From Spandex to Leather. Wearing It Loud And Proud

As a child, I sat and watched our old black and white tv, staring in awe as Batman and Robin climbed up a building, though I will admit, even as a kid, I knew it was a fake wall and they were not walking up but more walking hunched over, but I digress.  I’m not here to tell you how smart I was as a kid, because my old Report Cards would indeed prove me wrong .


No, as a kid I knew I could dress up as Batman anytime I wanted to and no one would know.


Because spandex, baby!

When superhero’s started out, let’s take Superman for a moment. When Superman first came out, everyone had a alias. Batman was Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man was Peter Parker…wait. You’re nerds. I don’t have to tell you this. You all know who is who. Geez.

So anyway, ‘ol Superman couldn’t just show up for work in his blue tights and tell Lois and Jimmy they were seeing things, because he was really Clark Kent in his pajamas.


No, most superheroes had to hide their identity. They were always undercover. Like secret God’s watching us go about our day, unknown to those around them.

So the spandex suit was born. A lot of them couldn’t be as lucky as say, the Green Hornet, who could just go home and dress up. Or the Shadow, who could cloud your mind so you didn’t recogize who he really was. Then there was Zorro, who just went home and got a cape, mask and better horse.


No, Superman, Spider-man, Wonder Woman, they all had to work real jobs,  waiting patiently until trouble would arise. They had to be ready at all times, which, let’s face it, was every single freaking day of their lives.

I mean, C’MON! Clark had a deadline to meet and just wanted to relax in the break room, but OH NO! An elephant had to escape the zoo and take up most of his break time! FREAKING ELEPHANT AND THEIR WEAK CHAINS!

Superheroes were always hiding underneath.  Wearing a false front. The costume hugging their bodies as their “regular” clothes were worn outside,   giving others a false perception of who they really were.

Now we could talk all week about the mental conditions and psychology about hiding ones persona under their real clothes and what the underlying  mental condition of wearing a second set of clothing leads too, but no. Not here. Let’s keep this light. You’re also a grown up and can either figure it out or Google it.

A spandex supersuit helped heroes when they needed to be on the scene in a moments notice. A scream would be heard, the music would rise and there goes another shirt with broken buttons tossed into the wind!


(And yes, I’ll admit it right now. I made myself a Greatest American Hero shirt and wore it under my shirt when I went to school. Happy?)

Now, after a while, we started to understand that that may not be the best idea. I mean, what if the shirt ripped? What if it was hot out? Something new needed to come along.

So after a while, superheroes just needed a cut scene or CGI. Sure, we saw George Reeve go into the closet and jump out the window as Superman, but why the cotton and wool? And where did he leave his clothes?


We also waited impatiantly for Lynda Carter to do her spin and turn into Wonder Woman, causing many children to be harmed in vertigo type accidents.

Now we still had Spider-Man and Captain America on television, fighting crime in spandex. I remember because I thought ‘ol Cap looked like a lolipop wearing his motercycle helmet.


When superhero movies started hitting the big, colorful movie screens, things changed. Our vision of what superheroes were, changed.

Oh, sure, Christopher Reeve still hid Kal El under his shirt and tie. Hero At Large had John Ritter believe the suit underneath really did make him a hero and later, Supergirl came to Earth with spandex knowledge.

It wasn’t until 1989, when Micheal Keaton showed up in a tank of a suit, rubber and kevlar, that we noticed something different.


Why did we need spandex for our heroes?

In an interview with Tim Burton,  he was asked why he didn’t make Keaton wear spandex. He said, “If Bruce Wayne were so tough, like Arnold Swartzenegger,  why would he wear a batman suit? Why wouldn’t he just wear a ski mask and go beat people up? “

It was true. He wanted Batman to be relatable. To see him as a hero we could be, or at least, train to be.

Strangely, since they bucked the system so much later by putting all the X-Men in black leather, at the time, Marvel had yet to get away from the way too tight costume circus. They brought out Captain America again for a tv movie and even had the Fantastic Four come out into the tv world, only to be unreleased later.

It was about this time that Batman Returns was premiering along with The Rocketeer. There was The Mask, The Shadow, The Crow, Darkman and then Batman Forever, which we will never discuss again because it gave Batman nipples and Jim Carrey spandex, two things that should never have been put on this Earth.

Now, I will say, the Phantom was released about this time, but who didn’t want to see Billy Zane in tights, huh? I mean, geez. The man’s a walking specimen of human gentics.


As for the women superheroes, I will say, Dark Horse decided to zig instead of zag by having Pamela Anderson, at the height of her career, NOT in spandex. I mean,  what?! Might as well have said,  “Hey guys. Just…. Uh… Just don’t bothering watching this.”

But they didn’t have to,  looking at the box office returns.


Later, DC countered with a film that was the only time in human history where people said, “Halle Berry in a cat suit? Nah…I’ll pass.”


Spawn had his costume wrap around him while Shaq had his Steel costume just kind of dangle there.


