?It’s obvious that flashy tights and protective-yet-colorful armor place pretty high on the superhero stereotype meter, right under superpowers. But if certain heroes can get by busting bad guys with gadgets instead of bio-lasers, then who says you need to be a Project: Runway cast-off to fight crime? And seriously, if your body frequently battles whole pints of Ben & Jerry’s, it’s best to stay away from the spandex, anyways.
That being said, some heroes in the Marvel Universe have preferred to spend their extra time honing their abilities and fighting evil instead of slouched over a sewing machine — but whether that makes them better or worse than their spandexed brethren is up to you. Here are 10 Marvel superheroes that, for better or worse, prefer cotton and sneakers to unstable molecules and buccaneer boots.
10) Scarlet Spider
?I know that a spandex bodysuit is kinda the opposite of casual (unless you are a lonely brand of creep), but a closer look at this mid-’90s gem reveals the depths of its laziness. Ol’ Scarlet Spider took a crimson bodysuit, no frills or complex designs like his body double Spider-Man, and then tossed a hoodie over it. A sleeveless hoodie. Apparently Ben Reilly never got the memo that if you can buy it off the rack at K-Mart, it can’t be part of your superhero uniform.
?You have to hand it to Anya Corazon, the current Spider-Girl who started off her crime-fighting career as Ara?a. Unlike that other crusty exoskeleton sporting heroine Witchblade, Ara?a had the decency to cover up her non-exoskeletoned parts. But would it hurt her to cover up with something other than what’s at the top of the laundry pile?
8) Black Knight
?When you have a helmet as instantly recognizable as ol’ BK’s, most people probably don’t notice what’s happening below the neck. So one can assume that most of the United Kingdom didn’t notice that the Black Knight bore a mighty resemblance to Fonzie during his tenure with Captain Britain’s MI-13.
?What seemed garish even by early ’90s standards (hot pink tank top, Smurf blue shorts, canary yellow jacket) now seems decidedly American Apparel. Whether or not Jubes was a fashion visionary depends on your level of ironic hipsterness. Either way, Full House’s Kimmy Gibbler wants her sunglasses back.
6) Jamie Madrox
?Sure Madrox is more of a private eye than a superhero these days, but he’s still way more casual than the film noir dudes he constantly name drops. Madrox, your clients don’t care that you had a t-shirt custom screen-printed with your logo. When they look at you they see the dude who kept the entire dorm floor awake, practicing jams from OK Computer on acoustic guitar. At least spring for a suit, but not one like the next guy on the list.
5) Pete Wisdom
?The Men In Black look works better than spandex ever would for British spook Pete Wisdom, but doesn’t he own an iron? After a hard day of fighting off vampires launched at Britain missile-style from the moon by Dracula (seriously, go read Captain Britain & MI-13 now!), Wisdom tosses his suit into a ball on the floor.
4) Jessica Jones
?Jessica spends equal time talking about how she isn’t a superhero as she does fighting off Doombots and Agamotto the All-Seeing. Like it or not, Jessica, you’re an Avenger. One would think that joining Earth’s premiere fighting force would be cause for a visit to the super tailor, but apparently not. At least Jessica has an actual rotation of clothes to fight crime in and not a closet full of the same outfits like a lot of the other heroes on this list (and also Doug Funnie).
3) The Captain
?Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen’s Nextwave broke many rules during its brief run, but it didn’t mess with the rule that heroes wear tights. Underneath their too-cool trench coats, all of the crew wore more-or-less standard hero duds. All of them except for the Captain, who closely resembles that guy that won’t leave town, has a perpetual open tab at the bar and still plays in that mediocre metal band.
2) The Runaways
?As a Los Angeles-based team of teenagers that plays by their own rules, the beloved Runaways have opted to save the world while looking like the cast of iCarly. When you’re written by the likes of Brian K. Vaughan and Joss Whedon, you can get away with that.
1) Luke Cage
?Considering that his only flirtation with superhero attire resulted in a silver tiara and yellow blouse (a combination that was casual for Studio 54 goers), Luke Cage gets a pass for giving up on tights. And you don’t need protection or armor when your primary super power is unbreakable skin. Still, Luke Cage must go through a lot of black t-shirts.