Captain America: Fighting Styles Winners!

Note: We received over a hundred and fifty entries for our Captain America: Fighting Styles contest, which, if you didn’t know, is a whole heck of a lot of red, white, and blue spandex battle suits for one inbox. Thanks so much to everyone who entered. We now present the Winners and Runners Up, along with ratings and commentary from our contributing reviewers as well as fan-favorite Cap scribe, Mark Waid! Tune in next week for the Honorable Mentions! – Dean Trippe

First Place Winner: Daniel Heard!

Daniel Heard
Score: 76 (out of a possible 80 points)

Dean: 10. Daniel’s knocked this one out of the park. There’s so much thought and consideration here. The helmet/mask looks really functional and protective, and the “A” made of stars is brilliant. The multiple looks available in this one uniform are all so clever and cool looking. It has a period but timeless feel. I love it to bits. The discus-throw pose in the top illustration is EXCELLENT, by the way. Great job.

Chris: 9. I really like what Daniel did here: he took the Captain America costume from Marvel comics and figured out the essentials of it, and then put it onto a modern application. The helmet might be jarring to some, but it seems more realistic when you think about it– this looks like an ideal Ultimate Captain America. I couldn’t give it a 10 because the pouches on the calves bother me, and he doesn’t give us a good angle of the shield.

Vito: 10.  It’d be 10+ if I could. As I looked through the entries, I had to find the one that would be my absolute #1 so I could judge everyone after. Daniel’s is…it’s hard to beat. The one thing that this one has going for it that many of the others don’t is that, like Cap’s costume, it’s timeless, just like Dean said. Looking at this, I can see WW2, but I can see today and even tomorrow in it. It really spans all ages. It’s versatile and functional…it just works. What more can be said for a costume that works? Nothing! The one thing I noticed too is that Daniel, wisely, didn’t try to reinvent the shield. That’s not a slight against the artists that did, but it’s really the last thing you have to consider. Oh man, I just noticed the wings on his helmet are small flags! There is NOTHING wrong with Daniel’s entry!

Jon: 10. This one’s gonna get talked about extensively, so all I’ll add to the general praise is I like how he “gets” a functional costume; a lot of the superhero costume designs you see which are trying to be reminiscent of military outfits often just throw some shin guards and padded leather shoulders on their character. Here, Daniel has Cap layering his gear for several levels of protection, function and movement. This is one heck of a well-thought out and striking design

Joel: 10. Yup. This is it. This is a completely contemporary Cap, one ready for the urban combat that has characterized America’s last several military escapades. He’s not exactly cuddly; I think I’d be a little scared to be in the same room with this guy. And that seems just right for superhero with such strong military connections.

Tim: 7. I’m shocked at how much my taste differs from everyone else on this one. It’s a brilliant series of drawings, but this isn’t Captain America to me. This, more than any other entry, seems like it belongs in WWI, and it just doesn’t quite work as something Steve Rogers would have ever worn. It’s too decorative, too…aristocratic. It’s nice, but it’s really a good-guy version of Enemy Ace, isn’t it?

Jessi: 10. This costume is so great! It has a Captain America as an American Spy kind of vibe to it. Very sleek yet it still looks like he’s protected all through out it. I absolutely love the lapel detail. You can tell this is Captain America but it still looks vastly different from the original. Great redesign!

Mark Waid: 10. Cap by way of Howard Chaykin. LOVE that coat. Want.

Second Place Winner: Derek Toye!

Derek Toye
Score: 65

Dean: 9. This is a solid look! It fits as an upgrade for Bucky’s new Cap look, in my opinion, given the short gloves and the inclusion of black. It’s hard to find something not to like here. I do miss the wing elements on the mask. I hope that gizmo on his shoulder is a camera for recording evidence of super-crime! It looks comfortable and functional, which is hard to do in superhero redesigns. Another solid look.

Chris: 9. To me, this look like Tomorrow’s Captain America; somewhere between Earth X and the present day. I could even see this being a great replacement for the current BuckyCap design by Alex Ross. I think the mask needs to be a bit more bulky, like a helmet, but I did the belt buckle and the stripes on the sleeve. Being picky though — the three stripes denotes rank in the military, and I think a Captain is two bars.

Vito: 8. I think this improves all the things I like about Aman’s design. It makes it look more functional, yet, like Chris and Dean said, it takes the look further into the future. When folks draw armor, their instinct is to make it look bulkier, because let’s face it, armor is there to protect. But this is comics, folks; I learned how to suspend disbelief a long time ago. That said, the midsection is a little too armored.

Joel: 9. A great redesign. Great lines, nice proportions, and a balance of contrasting elements. The result is a design that has the armored practicality of an infantryman with the sleek dynamism of a more traditional superhero silhouette. As Vito says, the abdomen looks too stiffly armored. This Cap would have a lot of trouble bending or twisting.

Vito: It brings to mind the rib pads I wore in high school football, and I can understand how something like that works, but if you just take it at face value, it’s a little too much.

Jon: 7. Strong visual impact. I think I’d like to see some more body-accenting lines in the abdomen – more of a v-shape, or something else which mimics the shapes of the body and accentuates its lines. (And to Chris’ point, assuming Cap is U.S.Army, those chevrons on Derek’s redesign mostly resemble sergeant’s stripes, except they’re pointed the wrong direction. I knocked a point off of my score because, since the design resembled U.S.Military sleeve insignia, I think it should’ve either been uniform-accurate or been a special design which specifically represented Cap)

Tim: 8. I don’t love the shoulder pads, and I really don’t like the girdle, but I like everything else here a lot. Except maybe the chevrons. Jon’s right, they should be accurate if they’re included. But the mask looks great, with its simple, clean design, and the slightly distressed star fits the character perfectly. I like the pants and the boots, but I don’t have much to say about them. They are pants and boots. Oh, and nice pouches!