The Mystery Men made their own costumes and Sam Raimi had Peter Parker watch wrestling to get a design for his, making it by himself, which bothered me only for the fact I make a lot of my own costumes and theres no way he could have pulled that off. I mean, really? Puffy paint?


Daredevil started to wear leather, which would have made that Deprivation Tank he slept in smell like feet and hair product. 


So where does that leave us now?

I’ll admit, the reason this article is being written is because I happened along the costume for Red Tornado in the Supergirl series.



Look everyone! Some guy dressed as a Karate Dummy to practice on!

Now we live in an age where superheroes are to be seen, not just heard.

Thor walks proudly around London in search of Natalie Portman.

Tony Stark walks around his mansion with a light emanating from his chest.

Captain America has several outfits and doesn’t need to hide because apparently there’s a museum in Washington DC all about him, so forget that alias thing.


Even Man Of Steel, notice I said Man Of Steel and not Superman because that movie was not Superman and I   **takes breath**…nevermind.


Superman has finally gotten rid of the red underwear, same as Batman. Heck, even every now I then, Wonder Woman has pants.

It’s a new age of heroes and it’s a good one.

No more guessing who will come and save you because they are here.
Right there, right now, walking proudly, cape flapping in the wind,  underwear on the inside.

It seems Marvel has the right idea so far. Making suits look fantastic but still “real world”.
It will be interesting to see weekday DC does Batman vs Superman.

But now there’s no more hiding! As a hero, you wear your costume proudly, shouting,




It’s just a joke. Get over it.

So you want to know why a joke that’s not PC,  gross,  disgusting or insults you, is funny?

Not that easy,  my friend. I worked on this for over an hour, so you have to read the whole thing.


I grew up in the best age.

I got to watch stand up comedy grow.

Now,  this may not be a big deal for you,  but to me,  growing up as the weird kid who changed schools a lot,  I found if you could make someone laugh,  you could make a friend.

I remember watching Comedy Roasts with Dean Martin and Phyllis Diller while other kids were watching football.

After all these years,  I can probably name more comedians then others can name sports figures.

What I remember most during those times was not even getting most of the jokes,  but still laughing.

I listened over and over to albums like Richard Pryor,  Steve Martin and Bill Cosby.

I remember secretly buying a vhs copy of Eddie Murphy’s Raw and quietly watching it in the basement of our house like I was an underage kid watching an adult movie. Lights down,  volume low,  afraid to wake my parents and explain where I got the tape.

It was the WAY the comedy masters said their jokes.

The cadence of the joke.  The crafting of it. The pauses,  the wording. It was like what most people hear when they listen to Mozart, I assume.

I watched comedy grow from a brick wall backing on a small stage to Roasts,  to stand up specials like Comedy Relief,  to an entire channel called Comedy Central to The Daily Show to seeing comedians write and star in their own shows like Louis CK.

And Tough Crowd.

Oh. My. Tough Crowd.

Tough Crowd opened my eyes like nothing ever did before.

It showed me comedians making jokes off other comedians. It was beautiful. To some,  it would be like watching all the greats of your favorite sport,  playing a game,  five days a week for a half hour.

Patrice O’Neil,  Jim Norton, Rich Voss,  Dave Attell and so many more.

The ring leader was a comedian named Colin Quinn. I’d seen him before on SNL and really enjoyed him but now I got to see who he really was. He wasn’t just a comedian. He was a comedians comedian. He was the guy who other comedians respected.

Don’t believe me?  His show Unconstitutional is on Netflix right now. Watch it!
In it,  he talks about words. How we must have made it as a country when language gets us furious.
“Someone comes up to you and says how they’re furious that some religious group came in and burned their village and you say back,  yeah, like the other day I heard some inflammatory rhetoric about……. ”

Anyway,  HA!  I went on a bit long for that. Sorry,  but I can’t help it. I love comedians and I love the crafting of the joke.

If you ever get a chance,  I implore you to watch Jerry Seinfeld’s movie Comedian.  It’s a great journey of what a comedian goes through may for a twenty minute set.

So,  where was I?

Oh,  ya. Telling you to ignore some jokes.
Well at the very least,  I was getting there.

A while back a woman was flying to Africa. She tweeted to her friends Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get Aids. Just kidding,  I’m white”

Soon after,  the internet got ahold of the tweet and what was a stupid little joke to the people she knew, turned into a mob. An out and out,  pitchfork and torch carrying mob. There were people waiting for her to get off the plane so they could tell her how disgusted they were.

That’s right.

People took time out of their day to make a hate sign,  gather some friends,  drive to a place,  stand and wait until said person came,  then shouted hateful things until said person was gone,  gathered their friends up,  drove home and tweeted hateful jokes about her.

You know who else does that?

Westboro Baptist Church.

But Burr,  you say. What about protests against abortion?

Or supporting gay marriage?


But those things are about movements. Protests like that are about changing things.

Protesting a throwaway one liner from some Twitter account,  especially someone you aren’t even following,  makes you a moron.

Now understand,  I use Twitter,  but I don’t like Twitter,  so everything I say is biased.

