Rogue Costume History
One of the most popular female X-Men team members, Rogue has been included in most X-Men video games, movies, and animation series. She consistently makes it into different sexiest women in comics’ lists and ranks high among the most powerful females in comics. With such a strong presence in the Marvel Comic Universe it is hard to believe that she had such a troubled beginning. Rouge was supposed to appear in Ms. Marvel #25 in 1979 but the story was never published because the Ms. Marvel series only made it to issue #23 before it was cancelled. It was not until 1981 in Avengers Annual #10 that Rogue would make her public debut. She did not appear in an X title until the 1981 issue of Uncanny X-Men #158 and then joined the team a year later in Uncanny X-Men #171.
Rogue’s history has been shrouded in mystery. Over the years we are slowly learning more about this southern belle of the X-Men. It was not until 2004 that we learned her real name is Anna Marie. Running away as a child, she was adopted by Mystique. She started out as a villain but after permanently absorbing Ms. Marvel’s powers and psyche she went to the X-Men in fear of losing her sanity.
Her powers can be a bit complicated. She has stolen and retained other powers over long periods of time. Her Ms. Marvel abilities were a part of her for so long that many associate those abilities as her own. Rouge’s original mutant power is that of absorbing sapient beings’ memories, knowledge, talents, personality, and physical abilities by making skin to skin contact. In some instances she will also take on their physical characteristics. How much and how long she retains these powers is dependent of how long she remains in contact with them. There is about a 1 to 60 conversion rate. Her victims will be left drained or unconscious for an equal amount of time. Her powers are capable of actually killing her victims. For most of Rogue’s life her powers have remained constantly active. Her inability to physically touch another person has led to a lot of relationship and intimacy issues. Her capability to actively use or not use her powers is a psychological issue and not a trait of her powers. After the Messiah Complex storyline Rogue has gained control of her powers and can turn them on and off at will.
For Rogue’s original costume she wore the comic book equivalent of a green tracksuit with hood. Her costume was lined in a different shade of green and would eventually be changed to a white outline. She also had a pair of matching gloves that could be easily removed if she desired to use her absorbing powers. Of course, as the picture shows, kissing “is so much more -- fun”. I am sure this was a power most teenage boys would not mind falling victim to. Perhaps this is the reason she is constantly ranked among the most beautiful superheroines in comics.
As a villain artists used a lot of straight lines when drawing her features. With the streaks of white she appeared much older. As a hero she was given more curves and although the streaks of white were still present she took on a more youthful appearance.
Post Secret Wars Costume Crisis
Upon returning from the Secret Wars on Battleworld, Spider-Man was not the only hero to have a wardrobe change. Rogue didn’t bring back an alien symbiote that wanted to take over her body but she was having a costume crisis of her own. She was searching for a new look. It would take years for her to find an outfit she liked to wear on a permanent basis.
During this period Rogue never wore anything long enough to leave a lasting impression. However, there were some basics that made it through these transitions. Accepting her white streak, she grew her hair out longer. Being mindful of her inability to touch another person’s flesh she always incorporated a form fitting black bodysuit. Rogue also made sure to add green into all her different costumes.
Her first attempt at something new was a black bodysuit and a brown tunic. Although not happy with the brown color she did have on a pair of green gloves and boots. This tunic may have been fashionable at the time but it was not the best choice for fighting. It restricted arm movement and the dangling fabric cinching it together would give enemies a nice handhold.
Still wearing the black bodysuit and green boots, Rogue replaced the brown tunic with fashionable green overalls. The green belt would be large by today’s standards but they were all the rage in the 80s. At least she didn’t put a huge X on the buckle.
Not happy with her mechanic’s overalls, Rogue went through a variety of different clothing options. The full body black spandex was still present, to keep people safe from accidentally touching her, but everything else changed frequently. She would experiment with a variety of different green articles of clothing. These combinations would consist shirts, belts, gloves, boots, miniskirts and thongs. They would appear in different combinations and come in all different sizes. Some of these costumes looked to be inspired by the movie Flashdance and others... it’s lucky she had the full bodysuit on or she would have been wearing less clothing than a model in Playboy magazine.
