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Dazzler Costume History
Dazzler first appeared in the 1980 issue of Uncanny X-Men #130, but her beginnings started much earlier than that. The character development started in the late 1970s. Casablanca Records commissioned Marvel Comics to create a cross-promotional superhero that might replicate the success of the heavy metal band KISS, who had a successful comic book in 1977. Marvel was to create a singing superhero and Casablanca would develop an actual singer. They would then branch out further by creating a movie with Filmworks. For obvious reasons, many artist at Marvel wanted to avoid being assigned this project. Jim Shooter, Marvel’s editor-in-chief at the time, created a treatment for The Disco Queen, who has the power to force people into telling the truth. Some revisions were made before her first appearance. Writer Tom DeFalco changed her mutant abilities to being light-based and Roger Stern came up with the name Dazzler. Illustrator John Romita Jr. originally modeled Dazzler to look like Grace Jones, but Filmworks intervened and had the character have a closer resemblance to Bo Derek. Casablanca Records started to make several “requests” during the development process. At first, they simply wanted cross-promotion with some of Marvel’s already established and popular characters. Casablanca then began asking for changes to Dazzler’s appearance and personality. These changes led to the cancellations of several planned launches. Casablanca would eventually drop out completely over financial concerns. After so much time and creative power was spent developing this highly publicized character, Stan Lee and Jim Shooter decided to release Dazzler into the Marvel Universe without an entertainment partner. They had faith in the character and she started out strong.
The 1981 issue of Dazzler #1 would be the first comic to only be available in comic specialty shops. This strategy paid off, because they had pre-sold 400,000 issues and more than doubled their average title sales. The series consistently used many of Marvel’s star characters in the beginning of its run to help boost sales. However, the series also suffered from a lot of criticism. The lack of action and non conformity to what audiences expected from a superhero comic lead to the series being cancelled after the 1986 issue of Dazzler #42. Dazzler was almost made into a founding member of X-Factor, but Jean Grey was brought back to life and used instead. Dazzler would still be part of the X-Men, but with the exception of a few cameos, almost completely disappear during the 90s and did not reappear regularly until 2006, when she was put in the New Excalibur as a main team member. However, the series was quickly canceled and Dazzler was once again relegated to a supporting character in the Uncanny X-Men.
Alison Blaire lived in Gardendale, New York and had a passion for singing early in life. While performing for the school dance, her mutant powers of converting sound to light first emerged. Luckily, everybody thought it was a staged special effect. After she left school, Alison took on the stage name Dazzler and pursued her singing career and continued to secretly use her mutant abilities to add a light spectacle to her shows. The X-Men were attacked by the Hellfire Club at one of her performances and she used her ability to attack the X-Men’s enemies. Dazzler did this more from being upset at her show being interrupted than a sense of justice. She did end up helping the X-Men find Kitty Pryde, but turned down their offer to join the team. She was still more interested in being a musical star than a superhero. However, she kept finding herself using her powers to stop criminals, fight supervillains and teaming up with some of Marvel’s greatest heroes. Dazzler would eventually move to Los Angeles and help her half-sister Lois London. Lois also has a mutant power, but has almost no control over them and kills anyone she touches. Now that Alison was in LA, the home of Hollywood, she tried to expand her career to involve fitness training, dancing, modeling and of course acting. While Alison is building her new life, anti-mutant sentiment is growing and she makes the decision to go public and admit she is a mutant. Sadly this brave step destroys her career and forces her into hiding. Alison eventually finds her way back to the X-Men and becomes an official member. Dazzler’s training with the X-Men allowed her to truly master her powers. Through continual practice, her ability to draw sound in from around her and manipulate the direction, color, intensity, and duration of the light produced was greatly increased. She could now manipulate light into a deadly laser, a detailed hologram, or propel herself to fly. While she had the ability to store sound energy for later use, Professor X gave her a costume that allowed her to store that sonic energy more efficiently and enhance her ability to control the light she produces. Another key moment in Dazzler’s life with the X-Men was meeting Longshot. They would develop a strong romance and when the loss of her career became too much for her, Dazzler traveled to Longshot’s extradimensional home of Mojoworld. It was discovered later, that while they were in Mojoworld, Dazzler and Longshot had the child Shatterstar, but their memories were wiped and they believed he died during a miscarriage. After years of fighting in the rebellion against Mojo, Dazzler would return to her home dimension without Longshot. She would once again fight alongside Earth’s mightiest heroes. She found herself teamed up with the New Excalibur, S.H.I.E.L.D. and X-Men.
