Fantastic Four: Fashion Forward Winners!

Note: The following are the winners and runners up of our Fantastic Four: Fashion Forward contest! Thanks so much to everyone who participated, from our long-time artists to the new ones. . The panel of judges included our regular P:R Contributors, top comics creator Stuart Immonen as well as Brett White, CBR columnist and one-half of the Matt & Brett Love Comics podcast. Congrats to the winners and runner-ups, and be sure to check back Friday for the cavalcade of honorable mentions! – Chris A.

First Place Winner: Alejandro Bruzzese!

Alejandro Bruzzese
Score: 83 out of 100

Dean Trippe: 9. A lot of nice choices here, besides the gorgeous art style. The overall look is Science Adventure Mission, very appropriate. Using character-specific colors was a frequent motif in the entries, but this is one that really works. The “4” logo is clean, identifiable, and elegant. And I really dig everyone’s hairstyles. I also like the t-shirt and pants base, as it works on all the members, and I’d buy one, too. Thing’s always getting stuck in his FF underoos or without a shirt. This look gets the entire Fantastic Four into 7/11.

Jon Morris: 10. I am becoming Alejandro’s biggest fan, and his clean line and design sense is chief among the reasons why. The uniforms have a terrific sense of consistency without falling prey to mere conformity, and I love the utility – pockets and backpacks, terrific. That the logos are not only different colors but unpredictably assigned – you would expect Johnny to have a red logo, Sue a white one, for instance – makes them a lot more visually interesting and lets the shirts call out the character. Great idea to apply yellow to Ben. Lastly, I love the youth and vitality of these outfits, it’s an appealing invigoration for a team whose members (or at least three-fourths of them) are typically portrayed as older, stodgy or cantankerous…

Joel Priddy: 9. I would have thought that one of the toughest things about redesigning the Fantastic Four would be moving away from the classic “4” emblem. But I’m amazed at how many really strong “4” redesigns we have in this crop of submissions. And of them all, this is my favorite. It’s not showy or gimmicky or just-a-shade-too-clever, just a solid piece of easily identifiable design. And it’s a good thing, because these uniforms rely heavily on that logo (and recognition of the characters) to raise them above standard-issue explorer-adventure togs. As it is, it all comes together beautifully.

Vito Delsante: 9. This is probably the strongest piece in the competition, and that’s saying a good deal. I love the idea of taking the foursome to a more Challengers of the Unknown level where they really truly look like adventurers. I’m a fan of the shirts being used as identifiers, but I think that is hardly a concern; they don’t all have the same powers, and they don’t all look alike. But that’s a small quibble. I can’t see scoring lower for such a strong design.

Joel: I’d love to see what their backpacks look like.

Chris Arrant: 8. This seems to posit the Fantastic Four as less of “super heroes” and more of adventurers, which if you follow the original Lee/Kirby comics is more inline with what they are. I really enjoy how the outfits aren’t costumes, but more of “work clothes”. I imagine a closet full of these grey all-utility pants with different colored shirts for them to wear. Bonus point for the artist redesigning not just their outfits but also their hairstyles in Johnny’s case.

Rachel Edidin: 8. Honestly, Chris covered pretty much every base I would have. This is a science-adventurer team with the emphasis on the “science.”

Brett White: 9. Just looking at this team shot ignites my imagination. I’ll echo everyone else’s praise by saying that I love the adventure-vibe and individuality. And this might just be the posing, but they look a lot more vital and proactive in this picture. Like, this is a FF that gets things DONE. Also, I enjoy that even though Reed has gray hair, he still looks relatively youthful. As a dude who has had gray hair since high school, I respect that.

Glen Weldon: 7. I really dig this art style, and I get what y’all are saying about the practicality/“workwear” aspect, but this is a bit TOO grounded, too Challengers of the Unknown, for the FF, who in my mind deal with more cosmic calamities than, say, volcanoes. Like the design of the logo, but wish they’d left the dang cargo pants at CBGBs in 1987.

Stuart Immonen: 7. I love the ligne claire art style and the dramatic pose. While I concede to the logic of using colour to individualize the characters, I fear that it makes them less unified as a group. Perhaps this is rooted in my own nostalgia for the 64-colour CMYK palette of newsprint comics. I’d be curious to see a version with the shirts in grey and only the 4 logos using colour.  I also admire the utilitarian aspects of their outfits, but the backpacks would potentially pose a problem in many compositions. Looks great from the front.

Vito: This contest just went to 11!

Jessica Plummer: 7. Maybe because it’s such a youthful look and such a “let’s go spelunking in a space cave” look, but this strikes me as an early ensemble for the FF, before they get all polished up as the First Family of the Marvel Universe.  I’d love to see a story like that, but for a contemporary look it doesn’t quite do it for me.  I am, however, enjoying the heck out of Reed’s Marty McFly pose there.

Second Place Winner: Vanni LoRiggio!

Vanni LoRiggio
Score: 77 out of 100

Dean: 9.5. Really nice. Clean, sophisticated, elegant, modern. I dig the dual shades of blue a lot, and Thing’s pants look great.

Vito: 7. Second best Thing redesign in the whole show (after Ransom Getty). I like how everyone is wearing the same thing…except Ben. 4 logo is lower (at the belt) and the blue element, cut off, has a similar color scheme, but…is different. But, I tend to think that if anyone would wear a different version of the costume it’d be Johnny.

Joel: 7. Mark Waid once mentioned that he imagined Mr. Fantastic must make a very disconcerting stretching-rubber sound when he used his power. I guess Reed got tired of being the only one sounding like a distressed balloon, and so he designed these rubbery-looking outfits for his team. I like that these costumes look like specialized gear for deep exploration. I don’t quite buy them lounging around in these things, but they look great for an intense weekend in the Negative Zone.

Chris: 8. This is the only design I’ve seen that seems to mix the white Future Foundation design with the traditional blue of the Fantastic Four, and from the Thing on down Vanni has shown his costuming chops. My only major quibble is that I don’t like Reed and Sue’s blue going down the outside of their thigh, and would prefer them all to have the duds like Ben and Johnny have.

Vanni gets bonus points for the shoes and the gloves.

Brett: 8.5. Yep, this is solid. Chris is right on the money, too. I like Ben and Johnny’s costume a bit more, because they look a bit more like a pants and shirt than Reed and Sue’s (suddenly that’s a concern that I have?). Also there’s something really soothing about these costumes, visually. Staring at this white and blue…I’m at peace.

Rachel: 7, mostly because they look really bulky and difficult to move in. But I like the palette, and the generally futuristic feel.

Jon: 7. Totally a design you could see happening in the comics yet wouldn’t be bored with or that you’d compare unfavorably to prior designs. Ben’s pants cuffs bother me a little, but thinking about it I’m not sure what I’d have in their place except possibly a boot cut …

Glen: 7. It’s nice and clean, but I agree with Rachel, there’s something stiff and bulky about the design, Johnny in particular looks like he’s wearing gym mats.

Stuart: 7. I like this as space-mission fare, but would not want to face the cleaning bills. I admire the original take on the 4, and the articulated palms and soles. Defining the rather precise colour block areas accurately (particularly the pale blue) might become tiresome after a number of issues, but as an alternative for a single story arc, I think this has a lot of appeal.

Jessica: 7. I actually prefer Sue and Reed’s hip-area, depending on how it’s carried around to the back – Johnny looks like he’s wearing a really carefully-designed top and some random (and yes, oddly bulky) pants. Love the inset logo and the sneaks.

Third Place Winner: Victor Newman!

Victor Newman
Score: 76 out of 100

Dean: 8. Super flashy, sleek, filmable. Love the logo, Johnny’s red variant, and the wearable quality. Major dig factor.

Vito: 8.5. Never mind the illustration, which is fantastic (again with that word/obvious pun). What we have here is fashion forward, nouveau and chic. Very modern. Reed and Sue look the same, which is fine with me since they are married, but I’d love a little more individuality. Johnny is perfect. Totally in line with the character. Ben…the trunks are good, but I’d like to see a little more. I think sometimes, when you just put the Thing in trunks, you’re taking the easy way out. It’s not always the case, and Victor definitely put some thinking into Ben’s look; I just think that you can add more to it and really give him a costume. It’s a small gripe though. I really like this look.

Joel: 8. Let’s see: nice logo; a uniform that conveys both team unity and individual identity; balances the practicality of science-minded explorers with the flair of superheroes. Yup, this is a pretty durn solid entry. A minor quibble is that the piping that looks like just an accent line on Reed and and Johnny’s chests looks like some sort of underwire boob-emphasizer on Sue. But I think the only real problem here is Reed. He doesn’t look comfortable in this outfit. With its knee-pads and straps and zippers and layers, it seems too confining for an elastic man. Pare him down, and give him completely differently shaped glasses from Johnny, and I think this would be one a winner.

Chris: 8. Speaking strictly to the vibe given off by the illustration, this is how I expect Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley’s Fantastic Four to be. Design-wise, this flies against all I’ve said before about a cohesive color scheme but I love Johnny Storm. Ever the hothead, I could fully imagine him looking at Reed’s design for him and pressing a button to make his red just to stand out.

The Four logo is great; when you turn it on its side, it’s an arrow pointing into a line, which a smarter writer than I could extrapolate into meaning something life-changing.

Brett: 8.5. I really dig this, because it’s both heroic while also being very functional and grounded in the real world (you know, the real world where rock monsters happen!). Johnny is wearing a chain, which delights me for some reason. I can hear Reed and Johnny arguing about his costume in my head (“You dyed unstable molecules RED?”).

Rachel: 8. For me, this one is all about Johnny’s red costume. Everyone gives Sue a different costume, which always struck me as silly, since Johnny’s always been the biggest showboat. Otherwise, these are solid: not remarkable, but fun, futuristic, science-adventure appropriate, and just detailed enough to be interesting without slipping into fiddly. I’d love, love, love to see Daniel Krall draw ‘em.

Jon: 7, Great poses, great personality, I think they fit the characters very well although I find them a little fussy for my tastes – still, I like that even Reed and Sue, while basically having the same costume, find different ways to wear them and show off their personalities.

Glen: 6. I like Sue and Ben and Reed okay, and while I get that Johnny’s tastes would naturally run more to Michael Jackson Thriller zipper-jackets, this seems a bit dated to me.

