?The early ’90s were all about swimsuits. Thanks to Sports Illustrated, Baywatch, MTV Spring Break, Surf Ninjas and the episodes where Saved By the Bell should have been called Saved By the Beach, the first part of the decade was a bright blur of day-glo water-resistant lycra. It’s no surprise then that Marvel Comics jumped at the opportunity to mash-up radical swim style with the disproportionate beautiful bombshells featured in their comics. The only difference between superhero spandex and a swimsuit is that the colorist gets to use a lot more flesh tone.
For the most part the four Marvel Illustrated Swimsuit Specials put out between 1991 and 1995 are filled with the expected amount of cheesecake pretty evenly distributed amongst both sexes. It’s even kinda refreshing (yet slightly disturbing) to see the Marvel males treated with the same amount of objectification usually reserved for Mary Jane Watson. But of the dozens of swimsuits featured in these four truly classic Marvel Comics, a handful defy explanation due to sheer impracticality. Keep in mind that the baseline in these specials is a skimpy Speedo for the fellas (was there really a strong enough female readership at this time to nix swim trunks in this special, or were these comics a sexual awakening for a generation of gay geeks?) and some form of string bikini for the ladies, so these are the ones that push the impracticality up to 11.
9) Bishop’s Onesie
?I highly doubt people swam for leisure in the post-apocalyptic fever dream Bishop grew up in. So if he thinks that a swimsuit is his standard issue future X-Cop underoos then God bless him. At least he’s relatively covered up, unlike a lot of the exhibitionists on this list.
8) Medusa’s Hair-Suit
?A bathing suit made of hair is creepy in a way reserved only for smiling clown dentists. After her follicle pals get wet and tangled all over her she’s going to look like Cousin Itt fresh out of the shower.
7) Rogue’s “I No Longer Care If I Kill Gambit” Bikini
?To the uneducated eye this looks normal (if you overlook the fact that they are on a beach on the moon), but even your aunt knows that Rogue can’t do skin-on-skin contact without putting the touched on the bus to coma-ville. Wearing a bikini is impractical and careless, Rogue! Your pals want to grill burgers while listening to ’90s hits ironically and your death skin is a major buzzkill.
6) Black Cat’s Fur-lined Swimsuit
?As impractical as it is to wear Mr. T amounts of bracelets at the beach, it’s even more impractical to wear a fur-lined bathing suit. No amount of sexy can undo the stench of wet cat fur. Thankfully this premium comic didn’t count scratch-n-sniff among its many frills.
5) Invisible Woman’s Invisible Suit
?Really, Invisible Woman? You’re going to exert the mental control to clear out a portion of your body in the shape of a one-piece with a stylish “4” on your stomach? Does that mean you’re currently nude? Bathing suits aren’t just about looking sexy — they’re about keeping sand out of your various orifices. Get one at K-Mart, slap it on and then enjoy the tunes on your walkman. Also don’t go to beaches with Power Rangers monsters.
4) The Avengers’ Masks
?I was unaware that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes vacationed in Duran Duran’s “Rio” music video. Don’t these guys know that nothing gives away a secret identity quicker than the unfortunate tan line created by wearing your mask on vacation? And I refuse to believe that Tony Stark is a genius after seeing him wearing swim trunks over his Iron Man armor.
3) Cable & Domino’s Pouches
?A cyborg in a sausage sling might be the most disturbing thing about this image, but it’s that ’90s-iest of accessories — the pouches — these two are sporting that takes the impractical cake. What the hell is in there? Suntan lotion? Goggles? A snack for later? There’s a reason people bring those sorts of thing in a pool bag, and that’s because a pool bag doesn’t leave tan lines on your thighs and arms. Also Cable is using the surfboard equivalent of a Hummer.
2) Namor’s Shell
?For everyone who wondered what the man who wears a bathing suit on every regular day wears on vacation, wonder no more and then punch yourself in the face for wondering. Some waterproof Atlantean superglue has to be holding those pearls up, and I don’t even know where to begin with the rest. I’ll start with saying that cramming your royal junk into a teeny seashell proves you’re definitely not king-size, and I’ll end with gouging my eyes out.
1) The Punisher’s Crotch-Skull
?This is without a doubt the most confusing mess the Punisher has ever gotten himself into. Seriously, that bathing suit is confusing. Is the skull plastic? Metal? How do you swim in it? What unholy sight does the opposite side hold? Where did the Punisher get this? Did he commission it? Did he MAKE this?! Why are tooth brushes $20?! And why is there an orgy of cartoon dinosaurs going down behind him?! You can never gripe about vengeance angel Punisher or Frankencastle again.