Jessi: 7. This reminds me too much of Captain America costumes that we’ve already seen. Agree with Dean about the missing wings but it still looks very functional and Cap can kick some butt in it.

Mark Waid: 8. Another very good redesign that doesn’t fix what isn’t broken. I like the “girdle,” as Tim put it, makes sense. I also tend to lean towards the sleeker designs, partly because I also think of Cap as an acrobat as well as a foot soldier, but that may just be me.

Third Place Winner: Michael Magtanong!

Michael Magtanong
Score: 64

Dean: 9. Good grief, this is elegant. The khakis say modern military, and I love the inverted “A” symbols on the pockets. The giant star on the chest is rad, and the simplified mask is really cool. I love the red “A” with the star forming the negative space in the middle. Great stripes on the boots, too, just to keep things identifiable and connected. But the real standout here is the shield. That’s unbelievable. The inverted star might bug some, but I love it to bits. V for Victory, dudes.

Chris: 7. I lurv this new shield, but its so diametrically opposed from the design for Captain America that this would be a better fit for the Patriot from Young Avengers.

Vito: 8. I’m looking at this as if it IS a design for Patriot, and I love it! The mask is a little…too much. I’d pick one color and go with it, but everything else is a winner. The stripes on the boots are subtle and really ties the whole theme together. That shield PWNS!

Joel: 8. This looks like a great design for a Captain America who came out of the modern Army, the one that’s been fighting in desert environments for awhile now. Not just the khakis, which are a simple and brilliant touch, but the kerchief as well. I’d like to see some more detail on that kerchief. How big is it; how is it knotted? Good eye, Dean, on spotting the “A” motif on the pockets. Those’re really nice, and just another example of the thinking that went into this design. I wonder if the star on the chest isn’t a bit too busy, but I’d need to see this design in a few more poses and angles to make my mind up on that one.

Jon: 7. I love this as a Patriot look, with a couple of reservations – a darker palette for the khakis and boots, I could maybe do without the scarf, nothing major. My greatest reservation is with the excellent shield design and the awesome insignia. I love both of them, I think they’re both exceptionally well designed and powerful, BUT together it’s too much. Imagine him standing with his shield at rest, two giant bold white stars competing for attention side-by-side. Either the insignia or the shield’s star need to be the dominant star imagery in the costume, so I would’ve liked to see one of them downplayed.

Tim: 9. The scarf gave me some hesitation, but I have come to appreciate what it adds to the look. The texture on the chest piece contrasted with the chainmail arms works wonderfully, and I think the shield is amazingly vicious-looking and iconic. I love this whole design, even the color of the khakis and the trim down the boots. Really, really strong look!

Jessi: 8. That is one awesome shield! I like how this looks like an Every-man’s Captain. Its toned-down hero attire but you can still tell he means business. Love the grayish color of the military-style pants and the stripes that go down the boots. Its very modern and I think that’s why I am not totally in love with it. This is a costume I can see him wearing to be a batman kind of street hero.

Mark Waid: 8.  LOVE the shield. Seriously. My only concern overall is that this feels like the kind of outfit anyone could put together in an hour at an Army/Navy store, and I need my Cap to look more inspirational than that.  Personally speaking.  But great shield.

Runners Up!

Alex Mitchell
Score: 63.5

Dean: 9. Alex has (as usual) nailed the historical context vibe here. I love how he’s made the chain-main-under-the-uniform thing more of a feature of the design here, and the jacket, helmet-mask, and shield are top notch. It all just looks so right.

Chris: 6. I love the red-striped breastplate, which goes well with the medieval chain mail carrying over from Cao’s original design. I’m unsure about the eye-holes in the helmet; maybe a full mask/helmet would be better. And I’d take the “A” off his jacket. I would have rated this higher, but I think it’s a little bit to antiquated — even though Captain America is a historic hero.

Jon: 9. This is terrific, very 1940s – and I don’t think it’d fly for a modern reinvention, but it’s a terrific take on the original Cap. The A/Shield insignia is inspired.

Vito: 8. I like it a lot. I’m at a loss, however, why I like it so much. It just speaks to me. I’m a big fan of Golden Age anything, and this actually has some WW1 things going for it (specifically, the helmet). In many ways it’s garish, yet elegant, and it goes a long way to being something real and appropriate for the period.

Joel: 8. This would have looked a little dated even even in 1940, but if Cap were around for WWI, this is pretty much exactly what I’d like him to look like. I love the jacket, and the relationship between helmet and the shield. And we really should have stipulated that every Cap redesign come in the form of a Hitler punch-out.

Vito: Seconded! I’ll accept a Bin-Laden or a Glenn Beck uppercut too! (DEAN, feel free to omit this if you feel it’s too politically opinionated…there’s no need for that in the contest.)

Tim: 8. The authentic-saggy chainmail doesn’t quite work around the headgear, but it’s close. I looooove the jacket (and the emblem, a lot) and the color scheme all the way through. It feels a bit hokey, but in a good way. Like Captain America hokey, which is great, especially with the punchin’.

Jessi: 8.5 This is WWII Chic! I love the soldier feel of this costume from his knightly chain-mail down to his combat boots. The jacket is a lot of fun and reminds me of The Rocketeer. This is such a great costume however I feel like because its so vintage looking it wouldn’t be a revamp for the ol’ Cap.

Mark Waid: 7. Nice helmet, nice overall design for anyone other than Cap, but what gets lost here is the patriotic, inspirational feel to the design. Good shield design, though!

