A fundamental complaint about comic books, which has been made by certain sections of society over the years, is that they can be quite sexist - particularly when it comes to the depictions of their female characters.
While the majority of male characters in comic books are muscle-bound individuals whose costumes cover a large portion of their bodies, females are often presented as slim, with disproportionately enormous breasts and, most noticeably, wearing very little.
While the aim of this is obviously to appeal to male fans, the fact is that females make up a huge percentage of comic book audiences and, as a result, quite a lot of controversy has arisen about the topic of superheroine costumes.
Not only are they unnecessarily sexualised, they are also extremely impractical in most cases. For instance, why would a female character with no superhuman durability to speak of go into battle with heavily armoured and massively powered opponents wearing what is essentially a bikini? It shouldn't happen, but it does happen in comic books - and it happens a lot. Of course, there are characters whose durability is such that they don't necessarily need to wear full body armour in battle but, even so, revealing 90% of their body is still unnecessary.
This article will discuss a dozen of the most ridiculously revealing superheroine costumes in comic books.
12 Red Sonja
Red Sonja is a character who is loosely based on Red Sonya of Rogatino - a character from Robert E. Howard's 1934 short story "The Shadow of the Vulture". Most recently, she has appeared in a series published by Dynamite Entertainment - a series in which she died and was replaced by a reincarnated version of herself.
Her first appearance in comic books, however, was in Marvel's 1973 Conan the Barbarian series, where she was introduced as a stereotypical fantasy female - fierce, beautiful and extremely scantily clad. She essentially wears a scale mail bikini with boots and gauntlets, which isn't very useful in battle - aside from offering freedom of movement.
Bald-headed Moondragon AKA Heather Douglas - who first appeared in 1973 - is a Marvel character with a complex backstory that involves Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, Mentor and the monks of Shao-Lom. She is an incredibly powerful telepath, a telekinetic, a superb martial artist and is highly skilled in genetics and engineering. She doesn't possess any superhuman durability, however, and often goes up against some of the most powerful beings in Marvel's cosmic hierarchy - and yet she barely wears any clothes.
For someone whose body is as vulnerable as a normal human, Moondragon's swimsuit-like costume and cape offers very little protection and really does nothing but show off her slim, busty physique.
10 Bomb Queen
Bomb Queen is actually a villain, but she has her own titular comic book series in Image Comics and, given her ridiculously revealing costume, it would be criminal not to include her. She first appeared as recently as 2006 and has eliminated and banned all superheroes from the fictional city she lives in - New Port City. She rules the city as its dictator and is a popular leader amongst the criminals who reside there.
She has a variety of revealing costumes but, most notably, she wears one that barely even covers her private parts - covering only the nipples on her breasts, rather than the whole breast, for example (but what do you expect from a character whose storylines include one called "Gang Bang").
9 Emma Frost
Emma Frost is a mutant in Marvel comic books who first appeared on panel in 1980. Originally presented as a villain, she has evolved into a superheroine over the years. Her powers include telepathy and the ability to turn her body into a diamond form, which obviously makes her incredibly durable and also grants her superhuman strength (though she can't use her telepathy whilst in that form).
She is actually one of the most conservatively dressed characters on this list, wearing a number of white garments that cover her private parts and most of her extremities - although there is still quite a lot of flesh on show and, at their most revealing, her costumes are pretty scandalous.
8 Power Girl
Power Girl is a DC Comics superheroine who first appeared on panel back in 1976. A Kryptonian - the same species as the much more famous Superman - she possesses the same powers as the Man of Steel, including superhuman strength, superhuman durability, flight, heat vision, X-ray vision, freeze breath and superhuman speed.
Like Emma Frost, Power Girl is dressed relatively conservatively in comparison to other characters on this list, but the fact is that her legs are entirely on show and the only uncovered area on her torso is her cleavage, which basically screams to readers "LOOK AT HER CHEST" in no uncertain terms.