Dazzler’s original costume is the most ridiculous, received the most criticism and is the mosted dated. It is also the outfit fans are the most drawn to decades later. This superhero costume doubled as her performance wardrobe. The clothing choice negated the whole secret identity illusion. Instead of wearing a mask, she wore blue makeup around her eyes, with a strikingly similar design to the real life band KISS. Dazzler’s costume itself was designed more for performing on stage than fighting crime. Her silvery outfit made her stand out in a crowd and the sparkly heels were not going to help for stealth. Dazzler’s rollerskates were able to magnetically attach to her shoes and allowed her to travel quickly. Dazzler had managed to find the one footwear more impractical than the stiletto heals many superheroines prefer to wear. The large collar on her top was all the rage in the 70s when she was first being created, but by the time she was released in the early 80s it was quickly going out of fashion. This can be said for a lot of elements in the costume, especially the disco ball necklace. However, the wide open shirt, exposing her chest, never goes out of superheroine fashion. With disco dying, (I know, disco never dies.) Dazzler would leave her roots and make the transition to rock n’ roll and more contemporary styles of music. The disaster of this costume is what makes it so timeless and in an odd way work.
Standard Blue Costume
Dazzler finally accepted her role as a superhero and gave up the music career, after exposing her secret of being a mutant ruined her prospects for future gigs. For her official transition to superhero, Dazzler designed a new costume. This long legged spandex suit was a solid blue. To add some color, she added a red headband, popular amongst 80s rock stars, and a matching band around her left calf. A large yellow star was placed over her left breast and a smaller one could be found on her right shin. This star would make it into most of her future outfits and become her official emblem. The top of this costume had a very unique design. The right side was sleeveless and Dazzler would wear a long blue opera glove on her hand. The left side of the outfit had a sleeve extending to the elbow and her corresponding hand had a fingerless glove. Elements of this costume would often be incorporated into her future outfits.
Two Piece Blue Costume
Dazzler’s next costume was almost the exact same thing she had worn previously. The biggest difference being that it was now a two-piece and complete exposed her midriff. This costume change happened around the Inferno storyline, while the X-Men were living in Australia. Perhaps the Australian heat was a little too much for her to be completely covered or she might have been jealous of the Goblin Queen’s outfit. The lower boot section was also removed and she went with more fashionable shoes. This took away the need for the red bands. The star on her chest was enlarged and moved to the center.
While Dazzler was with Longshot in the Mojoverse fighting a rebellion, she was only seen a few times. She could be found wearing a variety of outfits, all with a similar theme. The full body blue suit was worn under different styles of jackets and there was usually a white element incorporated into the design. Dazzler’s now distinct star symbol would be placed on her jacket or shirt.
Upon joining Excalibur, Sage gave Dazzler a new uniform for her new team. To help tie the character to her past, Dazzler wore a top very similar to her two piece blue costume. To keep her warm, Dazzler had a black leather motorcycle jacket. The lower half of her costume would see the most dramatic changes. Dazzler now donned a pair of cream colored pants that could be purchased in almost any clothing store. However, it was the brown chaps worn over the pants that gave her new costume some flair. The pants were held up by an X shaped kidney belt. The whole ensemble gave her a gunslinger appearance. She would later only wear brown pants and drop the belt and chaps.
When Dazzler was working with S.H.I.E.L.D, she wore a white military uniform. The black angular striped highlights made it look like a futuristic space suit, much like what the Fantastic Four was wearing when operating under the name Future Foundation. The large zipper in front may have made it look like she was ready to get out of that thing in a hurry, but the ammo clips and large holster showed she was all business. To add Dazzler’s unique touch, the form of her star emblem can be found on the belt buckle.
Age of Apocalypse
During the Age of Apocalypse storyline, the accidental killing of Charles Xavier by Legion caused Magneto to be the one who form the X-Men. This caused the Marvel Universe readers had known to be replaced with an alternate reality. In this new universe, many of Marvel’s heroes were reimagined. Don’t worry, the timeline was fixed.
In the alternate reality created during the Age of Apocalypse, Dazzler wore a costume that looked like a cross between superhero and hevey metal hair band. The black and yellow color scheme on this skin tight outfit was a big departure from her usual solid coloring choices. The design made her look like a deadly wasp about to sting her enemies. The open fingered opera gloves only added to the bad girl image.
Another costume seen during the Age of Apocalypse had Dazzler dressed like Emma Frost. Dazzler’s all white skin tight clothing appeared to be more sturdy than other outfits she has worn, but the completely open front starting at the neck and going down to her belly button tell a different story. Her thigh high boots and gloves look armored plated. The only color that can be found in this costume is the large red X on the belt buckle.
Despite originally being created with the intention of having a real life counterpart, it has taken fans of the character to bring her to life with their own cosplay costuming skills.
Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)
If you enjoyed this article, you can find links to my other Costume History Hubs by clicking on the link above. Explore the history of some of the greatest female superheroes in comics through their costumes.