wasn’t wearing enough of a corset. He's literally wearing women’s underwear as costume. There would be nothing wrong with that, of course, if Cosmic Boy wasn’t constantly fighting for his life.
Once again, it’s the areas that are covered that makes the whole thing feel unnatural. It would almost make sense if Cosmic Boy was just wearing a black bikini brief. The coverings that extend up his torso make everything much more sexual, oddly enough.
The duo of Cloak and Dagger are two of Marvel’s most underrated heroes. The designs of their costumes leave a lot to be desired. Cloak wears his eponymous cloak and it shrouds him darkness. Dagger, meanwhile, has a skintight white outfit that somehow has the shape of dagger cut straight out of the middle.
Dagger’s powers involve a mystical light force, but she also evidently has some control overs physics and gravity. There's no force on Earth, whether it be our planet or Marvel’s 616, that would make the bottom half of Dagger’s outfit stay together. There’s enough on display as it is, but basic logic should mean that the entire thing would be wide-open.
This is also a weirdly pedophilic situation. When Cloak was first introduced, she was just a teenager, yet that was when her costume was its most sexual. It certainly doesn't help matters that the dagger design often looks like a big arrow that's pointed...well, you know.
7 Sue Storm
Sue Storm's a female comic book character with a rough history. In her early days, she was constantly portrayed as a whiny, crybaby airhead, and the Fantastic Four's recent movie adaptations have done her character few favors. But perhaps the most insulting thing the comics ever did to Sue Storm was put her into an incredibly skimpy outfit in the '90s. (There’s seriously something off about this whole decade.)
All of the Fantastic Four's members got costume remodels during the '90s, but Sue’s by far the “sexiest.” Which is just wrong, since Sue is usually a fairly modest character. If anyone should be getting a revealing costume, it should be Sue's brother, Johnny. The Human Torch is the promiscuous member of the team, but it was the mother of two who exposed her boobs and stomach to the world.
Sue’s a certified genius, but it’s almost impossible to take her seriously with a large cutout in the shape of the number 4 on her chest. The costume was relatively short-lived, but the damage had been done.
Witchblade is both the name of the hero and the weapon/outfit. For the uninitiated, Witchblade is a magical sentitnet gauntlet that bonds with a female host and can grant her extraordinary powers. One of these powers must be an utter lack of modesty. The Witchblade forms armor around the host, but the definition of armor is very loose.
Since the gauntlet is a living thing, the costume did expand and contract in coverage. Sometimes, it would be a complete suit of armor. Sometimes, especially on the covers, the outfit would be as skimpy as possible. It would only cover the bare minimum in order to keep the character from being completely naked.
Apparently to some, there are few things sexier than a borderline parasitic and alien looking glove.
Starfire has always been one of DC’s most openly emotional heroes. Kori’s frequently been free about expressing her affection for others. In the New 52 reboot, DC Comics ended up getting just a little bit too free with the alien princess.
Like most heroes, Starfire’s outfit was designed for the new DC universe, but not much effort went into covering her up. Starfire’s New 52 design consists of some pasties, shoulder pads, and a thong.
One of Starfire’s defining features is that she's much more comfortable with her sexuality than most humans. The New 52 just took things way too far in this direction. The outfit, and the writing surrounding it, made Starfire into little more than a sex pot, which greatly diminished the character’s history and development up to that point.
4 Red Sonja
There’s a long-running critique, especially in video games, that female fantasy armor is way more revealing than its male counterpart. The point of female armor, in a swords and sorcery type of story, isn't to protect as much as possible, but to reveal as many sexy parts of the body as possible. Red Sonja’s outfit is the quintessential example of female fantasy armor. Sonja really wears nothing but underwear, but it’s justified by being metal (or chainmail) underwear.
As silly as Red Sonja might look, the outfit (and the character) can work very well in practice. There’s even a safe argument to be made that Sonja is just as covered up as her male counterpart, Conan the Barbarian. It’s equal-opportunity nudity between them.
This doesn’t change the fact that she's just wearing metallic lingerie, which has to be super uncomfortable.
3 Emma Frost
Though the characters' personalities have little in common, Emma Frost’s costume does share a similarity with Colossus. Emma’s outfit might expose large portions of her skin, but she can harden into a diamond form, giving herself a suit of armor whenever she requires one. Unlike Colossus, Emma hardly ever uses this battle-ready form.
Emma Frost has a complicated history. She started as a villain, became a hero, and then reverted to something in between. Throughout her struggles with morality, her unwillingness to be fully clothed has never faltered.
Emma’s costume is so revealing that January Jones wore a bra for most of her portrayal of the character in X-Men: First Class. Sadly, this was the only faithful part of the character's adaptation from page to screen.
2 Star Sapphire
It’s obvious that a comic book costume is revealing when the character’s appearances outside of the page always drastically change the look. Star Sapphire has appeared in multiple DC Comics cartoons, and the look has always shifted to something a bit more modest. This is because Star Sapphire has, by far, one of the most risqué outfits in comics.
There are characters on this list that do have more skin showing than Carol Ferris and her violet colored corps. Still, Star Sapphire is the ultimate example of how the placement of the clothing can make an outfit feel far more revealing.
Everything about Star Sapphire’s costume is designed to be overtly sexual. This does make a type of sense; Star Sapphire’s power is all about “love.” Ultimately, a closer examination of where the stars are placed is all that all that needs to be looked at in order to justify her place at the top of our list.
1 Honorable Mention: Movie Mystique
If you were wondering where Raven Darkholme was, fear not - she wasn’t forgotten. Mystique's probably one of the first characters that pops to mind when thinking about skimpy outfits. This is only because of the movies, however, where she's literally naked.
In the comics, Mystique wears a lot more clothing. She’s no shrinking violet, mind you; Mystique, no matter the medium, is always pretty sexual. But she couldn’t really be included in a list of comic book characters with revealing outfits based on how she appears in the movies.
The X-Men universe is content to have Rebecca Romijn and/or Jennifer Lawrence strut around essentially naked. Marvel Comics have shown (a little) more restraint on the page.
What is your favorite, or least favorite, revealing outfit in comics? Which ones did we mess? Sound off in the comments!