Top Ten Most Accurate Live Action Superhero Costumes

The stories might not have met our expectations, but the costumes sure did!

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By multipurposeponi - 11/15/2009
With all the talk about movie costumes lately, I wondered which are the most accurate? Not the most popular. Not the coolest. The most accurate to the comics at the time they came out. Well, why not make a list!

Though there have been many movies and TV shows that successfully update and adapt their character’s costumes to fit the story (i.e. Iron Man and Batman), those aren’t making my list.

My criteria are simple:

1) Stay as accurate to the mainstream source material as possible.
2) Translate well on screen.
3) There must be a person wearing the costume at some point; 100% CGI doesn’t count.
4) I'm only looking at heroes; not villains.
5) Impresses the hell out of me when I see it.


10) The Phantom



Campy and corny as all hell, but I still want this damn suit!

- Biggest inaccuracy I noticed: Silk screen skull on torso


9) Captain America



Sure this movie never made it to theaters. Sure I had to hunt the DVD down on Ebay. Sure many people gave it bad reviews. But I still flipped out seeing Cap in his full Red, White and Blue glory for the first time.

- Biggest inaccuracy I noticed: No scales on the shirt

8) Ghost Rider



Leather, check. Spikes, check. Flaming Skull, check. Motorcycle. . . could have been better.

- Biggest inaccuracy I noticed: No spikes on his belt or boots (which is debatable since GR wore several outfits)


7) The Flash (TV series)



This is one of my personal favorites. He looks like he jumped right out of a comic book.

- Biggest inaccuracy I noticed: Nose covering on the mask


6) V (V for Vendetta)



I never thought I'd see a hero that could freak me out more than clowns do. I was wrong.


5) Spider-Man



Though I’m not a fan of the movies overall, there’s nothing quite like seeing Spidey slinging webs through Manhattan.

- Biggest inaccuracy I noticed: Webbing pattern is a raised, silvery material. Also, no web shooters. Sure, it worked for the movie, but it wasn't in mainstream Spidey comics.


4) Hellboy



This whole get up could have gone wrong in so many ways: makeup, prosthetics, a big stone hand. . but it did just the opposite.


3) The Rocketeer



As much as I loved Donner’s Superman, The Rocketeer made me believe a man could fly.


2) Rorschach (Watchmen)



In theory it’s a simple costume: a trench coat, fedora and purple pants. But it’s all about the mask. And this one delivered flawlessly.

1) Superman (Christopher Reeve)



Whoever says spandex can’t be taken seriously needs to watch this movie ASAP.


That's where my list stands. I don't think I forgot one, but I'm sorry if one slipped my mind. If yours goes a little different, feel free to post it below. Remember, if we're going to try comparing lists, you should follow similar criteria. How much you like the costume has nothing to do with it; it's all about the accuracy.




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InTylerWeTrust - 11/15/2009, 4:22 PM
Great list Multi!

I think my favorite would have to be Spider-Man. Though all of them are fantastic!

(First) ;)
ZoloTalar - 11/15/2009, 4:27 PM
I get Batman not being on the list, sans the 60's TV show where the comics emulated the look of the show, but why couldn't Iron Man. The suit was ripped right out of Extremis.