Stefan Grambart
Score: 63.5

Dean: 8. Total Silver Age goodness. I love the red on the mask, and the swapped “A” and star on the head and chest. The silver color on the shield (that’s vibranium and U.S. steel for those of you playing at home!), works surprisingly well, adding a nostalgic vibe to the familiar symbol. Great details, besides, like the snaps on the gloves and the ear-covering wing elements. I dig it. Lovely illustration, too.

Chris: 7. The un-painted shield opens up a lot of possibilities. It’s a very risky choice, but it really opens it up for a more picturesque and almost statuesque quality. The mask needs a little bit of work, and I think a better belt buckle would have helped. But this shield really works for me.

Vito: 9. I could totally see this as Captain America. While it does have a Silver Age overall look, I think those shoulder pads are totally modern. It’s a very strong piece, and a very strong design, and the colorless shield is not distracting. I think when you take the idea of a man wearing a flag, and symbolizing those colors and what those colors mean, you have to somehow get those colors on there. You can use contrasting colors like black, gray and even olive green (as we’ve seen in the contest), but you have to have red, white and blue. Stefan has a really strong design here that doesn’t use red or white in an overpowering sense, and also uses them like the flag does; mostly in stripe patterns.

Joel: 6. To my eye, this looks less like a Silver Age costume than one from an old black and white serial. Maybe it’s the cut of the mask, which is a little fuller around the nose than the standard comics-art domino. As far as the merits of the costume itself, I really like the interplay of the red and white stripes on the chest with the red and white of the sleeves. Unfortunately, the brown belt mitigates the flow created by those elements. And the boots are just kind of there. I think if they were as specifically considered as the gloves, they could be amazing.

Jon: 7. I’m also reading this in a Silver Age vein, but that’s largely because it sparks in my mind the almost-there-but-not-quite-right costume variations you’d see in the old Captain Action toy’s wardrobe (Not that I was alive when Captain Action was coming out, I’ve just seen photos and ads) or in the painted covers of Marvel’s foreign-language reprint collections, like Italy’s Fantastici Quattro or France’s Strange. It might have something to do with the medium Stefan used, but anyway … I love the two tone sleeve effect and I’m really fond of the chest and shield. The boots and legs certainly could use a little flair, just a little something to give the lower body a pop, but otherwise it’s pretty great.

Tim: 9. The silver shield is an amazing addition that brings this excellent design to the top of the heap o’ costumey goodness. I like the sleeves, and the general design of the mask, but the circle shoulders don’t quite mesh. Too much red-on-red there. Still, it’s one of my favorite designs, and I keep going back to look at how cool it is. Because, hey, he’s got a silver shield!

Jessi: 9. I love the aesthetics of this costume and it reminds me so much of how all of the creators who enter these contests are so dang talented. I LOVE that shield. I just could imagine a panel in a comic where you see the baddies faces reflected in the shield and you just know they are in for a world of hurt! Its just such an uncomplicated costume and wonderfully drawn.

Mark Waid: 8.5.  If the shield design were better integrated into the overall look, I’d go with a 9.  I love the base costume; what rubs me the wrong way is how the shield’s composed of circular elements and the costume’s full of vertical lines, which makes the two not gel together well. Like he picked up some other hero’s shield.  But I do love the unpainted shield. I’m stealing that, too. Boy, I’m glad I dropped by.

Note: Lots more Captains America after the jump! – D.T.

Robert Wilson IV
Score: 59

Dean: 8. Really clean and simple in the basic uniform shapes, tricked out with detailed black elements. I’m really surprised the removal of red from the uniform works so well, since the it makes the shield POP.

Chris: 7. This looks to me like Captain America, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I really like what Robert did with the mask; the simplified wings and the gentle piping on the top really give it a lot more definition.

Vito: 7. I don’t know, Dean. I’m really missing the reds here. I do like the black elements, but I would love to see a red contrast…maybe in the negative space in the pads? Or maybe make the pads red? I know, though, that this costume works without the ab-stripes. This might be a black-ops look, but I feel like Steve isn’t the black-ops type. So, I ask myself, “Does it work for Bucky?” and I think it could. The white contrast calls to mind how the blues are used in Spidey’s costume, but it still seems cold. Heh…cold…Winter Soldier…get it? I’ll be here all week, folks!

Joel: 7. Yeah, this is too stark for Steve, but it works pretty well for Bucky. My biggest concern here is what happens with the white stripes as they run down the legs. The white definitely works when kinda tucked away between the inner arm and torso. But it may not on the outer legs, where it will suddenly become a dominant element. And I just can’t tell how Mr. Wislon tried to resolve that from this pose. It looks like they just stop about 3/4s down the thigh, and that seems a bit blunt, stylistically.

Jon: 8. It’s interesting how profoundly the “look-and-feel” of Captain America changes when the red is taken away. I’m reading this as a Bucky-Cap redesign, and it suits that character very well – stark, grim, the absence of the red elements takes away a lot of the verve of the costume design, cuts out its optimism and banner-like qualities. Definitely a lot of possible uses for this costume, whether it’s special Black Ops Cap, SHIELD Cap, or just Winter Soldier Cap.

Tim: 8. I like the lack of reds, and this costume seems to fit the current “Secret Avengers” continuity of the character. I can totally see him wearing this on some mission to Jupiter, where he has to fight Blastaar with only a single positron bullet left in his super-gun. I like the shoulderpads and kneepads a lot. I never thought I would write a sentence like that, but this design has made me rethink my priorities. It verges on greatness.

Jessi: 7. I agree with the others in that this does look like a Bucky costume and it looks like he would be in S.H.E.L.D. kicking some butt. I don’t know if I like the red not being included in the costume as the shield is what catches my eye and I don’t think that’s a good thing.

Mark Waid: 7.  I miss the red and I hate the prominence of the handguns. Sorry.

