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Comic Book Questions Answered: Who Designed the Costume For Nightwing’s Solo Series?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.

Reader Stephane wrote in with a question about Nightwing’s current costume.

Enjoy!

Stephane wrote in to ask:

For a while now I’ve been trying to figure this out, but can’t quite seem to find the answer anywhere.

Who designed the current Nightwing costume? I had assumed it was Scott McDaniel, who handles art chores on the early issues of the current Nightwing run, until I realized that the costume was introduced earlier than that (Possibly in a Greg Land miniseries). I’m hard pressed to believe that Land could come up with such a striking design, one which will likely continue as the definitive version of the Nightwing persona.

Any thoughts?

To start, I have no idea if Greg Land is good at designing costumes. He might be!

However, Nightwing’s current costume, the one that debuted in the Nightwing mini-series by Denny O’Neil and Greg Land, was designed by Brian Stelfreeze, who did the covers for that mini-series.

Thanks for the question, Stephane!

If anyone else has any questions they’d like to see answered, feel free to drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com.

18 Comments

You’re right. Stelfreeze did design the suit for the first/original Nightwing mini series. Greg Land pencils the majority of the series in which Dick Grayson “quits” being Nightwing only to get tangled up in his private life and finding that he needs yet another suit to do some vigilante work. Since he destroyed his old suit…

The main reason, IMHO is that no one but Perez could make the look of the original suit “work”.

Cory
I think you’re right. Even Grummet changed it for Titans to the blue and gold suit with the webbing wings.

For all his talents as an artist, Perez’s costume design has always been terrible. He was also responsible for Wonder Man’s green and red pre-leisure suit monstrosity, for Starfire’s and Cyborg’s original costumes, and the Scarlet Witch’s Busiek-era gypsy look. I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting. With the possible exception of Raven (basically just a black cloak, which is pretty hard to mess up), I don’t think he’s ever designed a costume that didn’t get improved when someone else started to draw the character.

For all his talents as an artist, Perez’s costume design has always been terrible.

You neglected to mention probably his worse offender — Jericho. Jericho had one of the most unnecessarily complicated costume designs until the mid-90s “pouches and gun” era. What was up with the 1/3 length cape? What do you even call that – a scarf?

Credit must be given to Stelfreeze for designing what is probably one of the sleekest superheroes costumes in the 90s, when I am sure it was very tempting to give Nightwing a few pouches and a bulk set of shoulder pads.

“With the possible exception of Raven (basically just a black cloak, which is pretty hard to mess up), I don’t think he’s ever designed a costume that didn’t get improved when someone else started to draw the character.”

Two words:

Death. Stroke.

But other than that and the gypsy Scarlet Witch costume, I agree with you. Can’t think of a single costume created by Perez other than those two that wasn’t awful.

What other major characters’ costumes (hero and villain) has Perez designed?

Nightwing
Jericho
Cyborg
Starfire
Raven

Scarlet Witch
Justice (actually, I think this isn’t terrible)
Triathalon

Monitor
Harbinger

I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head. What else?

i was watching a tape of Into the Woods the other day, and I was amazed at how much the Rapunzel costume looks like Perez’s Jericho costume. Same color scheme and puffy sleeves and bubbly Christopher-Atkins hair and everything.

Oh, and Perez also did Taskmaster for Marvel, which was liek Deathstroke dressing up as Moon Knight. Which I approve of.

Oh god, the Avengers-era Justice and Firestar costumes were just painful. The moment Janet said, “Oh, why don’t you let me design you two some new costumes,” I just wanted to shout into the book, “Don’t do it, you two! She’ll make you look like DORKS!”

And sure enough, Justice’s nice, streamlined costume got a bunch of weird vents and rocketpacks and lord knows what else. And Firestar became the sexiest skiier 1970′s Colorado had to offer.

And back to the wording of the original question… while Stelfreeze did design the current outfit let’s try to remember that back in the days of Nightwing and Birds of Prey before Land discovered his lightbox that the man could draw.

wait, what was wrong with Starfire’s original costume?

I tend to like Perez’s costume designs, but the man has undeniably done some stinkers. The main problem he runs into is that he tends to draw costumes that don’t work when anyone else draws them, like the Scarlet Witch’s gypsy outfit.

The good:
Starfire’s original costume
Cyborg’s original costume
Raven
Zatanna’s 2nd superhero costume (the dark blue one with the white cape)
Wonder Man’s red safari jacket look
Pariah from Crisis on Infinite Earths
Justice’s 1st Avengers look (the Vance Astro-esque one)
Taskmaster
Deathstroke the Terminator
Brother Blood
Mammoth
Cheshire

The bad:
Jericho
Nightwing’s original costume
Shimmer from the Fearsome Five (instantly dated)
Psimon from the Fearsome Five (He died in Crisis because even Perez hated the design)
Wonder Man’s 70s red & green costume
Triathalon

Oh, and another bad one: Justice’s 2nd Avengers look. Hated it from first sight.

Daniel O' Dreams

February 13, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Don’t forget the original Troia costume talk about needlessly complicated and noone but Perez and Phil Jimenez can even draw it.

Sorry guys, I like the original Nightwing costume. I’m clearly in a minority here but I thought it looked pretty good. Maybe I’m a sucker for a wide collar…

I think the original Nightwing costume works well in a superhero group book like the Titans. It looks odd in a Batman-type story. It’s just so flashy.

And I LIKED the Troia costume! I was always sorry she didn’t keep it for longer.

I believe George Perez designed the original Jack of Hearts costume, and specifically tried to make it difficult for anyone else to draw.

randypan the goat boy

May 25, 2011 at 9:47 am

Im probably mixing this up here, but didnt george perez design a cool costume for the characters Golden Eagle Flamebird and the character that mal Duncan became…the herald {i think] Sure these Characters were nothing but fodder in supervillain wars, but i would have to say that there Perez makeovers were way better than what they bwere wearing. I always hated jerichos costume…he always had a ” NO CLOSET CAN HOLD ME ” kind of look to him. but to make a long post a little shorter, mr perez might not have designed many cool costumes..But the man can throw down when it comes to drawing hundreds of characters for a book . my personal favorite piece of art ever is the huge JLA Avengers jam from jla avengers 3

can someone help me out dc are bringing out new comics called 52 . and they all have a new 1# issue . if i brought one of theses comics will they be worth anythink in the furture . and also can u help me out . i want to start a comic book collection and im into spiderman and batman . is there any comics out there that are cheap that i can get at a local comic store that will be worth money in years to come how will i no if it be worth any money and can anyone suggest comics to start my collection with thank u so much if someone can reply

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