So, the class I’m teaching this week is on the theme of “dressing the body” and I have been a little unsure how to structure it. We’re looking at magazines and ads, but I don’t have anything interesting planned for the rest of the class. And then it hit me.
No, stick with me – everyone knows what a superhero is supposed to look like, right? But there are really interesting topics that can probably be introduced using pretty pictures of spandex-clad superhumans! Right?
Things I am thinking so far:
- The Wonder Woman costume controversy, obviously – both the1960s mod version and the current version with pants. Who decides what a hero is supposed to look like?
- Storm’s punk makeover from 1983 (my students are way too young to remember this, but whatever, so am I). What does changing your look say about you?
- The differences between Bruce Wayne’s Batsuit and Jean-Paul Valley’s Batsuit from the Knightfall arc (my students are probably too young to remember THIS *cries*). What is authentic?
- Catman and his outfit echoing the claw marks on his chest (nekkid Catman makes EVERY class better). Symbols and how they define us.
- The Batwoman panel above. How we dress so that other people will read us.
- Faiza Hussain (Excalibur) and Sooraya Quadir (Dust). Maybe along with Helena Bertinelli (Huntress) and the more overtly Catholic versions of her outfit. Displays of faith as self-definition.
- Maybes: Misfit’s fake Batgirl outfit from her first BoP appearances (copying trends, and how our own styles work better?). Black Alice stealing outfits as well as powers (how does how we dress empower us?). Canary inheriting her look from her mother – but can I explain the backstory on that in a coherent enough way?
This is all very Western – anyone got any other superhero characters who might be a good fit for this class? I have some Chinese students and it would be nice to include something they’ll likely recognize.
Temptation to end with that panel of Ragdoll in Wonder Woman’s tiara and boots: very high.