Caanan Grall
Score: 58

Dean: 8. Duuude. I love this one to bits. It’s so 80s futurey! The maskless look works well for Steve, and the giant star on the jacket is too cool. Classic Cap “A” symbol on the belt buckle completes the identity recognition. And the whole think has a cool Howard Chaykin vibe. Approved.

Chris 8: I love the star jacket with the off-centered nature of it all.

Jon: 7. I love that we have so many costumes here which look decade-specific, this one being so delightfully Eighties that I swear I remember him from my Secret Wars action figure collection. It’s a substantial costume, I like the weight of it, the lines and piping are bold and that’s really laudable. That shield is dramatic with a capital CLANG.

Vito: 6. This makes me think of when Steve gave up the costume and became, “The Captain,” but I’m not in love with it. I don’t necessarily see all the 80’s references in the costume that everyone else is seeing, which, if I did, it might score higher for me. I think I’m just missing the stripes. Maybe a mask. Caanan gets the stripes element in there in the piping of the boots and gloves, but I’d love to see more contrasting elements. You’d think that star (which is a real eye catcher and the strongest element next to the absence of a mask) would be enough for me, but I want more!

Joel: 7. Contrary to Vito, I’m pleasantly surprised how much this does work as Cap without familiar elements like the stripes and the mask. Although, maybe it’s more of a Steve Rogers design that a symbol-of-American-patriotism-type mantle. Bucky or Isaiah Bradley wouldn’t be able to wear this costume, would they? The jacket is a winner, although I question the open neck. It shows an awful lot of neck and shoulder, considering how covered up the rest of the body is, what with welding gloves and John Romita, Jr. boots.

Tim: 8. I like this look a lot, but it isn’t quite a Captain America look, is it? I’m with Vito on the “Captain” vibe, but I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. It’s somewhere between the Captain and Captain America. It’s Captain Am, from an upcoming “Avengers” issue set in the near future, where Steve Rogers is replaced by a slightly younger clone of himself. I love the shield, though. Oh, wait, he’s Captain Am of the Galaxy Rangers! Which I would be kind of all for.

Jessi: 7. There’s a definite Captain vibe to it but I can’t image Rogers wearing something so close to street clothing. I love the red combat boots however I wish the jeans and shirt had more of an armor feel to them. I think iif this costume was released to the masses via a comic there would be the same backlash to it that Wonder Woman got.

Mark Waid: 7.  Neat elements, particularly the asymmetrical ones, but I agree that it’s a little stylish. Also, something about the shield redesign bugs me in that it loses the nice visual balance between all three colors.

Vanni LoRiggio
Score: 58

Dean: 7. I love that jacket! It totally says Cap, but with a little more flair. The maskless look tends to work well for Steve, but Vanni’s movement of the familiar wing elements to the collar looks so dang cool.

Jessi: 7. Completely agree with you Dean!

Chris: 6. Several of the artists in the contest has given us a Steve Rogers without a mask, but I think Vanni has done the best job so far of keeping the design alive without the mask. It’s missing something however but I don’t know what.

Vito: 8. This is a deceptive one because, while I agree with Chris that something is missing (the phrase I keep saying to myself is, “Something is off”), I can’t see any reason to score this lower because regardless, it agrees with me. There’s no mistaking that this isn’t as timeless as some of the others, but it is a perfectly acceptable costume for the modern-day Captain America, whether it’s Steve or Bucky or anyone. The neck looks uncomfortable in the full body pose, but when you take into consideration that it’s probably some kind of fabric and not body armor, it’s no different than your average leather motorcycle jacket, so it works. Like Daniel’s, I’d like to see what’s under that jacket; kevlar? A Harley-Davidson t-shirt? Like buying a car, I want to know more about it before I commit.

Vito: I just realized that I know what I love about this; it’s Steve McQueen as Steve Rogers!

Joel: 8. Very sleek. And, as mentioned above, this is the best non-use of a mask, this contest. I like the way the belt contrasts with the dominant movement of the stripes and the diagonal hem, and the way the lacing of the boots contrasts with the general zippiness of the thing. The neck is a little clunky, and I think that has to do with the two white construction lines that run parallel to the chest star. They should sorta dart in as the move up the clavicle in order to fit Cap’s form. And I’m not entirely sure about the junction where the gloves meet the sleeves. On one hand, I think the short wrist on the gloves adds to the crispness of the design. On the other hand, I keep wondering if the gloves are tucked into the sleeves, which seems fussy. But all in all, I think this is a design that could really be adopted into the 616 without much fuss.

Jon: 8. Am I alone in seeing this as a fairly seamless merging of Ultimate Cap and Steve Rogers:Super-Soldier? The dense fabric is good, the collar-cut evokes the idea of a mask without requiring one, there’s a lot going on with the lines and shapes, particularly along the torso and the boots. All-in-all, this might not be the most daring possible redesign, but it’s elegant, appropriate and competent.

Tim: 7. Pretty good, but maybe a little too close to the current Steve Rogers costume, and I’m not sold on the red and white ribcage, which is the major change to the Super Soldier look. Still, it’s a nice-looking design overall.

Mark Waid: 7. Good jacket. The lots-of-vertical-lines with round-shield complaint I had about another design isn’t as problematic for me here because of the unmasked (round) face. Good color balance. Miss the mask/helmet.

Aman Chaudhary
Score: 56

Dean: 7. I love how Aman’s inverted the stripes and blue area of Cap’s chest, and I think of the super-armor redesigns we received, this is one of the best. It kinda looks like Steve’s repurposed some riot gear for a special battle, but I think it’s a bit too bulky for regular use.

Chris: 7. I like this heavily-armored approach; it’s seems like a more policeman-like Captain America — and a bit like that old SuperCops cartoon series. Maybe this would be more fitting for U.S. Agent.

