- By Eric Webb American-Statesman Staff
Superhero costumes are, in a word, badass. Such is their form; such is their function. From the birth of comic book vigilantism, a crimefighter’s sartorial sensibility has been half the fun of the genre, from Superman’s long underwear to the Crimson Avenger’s domino mask and cape. Wonder Woman, the grand dame of all superheroines, is no different.
With actress Gal Gadot now donning that famous tiara on the big screen in “Wonder Woman,” it’s a treat to look back at the comic book Amazon’s long history of costumes. Anyone with a passing fluency in pop culture iconography knows the template for the standard Wonder Woman uniform: red boots, star-spangled blue bathing suit bottoms, red bustier with a yellow emblem (sometimes an eagle, sometimes a nested “WW”), lasso, bullet-deflecting bracelets and the aforementioned tiara. But you don’t bust a few heads in the name of peace since 1941 without changing clothes a few times. There are bound to be a few head-scratchers over the decades. You probably have a pair of bell-bottoms in the closet; I had hangers full of Hot Topic T-shirts.
Let’s count down some of Wonder Woman’s weirdest costume moments. I restricted myself mostly to in-continuity looks — that means costumes that appeared in main storylines, not alternate realities, for you non-comics folk — though there are a couple that skirt the line.
10. Hemmed in: Speaking of skirts. Now, a skirt is, of course, not an inherently bizarre garment. Though her origins lie in radical feminism, it’s perhaps understandable that the gender norms of 1941 would dictate a female superhero bust out the gate in a frock instead of pants. (Unless that hero was Katharine Hepburn.) It’s still jarring to see Princess Diana’s first outfit, which included not even a kicky tennis-style skirt that might facilitate butt-kicking, but a full-frill skirt. Depending on your outlook, it’s probably a good thing she soon swapped this out for swim trunks. Way easier to kick the Cheetah’s butt when you have a full range of leg motion.
9. Urban Amazon: In 2010, uber-famous comics artist Jim Lee tried to punch up Wondy’s outfit to be a little more modern, which famously meant pants and infamously meant a weird leather jacket/choker combination. The change was meant to “toughen her up,” according to then-series writer J. Michael Straczynski. A costume you could piece together with separates from Forever 21, however, doesn’t exactly scream “tough.” It murmurs “basic.”
8. All-white everything: When those in the DC Comics know think “weird Wonder Woman moments,” they think of the hero’s 1970s mod makeover. Owing just about everything to Emma Peel from TV’s “The Avengers” — not those Avengers — Diana briefly lost her superpowers and eschewed patriotic swimsuits for a rotating wardrobe of chic ensembles and catsuits, usually in all white. Not exactly the duds for trench warfare of Gadot’s “Wonder Woman.”
7. It’s a bird! In the seminal alternate reality story “Kingdom Come,” Wonder Woman dons a gleaming set of golden, birdlike armor. That suit of armor eventually made its way to the main DC Comics timeline. The only problem with this: The suit looks like, as internet Wonder Woman historian Carol Strickland so perfectly put it, a screaming chicken.
6. All you need is love: You know Green Lantern, right? Well, in the DC Comics mythos, there are lanterns of all colors, including violet — the color of love. In the late 2000s comic crossover event “Blackest Night,” Wonder Woman briefly became a zombie (Black Lantern), a resurrected ringslinger (White Lantern) and an agent of love (well … they’re called Star Sapphires, so that one is a bit different). Being an agent of love means you have to wear a scanty version of your costume made of shreds of purple-pink fabric, apparently.
5. Space princess: The early ’90s were a strange era for Wonder Woman. Of note: The early ’90s were a strange era for most superheroes. In one storyline, our hero lost her duds and suited up in a generic, leathery adventure number, complete with brown knee boots. Very Han Solo. You wouldn’t know it was Wonder Woman unless her name was on the cover.
4. Venus was her name: This one only sort of counts, but any list of weird Wondy looks would be remiss without including the Wonder Woman of the 853rd Century. This future crimefighter was literally a statue brought to life (kinda like the “real” Wonder Woman, in most origin stories), but unlike the present-day hero, she still looked like a statue. No amount of Neutrogena can moisturize skin made of white marble. Top it all off with blank eyes, a translucent shield and a giant red starfish on the shoulder, and you’ve got yourself a suitably alien take on an icon.
3. It was the disco era, I dunno: Lynda Carter, you’d recognize. Cathy Lee Crosby? Maybe not so much. The actress starred in a 1974 TV movie that predated the more famous Carter take on the character. Crosby’s Wonder Woman was more spy than Justice Leaguer (remember the whole white catsuit era?) and wore a flag-inspired motorcycle jumpsuit.
2. Biker chick: OK, now we’re talking “strange ’90s choices.” When she lost her title as Wonder Woman (sometimes it’s a ceremonial Amazon thing, long story) to a fellow warrior named Artemis, Diana kept fighting the good fight in biker shorts, ankle boots, gloves, a blue bolero jacket and a black halter top rich with straps and lacking a midriff. Also, she got Shannon Doherty bangs. This is about as extreme as it gets.
1. Taco war: Finally, the weird Wonder Woman moment in her 70-plus-year history. There was one time, you see, when the Amazons fled the scene and left their princess high and dry. So, being the people’s princess, she got a job at Taco Whiz. While she did not actually fight bad guys in her work uniform, it’s such a bizarre twist that it has to top this list.
The Alamo has been called a lot of things.
A pivotal battle site of the Texas Revolution. The state’s most beloved historical landmark. Once, in jest (and in an attempt to win a taco war), “an old adobe shed that takes 10 minutes to stroll through” in this very publication.
Even that doesn’t cut as sharply as a Business Insider list that dubbed the mission Texas’ “worst tourist trap.” The publication identified a landmark in each state, like Graceland in Tennessee and Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, that “disappoints” and “should be avoided at all costs,” differentiating them from “legendary landmarks that everyone should see.”
Although we like to keep a friendly rivalry going with our Interstate 35 neighbor, it’s hard to deny the historical significance of the Battle of the Alamo and what remains of the mission where it was held.
“Remember the Alamo? More like, spend a day at the Alamo and you’ll remember to never go back,” the list says of the landmark. It also says “looking at a picture will suffice” because the “remains are so small they consistently disappoint visitors.”
Always remember the Alamo, Texans. And forget you, Business Insider.
— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff
Near Newton, Texas, just west of Louisiana, artist Christopher Reynolds and his wife, Nina, spotted a large black snake on the side of the road. In a Houston Chronicle story, Reynolds says he stopped to take a few pictures when his wife suggested he take a video, too. Then the horror begins.
Suddenly, where there was one snake, there were now two. In a nightmare world, both would then turn and charge the couple and … no. That did not happen. Instead the larger black snake makes his escape and the smaller snake is left to wonder what the heck just happened.
What did happen?
Reynolds is heard on the viral video saying that the eater snake was uncomfortable with humans around while he digested his meal, so he barfed him up in order to make a quicker escape. A National Geographic story confirms that is indeed a typical defense mechanism for snakes.
But the unusual part is that the eatee snake was still alive, if somewhat understandably shaken.
— Dave Thomas, American-Statesman staff