I immediately change the channel when hear a news channel say,  “Now let’s check our twitter followers.”

No. How about you check with scientists,  politicians or people with a job that supports your story? Not BigSexyGranda69.  I don’t care what he has to say. Especially not in 38 characters or less.

Now I’m not here to tell you Aids is something we can totally make fun of or its ok to joke about.

I’m not even telling you that what she tweeted was funny.

What I’m telling you is,  now please follow me here because it’s important. In fact,  I may never,  ever say something this important now or ever again.



One of my favorite comedians is Jim Norton.


Now,  I’ll let you know right now,  he is not for everyone,  but he addresses the tweet on this episode of The Nerdist. I urge you to listen.

I know there is a large group of people who enjoy watching Kirsten Stewart act.

Well,  a group anyway.

I am not in that group, so you know what I do?  I avoid her movies. If by chance I watch one,  like Snow White because Thor was in it – and shut up I have a man crush – so shut up,  I get over it. I don’t sit in the theater and yell out every 10 minutes about how I dislike her,  just to make sure everyone knows my feelings.

I don’t find some comedians very funny. Should I be offended if people laugh at Dane Cook?

Actually, yes. But not so much I feel the need to get on my high horse, come down from the mountain where I live and tell you peons to listen to someone else and you should all be ashamed for laughing.

Outdoor life is not Facebook.

Don’t feel the need to post how you feel all the time,  especially if I’m just trying to check out at the grocery store.

Recently,  someone I knew died a horrific way.  I won’t go into detail,  but trust me when I say,  it was a terrible way to go.

Also recently,  I saw a movie where one of the characters prat falled into what was very close to the way that person died.

Did I write the studio and complain?  Call the writer horrible names and tell about how insensitive they were?  Protest the channel?

Or did I simply get uncomfortable and let it go?

Yeah. It was that last one.

Somehow we’ve gotten it into our heads that being offended gives us a power over those who can deal with things better. When did that happen?

I blame the internet.

Now instead of one person being offended,  we can see if other people were offended. We see that if other people were offended,  we must be justified in our anger.

A couple of years ago,  Daniel Tosh ad-libbed a rape joke to someone in his audience. It went over about as well as you can expect. Words were written,  mobs were gathered and he came out and apologized. Even he said it was over the line.

Did some audience members laugh? 

Yes. I’ve seen the tape.

Should we beat them and call them terrible names for laughing at a rape joke?  Or should we simply understand that they may be extremely lucky in life and have not known anyone who has been raped or have been raped themselves.

So we should now chastise them for not knowing what rape is like?

Well while you’re at it,  scream at your kids about watching repeats of Mr.  Rogers Neighborhood because he’s dead and his essence is completely gone and there is no Heaven and we’re all gonna die because our sun will burn out soon and the Universe will grow cold until all living things are nothing but a memory.

Or we could just shrug our shoulders,  shake our head in a disgusted manner and continue to live our life.

A few years ago,  me and some friends went to San Diego. We quoted Anchorman until we couldn’t speak. Was it funny?  Yes,  we were hilarious.

To others?  Probably not. We were being dumb and loud and our jokes were stupid.

Yet,  that’s our “bubble”.

We all live in a bubble of sorts. We all have different In Jokes and phrases we use with our friends. Does that make us better than others or just different?

Well quoting Anchorman makes you better AND different, but I digress.

We can’t help what makes us laugh. It’s a knee jerk reaction to what our life has been through up to that point.

I even guarantee you somewhere,  a priest laughed at a joke others would be disgusted at.

When is it wrong to laugh?

While training to be an EMT,  I heard some pretty crude jokes.

I’m also reminded of this quote from Scrubs.

Dr. Cox: “You see Dr. Wen in there? He’s explaining to that family that something went wrong and that the patient died. He’s gonna tell them what happened, he’s gonna say he’s sorry, and then he’s going back to work. You think anybody else in that room is going back to work today?

That is why we distance ourselves, that’s why we make jokes. We don’t do it because it’s fun — we do it so we can get by…and sometimes because it’s fun. But mostly it’s the getting by thing. “

I’m not saying we should never be offended. It’s good to stand up for things. To let the world know about injustice. What I AM saying though is,  sometimes a joke is just a joke. A throwaway thing we say in the middle of a dull moment trying to make someone laugh.

The only difference between Micheal Richards’ N Word rant,  Daniel Tosh’s rape joke and that guy at work who told a crude,  racist joke he read off the bathroom wall of the local so club,  is the audience.

Somewhere,  out there,  there was an audience who laughed at those.

It doesn’t mean you have to like it but being offended about something doesn’t make you better than someone else. It makes you different than those people.
What it does mean though is that,  thanks to our brave men and women who fight everyday for our freedoms,  we can say stupid crap.

Now if you want to stop people from saying stupid crap,  well you must hate our troops.


Now excuse me. I’m going to go laugh while watching Ted 2, because God bless America.


Oh,  oh yeah. You probably want to know the answer that,  was that tweet that woman posted, funny?

Well,  I guess that’s up to you.