Jon: 7. This definitely says “Captain America”, there’s no mistaking it – the elements it carries over from the traditional costume are strong and consistent. It’s highly functional (this is Cap as a tank rather than a footsoldier, I imagine) although, to be honest,  the feeling it most leaves  me with is that I feel sorry for the character. He’s rather literally carrying an enormous burden,  and it leaves me with the impression of a man who’s weighted down by his responsibilities.

Vito: 7.5. Jon, I love your tank/foot soldier comment. I might be too old for the class, but it’s reminiscent of the Fighting Chance storyline, where Cap had to wear body armor because the Secret Soldier serum was killing him, but not so much that it reminds me of the bad things about that storyline. In fact, it’s quite modern, whereas that armor was very obnoxious. I’m wondering why he doesn’t already wear some kind of body armor, other than the chainmail? He’s not invulnerable. I like how bulky Aman’s design is, but there’s protection with mobility and then there’s just protection. It calls to mind the Christian Bale Batman costume (or, and this might garner some groans, the GI Joe Accelerator Suits), especially in the boots. The boots look heavy and uncomfortable. Everything else looks like it could work, but unless there are rockets and wheels in those boots, he won’t be getting anywhere fast. Just like a tank.

Joel: 6. I’m always for superheroes having situationally-appropriate costume variation, and think Cap should really consider a tanked up set of togs. I’m all for the aesthetics of this thing, but I’m not convinced by the armor itself. The only points of articulation that seem at all realized are the knees and the neck. But, admittedly, good armor is hard to pull off. That’s why Adi Granov gets to sleep on a giant pile of gold Krugerrands.

Tim: 7. I love, love, love the stripes. The way they look, their position on the uniform, everything about them. But Captain America doesn’t wear this much armor. Or, when he did, his comic book was practically unreadable. Still, if he had to wear armor, for, say a final assault on the underground HQ of zombie Hitler, then this is the suit to wear. Maybe with Judge Dredd-style boots, though, instead of these metal slippers.

Jessi: 6. Dean you stole  the words from out of my mouth. This is very much an outfit I can see Cap wearing to fend off some wild Pro-Registration protesters. I am not a fan of how heavy the overall look of the costume feels. The Mecha-like joint connectors seem like they’d put a damper on C.A’s mobility.

Mark Waid: 8.5.  Not a costume that allows for much fluidity of movement, but great use of color and armor. And I really dig the flag stripes across the chest.

Joe and Rob Sharp
Score: 55

Dean: 8. This is a really nice rearrangement of Cap’s costume elements, but I worry the boot stripes and red pants say “clown” more than “Cap.” The iconography on his chest and the enlarged “A” on his mask look awesome. And I dig the Steve Rude by way of vector graphics style here.

Chris: 5. This to me reads like a blend between the BuckyCap design by Alex Ross and some of the designs of the Shield by MLJ/Archie (now published by DC). The tassels on the boots make me think of the Ultimate Warrior.

Jon: 9. I love this to pieces. Red-and-white striped boot fringe? Bold chest piece, body-hugging v-shapes in the fabric? Red pants? This gives me a delightful vision of an alternate Earth where all the Marvel heroes are permanently stuck in the Seventies.  (I mean, would it work for modern Cap? Even Bucky? No, probably not, but it’s a great reinvention)

Vito: 8.5. I’m totally on board with this character! It’s such a bold step, making the red elements stand out. It reminds me of the Black Canary contest, how folks would use yellow, and how distracting that could be. Here, the red is a perfect choice to go bolder and use the blues to accent it. The predominance of white on the mask is another huge step. This is possibly the most radical design in the contest, the one that seems most like a ground-up reboot. I can’t go higher (the fringe makes me shudder), but I would write the Hell out of this Captain America! Joe and Rob, you guys get the Medal of Honor in my book!

Joel: 6. If Evel Knievel had been bitten by a radioactive flag, this is the superhero he’d have become. Which, now that I’ve typed that, I really want to read.

Tim: 6. This might be my favorite drawing of them all, but it is exactly what Chris says, the Shield meets the Ultimate Warrior. I could see this version of the character appearing on a show like Frisky Dingo, and that would be amazing, but, outside of that context, it doesn’t really work as a whole as well as all the pieces work individually. I really, really want to like that mask. But I can’t take it seriously. It looks like he was peeking through a recently painted fence.

Vito: Oh Tim, imagine this guy…on The Venture Brothers!

Jessi: 6. I loved the top half; very simple but gets the point across. The bottom half leaves more to be desired. I feel like with the fringe pants, our hero could be left in some danger of it catching on something. Or have Joan Rivers dog on him.

Mark Waid: 9. Wait, moving my eyes down the drawing.  8.  Wait, moving down further. 7.  Wait, just hit the bootcuffs. 6.5. Seriously, except for the fringework, which I expect is made out of the same plastic that pompoms are constructed from, I’m sold. Mask rocks. Bite me, Tim. : )

Shane McDermott
Score: 54.5

Dean: 7. A tad too armory for me, but I love the military olive elements. The ribbed sweater, especially. The detailed gloves and boots are rad (combat knife!), especially the locking connectors for the force-shield generator, which besides looking awesome, makes sense for light traveling, and deflecting on-target shots with the solid center, as well as deflecting projectiles off to the side when they hit the holographic bits. Cool!

Chris: 7. This brings to mind for me the idea of the Captain America suit being worn over standard military attire. Factor in the energy shield, and this would be ideal for a Captain America Corps (Marvel, call me and Shane to write it!), but for the Captain America not so much.