Stuart: 8. Eminently publishable. These look like the costumes of Action Science Adventurers to me. Not sure about goggles and the hip-hop chain on Johnny, but other than that, ready to go.

Jessica: 6. Am I the only one who doesn’t like the red on Johnny? At least, I don’t like the red when everyone else is in a very subdued navy. I want the FF to look like a cohesive team, and this looks like a story where Johnny tries to strike out on his own and winds up learning a lesson about teamwork and family. Actually, strike that criticism – I want this story now!

Runners Up!


Stefan Tosheff
Score: 75.5 out of 100

Dean: 6. I like the color-coded symbols, but the overall look is far too generic for my taste. Not terrible, just not exciting.

Rachel: 10. I love these: they’re simple, but they’re also striking; they’re both individual and visually cohesive; they strike a really good balance between superhero and science adventure; and Reed’s color scheme reads like a nod to the evil version of Mr. Incredible, which cracks me the hell up. The logo is super simplified, but it works, and the subtle customization is really, really clever.

Joel: 9. The best FF designs seem to blend a high degree of utility that says “Serious Science Explorers, here” with just enough flair that you know they’re never more than five minutes from punching someone in a purple cape. These designs really do a fine job of striking that balance. Sue’s is the best, in my estimation. The only one I have any real reservations about is Ben, because I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with those suspenders. Do they circle his arms and then connect at the side of his waist? That looks restricting. And who knew the Fantastic Four were such big Black Flag fans?

Vito: 8.5. I love that Joel and Rachel referenced Black Flag and the Venture Brothers. Anyway, I have a great fondness for the “individual color scheme/uniformity in design” designs. These looks great, and they don’t look like alternate reality heroes or someone at DC’s idea of the FF…this looks like the FF! One quibble…purple on Reed. I’d change him to Sue’s blue and make Sue white. But otherwise? This is a winner.

Joel: I just noticed that Reed and Ben don’t have knee-pads like the others, which makes perfect sense, since their knees are rubber and rock, respectively.

Chris: 5.

Brett: 8.5. This contest has really firmed up my taste in FF costumes, whereas before I didn’t really have a clue. I like the more utilitarian, science adventure team approach for sure. This is really solid and, with Vito’s color swaps, would be even better. Plus Bearded Reed makes another (welcome) appearance! I will note that his hands look a bit too much like Generation X’s Skin for my taste.

Jon: 6. I’m torn, I like the utility and the individual color schemes, but I feel like maybe it’s too utilitarian in the long run. Maybe there should be more variety in the individual costumes to suit the individual powers and personalities – I just say this because I don’t feel like everybody would be cool with fingerless gloves. Someone would say “okay, no thank you”, I’m sure of it. Good designs, really strong designs in fact, but while they say “team” very well I’m looking for something to push them over the edge into “of individuals” territory…

Glen: 8. Like these a lot, particularly Ben’s and (TEAM LABCOAT!) Reed’s. On the one hand, asking the color scheme to do all the work of individualizing the various team members seems sorta … remedial, but there’s no denying it works well, here. I mean, yeah, okay, Star Trek: The Next Generation jumpsuits, but they straddle the blurry line between superhero and adventurer in a way that makes a lot of sense to me.

Stuart: 6. The last thing Marvel needs is to be sued by Henry Rollins et al, but this is exactly what would happen were this logo to be employed. More importantly, I like the basic elements of the costumes; fingerless gloves, side stripe, jumpsuit zipper, mandarin collar and overall monochromatic-with-accent-colour approach, though I might quibble with the actual colour choices. Red, purple and orange are a hard sell for the Fantastic Four, at least for me.

Jessica: 9.5. Love these, love these, love these. I wish Vito hadn’t suggested the color swap, because he’s right, dammit, and otherwise these would’ve been perfect for me. Practical, stylish, and for me the FF is close knit enough that I don’t need to see their individual costumes varied further than this. Just great overall.

Claire Hummel
Score: 75.5 out of 100

Dean: 8. Clean lines. I love the “4” emblems here. It has a technological vibe, references the old uniforms with the wide black belt, boots, and gloves, and Thing’s variant balances out his contrasting colors well. I’m not sure about the “T” shape on the torso, and I tend to dislike vertical middle stripes in general, but the overall impression is very FF. And, yeah, I love Claire’s expressive drawing style.

Joel: 7. With a 4 on the breast, one on each shoulder, and one on the knee, I can’t help but feel that the 4 on the collar is just one four too many. It might be numerically odd to have only three 4’s in a design, but visually it’s just this side of too much. Otherwise these uniforms convey a nice sense of character for the team: they’re structured enough to look a little formal, spandexy enough to clearly belong to a superhero universe.

Jon: 6. With the “4” logos repeating at different locations on the costume, I think there’s a missed opportunity to mix up the design among the team members – you know, maybe Reed gets the collar 4, Sue gets the pocket 4, Johnny gets the arm 4, Ben gets a leg 4. It would help break the uniformity a bit – it’s a good costume design, but having three of the four members in essentially identical outfits makes it feel repetitive.

Rachel: 7. I like Jon’s idea: in addition to taking care of the repeating 4s, it speaks to my one other major gripe with this design, which is the lack of variation between team members. Otherwise, I like the clean lines and futuristic but utilitarian feel.

Vito: 8.5. Maybe just the one at the collar and thicken it up a bit? It is a little much, and I can hear Spidey saying, “Yeah, we get it!” but if taken without all those 4’s (maybe just one) this looks like the FF to me. I especially love Thing’s outfit because, as he’s a former professional wrestler, it seems like he’d be comfortable wearing this. I dig Reed and Sue’s eyewear too.

Joel: Just the collar 4, and they’d be way to clerical, wouldn’t they? Man, I hate that the DC52 redesigns have soured me on the clerical collar.

Vito: Good call on that, Joel. I’ll take the breast one, then.

Chris: 7. I like this rendition of the outfits, but I’m with the above judges who talk about the lack of any individualism with the designs. Another warning sign for me is imagining these costumes illustrated by someone with less ability at drawing costumes and these falling apart and looking like workman’s togs.

Brett: 8. I agree that that all the 4’s are probably too much, but I will dissent by adding that I didn’t even notice any of them other than the breast one. I like little details like that and, since I didn’t notice them at first, they don’t overwhelm the design for me. Plus, I gotta say that I love any costume that makes Ben Grimm look that happy.

Glen: 8. Like the approach, only mildly bothered (given their subtlety) by the superfluity of 4s, but agree that challenge of the … um, challenge is creating a team look that leaves room for individuality in the respective designs.

Stuart: 7. I also only initially noticed the 4 motif on the breast, and think the design would be improved by limiting it to this area. Speaking from experience, hairline designs are very difficult to draw consistently at the lineart stage (as are lineless elements like the eyeshields) and can easily become too thick or too thin. I very much like the palette and the geometry of the colour block elements, a nod to the traditional colour scheme, while at the same time very forward-looking.

Jessica: 9. I’m really digging on this sleek, structured look, and I’m basically in love with Ben’s singlet – and the visors, though I can see Stuart’s point about the visors being tricky.  Very valid practical concerns aside, if that suggestion of each team member getting their own 4 element (there are actually five 4s on each costume, which seems wrong somehow) was taken into account, these would be just about perfect for me.

Erica Henderson
Score: 74 out of 100

Dean: 8. This is pretty adorable. Nice science adventure vibe, but the real breakthrough is the addition of orange to the base uniform, putting Ben and Johnny more squarely in the rest of the team’s color palette. Some of the choices seem a little generic, but honestly, I’d love to see the FF in such a family-ish look.

Rachel: 6. This is how you dress for family-style science adventures! I can see this FF headlining an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon, which sounds more backhanded than I intended: they’re wholesome and a little generic, but also pretty fun.

Joel: 7. Okay, bonus points for including Bag-Man. I have to take a little exception at the inclusion of the orange, however. It’s an effective color choice in and of itself, but it totally sucks away the drama of Ben and Johnny’s color schemes. In an illustrated world, an orange sleeve can carry just as much visual impact as someone who is orange because they are, you know, on fire. So you need to hold back on some of your other color choices to keep those flames burning. Or those orange rock monsters rocky.

Jon: 8.  “We’re gonna go do science, get in your vests everybody!” I really appreciate that a couple of contributors introduced an orange element to the family outfit – typically, the team is split into pairs where Johnny and Ben share one end of the palette and Reed and Sue share the other, so now having all four family members’ representative colors on display is pleasing, both visually and thematically. Also, very fun, practical outfits – you can imagine that this is the FF’s “Family Road Trip” uniform and they wear ‘em when they’re spelunking in the Negative Zone…

Vito: 8. I think this is one of the best of the bunch. The orange sleeves don’t bug me too much, because the only folks that have it are, naturally, the ones who don’t have an inherent orange color scheme (as orange is blue’s complimentary color, I guess that’s why a lot of folks in the contest used it). I don’t see the need for the trunks on the outside of the pants though…and I’m a major supporter of that particular style. With the exception of maybe Thing, I feel like it’s too much of a grasp to keep it superheroey when you have this wonderful adventurey style already there.

Chris: 8. Orange! Like Dean said, seeing the orange tones from the Human Torch and the Thing make their way back into the costume designs for the entire team is great thinking, and something I’m surprised no one at Marvel has at least attempted before. (I look forward to our P:R readers to prove me wrong in the comments!)

All in all, this design really brings in the idea of team uniforms with space for each of them to provide their own quirks and tinkering with it. Letting Johnny Storm having flaming chest hair come out of his costume? Great.

Brett: 9. I would buy that vest and wear it immediately. It also warms my heart, just a bit, seeing Reed and Sue take on Johnny and Ben’s color scheme. It has always bugged me that Johnny’s classic look is “red with black scratches” and Ben just wears underwear. Reed and Sue, traditionally, look like the only two members who are part of the team. In this, they seem more like a unified team. And again, I would wear that vest.

Glen: 7. I’ma side with Joel on the inclusion of orange in the costume, which read to me at first glance like “varsity jacket” (which: FEH), not vest + long sleeve undershirt. I do think it takes away from the incongruity of ORANGE ROCK GUY and DUDE ON FIRE. Not particularly digging the Haggar slacks, either.