I am going to agree with Tyler and say Spider-man is the best costume adaptation.
RedSkullGeezer - 11/15/2009, 4:30 PM
Great List Multi....that Cap outfit really gives me angina when I think of the new movie...
IronMarvel - 11/15/2009, 4:36 PM
Good choices but yea could have put on iron man. Do villains too that would be awesome!
ASSASSIN666 - 11/15/2009, 4:44 PM
Multi- Love it, but Iron Man should have been up there. I know it was CGI, but silver surfer looked great too.
Magicfingers - 11/15/2009, 4:47 PM
@Multi- Great list! So many of my favourite tv/movie heroes are listed here. The Flash is still in my top 5 favs. If they make the suit like that for the film, I'd go Ape-S@#$. Hellboy was also a great addition to your list. Ron Perlman was the only man to play him... And he looked good while doing it. Oh, and the Rocketeer was one of my All-time favourite movies when I was a kid. Too cool, but now you must do a Villains list. :)
Joe6Pack74 - 11/15/2009, 4:56 PM
What about Tom Jane's Punisher. He is the Punisher to me. Not a traditional hero with powers but still. My 2 cents not right or wrong, just an opinion...
Tobuttica - 11/15/2009, 4:56 PM
Spidey's might be the best, but it's not the most accurate. The spiders on the frond and back weren't accurate to the books, but I'll agree, his and Ironman's were the best iterations. Superman's is a little too easy. Personally I liked Swamp Thing, from Returns, not the first one.
groundrunner15 - 11/15/2009, 5:11 PM
Flash's costume was pretty good. Especially for the 90's. The only thing missing were those yellow boots.....
Good List by the way.
Spilox - 11/15/2009, 5:19 PM
They did such a great job on Hellboy and Abe!
Nice article dude.
wagonburner - 11/15/2009, 5:32 PM
excelling list. i would of though abe sapien would be here aswell. and hellboy should of got first for the sole reason on how difficult and teadious it was to become hellboy. thats prolly it. Superman rocks ass anyways. so all in all good list
scambune - 11/15/2009, 5:40 PM
good list!
lvlheaded - 11/15/2009, 5:43 PM
I wish there was room for marv from sincity but hey that list is pretty damn tight. awesome job
Magicfingers - 11/15/2009, 5:54 PM
@Multi- Good place to draw the line, man.
itashy - 11/15/2009, 5:58 PM
what about the xmen? no professor x or beast?
Joe6Pack74 - 11/15/2009, 5:59 PM
@MultiPurpose, sorry did not mean to offend. Of the list I though Ghost Rider was pretty close to the comic. Sorry if my first selection offended the post...
crazyish - 11/15/2009, 6:09 PM
@Poni@ great list man. however you did forgot deadpool from Xmen origins. just screwing with ya. and jeezus people read the freaking qualifications Ironman is my favorite superhero and i am not pissed that he wasnt on the list. professor X was pretty accurate but then at the same time how do you screw up a bald guy in a wheelchair the only thing harder to screw up is a wiseass mercanary with a serious diesease . oh wait nevermind. also blade should be up there along with the Tick. either way great list.
StuckInPanels - 11/15/2009, 6:31 PM
actually the hellboy outfit is inaccurate. he has cloven hooves in the comics and not in the movies. the upper part is correct but the feet are not
bsprecher - 11/15/2009, 6:36 PM
Great list, Multi!

Here are my thoughts on your list:

10. Phantom: Pretty accurate, but did they airbrush in his muscles or what?
9. Captain America: Okay, pretty accurate, but those were not the actor's ears: they were rubber! Not so concerned about the scales b/c they were never prominent until the past decade or so.
8. Ghost Rider: Spot-on.
7. Flash: I loved the costume. I thought it worked exceptionally well for that show. I mean, it was basically a comedy-adventure show, so it fit.
6. V: Spot-on.
5. Spider-Man: I would probably put this one at the top of the list. I mean, c'mon, it's as close as possible to the original, yet it doesn't look cheesy at all. I liked the ribbed webbing; I thought it was an improvement on the comic design, which is basically sewn-on webbing. Disappointment: Black costume. C'mon, it didn't look anything like Venom!
4. Hellboy: What BlackAirs87 said.
3. The Rocketeer: Pretty good, but I always thought the helmet and backpack looked too cheap. You could tell they were plastic.
2. Rorschach: Great adaptation, but it shouldn't be #2 because Dave Gibbons, the original Watchmen artist, said that the mask was not made of gauze and that the inkblotches were not stains. Gibbons envisioned the mask as being three layers: the top layer is clear plastic, the middle layer is a pocket of air with some sort of fluid in it, and the bottom layer (inside layer) is another layer of plastic. Kind of like those ice packs that have the goo in the middle.
1. Superman: No one else could pull off straight spandex. Something about Chris Reeve just made you buy it.

DDD - 11/15/2009, 6:48 PM
I agree in most part with your list @Multi!
Accuracy means exactly alike and Reeve's
Superman walked right off the pages of the
comics! It took Reeves to pull the spandex-
look off. He sold every part of Supes character!

But Hellboy should be no. 2 here not Rorschach.
Rorschach was not exactly accurate for the reasons
that Brent@ said above!