Vito: 8.5. I really like what Shane did here. First, the olive green elements are a great contrast to the costume we all know and love. Somehow, despite the fact that he’s using two different blues, two different reds and two different greens, nothing clashes. It all works together. It’s very Ultimates to me, which I think was the first time in modern comics (maybe in Cap’s history) where we saw a real effort to show the military applications of Captain America’s costume. This is very much Cap by way of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare!

Joel: 7. This design has some of my favorite mixing of Captain America-costumery and traditional military fatigues. Or maybe I just like a thick-ribbed sweater. The color scheme is lovely, and I like the implication of a backpack built into the chest piece. The helmet may be a bit too fiddly, though. And… well, the disc that clicks into the armbands looks a little too action figurey for my tastes. The force field shield itself, however, is pretty danged hot.

Vito: Funny enough, I was thinking today that not enough of the designs in the contest that were more Golden Age in theme took the sweater route. I love the Cap sweater! Probably because I want one, but…

Jon: 8. That ribbed sweater has always said “British Forces” to me (blame years of Pertwee/Baker-era Doctor Who and UNIT’s impeccable fashion sense, I suppose), so I keep reading this as a British take on Captain America (and it seems fair that the Brits should get a shot at making a Captain America, since Americans came up with that ridiculous first Captain Britain design). Captain Anglo-American Relations. Still, all that being said, it’s a nice collusion between contemporary WWII military dress and near-futurism armor and technology. It’s elegant and appropriate, I like it a lot.

Tim: 5. Too much going on. Too much fabric under too many layers of overlapping armor. This one’s not for me. Or Captain America, even if it has a lot of components that should make it work.

Jessi: 5. I love the military green; the sweater looks a tad too hot though! The costume is cute and I could see a kid having this in his toy box. Captain America: now with Action Shield Projectile Power!

Mark Waid: 7.  This does look like a variant action figure and not a well-reasoned redesign, but it’s elegant and a pretty realistic take on what the suit would look like if it were designed today and not in 1940.  The greens bother me less than I’d imagined they might.

Henry Elliot
Score: 53

Dean: 7. Super cool action-ready Steve Rogers. The inclusion of the lighter blue adds a ton of superhero-y-ness, and I dig the side stripes and belt buckle lock for the top armor. Very cool.

Chris: 4. This looks less like Captain America and more like American Gladiators. The shirt-tail in the front hanging over the belt leaves me with a lot of questions. I do like the gloves.

Jon: 9 I like how the chestpiece descends and behaves as a belt buckle, I’ve always been a sucker for the shield with red-white-and-blue stripes, and (at the risk of repeating myself) I think it’s important to what Cap represents that he have an exposed face (or portion of his face). It’s a bonus that he has short sleeves where he once had the white parts, and I like the apparent functionality of everything. Very smart use of existing costume motifs.

Vito: 8. I really like it. I could see current Super-Soldier Steve Rogers wearing this. I have no idea why his shirt “bibs” down like that, but it doesn’t bother me. I like the way the outfit looks, and I usually go crazy when I see that shade of light blue used as a contrast to the dark blue. Call me crazy, but this character LOOKS like a super hero.

Joel: 8. Well, the “bib” creates a visual rhyme with the Captain’s package, in a way that hard to unsee once you notice it. I’d like to see the boots developed a bit more: these look like moon boots with a single velcro strap, which seems insufficiently secure for Cap’s needs. But, in general, I really like this design. The round, overlapping forms look fresh and dynamic. It’s easy to picture this design in motion.

Vito: Maybe it does “visually rhyme” with his, ahem, package, Joel, but for the sake of debate, isn’t that what all super hero costumes do? I don’t think this is as offensive as, say, Vampirella’s costume, and I like the way the top streamlines his body to make him look, quite honestly, like the peak of masculine ability. That epitomizes what Cap is, whether Misho intended it or not.

Joel: Oh, I’ve got no problems with Cap’s accentuation. I’m just offering up the only explanation I can see for what is an otherwise perplexing design choice. Given that the shape appears three times (crotch, bib-buckle, chest piece) like emanating waves, I’d like to read this as a bit of sly commentary on the phallic underpinnings of militaristic fantasies like, say, Captain America.

Vito: Ding ding ding!

Tim: 6. Too much like a variant Fantastic Four uniform, with a few stripes of red and a star instead of a “4” on the chest, this design feels too amiable to fit the modern super soldier. Maybe it’s his smile. He’s too happy in this costume. What’s he so happy about? Don’t answer that.

Jessi: 6. I agree with Joel.

Mark Waid: 5.  No offense, it’s a neat drawing, but I’m not in love with the descending bib or the bare arms. It looks like what he’d be wearing while practicing in the gym, which is fine, but not in combat.

Chris Bishop
Score: 51

Dean: 7. A little too simple for my taste, but it’s hard to knock the economical design here. A simple blue tee with the classic Cap “A” works surprisingly well. The shield has a great military-issue feel, and the blue interior is a nice touch. As is the count of opponents taken out frisbee-style (I’m guessing). The simple red helmet with the wings painted on works for me.

Chris: 5. I like the inclusion of the army-green here; I’m surprised more people haven’t done it with Captain America’s design given his Army background. The helmet design is nice, but it looks a little more orange than red. I like the wings painted on the helmet.

Vito: Yeah, the helmet looks orange to me, too, but that might just be our screens.

Jon: 8. I have to be honest, almost all the points I’m giving it are for the tattoo.  It’s such  a great design and an inspired idea, it carries a lot of this design. Generally, outside of that, I’m really fond of the small-wardrobe idea – just a shirt and some army fatigues, a helmet and a beat-up shield (love the running tally notched on the inside). A lot of fun, this one!

Vito: 5. I don’t see anything that really says, “Captain America” to me. I see, “Guy wearing a Cap t-shirt,” but that’s about it. I like the military aspects of the costume, but it’s hard (for me) to see it as Captain America. That smile says Nick Fury to me for some weird reason.