Stuart: 5. A very appealing drawing with lots of personality for each character (one gripe I have about current, existing technology is that it’s uninteresting to draw, and would personally rather see Reed using a notepad than an iPad), but the costumes look too much like ordinary civilian clothes for me.

Jessica: 8. I’m trying not to let the cuteness of this drawing sway my vote, and it’s really hard. I just want to hug them all!  (I might let Johnny flame off first, though.) I really dig the orange and the Old Navy camping gear look overall, though a vest thick enough to have a ribbed collar seems incongruous with Ben’s manties – I would’ve given him pants. I also didn’t notice the shorts-over-pants until Vito pointed them out, and again, they don’t seem to fit the more practical upper halves of the costumes. Still, the overall look is super charming.

Jordan Gibson
Score: 71.5 out of 100

Dean: 9. Another killer look from Jordan Gibson. The collars and piping fit the current trends in superhero costuming, but aren’t blown out of proportion here. Sue’s solo white look is stunning and makes me wonder if all the uniforms have varying color schemes built in, like the Future Foundation looks had. Seems likely. My only quibbles would be Thing’s shorts, which seem too off-the-rack to me, and the “4” emblems feeling a little under-explored. But a solid redesign, and a rock solid illustration. Win win.

Jon: 8. I have a checklist of things I’m looking for in these designs, and chief among them is that Sue gets a distinctive look of her own, so I’m very fond of this. Love the simple, streamlined look – would have preferred to see the logo either integrated into the line of the costume or breaking the line of the outfit somewhere, maybe even being on there without the circle around it (In fact I’m positive the circle detracts from the logo design). Speaking of the logo, I wish Jordan had gone with the variation he’d posted on his Tumblr, where each element of the digital “4” was a different color representing a different member of the team. STILL, for all my quibbles, love the clean, utilitarian design, love the sensible seams, very nicely done.

Joel: 7. The logo is a bizarrely retro-touch for such a beyond-the-bleeding-edge group that it intrigues me. Does it move? Change? Is it a display that runs little apps from the Baxter Store? There are a lot of fun possibilities here, so, as I say, I’m intrigued. But I’m not sold. By itself, the 4 seems pretty flat. The addition of color that Jon describes sounds like a good move.

All in all, these are solid, simple designs that really work well for the team. Agreed that the simple color change for Sue is really nice, and that Ben’s shorts need a little more work.

Vito: 9.5. This is darn near perfect. My eye just keeps going to Sue, because she’s the sell on this one. Illustration notwithstanding (and it’s a great illustration), her outfit is so eye catchingly beautiful, that I’m probably missing a lot of details. I wish that, as Jon said, we had those other 4 logos, but if I’m looking at this one, I wish Sue had the same one as the boys. I like that she stands apart, but I really want a sense of team in one way or another, and that would be the one to use because there is no way I’m making Sue wear the blue.

Chris: 6. I feel like I’m missing something here, but the design seems like several cool elements but they fail to add up to a cohesive design. The “4” logo also pulls me out of the design, as I feel it doesn’t match what Jordan was going for in the other aspects of his entry.

Brett: 7. I just decided recently that Sue should be written as the Michelle Obama of the Marvel superheroes. This is the first design for her that, I think, really sells that. She looks great, she stands out, she really got the best look out of every character. However, her being the only one in white seems like a missed opportunity. It would be cool to see Johnny in another color, so that Sue isn’t alone in her individuality. The design is absolutely solid, but it doesn’t push my preconceived notion of the FF forward to new territory.

Vito: I think I just realized, based on Brett’s Michelle Obama comment, how much a hairstyle can affect a costume design.

Glen: 7. Whole lotta piping going on, nowadays. So yeah, it’s on-trend, but it still feels fussy to me. That said, Jordan’s kept things fairly streamlined and clean, and as everyone’s said, I like fighting against the tendency for Sue to fade into the background. As it were. Anything that can be done to bring her to the fore visually, or at least to give her a fighting chance amid a matchstick, a rock and a lump of silly putty is a good thing.

Stuart: 6. Very appealing. I’d like to know what the full Flame On look for Johnny might be, as in the illustration, there’s nothing to set him apart from Reed. I also wonder if a symmetrical approach to the Thing’s shorts (with the notched beltlines shared by the others, perhaps?) might integrate him better with the group. I like the idea of the four elements of the LED-style 4, but feel it’s too generic as is and would benefit from more thought.

Jessica: 6. Like Chris, I’m missing something here.  The costumes feel a little unfinished to me – they’re so pared-down that they’re bland.  And Sue being the only one in white doesn’t work for me when Johnny and Reed’s outfits are identical.

Rachel: 6. Yeah. Promising, but not quite there. There’s also something a little… formal about these. I dunno. Dress uniforms, maybe.

Rudy Jordan
Score: 71.5 out of 100

Dean: 8.5. I love all these looks, though I wonder if the team would look more cohesive if they just picked one. Hard to hate on an entry with four rad designs though. Reed’s is my fave, if anyone was wondering.

Vito: 8. It’s so simple, and yet looks so…not simple. Of all the designs in the contest, this, to me, looks like something maybe Byrne or Simonson would have come up with if they were drawing the book for a new audience today. Sue is feminine without being gratuitous (but I suppose that could be argued). Reed has probably the best costume of the Four…why doesn’t everyone have that belt buckle? That’s a nice touch! Thing looks like a wrestler (I keep coming back to that because that’s something I like about Ben). Johnny…I can go either way with him. I’d love to see his costume in red. Great job, Rudy!

Rachel: 6. When I look at Sue, I see “I drew a skimpy costume but my editor didn’t like it so had the colorist fill in the exposed skin like a unitard.” That may not be fair to the design, but it happens enough that it’s hard not to go straight there.

I like the basic conceit of keeping consistent colors and design elements but remixing them for each character–it’s everything I dug about Quietly’s early-aughts mix-and-match X-Men–but I think in this case some of those elements don’t quite mesh. For the most part, Reed and Ben look fantastic; Sue and Johnny get muddled.

Joel: 6. The Thing having a neck is straight-up freaking me out. I’ll have to cover that up before I can look at the rest of the design… Okay, now. It kinda looks like at least two different teams are being represented, here. Johnny and Ben are on Team Angle, and Sue and Reed are on Team Curvilinear. Both have pretty great costumes, but, despite the many shared design elements, the two teams costumes don’t quite go together.

Chris: 8. One of the reason Dean and I have always balked at doing a team design contest was because how it’d lead to artists doing great on designing some members of the team but faltering at others.

In this design, the Human Torch is an A+ but the others veer into Bs and Cs. I love Sue’s headband, but the rest of the costume seems out-of-touch. What would Reed’s outfit look like on her, but with a cut more feminine?

+1 for the great “4” logo however.

Brett: 8. It kinda seems like these are four looks that could easily be worn by the entire team. This is also the first time that I could imagine every single member wearing what Ben is, so in that way he feels included in the team design. The headband is a nice touch for Sue. And my brain may now be in Street Fighter mode, but does Johnny’s hair look a little Guile?

Jon: 8. This is going to sound like an insult, but I swear I mean it like a compliment – did you guys ever get those Scholastic books when you were a kid that had a bunch of mazes you had to solve to escape a space alien? And the art in those things was … so ugly, just incredibly ugly, but also it was meticulously symmetrical, and almost obsessively detailed, and somehow that made them just fascinating? Okay, that’s how I feel about this – not that the illustration is ugly, far from it, but there’s something about how almost obsessively symmetrical and delineated everything is in the costumes, and how everything is unexpectedly geometrical, and I can’t stop staring at it. Also, that “4” insignia is one of the best in the competition. Did I mention that I wanted these all as action figures? Well I do.

Glen: 7. The concept is exactly the one I was hankering for — individualized iterations on the same basic design — and each costume is, in its own way, simple and clean and striking. But I agree they don’t quite come together. Also, headbands are to be eschewed, always and forever. And, Dean — the reason that the others don’t have Reed’s belt buckle is precisely the same reason that Reed shouldn’t have that belt buckle, namely: THEY ARE NOT WEARING BELTS. And sans a belt (heh) that weird dot just looks like it’s indicating where you’re supposed to poke him to make him let out a Pop N’ Fresh giggle.

Stuart: 6. Hmm. I want to like this more, and it seems like I should. I like the tangram 4 logo, but feel the change in scale (and absence on Sue) and inconsistent surrounding element prevents it from unifying the group. I like the colourblocking of blue and black, but feel the effectiveness weakened by the fiddly black seams or, in Sue’s case, white bands. That being said, the costumes for Reed and Johnny stand out as having lots of potential; I’d like to see the whole team in slight variations of one or the other. As a group, they are too disparate for me.

Jessica: 6. Ben’s is by far the best, with Reed as first-runner up, although the belt buckle is just a crotch-draw for the eye. Either that or it’s where you open him to let the air out. Something about Sue’s is really off-putting to me – as Rachel indicated, it manages to imply something really sexualized while still having full coverage, or maybe it’s just the come-hither look and insane heels.

Kris Anka
Score: 71 out of 100

Dean: 7.5. Some nice drawings from our pal Mr. Anka, but I don’t think this look quite came together. White’s pretty hard to pull off, in general, and I feel like the blue circles just end up looking like attack points. I wonder if the black design elements had been made a light gray and the blue had been ditched entirely, if it would’ve worked a bit better. Anyway, some cool thoughts, but not quite there. I like Torch’s short sleeves though. That just works.

Rachel: 7. The blue circles are sorta generically futuristic in ways that don’t hold up under close attention; if they’re a Kirby nod, as Jon suggests, I want that to be more evident. In general, I feel like this mostly just takes the key elements of the Future Foundation costumes and makes them slightly less good. It’s nice looking, but it doesn’t have much specifically going for it, either.

Jon: 7.5. I’m going to step up for Kris’ designs, I actually like them quite a bit, although I do think there’s room for improvement. On the plus side, the treatment of the “4” insignia across the board is really interesting, and I like the Kirby nod we get from the bold lines and circles. I would move them off of the knees, however, closer to the bootline or higher up the thigh. Johnny’s costume in general hits all the right notes: loses the knee dots, closes the belt, has a great interaction with his power, makes the gloves more casual, and the short sleeves are a tasty touch – in fact, I think Sue and Ben should have had something similar. That being said, I would have liked to see Sue get something more distinct and, you know, there’s Reed’s labcoat again.

