Power Girl Costume History
Power Girl was created to be the counterpart of Supergirl in the Earth 2 Universe. She would also be one of the lucky few to crossover into the normal DC Universe after the Crisis on Infinite Earths story concluded. Because of this, she has many parallels to Supergirl. Power Girl’s first appearance would be in the 1976 issue of All Star Comics #58.
Like her first cousin Superman, she was also saved from Krypton right before it exploded, but it took her several more years to reach Earth 2. After the Crisis on Infinite Earths ended in 1985, instead of Power Girl being Kryptonian, she became an Atlantean and was the granddaughter of the sorcerer of Arion. However, 10 years later in Infinite Crisis, her origin story would return to her Kryptonian background. I hope you were able to follow all of that. Luckily for the New 52 universe, her origin was not changed.
Originally, she was created to add a relatable female heroine to Earth 2’s Justice Society of America. Before Power Girl joined, the entire team consisted of men who had lived through World War 2. Much like her counter counterpart Supergirl, Power Girl has the same powers as her first cousin Superman.
Power Girl’s Kryptonian name is Kara Zor-L while Supergirl’s is Kara Zor-El. Despite these similarities, Power Girl has been able to shape her own unique identity in the DC Universe. Not only has she been a member of the Justice Society of America but she would also be the team’s first chairwoman.
Power Girl’s first costume would also be her most recognizable. Attempts have been made to change its simple design but it is hard to beat a classic. This costume had a white bathing suit for its base. Rather than ending in shoulder straps like most swimsuits, this would cover her neck and arms completely.
The part of the design that has been uniquely identified with Power Girl is the boob window that was cut out of the front. This feature is so famous that from here on out it will simply be referred to as the Window, with a capital W.
To add some color to this plain white costume, Power Girl wore a red belt with a round yellow buckle. She had a matching red cape that was held on by a gold rope attached with two yellow buttons. To top off this patriotic uniform she would wear blue gloves and boots.
Over the years it would be this outfit that artists continually go back to. It is hard to believe that such a simple costume would be the subject of so much debate. These arguments have mostly revolved around her Window and the size of her chest. Both of which have continually grown over the years and has become a major joke in the comic book industry. The comics even tried to explain it with Power Girl unable to find a suitable symbol for herself and how heartbroken she was about it.
Panel 1: People always ask me why I have this hole right here. They think I'm showing off, or just being lewd. But the first time I made this costume, I wanted to have a symbol like you.
Panel 2: I just couldn't think of anything. I thought I'd eventually figure it out. And close the hole.
Panel 3: But I haven't.
Justice League Europe
Power Girl would change her costume for the first time while working with Justice League Europe. This could have been her wanting to ditch the red, white and blue color pattern while overseas or perhaps the character herself was going through an identity crisis since she was no longer Kryptonian but Atlantean. Whatever the reason, fans would see her Window disappear for the first time.
This new costume would still have white as the dominant color, but the only other color present would be yellow. The cape was completely scrapped and the gloves were replaced with gold arm guards. Despite this full bodysuit being skin tight, the neck fit loosely and would fluctuate between white and yellow depending on the inker. This costume would only last a couple of years.
The Window Returns
Power Girl’s next costume change would occur while she was still working with the Justice League Europe branch. This time she looked even more patriotic than her original costume. Realizing that her costume was missing that special something, the Window was brought back. This time it would be cut out in the shape of a large diamond.
Making sure everything matches the Window, her tight bodysuit would have blue accents creating the white in her costume to take on the shape of a diamond as well. The cape would return but is now white with a red trim. Her blue boots also have a red trim and would now be thigh high for the first time. Her gloves were back in solid blue.
The oddest addition to this costume was the blue headband. I am not sure if they were trying to match Supergirl or since she was from Earth 2/Atlantis, she was unaware that headbands went out of style in the '80s.
After two costume fails, Power Girl went back to the basics. The long-sleeve, neck-high, white bathing suit was back. The Window and chest were bigger than ever. With advancements in technology and printing, more details were brought into the costume. This went beyond the characters' “body” details that are usually enhanced in later versions of a character.
Power Girl’s simple costume was given lots of little details to help bring it to life. Rather than the belt looking like a red line with a yellow circle, it appears to be a decorative brooch with fabric laced through it. Which makes sense, since there is nothing that a belt needs to actually hold up. Matching gold buckles are used to close up the top of her boots and depth can be seen in the boots and gloves making them appear thicker.
The suit itself has seams running down the front and sides, causing it to look more like a costume than a bathing suit. The biggest change to her costume style would be with the cape. Instead of two large buttons at the ends, there is now one large button (sometimes pauldron) that drapes the cape over one shoulder and across her back.
New universe, old Power Girl, new costume. It makes sense.
For the new 52 Universe, most of the DC characters have gone through a major makeover in an attempt to make them more relevant to modern readers. Power Girl will be getting another Windowless costume but this time they will stick closer to her original design and Kryptonian background. Her full white bodysuit will now cover her legs but leave the arms exposed. With a significant increase in the amount of fabric used, there would also be a lot more seams tying it together.
She wears simple white gloves over her hands but decorative gold guards on her forearms. Her boots are also gold and appear to be a lot more solid than previous versions. The cape has a Kryptonian military feel, it is red and comes around the front in a triangle. There are two small triangles on the front of the cape where the big button used to be. The design does a good job of blending Superman and Power Girls' past capes.
Not So Fast
There is yet another Power Girl costume created for the New 52 Universe. This probably came about because of fans quickly noticing an uncanny resemblance of Power Girls' new costume to Alan Moore’s Supreme character from Image Comics.
To separate her costume from Supreme, the gold was drastically cut back. The blue gloves are back with smaller gold bracelets. The gold boots have been completely removed. Instead, a blue line runs down the side of her white costume and ends at the soles of her feet. There is a gold button on her ankle to give the appearance of a small shoe.
Once again the cape underwent a major transformation. It now blends into and becomes part of the costume. The cape envelopes her neck and shoulders, and the triangle only comes down on the left side of her chest. There is, what I assume, a yellow Kryptonian symbol over her left breast. I like the original Supreme rip off version better and it is because of this symbol. To me, it calls more attention to her oversize chest than any Window ever did. It looks more like a pasty than a superhero emblem.
Power Girl is not a well-known character outside of her comic book world. She has yet to appear in any mainstream live-action films or television show. Her costume is not something that can be picked up at your typical Halloween costume shop. That has not stopped fans from creating their own costumes.
- Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)
- And of course: Reading way too many comic books.
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