Worst Dressed Superhero

I’m aware that the list is very long, as comic book heroes and heroines have been doing their thing in questionable costumes for decades. But 1973’s dystopian gladiator Killraven takes my vote for worst-dressed: black leather boots with over-the-knee epaulets and modified slingshot thong (with lacing.) I feel dirty just by looking at him. Not that there’s anything wrong with feeling dirty.

Yet, despite his misuse in the Marvelverse, Killraven inspired a better-loved character in 1980: Thundarr the Barbarian.

From left to right: Ookla the Mok, Thundarr in a fur onesie, and Princess Ariel, one of the few POC heroines on Saturday morning TV at the time

Thundarr was the mighty-thewed star of a Saturday morning cartoon by Ruby-Spears productions, the masterminds who unleashed Scooby-Doo on American wavelengths a decade earlier. In Thundarr’s universe the Earth was destroyed by a “runaway planet” in 1994 and thousands of years later “a strange new world rises from the old” with “savagery, super-science and sorcery” to paraphrase from the show’s opening narration. If you can tell I watched it, and loved it, you’re right.

A picturesque background from the show. The runaway planet had broken the moon in half like a bathbomb, but gravity drew the pieces back together.

Like Killraven, former slave Thundarr and his pals Princess Ariel and Chewbacca stand-in Ookla the Mok wander across a devastated earth encountering the ruins of 20th century landmarks and modern (as of 1980) technology put to odd uses, with a lot of sly social commentary on consumerism and the like that probably went over younger kids’ heads. (Thundarr, despite being a barbarian, never actually kills anyone or uses worse language than “Slime-dweller!”)

There’s a wiki on the show here.

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