26 June 2011

Ruining the Gauntlet

Among the casualties of DC Comics’s September reboot are Nightwing’s distinctive two-color gloves.

From the mid-1990s to his inheritance of the Batman cape, Dick Grayson wore one of the sparest of superhero outfits. Almost the only decoration was a light blue stripe from the middle fingertips of one hand across the chest to the fingertips of the other—all the better to show off the acrobatic body underneath, of course.

The Nightwing gloves—usually called gauntlets, though that term has another meaning in the Batman mythos—are supposed to be functional. Dick carries a radio and an impossibly large bunch of tools and weapons in the bands around his forearms, and in the cuffs of his boots. Since he used to carry an impossibly large bunch of things in a thin little belt, readers accept that. But really the gloves are all about the aesthetics.

To symbolize its new beginning, DC has redesigned all its heroes’ costumes. The new Nightwing outfit has a red stripe at the chest and fins sticking out of monochromatic black gloves.

Such a mistake. For decades DC Comics has earned most of its money from licenses of its characters and trademarks, rather from the magazines that tell new stories about them. The company should license two-tone Nightwing gloves—the two-color pattern, a subtle logo at the wrists, for adults.

There are similar gloves in many styles, but none exactly right. Clearly the technology is available. I tell you, the company’s leaving money on the table.


Anonymous said...

If they've never marketed pixie-boot slippers or feathered pattern green Speedos, what are the odds of something as comparatively tasteful as finger-stripe gloves! :)

J. L. Bell said...

Yeah, DC’s costume licensing doesn’t lean toward the subtle.