Joel: 6. I actually think these are in improvement on the Future Foundation designs, but that might be damning with faint praise. I’m not a huge fan of the all-white costume for anyone but Power Girl and the Phantom Rider. Johnny’s is the strongest for all the reasons already stated, and would be a good base on which to rework the other costumes. Although the black lines that almost connect but don’t? They’re driving me crazy! That sort of near-connection adds a lot of tension to a design, and that tension doesn’t serve any purpose.

Vito: 7. They’re clean, that’s for sure. I think there’s something that Kris has here that has the potential to blow our minds. What if those random lines and circles…were atomic structures? Say for rubber or CO2 or fire or stone? Granted, that’s probably not the case, and in reality the true atomic structures for those things might be more complicated (except for CO2), but in that respect…if that were the case here? These are probably 10’s. Heck, Johnny alone gets a 10. And to bring up the labcoat comments made earlier…here’s a labcoat that looks more like a trenchcoat…I like it!

Chris: 8. This seems like a logical next step after the Marko Djurdjevic Future Foundation designs but with Johnny back on the team. I think the color balance is a bit off — leaving white as the dominant color drains the team of their signature blue, which I would’ve liked to see more of.

Brett: 8. I know FF Blue might as well be a crayon, it’s so iconic, but I really dig the team’s shift to white. Johnny looks leading-man levels of fly in this, and it’s because of the unique touches he has on his duds. I would like to see something more unique for Sue. I’m also perplexed by Ben’s 4. Apparently I am the most concerned about how superhero costumes actually stay on the superhero.

Rachel: One of us! one of us!

Glen: 6. Great idea to invoke Kirby, but it loses something in the execution. “We are the Fantastic Four! And these are our acupuncture points!” But again, yay for labcoat Reed.

Stuart: 8. Very much in the Future Foundation mould, but I feel an improvement and refinement of those costumes. The incomplete circle around the 4 is a particularly simple but inspired bit of graphic design. I see this as being lots of fun to draw and viable from any angle. Two minor hiccups for me are the 4 on Ben’s beltline and the lack of a lower-body element for Johnny.

Jessica: 6. I’m with Joel on the non-connecting black lines – they make me all fidgety. I honestly prefer Sue’s and Reed’s here. Not only does Ben’s 4 trouble me too, the length of his manpris says “Ben Grimm goes to yoga” to me more than it does “crimefighting.”  (P.S. “Ben Grimm Goes to Yoga” might be the greatest never-written FF one-shot ever.)

Wilfredo Torres & Rico Renzi
Score: 69.5 out of 100

Dean: 6.5. I really love this art, but I feel like the costumes are a little slapped together. V-shaped beltlines and random extra lines just aren’t doing it for me, in spite of the gorgeous illustration. I don’t understand why Sue’s uniform is missing some of the new major elements.

Vito: 8. Ben’s costume alone is a 10 (going back to that Andre the Giant comment made earlier…this is much more like it. Sorry everyone; I love pro wrestling). I’m going to assume Johnny’s costume is red, because that’s how I want to see it. I’m scoring lower because of Sue. She doesn’t seem to be wearing the same outfit as the others, and if anyone is a team player, it’s Sue. There just doesn’t seem to be enough innovative thought in her costume as the others.

Joel: 6. Counting the belt, I’m seeing four different colors of blue in these costumes, and I think that’s at least one too many. As proof of this, I offer The Human Torch, who has all the same lines and only one color, and dang, that design really sings. The asymmetrical swoop across the torso reminds me of those one-shoulder unitards that amazons and Andre the Giant and 80’s background dancers wore. The slight V-shape to the belt, and the ribbing on the gloves and hips compliment the swoop and add variety without junking it up. I am not so delighted by Sue’s boots, however, which seem both gratuitous and dated.

Chris: 8. Victor really brings in a classic vibe here, but with the added touches like the outer thigh design. This is arguably the best Sue design I’ve seen in the competition, and those boots really fit.

Brett: 7. This feels very FF to me, and very much in-line with the grand tradition of FF costumes. The yellow highlight on the belt is weirding me out, though, and it probably shouldn’t be. The only drawback for me would have to be Sue’s boots. Like Vito said, Sue is a team player and if the rest of the team is rocking a uniform, she would be too. But also, I don’t know if I buy her in platform thigh-high boots. They’re not really practical, and I am probably way too critical of female superhero costumes, but they seem to only be done for sex appeal. That could very well not be the case (I’m definitely overthinking this), but I think the best FF redesigns are ones that seem natural and practical to what the FF are all about. They’re Silver Age, they’re science fiction, they’re adventurers, they’re a family. Platform thigh-high boots don’t work for me on Sue.

Jon: 8. This is so good – I’m trying to not be overly-influenced by the beautifully Allred-esque line here, but everything (except, as mentioned, Sue’s boots) works perfectly here. The tunic cut, that beautiful ‘4’ logo, the belt and that little detail of yellow which comes outta nowhere and yet, if y’think about it, unites the characters (Ben and Johnny have yellow highlights, of cuss, and Sue has her hair, so now Reed has a tetch of yellow too). Unexpected approach to solve a small problem, that’s terrific…

Glen: 7. Not loving the thigh-boots or the superfluous yellow detail, and I’m not sure what the asymmetrical swoop across the torso is doing, really, besides unintentionally evoking Tarzan. Really like the logo, though.

Stuart: 7. Great drawing… really great drawing. Like the others, I feel it’s a major backwards step to put Sue in the platform boots. It’s also a shame that the men are in such action-oriented poses while she appears to be modelling for a glamour photo. The yellow piping element on the belt seems superfluous, and I would make the highlight in the Thing’s 4 logo match that in the belt. Commendable.

Vito: Y’know, I have to thank everyone for pointing out the boots because, while you can see I saw that something was off, I couldn’t put a finger on what it was. That’s totally the blip. Well, that and the fact that she doesn’t have that shoulder swoop design that the fellas have.

Jessica: 6. I actually like the top of Sue’s costume better than the boys’ – I’m not loving the swoop, I feel like it fights with the otherwise very symmetrical costumes – but that said, she was clearly given the least thought. Minus points for her doing the pee-pee dance up there, too.

Rachel: 6. I think I’ve made my feelings about SexySaucySue(TM) decidedly clear. Otherwise, I don’t have a lot to add that everyone else hasn’t covered.

Daniel Irizarri
Score: 65 out of 100

Dean: 6. This is a very likeable illustration from Mr. Irizarri, but the look feels a little too generic to me. I like the way the pants go into the boots, and Thing’s variant costume fits well with the rest of the team, but Star Trek: The Next Generation shoulders and v-shaped belts are pretty played out in superhero costume choices. Not as bad as the vertical stripe up the middle of the body, but still pretty over. Great pose on Johnny, and good call on his short sleeves.

Jon: Something I gotta say that isn’t solely specific to Daniel’s entry – A lot of these submissions have Reed in a labcoat, and I’m not a big fan of that – for one thing, labcoats are for labs. It’s a really impractical article for Reed to be wearing out in the field. The other thing is that lab coats are either used to protect the wearer’s everyday clothes or to show evidence of contamination in sterile environments and, well, Reed’s got a costume made of unstable molecules. It’s pretty well established that they’re tough and proof against most contamination, so the uniform ought to preclude the need for a coat. Better living through textile science and all…

That being said, score: 6, I like that Daniel included some designwork on the lower half of the costumes (I see a lot of redesigns that all but ignore everything below the hips), and the palette calls back to a couple different costume iterations over the last few decades. In fact, the costumes generally have a retro feel, a bit Eighties here and a little Early 2000s there which isn’t a bad thing, if a bit familiar.

Joel: 6. I can see the urge to put Reed in a labcoat. It speaks to the character, creates a nice note of visual variation within the uniform scheme, and potentially flows dramatically when Reed gets all stretchy. I think it is a particularly effective touch here, where it breaks up what Dean astutely calls the TNG shoulders. On the other hand, wearing a labcoat as outerwear is the sorta gauche fashion choice that probably sets the entire Council of Super-Scientists snickering. So… maybe a similar garment that has a more practical in-the-field usage? A place to keep his one million and one high tech doodads?

Vito: 7. The only hang-up I have it Thing’s trunks. I just personally don’t like the over-the-hips thing. Don’t like it on Beast; don’t like it here. That’s really my issue. Love the cut of the torso, where the lighter blue almost looks like a bulletproof vest but I’m with Dean….it’s a little generic.

Rachel: 6. Thing’s outfit is awkward on multiple levels: the over-the-hips trunks, the Namorish V waistband, that awkward little 4 poking up on the side. In general, I think it’s serviceable but not outstanding.

Jessica: 6. I have a mental image of those shorts just rolling down Thing’s hips. Can rocks blush?  I’m fine with the lab coat but the costumes themselves seem, as Dean said, pretty generic.

Chris: 7. I have to side with the lab coat here, guys and gals. I can see Reed spending hours designing costume for his team but when it comes time for adventure he absently forgets what he’s wearing and goes out in his labcoat. Same with the glasses — Reed has the technology to correct his vision problems (or do contacts), but I could easily see Reed forgetting the small things like this.

Brett: 7. These look strikingly similar to what the Ultimate FF team wore during their first year or so, so there’s no denying that this is a very FF look. I don’t think it’s innovative so much as classic. I love Reed in a lab coat, but that might just be because I’m a child of the ‘90s who thoroughly enjoys trench coats. We all have our faults. The only misstep here for me would be Thing’s shorts. I’m firmly in the briefs-or-pants camp with this character.

Glen: 8. I hear what Jon’s saying in re: the impractical silliness of the labcoat as superhero couture. Actually, I don’t hear it. Because I’ve plugged my ears and have taken to shouting “LA LA LA LA MISTER FANTASTIC SHOULD WEAR A LABCOAT LA LA LA AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT SAFETY GLASSES WOULDN’T HURT EITHER LA LA LA.”  VH1 Behind-The-Judging confession: Putting Reed in a labcoat earned any entry an automatic +1 from me, because I eat up comics’ impractical silliness with a big ol’ spoon. It’s not about practicality (God help us), it’s about iconography: Reed Richards is a super-scientist in the classic gee-whiz space-age mold. Give him a labcoat, safety glasses, a pipe, and he fulfills his archetypal role. Otherwise: Thing-shorts too Beast-y, a bit too much uniformity in the, um, uniforms.