Joel: 6. I’m with Jon. The tattoo is great, and I’m a pretty big fan of the shield. I could buy the helmet if it is actually red instead of orange. But the T-shirt needs more consideration.

Tim: 9. Man, I would read the heck out of this version of a Captain America comic. He seems like a guy who throws his mighty shield with glee, and the tattoo is perfect, along with the orange helmet. Is it supposed to be orange? I have no idea, but it works. This is a much better version of wartime cap than we saw in “The Ultimates.” Perhaps the stubble sells it.

Jessi: 5. This is an adorably drawn Cap but this screams more “I pummel concrete” instead of “I pummel baddies”. I’d like there to be more of CA’s original colors in there.

Mark Waid: 6.  LOVE the tattoo.  That’s inspired. Less in love with the orange helmet.  But, seriously, kudos on keeping kill-tally hashmarks in the inside of the shield; I’m stealing that idea.

Matt Wieringo
Score: 51

Dean: 7. Steve leaves the Captain title to Bucky with a promotion to General America! I love it. The mask is exceptionally cool, and I dig the more dress blues look. I’d like to think this version of Steve keeps his mask and shield ready, but mostly handles decision making. He’s totally dressed for command, but his stance is all frontlines. I dig it.

Chris: 6. I’d keep the helmet, but everything else would would go. It might be good as a sidekick to Captain America.

Vito: 7.5. This one says, “President America” to me! I don’t like the rigidness of the outfit (what Dean calls, “…dressed for command…”) but the actual design on the costume is really good! The middle star and the stripes underneath call to mind the star and stripes combo on the classic costume. I love the attention to detail (like the bars on his collar)!

Joel: 5. Maybe it’s the maniacal intensity of the clenched teeth, but I think it’s the cut of the jacket. Whatever it is, I immediately thought that this was a Nazi fifth columnist trying to fool the American public.

Jon: 6. I had the same impression Joel had, but if I divorce the design from the pose, I can see Steve Rogers in this outfit. The only thing (and I know I keep saying this, sorry) is that Cap is either US Army Infantry or Special Ops, depending on your perspective, and he needs an outfit geared for ground operations. I think this outfit would make a great dress uniform for formal occasions, but not for down and dirty fighting.

Tim: 6. Pretty darn nice, but too fancy. Cap’s not fancy. And he doesn’t wear white gloves. Plus the headgear reminds me of gills. Underwater Fancy America.

Jessi: 6. General America. I can see Cap wearing this for a more formal occasion. Like these are his dress blues? I do love the jacket but it looks too stiff for combat.

Mark Waid: 7.5.  With Jessi–”General America.” Kinda formal.  Like Wonder Woman when she wears the cape.  GREAT take on the mask/helmet, but there’s also something jarring about two distinct shades of blue.  And white gloves that are very formal but don’t suggest butt-kicking.

37 comments to “Captain America: Fighting Styles Winners!”
  1. Man, well done to all of the finalists, especially to Mr. Heard! It looks like he went above and beyond. Great work, everyone! Really excellent :)

  2. Oh my god this is amazing. Thank you all so much for the kind words. This feels like a real comeback for me and an affirmation for a lot of hard work and deliberation. Thanks as ever to Dean for volunteering to host these contests, to all the judges for their time and consideration, and to Mark Waid for judging here and being the amazing writer whose stories inspired my own love for Cap.

    Every other design here is amazing, and there are so many out there not represented yet. This will haved the best honorable mentions post.


  3. OH! Oh… I’m experiencing a frenzy of joy, shock, awe, and thankfulness. Contributing to and being featured in P:R are already the utmost of thrills, but this… this is an overwhelming honor.

    The quality of all the talent showcased thus far floors me as with previous contests. I can always expect the best from P:R… and Daniel Heard took it to a new level. Congrats and much deserved, sir! Congrats to everyone! You’re all amazing.

    Many thanks to Dean Trippe, P:R contributors, & Mark Waid for throwing the party and taking the time to provide invaluable expert comments and critiques! I’m tremendously delighted you dig my Isaiah Bradley redesign. V for Victories!

    I’m taking it all in with the winners’ pieces this week as I excitedly look forward to the Honorable Mentions next week!


  4. Wow, I feel very honored to be selected and amongst all these awesome designs. Thank you very much. All the judges, a big kudos to you for your time and going thru all the entries. Your critiques are invaluable and much appreciated. Thanks for giving comic fans/artists a fun platform to express. Looking forward to participating more in the future. Congrats to the winners and cant wait to see the rest of them!

  5. I’m really blown away by Daniel’s design, that guy is really one of my favorite artists here, he just always goes above and beyond in totally reconstructing the costume. I like the idea of a peacoat, it’s a style statement that has literally never gone out of style, and that is exactly what captain America needs in his costume, something timeless so that the jump from WW2 to the 60’s doesn’t seems totally out of whack. Also that minor details are really stunning, from the ear wings as flags, and the various styles that Cap can wear the outfit it’s just really great.

  6. Congrats to the winners and runners-up! All of these redesigns are terrific! I especially like Derek’s. It looks like a functional, modern Captain America costume, keeping all the iconic touches that identify who this guy is that’s coming to kick some bad-guy’s ass.

  7. Waaaaaaaay cool! Congrats to the winners!
    I’m surprised by the wide range of quality in the top 10 already. I mean, you must have had some pretty average 100 or so entries to dig through!

    I’m just a little confused on a few entries, because they seem like a redefinition of the character rather than costume alone. I thought the rules were – aah, forget it, this looks brilliant enough as it is altogether!