Fantastic article Multi@! :D

hescian - 11/15/2009, 6:50 PM
It would depend on the artist, but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles should probably be somewhere on the list.
Same goes for the Mask.
Upupandaway - 11/15/2009, 7:00 PM
@Multi: Great list! Linda Carter as Wonder Woman. You say Reeves did spandex justice. What about her?!?! Ooh, la, la!
georgia49th - 11/15/2009, 7:05 PM
There all pretty close . #11 The Spirit
RLG - 11/15/2009, 7:15 PM
I totally agree with this list. Additions: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles no cgi, Dick tracy very accurate, Adam West's Batman and Robin and some of the Villians look iconic. Now the best adaptation was Iron Man.
Superman was better since it is just a spandex suit but Iron man is at least the second best.

I have some nominees for worst costume adaptations:

1-Shag's "Steel".
2-"Thor" from the Incredible hulk series
3-"Daredevil" from the Incredible Hulk series.
4 and 5-"Huntress" from the Birds of Prey series. The Black canary too.
6,7,8,9,10-"Black Canary" and the other Smallville characters. Look at Cyborg, Black Canary, Aquaman, and Green Arrow.
11 thru-17-"The Justice league" on that crappy movie, What happened there?.
Special mention-The Xmen trilogy, The outfits look cool but they are no adaptation.
hewilldefytheirgravity - 11/15/2009, 7:34 PM
What about Blade? That was a pretty accurate look.
selinakyle - 11/15/2009, 7:35 PM
The Rocketeer is one of my favorite movies. never knew it was a comic book.
Nice one.
lvlheaded - 11/15/2009, 7:38 PM
maybe should put up some honorable mentions like ironman, marv, dr manhattan, the crow etc
selinakyle - 11/15/2009, 7:38 PM
and there was a flash/captain america movie? lol..where have i been?
selinakyle - 11/15/2009, 7:40 PM
is anybody watching The Prisoner on AMC?
GUNSMITH - 11/15/2009, 7:40 PM
HONESTLLY I LIKE THE NOSE COVERING ON THE TV FLASH, I THINK THE COMICS FLASH WOULD LOOK COOLER THAT WAY, HE SEEMS MORE SPEEDSTER TO ME THAT WAY
StuckInPanels - 11/15/2009, 7:46 PM
interestingly enough Ron Perlman was game for the hooves but they went ahead with the whole human feet. He DOES however have hooves in the 2 good animated films and those films have the BRPD cast returning, except that agent in the first one. i dont think these are canon with the live action movies. Another accurate one was the shadow, even tho that movie was horrible it was pretty accurate to the comics
StuckInPanels - 11/15/2009, 7:56 PM
a quick note on costumes for KICK-ASS, all of them are not the same as the ones from the comics. Even Kick-ass's costume is altered due to the addition of the open mouth. Redmists is totally, Big-Daddy looks way better in the movie, and hit girl is still awesome no matter what
FAD - 11/15/2009, 8:00 PM
cool article!!!! the fantatic fours costumes were accurate tho werent they?
Upupandaway - 11/15/2009, 8:05 PM
I don't know how to post pictures yet, but check this out. She's spot on!
http://artfiles.art.com/images/-/Lynda-Carter-Photograph-C12146665.jpeg
SHHH - 11/15/2009, 8:40 PM
@MultiPurposePoni: Are you gonna do one for villians?
SlaughterHouse - 11/15/2009, 8:53 PM
I have to agree with hescian, what about the Ninja Turtles?
gibbyblaylock - 11/15/2009, 8:57 PM
Word, Ninja Turtles fo' shizzle

Great list. Now I'd like to see a top ten most INaccurate costumes. That'd be fun and challenging.

I mean challenging in the sense that it would be hard to decide which are the MOST inaccurate.
StuckInPanels - 11/15/2009, 9:03 PM
Turtles dont count cuz they went CGI in the latest movie, also in the comics they all had the same color bands...the different colors for the cartoon and first movie(best live action cartoon movie EVER) was to show distinction amongst the 4
SHHH - 11/15/2009, 9:08 PM
gibbyblayock: Here's a start





gibbyblaylock - 11/15/2009, 9:08 PM
I can't figure out how to put pics on here.

Yes indeed SHHH!
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