Stuart: 6. At first blush, this entry didn’t strike me one way or the other, but the more I look at it, the more I think of it as very saleable. There’s enough variety to suit each member’s individuality and power set (at least for the men IE: short sleeves, boxer briefs, lab coat; Sue seems a little less thoroughly thought-out) while being a recognizable team uniform which would set them apart from, say, the Mole Man and thousands of his minions in a double-page splash. As an aside, for an illustration with the goal of showcasing costume designs, I would have preferred to see the Human Torch facing forward.

Ransom Getty
Score: 63.5 out of 100

Dean: 7. I like the incorporation of orange and Invincible-influenced looks, but I’m not sure the four circles really read as a logo, considering how often circles are used in Kirbyeque designs nowadays. I dig the athletic styling here. Kinda puzzled by the Thing redesign, but it’s a gorgeous drawing.

Joel: 6. USA! USA! USA! I don’t know what sport these guys are playing, but they’re clearly going to win.

Rachel: 6. There’s a whoooole lot going on, with not a lot of functional or thematic consistency. And I’m deeply confused by the Thing’s… I don’t even know what to call those. Torso buttresses?

Joel: I’m not seeing anything that could be described as a torso-buttress. The Thing is wearing tight pants with what looks like a padded half-belt and very heavy-duty knee-pads, and an armband around his surprisingly small bicep.

Overall, I’d say that these costumes are way too busy and the four dots don’t really convey the sense of unity or family that one tends to look for in an FF design. But, my gawd, look at that Thing! My favorite alt-Thing of the contest.

Rachel: ARMBAND! Now that I’m looking at this on a larger monitor, that’s clear; on my dinky home setup, it looked like some deeply weird cropping.

Jessica: It looks a bit like a Water Wing to me. Ben, honey, you’re made of rocks. That’s not going to help you float.

Vito: 7.5. I would read the smack out of this book! There is nothing I don’t like here! But…and there had to be a but…I’m with Joel. I don’t see a sense of unity here. And for goodness sake, they’re all practically wearing the same outfit! Why don’t I see it? I really love it, but for the First Family? Just can’t see it. Despite that, I really love’s Sue’s variant.

Chris: 7. If this were simply a Thing redesign contest then Ransom would win all the awards, but Ben’s only 1/4th of the formula for success here… and unfortunately, the team’s togs aren’t as great as the Thing’s skin problem. I think Getty cracked the code with the Thing, but in terms of the team’s outfits a few more drafts might’ve made this one work better.

Brett: 6. I really love this illustration and I think I like the color scheme. It looks kinda like when both you and your friend wanted to be Blanka in Street Fighter II, and you’d end up being Blue Blanka or something. The orange here looks a little dominant, and I wonder what it would look like if it was black or a deeper shade of blue (I also know nothing about color theory, so…). It’s incredibly busy and would maybe be a nightmare to draw on three characters for twenty pages a month, but I am still really intrigued by the idea. I do not know why Rockslide/Ben needs kneepads though. Judging by the rest of him, I bet his actual knees look like those pads.

Jon: 6, Yeah, the orange and white are so powerful that the blue isn’t really reading, and that removes one of the key identifiers for the team. Combine that with the fact that there are new looks for three members of the team, and it no longer looks like the Fantastic Four. You know, one of the things that was so remarkable about the Future Foundation uniforms was that, despite a major color scheme shift and some new design elements, you immediately recognized the characters as the FF. It’s a high bar to meet, but when designers are looking at baby-and-the-bathwater redesigns, they ought to heed that lesson.

Glen: 5. Such great draftsmanship, but the costumes are so busy they ultimately leach most of the visual impact, for me.

Stuart: 6. A for effort. Like the others, the Thing stands out for me, also, though I wonder if readers would sympathize emotionally with such an alien interpretation, which is key for this character. Otherwise, the orange is too dominant for my taste and the individual colour blocks do not hold together cohesively enough. However, I might easily be swayed were this to be re-imagined in a monochrome palette.

Jessica: 6. Gotta agree with everyone else – it’s just too busy for me. Sue’s design also looks a little too youthful – with some tweaking, though, it’s a rad Supergirl redesign.

Daniel Olsén
Score: 60.5 out of 100

Dean: 6.5. Man, killer illo here. Love everyone’s expressions. The minor variations from character to character are pretty cool. I don’t know why, but the idea of Thing as a pack mule for Reed’s science junk seems pretty sensible. I like Johnny’s hair and Sue’s labcoat. I’d watch this anime.

Joel: 5. Am I missing some reason for Sue to be the only one with a winter coat?  Johnny and Ben might not need one, but shouldn’t Reed be sporting something equivalent? I like the hint of red peeking out from under Johnny’s jacket, and I’m amused by the idea of The Thing stirrup booties/spats. There’s a lot of character-rich fun in this illustration, but the proportions of the uniforms themselves haven’t been developed to a point of harmony. As it is, the boots are a little too heavy an element of white for the rest of the costume, making the design feel bogged down at the feet. And the square of white at the collars will, I think, look awkward in many poses, and slow down the dynamic possibilities of the design.

Rachel: 5. Is it a winter coat? Or a lab coat? I’m pulling for labcoat, mostly because I’m intrigued by the idea of Sue’s science background being the basis for more of her role on the team.

Joel: It appears to be both.

Vito: 5. I’m not going to be able to add to this, as lovely as it is. Johnny, to me, seems the only one that looks different. I know this is an original take, but it seems like I’ve seen this before. It seems very familiar, and while that’s usually a plus for me, in a competition that has so many innovative designs, it seems a little safe.

Rachel: Did this remind anyone else of old-school Nick Fury?

Vito: I can’t unsee that now.

Rachel: My work here is done.

Jon: 7. Well, everything here is adorable, but I’m afraid that’s got more to do with the style than the designs. As fun as these are, it seems suited for a single, specific adventure. Nice that Sue gets a distinct look even without the coat, as she has a different top than the fellas do …

Chris: 6. There’s glimmers of great design here, but what makes me like this piece so much is the storytelling and style of the illustration moreso than the costume design.  I do like the variation in the costuming, especially with Johnny’s jacketed FF top compared to the others.

Brett: 7. I mentioned my ‘90s affinity in the previous entry and BAM, here’s Thing with pouches and Human Torch with a bomber jacket. Granted, Thing’s pouches serve a purpose, which is a pleasant surprise. I also love that Sue has a distinct look; she usually just wears whatever Reed wears. I don’t think this illustration, while being super awesome, shows off what Reed’s look is. And overall I’m not that keen on what every one of them is wearing on their feet. Thing in spats?!

Glen: 7. Not much to add; love the diversity of the design, but feels like it needs to be pushed a bit further.

Stuart: 5. I’ve been a fan of the John Byrne-era “Negative Zone” blue and white costumes since the issues were published and think this is a nice enough take on that uniform with updates like the wedge heels and long coat on Sue and utility belt on Reed, but I also feel like there are a few minor missteps; spats and any kind of sensitive equipment on the Thing might suffer as soon as the words “clobberin’ time” were uttered, and Johnny is probably the member least in need of a second layer of clothing. Points for scene-setting and for innovatively showing two looks for the Invisible Woman and Human Torch.

Jessica: 7. Adorable drawing, as everyone’s said, and I like the basic look as seen on Reed, but it doesn’t seem completely thought out for the other members.  I’m not digging Ben’s stirrup booties, and the two huge 4s on him so close to each other seem like overkill.  Sue’s coat is a great solution to the Great Lab Coat debate of the previous entry, though, and I love that Sue gets it rather than Reed.  Could do without those heels.

Josh Siegel
Score: 60.5 out of 100

Dean: 7. Whoa, interesting. Okay, so, variant color schemes and variant designs for Thing and Torch, and a fairly unique take on the “4” iconography. I think Johnny’s look works the best, and Reed’s is the weakest. I dunno, some strong ideas, but I don’t think they quite meshed together.

Rachel: 6. One of my favorite things about all of these is seeing the different ways people found to work the “4” into their designs, and this has to be one of the most daring. It doesn’t exactly succeed–as Dean says, it’s a lot of good ideas that never quite seem to click, and for the four to be visible, they’d have to be standing stiffly, arms at sides, which is a big drawback–but it’s interesting.

Joel: 5. These are very X-Men-looking designs, aren’t they? The palette, the full body emblem, and the slightly excessive use of straps are all very Uncanny. The suits for Sue and Johnny strike me as the most promising, but the diagonal stripe on the forearm is something that only works as a two-dimensional design. Extend that strap into the round, and it breaks down the intended effect.

Rachel: Yeah–they took me straight to Nuno Alves X-Men: that same very sleek, bold look.

Vito: 6.5. Yeah, they’re a little too…strappy. But Ben’s is a pretty good callback to Andre the Giant’s old wrestling trunks. At least, that’s what I’m seeing.

Chris: 7. I like the straps on their own, but once I realized they were carefully placed to create a “4” motif it lost a little bit. Once they shift their poses it loses the “4” message, and I don’t thing Ben Grimm would ever agree to this “high faluttin’ Madison Avenue” thinking.

But I dig the straps on their own, especially as knuckleguards for Ben.

Brett: 5. This design meshes the team look and individuality well, which I’m all for. I’m just not that keen on the straps aspect of it for all the same reasons Chris cited.

Jon: 5.The straps are an interesting idea, but I think they need a little more work in execution… If the straps themselves were more functional and/or the “4” they represented was a little more abstract so that the straps didn’t have to so literally follow the geometric shape and could conform to body shapes a little more, it would help a lot. I like the individual highlight colors on each character, but white-grey-black-red is a combination that asks more questions than it answers…

Glen: 5. Yeah, not so much for me, I’m afraid. Bit too modern-dancey, if you follow me.

Stuart: 8. This is another entry that grows on me the more I look at it. I quite like the giant four as a unifying element (and in particular note how on the Thing, it resembles a Tefillin). Overall, this is a very original take on the traditional team colours, which references past interpretations while standing uniquely on its own.

Jessica: 6. Like everyone else said, a bold experiment that doesn’t quite work outside of a very static pose.  Johnny looks pretty great, though.

