Retro | Pop Culture

4 Superhero Costumes With Hidden Meanings You Never Knew

Aside from their special abilities, a superhero's costume is an important part of their identity. While the colorful costumes were created to catch the reader's eye, there's more to them than meets the eye. There are a lot of tiny details, hidden symbols and meanings that many of us have probably never noticed.

Here are 4 superheroes whose looks have hidden meanings you never knew:

1. Hulk

Believe it or not, when The Incredible Hulk made his first comic book appearance, he was not green. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were inspired by Frankenstein's monster, so they gave him gray skin and purple shorts. However, since technology wasn't as advanced in the 60s, keeping up with the gray color scheme proved difficult, so colorist Stan Goldberg opted to change Hulk's skin to green.

But there was another lesser known reason why Goldberg chose green for the giant superhero. The bright and unusual shade was the colorist's way of telling readers that Hulk was a dangerous character that should be seen more as a threat than a hero.  

2. Superman

Crave Online

It's really hard to miss the bright red trunks that form a part of Superman's costume. Despite all the jokes about him wearing his underwear on the outside, there is a very logical reason why Clark Kent wears it that way.

Being the first superhero meant that creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had no other characters to draw inspiration from. Instead, they turned to the circus when designing the Man of Steel's look. At the time, circus performers, including strongmen and acrobats, wore trunks over their bodysuits to keep their junk in place and hide any tears as they leap and fly through the air. This is exactly why Superman also wears his underwear on the outside.

There are even more superheroes with hidden meanings behind their costumes...

3. Wonder Woman


Do you ever wonder why Wonder Woman, a princess of Themyscira, has a costume covered in American patriotic themes. If you do, you're not alone. Over the years, many people have chalked it up to coincidence, and the fact that neither the color blue nor stars are trademarked by America.

However, there is one explanation that makes a lot of sense. Apparently, the Amazons found inspiration for Princess Diana's costume from insignias found on a plane that crashed.

4. Batman


If you've read a Batman comic or watched the movies then you already know his origin story, but did you know that when he made his debut he was unrecognizable.

Apparently, his bright red bat-inspired costume wasn't memorable enough and reminded people of Superman. It was Bill Finger, writer and Batman's uncredited co-creator, who eventually came up with the darker color scheme and suggested the addition of gloves, cowl and other accessories that we now associate with the caped crusader. The cowl was added not only to conceal Bruce Wayne's real identity, but to also intimidate his enemies.

Bonus: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Digital Trends

These mutant crime-fighting mutated turtles may not be superheroes from the DC or Marvel universe, but they're heroes in their own right. Early fans of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael will recall that in the original comics the gang used to wear red masks. However, on the cartoon, they were each given masks of different colors. While many people think this was done to help tell them apart, TMNT creator Kevin Eastman had another reason.

Turns out, the anthropomorphic turtles are reincarnated from a family of ninjas killed by Shredder. The masks they wear indicate what their favorite colors were when they were alive back in Japan. When they were first mutated they all wore the red masks to remind them of the mission to rescue Raphael, who went missing for some time.

Did you learn something new today? Let us know!