  8. Whoa, I just noticed the satanist pentagram in the background of Isaiah Bradley! “Black” magic in the Captain? I would love to see that happen!

  9. I think my favorite is Vanni LoRiggio’s. Very streamlined and modern, in terms of Cap’s current “Commander Rogers” history. I’m kind of bummed how many went WWII retro. I guess there were no rules though. Great jobs all around. I tried my hand at it but couldn’t come up with anything that I felt was an improvement on the original or hadn’t been done by various other Cap-like characters. It’s hard to be Bryan Hitch.

  10. Love ’em all.
    Daniel Heard’s winner is fan-damn-tastic. But, I’m going to be a total fanboy, and suggest one tweak….
    It seems like the striped undershirt could repeat the (genius!) star/”A” logo from the helmet, so that even when Cap has his jacket off (which I’d assume would be most of the time), he doesn’t lose the Captain America iconography.

  11. Very cool stuff all around.

    Vanni LoRiggio’s is probably my personal favorite. Something about the winged collar puts if over the top for me. I’d like to see some headgear on it though.

    I also really love Joe and Rob Sharp’s. Could do without the tassles, but I’d love to see this guy animated. And in that case, keep the tassles.

    Also have much love for Shane McDermott’s. Big fan of the energy shield. Plus this one seems like it’s maybe throwable (was Cap’s energy shield in the comics throwable?).

  12. I am completely thrilled by all the winners in this contest. In a way, it makes me feel kind of inadequate as an artist because all these people were able to find such stunning ways to redesign Cap (haha, I struggled so much with all of his iconography… It seems so effortless in a lot of these pieces)! I can’t stop loving Daniel’s entry. It’s amazing in so many different ways and reminds me of so many different American eras that it’s really perfect for Cap. With the jacket, he reminds me of George Washington, without it, he reminds me of a relic from 40’s Americana and all of it put together just pulls together a perfect portrait of Cap as a whole. Totally awesome

    Also totally digging Michael’s Patriot and Vanni’s Cap as well!

    Good job everyone!

  13. Congrats, Daniel! A very well-deserved win! There was some brutal competition this time around too, whew. Kudos to everyone who entered, you guys really brought your A-game!

  14. Hate, hate, HATE the sergeant’s chevrons on Toye’s Second place submission. A captain’s rank is 2 silver bars, and it’s NEVER worn on the sleeve or shoulder of anything. I understand there is artistic license to be had, but this one little detail would be wonderful to get right…

  15. Awesome entries all around! Daniel’s is simply awesome. I knew seeing that on DA, it would easily be in the top place finishers. The full 360 view and the little decal designs – he put a ton fo thought and patience into this one. (really dig the stars making up the “A” BTW)Bravo!

    I dig the feel of the second place entry. It exudes Cap in stance and emotion, more than any of the others. He’s all kinds of “in charge”.

    Good to see Caanan’s entry in here as well.

    Can;t wait to see some of the honorable mentions next week – kudos to all!

  16. WOW! I knew the competition was going to be tough but, like Jemma said, everybody brought their A-game. (“A”, get it?) Great designs and awesome drawings from everyone. Congratulations to the winners. A well-deserved first place to Daniel. I also love the Sharps’ design (nice nod to Native Americans with the fringes) and add a mask to Vanni’s and it just might be my fave. I really love the wing placement on that one. Absolutely brilliant. Thanks to all the judges and I can’t wait to see the rest of the designs next week.

  17. Congratulations to all the winners, even though Daniel’s design isn’t really my cup of tea. His abilities as an artist to practically illustrate and effectively conveying his concept are top notch but I just feel that neither the character’s history, personality or current standing was taken into consideration. I struggle to imagine an Avengers group shot featuring Iron Man, Thor, Scarlet Witch and the like, standing shoulder to shoulder to this specific Cap. Irrespective of my opinion, it’s clear everyone on the judging panel loves it (my that is a lot of 10’s flying around ;)).

  18. When I saw Daniel’s design on Deviantart, I knew it was a winner. Or at least, I dug the heck out of it. Congrats to all!

  19. Great work everyone! Especially Heard, Magtanon, Grall, Chaudhary and McDermott. Can’t wait to see the Honorable Mentions.

    Damn, Heard’s is so so good.

  20. 100% agreed with Kaiser. I think Vanni’s is top notch too. Very well done. Sleek and new. Not obvious or derivative.

  21. Sweet set of designs.

    I love Daniel Heard’s art and the cropped american flag as the wings on cap’s cowl is genius. Like the striped shirt too. Not a big fan of the “star A” but it’s a very strong design overall.

    Derek Toye’s “sergeant America” design is the one I could see working month in month out, and as someone mentioned works for Buckycap really well.

    In fact if bucky cap was wearing this regularly, then Steve rogers could totally wear Daniel’s outfit – Captain America Inc anyone?

  22. Thank you to everybody here for all the really unbelievably sweet comments and thoughtful critiques. If you are interested in my design process, I posted a big collection of reference photos and sketches for this contest here:

    Re Steph: You might be right about this design not fitting in with the rest of the Avengers. I’ll just have to redesign the Avengers I guess.

  23. Pingback: Sunday Brunch: 10/10/10 | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

  24. Congrats Daniel Heard and the rest! Awesome work dudes!!

    p.s. when are the honorable mentions being posted up, wasn’t it supposed to be like a week ago

  25. Congrats! A well deserved win for Daniel!
    Very different take on Captain America.
    Specially like Shane McDermott and Aman Chaudhary’s entry.
    Yes Daniel, u should really do the Avengers! haha
    Can’t believe i missed the result…

  26. Pingback: Call For Submissions for Fan-Art Friday: Captain America… July 4th Edition! | Project : Rooftop

  27. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.

    Anyways, just wanted to say excellent blog!

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