Paul Milligan
Score: 60 out of 100

Dean: 8. I like how the jumpsuits here feel reminiscent of their space-faring origin, and the symbol is clean and simple. I worry it’s a little TOO far away from superhero-y, but it’s definitely science adventure team.

Rachel: 6. Y’know, if there’s any team who should skew further from superhero and more into science for their costumes, it’s the FF. Jumpsuits make sense for these guys in a way that they really wouldn’t for most heroes. I would like to see a little more individual customization, though.

Joel: 4. The All-New All-Rumpled Fantastic Four! The FF can definitely pull off jumpsuits more than your average team of comic book heroes, but there needs to be some flair there, too. These guys look more like the harried pit crew for the pogo plane than the guys who be piloting it into the unknown. Not that I’d mind following the adventures of this particular pit crew. They look like a hoot. However I have to add that brown shoes with a blue suit, especially a mid-value blue like this one, is, well, at the very least a non-traditional pairing.

Vito: Harried Pit Crew is my new comic, with art by Joel Priddy.

Joel: In our comic, The Thing-Analog’s catchphrase is “I FEEL DYSPEPTIC.”

Vito: 5. It’s not terrible, and I know my score would lead someone to think that my opinion of this is low. It’s not. It’s just I think they look like a supporting cast (like refugees from Damage Inc) instead of the leads. It’s a real thin line that keeps this from being something the FF should wear, and you can see the potential in Ben. Ben looks fantastic, pardon the pun. The others? Look a little mundane.

Chris: 5. Like Dean said, I think this veers too far away from superheroes and into science explorers, making them look more like union workers at your local nuclear power plant.

I like the departure Paul has taken with Ben; he looks like a cross between Clayface and something from A Nightmare Before Christmas; the darkened eyes with the red glowing pupils might be a bit too much though.

Brett: 7. The first thing I thought when I saw Sue was “Ellen Ripley in Alien,” so that’s a big plus for me. These feel like the super cool jumpsuits the team wore on their origin mission, before adding more personal touches post-powers. It feels entirely plausible, to me, that there are a whole mess of other pilots and space-farers in this universe who are wearing the exact same thing. With something more customized, but not necessarily superhero-ish, this would be slamming.

Jon: 6. A few submissions put our team into loose-fitting outfits, and I didn’t really realize why that didn’t sit right with me until this one – It’s Reed’s arms. I don’t see how his sleeves would stretch if they were that loose-fitting. Gloves – or non-stretchy sleeves, maybe – would’ve worked better, in my mind.

Glen: 6. Sweet, simple logo, but yeah: This does feel more pit crew than super-adventurers. A deliberate choice, of course, but one that doesn’t resonate with me.

Stuart: 7. There’s something Tothian about these uniforms for me; they look straight out of a Jonny Quest/ Herculoids power hour mashup. I don’t think it would fly with readers or editorial on a monthly FF title, but I’d buy a comic with these characters, whoever they are.

Vito: Joel, we got our first sale!

Jessica: 6. But if this was what the team wore to work on the Fantasticar, I’d be sold forever.

Giovanni Costa
Score: 57.5 out of 100

Dean: 8. GORGEOUS. Man, I don’t even know what else to say. Obviously, the style is pretty overpowering and wonderful, but also, these are fun, unique, family-feeling looks for the whole team. Major dig factor. Animated movie, please. Sue’s gonna need some pants, though.

Rachel: 4. Can the animated movie feature Wacky Campus Hijinks? These are definitely setting off my Wacky Campus Hijinks sense.

Here’s the thing, though: They’re not setting off my Fantastic 4 sense at all. I mean, they’re great-looking, but with the possible exception of Johnny’s flight suit, they’ve got no connection whatsoever to the characters. It’s like Costa designed this super-sharp set of four outfits, but then randomly grabbed a team of four characters to slap them onto.

And, again, SaucySexySue. *sigh*

Jon: 6. Super-cute, nice use of the blue-and-white palette – I think Johnny’s and Reed’s outfits would actually translate pretty well among different artists and speak pretty well to the characters, but Invisible Go-Go Girl is a pretty tough sell all around, as is Hipster Before Labor Day Ben Grimm. BUT, that being said, in the context of this illustration, this is pretty appealing – put Sue in some pants and get that fez and vest off Ben (he can keep the wingtips, they delight me), and you’ve got a good look for an off-beat adventure.

Joel: 5. This is a delightful illustration, but I think these are more clothes that the characters might own rather than their regular adventuring togs. Sue could have that outfit for… uhm, maybe she’s into retro cosplay? Johnny would clearly go through the trouble of getting his auto-shop coveralls customized, but I think he’d want something snappier and more tailored when he wasn’t in the shop. Reed is a man who would have a fondness for turtlenecks, and might be clueless enough about to try to wear white slacks year ‘round, but surely either Sue or Johnny would forbid it. And Ben… well, I feel I can safely speak for all of humanity when I saw that we, as a species, would love to see Ben wearing this outfit. But to poker night, not for storming Doom’s castle.

Vito: 6.5 I have no internal logic/rationalization for Ben wearing a vest/waist coat. But the fez? totally stays. In truth, he and Johnny should trade outfits. It’s a great mod look, but I feel like those two are a little off. Reed looks perfect; don’t change a thing. I don’t have a problem with Sue’s outfit…it looks period appropriate.

Joel: Is FF a period piece?

Chris: 4. I love this illustration, but when I imagine another artist — for example upcoming Fantastic Four artist Mark Bagley — adapt these designs to actually work in the comics, it falls apart. Nevertheless, Sue and Johnny’s outfits are great but Reed gives cracks to the design and the Thing’s design really tears it apart and takes points off my score all by itself.

Brett: 7. Really any score for this piece is highly dependent on the story it’s telling. I scored it a little higher because, oh man, do I really want to read this story. Ben looks absolutely ridiculous but I would not change a thing (pun accidental…but now intended). Nothing about this set screams “science adventure team” to me, but I’m fine with that. I do agree that this design would probably fall apart in the hands of most artists. Mike Allred would do a great job with it, but I can’t imagine Mark Bagley making this work.

Glen: 7. I, too would watch this cartoon, which recalls Dexter’s Laboratory/Fairly Odd Parents/Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends while possessed of its own, well, flair. Johnny in what looks like, but could not possibly be, a flame-retardent racing suit? Sure. Ben as the world’s orange-est boutique-bar mixologist? I will take half a dozen. Sue as Nancy Sinatra? … Well, okay. But it’s tough to imagine it working outside of this highly stylized mode.

Stuart: 4. Beautiful drawing. I don’t agree that it couldn’t be interpreted by other artists, but my main concern is for the doll-like sex kitten interpretation of the Invisible Woman, which I find, to say the least, to be inappropriate.

Jessica: 4. Bingo. It’s a lovely piece of art that makes some delightfully hilarious choices (more superheroes need to rock the fez, stat), but what the hell is going on with Sue?

Mark Bello
Score: 57.5 out of 100

Dean: 8.5. I love this. The looks feel in line with the Future Foundation style, but with a refocused attention to the core four. I like the emblem a lot, and Reed’s clearly collapsible black sections are pretty brilliant. Not sure about Ben’s belly-wrap, but that Johnny Storm drawing is so gorgeous I may not even notice anything else.

Joel: 5. Boy, it can be really hard to separate the drawings from the designs, sometimes. I love this drawing a lot—I’ll be checking out more of Mr. Bello’s work, that’s for sure. But the designs themselves leave me unmoved. The linework seems to imply armor, or at least geometrically stylized muscles, which seems a little too militant for my understanding of the FF. The tabs on the collars are fussy. And the color scheme… well, I’m not a huge fan of the Future Foundation color scheme. I like the “4” emblem, though, and I think there might, surprisingly, be some interesting places to go with a sumo-inspired Thing.

Rachel: 6. It’s difficult to see how this could translate to another style, and even in this one, it could use some fine tuning.

Vito: 5. Again, not a fan of the hip huggers. They just look…incomplete to me. I may be the only one, and for that, contestants, I apologize. It’s truly a personal aesthetic thing that I just can’t get past. Reed’s is the only one that seems like…something. The logo is simple, and it’s probably just the monochromatic scheme that’s leading me to say this, but I like Edi Torres’ more. But someone tell me when Mark Bello is on a comic, because I will definitely stand in line for that. Like Joel said, divorcing the illustration from the design is tough, because this is a really pretty piece.

Chris: 6.

Brett: 6. Really great drawing, I’m lukewarm on the designs. I enjoyed Kris Anka’s take on the Future Foundation look more; this one looks too in line with what we already have. Reed’s collapsible sections are incredibly innovative and something I’ve never seen before. Although does that mean that those sections are more susceptible to damage, assuming that the white parts are more like body armor? Great idea, though.

Jon: 6. I see the “4F”  better outside of the diamond shape than in it, where I end up seeing a kite more than anything else – also, I  realize this reference is eighty years old or thereabouts, but “4F” has a specific meaning in the military, that a candidate isn’t suitable for service, which is an association I don’t think was intended. I like the general idea of the costumes, although the hemlines and shapes seem awful arbitrary – does Sue have a triangle cutout on her collar? I will say, tho, that the segmented costume for Mr.Fantastic is a terrific idea, and lends for a great visual, that’s the star idea of this design, I think…

Glen: 5. Love the drawing, less so the design. Agree with Jon, the logo works best outside the diamond, which simply weighs it down.

Stuart: 5. Another very good interpretation of the black-and-white Future Foundation look. As I mentioned before, the hairline piping can be a practical problem for some artists, myself included, but it’s very au courant. The costume edges around the collars and beltline are needlessly finicky.

Jessica: 5. Yet another costume for Ben where all I can picture is that whole thing rolling right on down. Like most of the other panelists, I love the drawing but the costumes leave me cold.

Todd Loessy
Score: 57 out of 100

Dean: 6.5. I like the chest-symbol shape, but I think the sleek look it’s going for is undercut by all the tacked-on lines and details. I’d have gone with black rather than dark gray, and I have no idea why Ben’s wearing a brown uniform.

