Published January 9, 2019

Fantastic Four: How Sue Storm Richards Designed the Changing Looks of Marvel's First Family

Sue was responsible for several of the FF's uniforms and had a style evolution of her own!

The development of the Fantastic Four may be traced in many ways, but perhaps most fascinatingly through their visual style. In particular, the Invisible Woman’s evolution as a character through the decades has mirrored her changing style in uniform choices. Today, Sue Richards rocks the same classic Fantastic Four look as her teammates, but she didn’t always follow the trends—sometimes she created them.

Colorful Costumes

FF first costumes

Among her many talents, Sue’s a clothes designer, too, and in FANTASTIC FOUR #3 she applied that ability to creating “colorful costumes” for her and the boys. The Thing grumbled about it, of course, but the Invisible Girl reasoned that if they were going to be a team, they should look like a team. And lo, the original, classic FF uniform debuted thanks to Sue, and in some ways that simple blue jumpsuit’s never been topped.

Mad and Mod

FF Sue's miniskirt

Though sticking with the standard uniform, Sue expressed her individuality throughout the FF’s early years by changing her hairstyle many times over, but in FANTASTIC FOUR #68 she bucked the trend and struck out on her own path. Though in the early months of pregnancy, Sue designed a mini-skirt version of the team’s suit which she wore up until FANTASTIC FOUR #71. At that point, hubby Reed Richards decided the FF’s adventures were too dangerous to risk her and the baby’s lives and the Invisible Girl traded in her mad, mod mini-skirt for maternity clothes.

With Zero Malice

FF Negative Zone

The Fantastic Four maintained their classic style as a team for years on end, but in FANTASTIC FOUR #256, Sue and the others sported a new blue-and-white look thanks to a jaunt through the Negative Zone. In addition, the Invisible Girl—soon to be the Invisible Woman—suffered a mental disorder that brought out not only a new personality called Malice, but a wicked style to dress it up. Finally, with all that behind her, Sue stunned everyone by adopting a singular statement in FF uniforms in FANTASTIC FOUR #371 that blazed a trail her teammates just couldn’t follow. Tagging her previous look as “outdated” and herself as feeling “like an old frump,” she eliminated a whole lot of material to build up the Invisible Woman like never before.

More Modifications

FF Sue short sleeves

During a period of time when the team believed Reed to be dead, Sue Richards took on the leadership of the FF and toned down her daring duds. Deciding them to be “too flashy,” she added more material in FANTASTIC FOUR #386 and later even inaugurated a jacket to the team uniform. Mr. Fantastic eventually returned and brought with him a look back to the classic style. The Invisible Woman still yearned for at least a hint of individuality, and so in FANTASTIC FOUR #554 introduced a short-sleeve version of her own uniform, one that the boys copycatted soon after. In her own way, Sue was still the trendsetter, though no longer the leader.

Nobody’s Got the Blues

FF white uniforms

One of the most radical changes to the team’s uniforms came in FF #1, marking a transition after Johnny Storm’s apparent demise to focus on new avenues of exploration as the Future Foundation as well as welcome new teammate Spider-Man. Sue whipped up white costumes and a new logo that departed severely from the classic look, and in doing so obviously created a desire to ditch the blues and embrace other colors. This later became evident in 2014’s FANTASTIC FOUR #1 when the famous foursome rocked the red in all-new costumes.

Yesterday and Today

FF current

The new ongoing FANTASTIC FOUR title proves how classic the original blue has become, with slight updates here and there, of course, but one wonders what amazing new apparel might be percolating in the back of a certain Invisible Woman’s creative mind…

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