Wait until they get a load of me.
-Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Batman
People like to wear costumes. We do it every day. Suits and ties, designer clothes, come fuck-me pumps. Costumes, one and all.
Anyone who has ever gone to a comic con knows that some people REALLY like to dress up. Bruce and I just got back from Wizard World Texas, the final stop on the Hyperbolic Pop-Cultural Express, and they were there, in all their spandex splendor. Some folks really went all out and did it up right. You could see all the time and energy and money they put into their appearance: custom accessories, flowing capes, tons of make-up. One the other hand, some were just sad. Ill fitting costumes or made-up characters that made you scratch your head and ask ‘Did Batman eat Robin?’ or ‘Which one was the gay Thundercat
Now, it would be too easy, and a little disingenuous, to bag on these fans for dressing as their favorite characters. It can’t be that easy to be a fat, balding Klingon or Wonder Woman sporting a pair of sagging jigglies. But they try and that takes guts. More than I have. I own a couple of Lucha masks and I’m not about to wear one around all day at one of these shows, unless, of course, I’ve been drinking, or someone dared me, or it pissed somebody off, or creeped somebody out, or impressed a girl. I’m oddly motivated, as you can see.
But the dressing up isn’t what bothers me. In a sea of scrawny Supermen and mini-Vaders, I’m struck by how much costumed superheroes and villains THEMSELVES don’t fit into the world outside comic books and movies. We, as a society, don’t wear capes or spandex (at least not since the 80’s). We don’t wear masks or body armor, either. On the whole, we’re a jeans and t-shirt kind of crowd. The kind of people Herb Tarlek once called ‘dungarees’.
Technicolor vigilantes look oddly out of place amongst the irony.
And so, as I watched a couple of X-Babes trot by, I got to thinking about what I was seeing and I started to fantasize. I imagined lying in bed when this super-hot chick comes out of the bathroom wearing a patent leather bustier, a short skirt, thigh-high lace up boots, some sexy carnival mask and cracking a whip. My first thought is ‘Yeah, Buddy!’ Then she comes over, leans down, kisses me gently on the forehead and announces, ‘Time to go to work’. And with that, she jumps out the window and flies away to patrol the city as ‘The Dominatrix of Doom’.
That’s when I realized how come the costumed superhero thing doesn’t work for me.