Vito: 9. I think that sometimes, within the course of this contest, when folks start designing this team, they look at the 4 and see sharp, crisp lines. This is probably the sharpest. And when I think of sharp lines, I think uniforms, which, to me, says conformity, not individuality. It’s very odd how Todd straddles that line with uniformity and individual taste. He has all the sharp lines and yet, each one is tailored to the individual wearing it. And to almost further my point, Johnny is the only one with extra accoutrements (the gloves and boots) because Johnny is totally the one who would “trick” his costume out. This is, without question, one of the best I’ve seen. THIS looks like a team!

Rachel: 5. This is the Fantastic Four as designed by Starfleet.

Joel: 5. Very TNG. These designs haven’t quite hit the right balance, yet. Parts are a little too busy, like the upper torso (the interaction of the cleric-collar, the negative space in the four, and then the four little tic-marks gets pretty fussy), while other parts unconsidered, like the lower torso-pelvis-upper thigh region. The element-coded color scheme is a nice touch, although I’d like to find a color that plays off Ben’s orange hide better than brown.

Chris: 4. Rachel’s hit the nail on the head and stolen my thunder. This team is all science, but needs a little bit more adventure.

Brett: 4.5. Chris hit the nail on the head with the sentence not about how Rachel hit a previous nail on the head. I love the idea of each member getting an individual color, and these suits are incredibly crisp and clean. I just don’t think they’re very…fun.

Jon: 6. The integration of the “4” insignia is inspired, looks fantastic, the additional four “chits” in the arm of the four is a nice repeat of the theme when the full body isn’t in view (say, on a viewscreen or on tv) and if that were the only element up for judging, it’d rate a 10. Unfortunately, I just don’t feel that everything that isn’t the branding was as well planned out as that one element…

Glen: 6. I like the simplicity, but my issue’s probably just a me-thing. The 4 on the tunic works great, but extending the color to the left sleeve means that, depending on how they hold their arms… well, take a look a Sue. Doesn’t she sort of look like she’s a proud member of the Fantastic Forty-One? Yes? No? Just me?

Stuart: 6. These are great-looking costumes, but the drop-out double-hairline piping would drive the art team up the wall. It’s the kind of thing that works great drawing digitally, but is very challenging in analog media, panel after panel, page after page, issue after issue, but I digress. The unembellished large block of slate grey might also be better interpreted as midnight blue or gunmetal. And Johnny’s boots stand out for me… why does he get cool boots? Very nice illustration, by the way.

Jessica: 5. Beyond the logo and Johnny’s rad boots this needed a bit more thought. I’m not digging the brown-on-brown look for Ben, and trying to make that two-dimensional 4 work across Sue’s three-dimensional bust is giving me an Escherian headache. There’s a good idea behind this design, it just needs to go a little further.

Eduardo Torres
Score: 54.5 out of 100

Dean: 6.5. There are some neat ideas here, but ultimately, I feel like the looks end up feeling too much like Generic Science Adventure Team Based on the Fantastic Four rather than the FF themselves. The half-belts are probably the biggest sin here, and Thing’s unitard kinda creeps me out. I love the colors and I think the logo idea is clever, if not quite complete.

Rachel: 4.:

Jon: I think you mean

Rachel: Microsoft Boob Window(TM). I like the basic conceit, and the cohesive elements do a good job of making them look like a team despite the variations in color and cut, but the actual design is just amazingly unappealing to me. They’re like futuristic hospital scrubs from a bad 60s sci-fi movie.

Also, I am not the biggest Fantastic Four reader, so I may be way off here, but Sue Storm has always struck me as the Marvel lady probably least likely to tart up her costume (Malice possession notwithstanding). She’s supposed to be the sensible one, right? Gratuitous boob windows do not really seem like her style, at least for superheroing.

Joel: 5. I seem to recall the Nineties saw Sue in outfits that made this look like a nun’s habit, but Rachel’s right. The boob window, which sounds in out sharp contrast to Reed and Johnny’s outfits, seems jarringly out of character. There are some neat ideas here, and I like the color choices for Reed, Sue, and Johnny. It seems a shame to put Ben in colors that don’t play more strongly with his rocky orange hide.

Rachel: Joel, if you’re talking about the swimsuit with the bizarre cutouts, I’m pretty sure she was possessed by Malice at that point. I actually went back and looked that up to make sure I could bitch about this boob window with canonical impunity.

Jon: 5. Because so many risky ideas were exercised in this design, I wish I could get behind it more – but the Tarzan tunic-cut, fingerless gloves, boob window, slipper-style boots and lack of color contrast in the costumes, none of these gel. Even if the logo weren’t immediately reminiscent of the Microsoft logo, the color scheme doesn’t actually synch – shouldn’t Johnny’s square be orange and not red, shouldn’t Ben’s be brown? It’s great to see the FF taken out of their comfort zone, but one idea should have driven this redesign, rather than all of them competing …

Vito: 8. I like it! It seems to call to mind the four elements (earth, wind, fire, water), especially in color scheme. A few folks went that direction subtly, but I enjoy the blatant way it’s used here. Still not a fan of those hip-huggers on Ben, and I can take or leave the boob window, but I like too many elements to score this lower. I personally love the subtlety of the logo, Microsoft looking or not. It took me three looks to finally see the 4 in there, and when I did, I fell in love.

Chris: 5. When these entries started coming in, I thought about doing a separate post on all the unique redesigns of FF logo the artists did.

Getting to this piece specifically, I feel the coloring of these designs is what drags down the designs more than anything. The FF has always been about a unifying color element (not unlike the X-Men), and losing it for this designs takes out a distinct element of the FF mythos.

Brett: 6. I enjoy the different colors and the overall look of Reed, Sue and Johnny. I’m not a fan of Thing’s briefs+girdle (?) combo, nor Sue’s boob window. I appreciate a hidden 4 as much as the next guy, but I think there should be one, solid, strong 4 on the costume.

Glen: 6. Well, I like going for the 4-elements aspect, thereby making decades of thematic subtext the sartorial text. I’m with Vito in loving the way the 4 in the logo kinda snuck up on me, but the details seem a bit I Love the 80s for me.

Stuart: 5. I do like the strong diagonal element, something underexplored for the team, and the tertiary colour palette, but agree with the other comments about the logo (which might work very well without colour) and the cutout element on Sue’s costume.

Jessica: 4. Too many disparate elements, too much Bill Gates in the logo, and let’s face it, boob windows always knock designs down at least a point for me. Plus – and I don’t often find myself saying this about a male character – how does Ben’s costume stay up? His wrinkly little armbands kind of freak me out, too.

Nathan Nelson
Score: 53.5 out of 100

Dean: 7. Really strong drawing skills here, but design-wise, this just looks like an FF-like team has shown up to pester the Authority. Their powers are their only identifiers. Ribs and pipes and black and nothing. The “4” emblem is almost unnoticeable. Again, can’t knock the drawing skills here, because, wow, but these costumes are completely interchangeable with any character ever.

Rachel: 5. They’re nice costumes, and I actually really love the palette, but they’re just way, way too generic. This is how you dress the faceless super-guards the heroes have to fight their way through–not the heroes themselves.

Joel: 4. Took me a looooooong time to see the logo. But, dang, if there were ever a call for a Dark Fantastic Four, this would be a good place to start.

Vito: 6.5. It’s kind of crazy that this is the second entry (after Elizabeth Beals) to have not just a blue/white Torch, but also a non-orange/slightly gray Thing. That’s weird to me for some reason. I really like the logo, and overall the imagery is evocative of a Negative Zone story, but where Dean sees the Authority, I see another Warren Ellis group; The Four from Planetary.

Chris: 6. Like Vito said, seeing the Thing and Human Torch outside their typical orange/red color scheme is startling, but somehow this design pulls it off more than Elizabeth Beals.

Moving past that however, the individual outfits don’t scream “Fantastic Four” for me at all — the logo is so inconsequential that its effectively non-existent. There’s several individual elements of this design I like more, but I wish this design had gone through a few more revisions to bring it all together and make it more FF.

Brett: 5. This drawing is fantastic, but the design isn’t Fantastic (see what I did there? I am disappointed in me, too). They do look very Authority/The Four, and not much like our FF. Also, this version of the Thing reminds me too much of Rob Liefeld’s Badrock to not mention it. I do really like the notion of putting headgear on Reed. That’s a nifty way of differentiating him that isn’t a labcoat.

Jon: 5, yeah, there aren’t enough nice things to say about the illustration, but the costumes strike me as very generic. We’re saying “Authority”, but it made me think of the support squads in The Ultimates, all the Giant-Men and such. Johnny’s outfit there would work just as well on Iceman, there just isn’t enough to distinguish these as specifically the FF’s.

Glen: 5. Yep, very nice art, excellent logo, nice characterization, but there’s not enough individuality in the actual costumes for me.

Stuart: 5. Excellent drawing, excellent superhero costume designs, but very much outside the “flavour” of the concept of the team.

Jessica: 5. Agreed with all of the above. It’s too militaristic and loses the friendly vibe the FF have.

Elizabeth Beals
Score: 52.5 out of 100

Dean: 5.5. A pretty radical redesign here. I like the drawing style a LOT, but ultimately, the costumes are fairly standard, though I dig the collars, and my general dislike of bicycle shorts is probably hurting my appreciation a bit. Neat reimagining of the Thing, though, and Sue’s buzzcut adds a cool flavor.

Rachel: 5. It’s easy to conflate the reimagining of the characters, which is really cool, with the costumes, which look like wetsuits. Snappy wetsuits, mind, but wetsuits.

Joel: 4. The open-clavicle shape of the collar is really quite interesting. Otherwise, I have to agree: an intriguing reinvention clad in kinda ordinary wetsuits. I’d love to hear Ms. Beals pitch for this, though.

Vito: 5. I like the reimagining a lot, but I feel the same as Dean does regarding the shorts. It looks like they did it just to spare Ben’s feelings. The collar design is…different, that’s for sure. But am I blind? Anyone see a #4 anywhere?

Joel: There are four vertical stripes at the cuff of the shorts. Awfully subtle.

Rachel: It looks like a label. Again: wetsuits.

Jon: 6. I’m pretending that this is a Negative Zone FF franchise spinoff team staffed by antimatter versions of our heroes, explaining away our blacklight Johnny Storm and amethyst Ben Grimm, plus the palette change. I definitely do like the general cut of the outfits, the colors and Sue’s buzzcut – the clavicle cutout I can take or leave, I actually find it a little distracting. Unfortunately, combining a radical redesign and a lack of branding makes this quartet seem like duplicates and doubles rather than redesigned originals.