She-Ra - who first appeared in 1985 in the Filmation movie The Secret of the Sword and the Filmation cartoon series She-Ra: Princess of Power - is, of course, the sister of He-Man. Wielding the Sword of Protection, she is granted similar powers to her brother - superhuman strength and durability, for example - as well a few more esoteric abilities, like healing and the ability to speak to animals.
She has also appeared in a number of comic books - most recently DC since 2012 - and she always wears the same costume. Most notably, the costume includes a skirt that barely qualifies as a miniskirt, but it shows off quite a lot of flesh in general.
6 Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman - without a doubt the most well-known character on this list - is a DC Comics superheroine who first appeared way back in 1941. Also known as Diana Prince, she is an Amazonian warrior whose powers included superhuman strength, speed and durability - and she also wields magical weaponry and equipment such as the Lasso of Truth and the Bracelets of Submission.
Her costume - which includes a tiara - is essentially just a corset with a pair of underpants and knee-high boots. There's really nothing more to it than that! It has changed a little bit over the years but, generally speaking, that's the gist of it.
5 Shanna The She-Devil
Shanna the She-Devil is a Marvel comic books jungle adventurer who first appeared back in 1972. Having been born in Africa, she spent a large chunk of her childhood growing up in the jungles of Zaire (though she has spent time in places as varied as the Savage Land and San Francisco).
Her abilities basically equate to being a peak human athlete, with survival skills and great combat abilities (think Tarzan, but female). She has encountered a number of well-known characters, such as Wolverine, Daredevil, Spider-Man and Black Widow. As for her costume, it's basically a ragged bikini made up of materials you'd expect to find in the jungle.
Vampirella - a vampire (or at least the alien equivalent), if you hadn't already guessed - is a heroic character who came to Earth when her own planet was dying (at least in her original origin story) and, upon her arrival, sought to protect it from the forces of evil. She first appeared on panel way back in 1969 in a self-titled comic strip in Warren Publishing’s black-and-white horror comics magazine and has gone on to appear in comics published by both Harris Publications and Dynamite Entertainment.
Her costume is little more than a few strips of red leather that makes up a ridiculously skimpy swimsuit-esque number, covering the essential areas and very little else.
3 Star Sapphire
Star Sapphire is the name of several characters in DC Comics - most notably Carol Ferris - who often cross the line between being both superheroines and villains. They wear violet-coloured rings that are essentially the same as the green ones worn by Green Lanterns, which provide wielders with powers like flight, energy blasts, the ability to augment their physical statistics and the ability to create powerful constructs of anything they can think of.
The rings also generate costumes for them and, unlike the male wielders of such power rings in DC Comics, they are typically skimpy. Generally, they are extremely tight-fitting and cover everything that needs to be covered - but only just - and the wearer's cleavage is left fully exposed.
2 Dejah Thoris
Dejah Thoris originally appeared all the way back in 1917 as the princess of the Martian city-state/empire of Helium in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels (the same source that introduced the more well-known John Carter (that guy who got a movie to himself in 2012) - the man who happens to be her husband). Since then, she has appeared in a number of comic books, most notably in Dynamite Entertainment's 2010-11 comic miniseries Warlord of Mars.
Her costume is essentially made up entirely of metal parts, including flat plates which just about cover her modesty and a number of decorative parts on her head, neck and wrists.
Witchblade first appeared in Top Cow Comics – an imprint of Image Comics – in 1995. Witchblade isn't actually a character in itself, so to speak - it's actually a sentient supernatural artifact, in the form of a gauntlet, which bonds to its (strictly) female host (the most well-known being NYPD homicide detective Sara Pezzini), providing said host with a variety of powers and a very skimpy costume (in essence, they become the Witchblade as a result).
The costume is essentially made from the Witchblade itself, as it wraps itself around the host, intricately positioning itself over the necessary private areas, leaving very little to the imagination, but just about covering the host's modesty.