Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Comic Book Crimes of Fashion: Those Avengers Jackets

When I first approached Jay Faerber about working on War of Kings: Warriors, he actually squealed with a child's glee (over e-mail) at the notion that he would get to write the portions focusing on Crystal. Not quite understanding Crystal's appeal myself, I was curious what drew a smart, talented fellow like Jay to the character. He gave me a solid list of reasons, ranging from her pedigree as a Lee/Kirby creation to her wealth of relationships throughout the Marvel Universe. But then he mentioned something else...

"Oh, and I loved when she was on the Avengers back when they had those leather jackets."

Oh Jay. Poor, sweet, naive Jay. You are a skilled and intelligent individual, my friend, but I fear Mr. Blackwell would not approve. I ribbed Jay during a panel at New York Comic Con about that point and will continue to do so every time I see him not for myself, but for his own good.

Look, you're not going to find a bigger fan of 90's fashion cliches than yours truly. I loved Superboy's original costume. I idolized Jake Hanson from Melrose Place (from a fashion standpoint anyhow). I thought Nova looked best with an earring, long hair and razor stubble.

But even I knew the Avengers looked ridiculous in leather jackets.

I've heard the reasoning behind putting Earth's Mightiest Heroes in brown cowskin was that the X-Men were molten at the time and since a lot of those characters (Gambit, Rogue and even mainstays like Cyclops) were sporting leather jackets, the powers-that-be hoped the Avengers could get some visual rub.

No such luck.

The Black Knight in a leather jacket with a little "A" symbol was like your 40-something uncle listening to Spin Doctors and trying to hang with you and your friends. Crystal and Sersi in biker gear was like the snobby girls at your high school putting their hair in dreadlocks unironically.

Those analogies only work if you're my age, but you get my meaning.

The X-Men were always the cool outsiders who you kinda wanted to hang out with anyways; in the 90's, the Avengers were "the man," and having them dress like street punks just made them come off like narcs. I'm just glad Captain America had too much dignity to follow in Nomad's 90's footsteps (although on Nomad it looked awesome) and the Vision doesn't wear clothes.

Hey, I don't blame the creators responsible for the Avengers leather jacket debacle, as a lot of stuff seemed like a good idea in the 90's (I tried to grow sideburns and David Hasselhoff was Nick Fury). Besides being a heckuva nice guy from my encounters with him, Bob Harras is also a talented writer who was responsible for Breach, one of the better kept secrets of the past couple years. Steve Epting is the artist who helped Ed Brubaker propel Captain America to new heights (and a dude I'd love to get a Nova sketch from). I bear these men no ill will.

But they still put Hercules in a leather jacket.

Never let Jay Faerber forget that.


Woody! said...

If I remember right, Bob Harras was editing the X-Men line of books and writing the Avengers so it seemed to me like he wanted to see if the leather jackets would translate to his title.

Daryll B said...

What you say has merit...at the same time I kind of still preferred that look for Dane than his full on Black Knight with cape look. A cape on a swordfighter makes even less sense than matching jackets.

Crystal has always had that sweet, naive, girl next door who just happens to be a smoking hot model quality.

Besides the 90's Avengers were Melrose Place to the 90's X-Men '90210'

All this said, I recognized the greatness of Steve Epting way back then.

Great stuff!

Ben Morse said...

I think the Avengers were Models Inc. to X-Men's Melrose. The New Warriors were 90210.

Jay Faerber said...

I'm still bitter you didn't let me put her in that jacket for our War of Kings story. It would've made a good story TOTALLY RADICAL.

Ben Morse said...

I don't recall vetoing anything.


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