Chris: 4. The main reason this design fails is because the artist is changing more than the costuming of the characters but the actual concept of the characters. This might fit well into an alternate reality team-up of the FF, but when it comes to redesigning the FF it doesn’t add up.

Brett: 5. I would love to read this book, but it’s not the FF. And I don’t even mean Johnny and Ben’s radical transformation, I mean the costumes themselves. They just don’t seem FF costumes. Jon’s right about the clavicle cutout being distracting. I keep wondering how it’s staying set like that (tape?). I’m intrigued by Johnny and Ben’s new looks, as well as Sue’s buzzcut. I also don’t know if I really buy Sue wearing shorts. It could depend on the types of adventures this FF goes on, but I’d imagine Sue would need as much skin protection as Reed. If these uniforms had a big 4 on them and, maybe, a hint of blue, I’d probably be much more on board.

Glen: 5. Not much to add to what’s above. Intriguing take, less-than-intriguing design.

Stuart: 8. I’m really taken with this; While I don’t think it would become the “new normal,” I could easily see it being a direction the characters could be taken for a good long run. I like the very subdued colour scheme and the shared collar motif and the radical approach to the Torch and Thing. I’m intrigued by Sue’s hair, or lack thereof and Reed’s apparent relative youth.

Jessica: 5. I would also love to read about this team, but it’s not the FF.  Maybe spunky teen clones a la Superboy?  The clavicle cut-out makes me think of Batman Beyond more than anything else.

Randy Bishop
Score: 51 out of 100

Dean: 5.5. What’s really nice here is the attention to personality, with the cool hairstyles and expressions, but ultimately, the costumes are too boring, and this is a costume redesign contest. Great drawing skills. I want to see more entries from Mr. Bishop.

Rachel: 4. Pajamas! Great drawing, profoundly lackluster design.

Joel: 4. Agreed. Lovely drawing, but this looks like the base layer they’d wear under their actual suits.

Vito: 4. It is beautiful, as an illustration. Randy, your comics will go into my pull list. But as a design? It falls short. Some off-set colors? Some brighter elements? This design has, as Joel put it, a base, but needs to build from there.

Chris: 5. I’m in general agreement with everything said above, but there’s little touches here that make me perk up. The slightly fanged lower jaw of Ben Grimm? awesome. Johnny just lighting up his hands and feet to keep aloft? awesome.

Brett: 4.5. This is an incredibly dynamic drawing with some awesome body language. I agree that I want more of a design in this, though. But I want to go on record that I am now a big fan of Bearded Reed.

Jon: 5. There needs to be some contrast in the costumes and something to break the lines, but there’s something very appealing about everybody’s non-costume design – Sue’s big earrings, Reed’s beard, et al. This drawing is so good though.

Glen: 5. Sweet drawing, but all the characterization’s bound up in expression and body language, when it doesn’t need to be — there’s ample room for the costumes to get in on that act, too.

Stuart: 9. I love almost everything about this. The original FF costumes are basically off-the-rack jumpsuits in the Challengers of the Unknown model, allowing the personalities and powers of the characters to stand out, while at the same time uniting the team, a concept which this design exemplifies. I think the only shortcoming is Johnny’s mohawk, which I feel is a bit tired (as it was when Storm had one in the 80s), standing in for a mark of rebellion and ultimately unnecessary. Logo could be punched up too, but conceptually, this works just fine for me.

Jessica: 5. Such a great drawing but these feel like workout clothes to me. (I feel like Marvel needs to shop the entrants of this contest to flesh out the FF’s wardrobe. We’ve got car-fixing duds, workout gear, camping ensembles, early 60s cosplay outfits…) The most creative changes are hair-based, which misses the point a bit.

Joseph DiLeonardo
Score: 50.5 out of 100

Note: Animated version here! –

Dean: 7.5. So, I’m pretty sure this is our first animated entry! Everything about this works for me, even though it’s a simpler look than I’d usually rate so highly. Each character has their own variant and the FF emblem has a kind of awareness ribbon vibe going on. Awareness for what? Science? Being awesome? I dunno, but the animated look clenches an extra .5 points. Well done.

Rachel: 4. My vote’s for either Canadian National Non-Smoking Week or Responsible Use of Public Lands. Good concept, a little too casual in execution. Superhero warm-up togs.

Jon: 5. I’m not crazy about the emblem on account of I didn’t see “ribbon” when I looked at it, I saw “swastika”. Might just be me. Outside of that, I’d like to see the pants inherit some elements from the tops, whether it’s color, line – anything to unite the two pieces so they don’t look quite as “off-the-rack”.

Rachel: It’s not just you.

Joel: Yup.

Dean: Ugh, accidental swastikas are the bane of all design. Say what you will about Hitler (best preface ever), but he stole a very well-designed logo.

Joel: 4. Logo aside, I’m not sure these costumes have really been thought out as garments. From the waist down the costume consists of blank, featureless footie-tights. The tops can’t seem to quite decide if they’re shirts or jackets. In either case they are extremely tailored. Reed and Ben’s look like they might be tucking into the waistband of the tights, which would be weirdly bulky with such form-fitting items. Or are they untucked but very short waisted? Are Reed and Ben going to show a flirty hint of belly whenever they more their torsos? All in all I think there’s a nice sense of fun to this illustration, but it’s important to think of costume design as more than color shapes on your drawing. Think of them as something you might actually pull out of your closet, or the trunk of your Fantasticar, and actually put on.

Vito: 5. I don’t really see the swastika everyone’s talking about…I mean, I see it now, now that you all said it, but I saw a 4 that became an F. That said, the only design that really speaks to me is Ben. It looks like something he *should* wear. Athletic, somewhat jock-y. I could see this being Ben’s outfit…but maybe not for superheroing. Maybe for babysitting Franklin and Val.

Chris: 4. Is it just me, or are several of our artists wanting to show Johnny’s bare chest?

Brett: 4. I got “swastika” as well upon first glance. That’s a bummer because I thoroughly love the choice of the “4” being a ribbon. People always say the FF are not a superhero team, but a science adventure team, but yet they are almost always put in big superhero situations (curse of being a science adventure team published in superhero comics). The ribbon really nails the more-than-superheroes vibe that I want from the FF. It’s probably the best encapsulation of the FF’s M.O. in all of these entries. Too bad I got “swastika” from it. That bums me out. I wish that the level of detail and thoughtfulness in the ribbon had been applied to the rest of the look.

Glen: 7. Okay well yes okay I see the swastika NOW, thank you very much, but I’m still marveling over how Joseph managed to conflate an F and 4 so cleanly, so that it hovers in the space between, like one of those “old lady or young girl?” optical illusions. Otherwise, putting a jacket over a character whose body bursts into flames just seems odd, visually, and the rest of the costumes seem more like FF business-casual. (+1 for Reed in a labcoat, because awesome.)

Stuart: 6. Unfortunately, I also saw a swastika in place of a 4. A shame, really, because on closer examination, it’s an elegant logo. As uniforms, I think these have a lot of potential; I very much like the “classic Trek” tunic on Sue, Johnny’s macho open jacket and Reed’s button-down style. I’ve never thought of the Thing as feeling comfortable in clothes, so he’s probably too covered up for my personal taste, but that’s something that can be a fun conflict in a story.

Jessica: 4. I didn’t see the swastika until it was pointed out, but now I can’t unsee it, and it really does sink the otherwise-cool logo. The bottoms seem unfinished, Johnny’s jacket is, as Glen pointed out, an odd choice for someone on fire, and I’m not sure why we get a frame of naked bald Sue in the animation but it creeps me out.

62 comments to “Fantastic Four: Fashion Forward Winners!”
  1. Very surprised by the winner. I think a lot of the judges may have been charmed by the unique art style more than the design which I believe to be average (the logo reminds me a lot of the UK E4 channel one) as a whole I think this event had a lower standard of entries than the previous competitions.

  2. Wow. A lot of Wheaton beards on Mr. Fantastic. My favorite was Anka’s of course. That Thing silhouette makes me think instantly of how cool that would look animated.

  3. Okay, I officially register that my tastes are just not in accord with PR. There’s so many great designs and the one they pick as the winner is just a complete mystery to me as to why. I would not have even selected it as a runner up. As an artist I see these other designs that clearly have tons of man hours invested in a great piece of art as well as fashion design and I can’t imagine having crafted something so impressive to be beaten out by what was selected. Should the competing artists just draw like real fashion designers; five minute color roughs? Finally, I don’t think I’d see this ensemble as an actual uniform for the series especially compared to some of the amazing runners up that look like something you would see in the comic. Shaking my head, I just don’t understand.

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  5. Say what you will, but my favorite is Stefan Tosheff’s design with Joseph DiLeonardo’s as their general public interaction togs (why wear the same costume to a fundraiser as you would in the field) and use Randy Bishop’s character design, minus Mohawk Johnny.

    In fact, can we move little past immature kid brother Johnny. I don’t want his character to be I recognizable, but he’s gone through so much growth over the years, but gets defaulted back to Sue’s impetuous younger brother every few years. I want a Johnny who is all about ready, fire, aim but has matured a little

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  8. @Chunder_thunder: Vito: 5. I don’t really see the swastika everyone’s talking about…I mean, I see it now, now that you all said it, but I saw a 4 that became an F.

    I quote:
    “Vito: 5. I don’t really see the swastika everyone’s talking about…I mean, I see it now, now that you all said it, but I saw a 4 that became an F.”

  9. Bunx05: Am I the only one who saw nathan Nelson’s entry as “The 4″ from the old ‘Planetary’ comic series? It goes all the way down to the gray Thing and blue Torch. Even the fact that Reed’s wearing goggles is similar. Love the art, but I feel like they would be the FF’s evil twins from a mirror dimension or something.

    And I quote:

    “Vito: 6.5. …but where Dean sees the Authority, I see another Warren Ellis group; The Four from Planetary.”

    What am I? Eye candy?

  10. Michael: Anyone else thinking of the Four from PLANETARY with Nathan Nelson’s entry? Love the look, but seems a bit more evil than Marvel’s First Family is usually portrayed…

    “Vito: 6.5. …but where Dean sees the Authority, I see another Warren Ellis group; The Four from Planetary.”

    Guys, I’m RIGHT HERE!

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