Marvel 75: Avengers in Leather

Avengers in Leather

In the 90’s, leather reigned supreme.

Yes, it would be another 10 years or so before the Children of the Atom strutted onto the pages of NEW X-MEN bedecked, one and all, in cow skin, but for the rest of the Marvel Universe, the 90’s represent peak-leather.

Why it happened that way, exactly, remains elusive. Perhaps we all just felt colder back then?

Regardless, no other fashion choice—besides perhaps armor—defined the super hero decade of the 1990’s at Marvel as much as the addition of a leather jacket to your ensemble. And the Avengers became the team to most exemplify the trend.

Long-defined by an individualistic streak, Avengers members eschewed any sort of singular costuming vision. Differing from their mutant counterparts in the various X-teams, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes had never matched one another in motif, color, or aesthetic. Even the more “free to be me” X-Men of the 90’s tended to at least boast a fairly prominent X-symbol somewhere on their ensemble. Avengers, on the other hand, basically rolled out of bed and threw on whatever costume they had worn the night before to defeat Titanium Man, Loki, or the Serpent Society.

Until the leather jacket.

Suddenly, Avengers looked like one another. Sersi, Crystal, Black Knight, Thunderstrike, even Black Widow and Hercules slipped into matching black and brown bombers emblazoned with the signature “A.” During what proved to be an ironically fractured time in the team’s history, it seemed as though the members collectively concluded “No matter the internal strife, at least we can rally around our accessories.”

Not only did the leather bond Avenger to Avenger but it also represented a sort of invitation to friendship and team-up to other heroes and anti-heroes not so lucky to have ever carried a membership card or communicator. An X-Man might see the Avengers on television tangling with Proctor and notice that Rogue and Crystal’s jackets shared certain similarities. A phone call or two later and the teams hit the outlets, trading leather care advice—a silicon polymer spray, frequent rubbing, and an occasional once-over with a damp cloth, obviously. Viola! The case for human and mutant-kind in harmony takes a leap forward.

Or perhaps you live your days as an angry young man and your nights as a vengeful Spirit of Vengeance? You might feel there exists no way a team of do-gooders like the Avengers could understand you and thus, Ghost Rider must ride alone. But then—in your doctor’s office one day, perhaps—you read that cover story about Black Knight because, hey, he likes a nice leather jacket too. You find out he labors under a curse just like you and suddenly, a support group starts to form.

Then again, maybe the temperature simply did feel a bit brisk for an entire decade.

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