Rogue’s New Costume
It took a couple years and a different continent but Rogue found her new costume while the X-men were in Australia. In 1988 Rouge was sporting the classic superhero look. Still wearing the black bodysuit she added a one piece green bathing suit, green thigh high boots, and matching long sleeve gloves. Not being one to let the obstacle of needing to be fully clothed get in her way, we see Rogue flaunting her curves as well as the desire to wear a swimsuit.
X-Men 2nd Series
When the second series of X-men was launched in 1991 Rouge and her other teammates received costume upgrades. This would be the uniform that Rogue wears for the longest period of time. Jim Lee had a huge impact on the X-men universe in not only its story but look. X-men #1 (series 2) would become one of the best selling comic books in history. It should come as no surprise that many consider this her trademark look.
This skin tight outfit Incorporated Rogue’s green color scheme that has been present from her beginnings but also adds in a lot of yellow. If people didn’t notice the red X on her belt then the X on her well endowed chest let everyone know what team she is on. This seems to be the equivalent of an x-men pastie. In case she got cold in this tight thin outfit Rogue also had a brown leather jacket.
The X-Men would later try to have a team uniform look. Although they would not be exactly the same many of the core elements would be shared. Form fitting was a must, it is important to tell the men from the women and that can only be accomplished if you can see the curves and muscle structures of the entire body. There was also a huge X placed on the upper torso that acted as both a insignia notifying people what team the members were fighting for and huge target for enemies to aim at. Rogue’s green and yellow color pattern was back along with a belt that wasn’t really holding up anything.
The X-men went into space to help stop an alien invasion. While on the ship that abducted them for this mission they had to wear the Shi’Ar uniforms left aboard. Rouge’s suit was designed for mining and had a weak force field. This put a barrier between Rogue and whoever she touched, giving the illusion of skin contact. Upon returning to earth she would rotate wearing the mining suit and her old green hooded costume.
Rogue was extremely lucky to find a form fitting uniform in outer space that was perfectly tailored to the shape of her curves. This purple outfit with yellow running down the sides would be one of the few costumes worn for an extended period of time that did not have any green. With the metal shoulder pads, power bracelets and mechanical gloves this costume looked like armor that would be worn into battle.
From 2001 to 2004 a group of mutants left the mansion and were operating under the title X-Treme X-Men. For their new team they came up with a new uniform. This time around they stuck with a similar color scheme of red and black for the entire team. Once again Rogue is no longer wearing her familiar green. The X representing their team is not prominently displayed across the entire torso but instead subtly imprinted on the left breast, requiring people to stare at her chest in order to notice it. Like the rest of her team she wore red sunglasses that functioned as a communication and scanning device. Her glasses were also used to protect people if Cyclops’ optical beam were to become active in her again. At the time powers she had absorbed in the past were randomly coming back.
When Rogue returned to the mansion she went back to her trademark yellow and green costume.
Green Is Back
Rouge has gone back to her solid green origins although this time around her costume is a lot more flattering. There can be no confusion that there is a very attractive woman under all that green clothing. Perhaps it is because technology allows for more detail in the printing process, maybe Rogue has grown more confident in her body image, or could it be that sex sells. Who knows?
Rogue’s mutant ability to absorb people’s psyche and battling powerful villains like the Shadow King have caused a lot of mental problems for her. She has been possessed on more than one occasion. During these possessions her new personality will usually take on a different choice of clothing. Carol Danvers personality had Rogue dressing up like her Ms. Marvel identity and the Shadow King had her wear different variation of her old costumes with some minor tweaks here and there.
If You Got It Flaunt It
Since Rogue has to be conscientious of never accidentally touching another sentient being with her skin she is almost always fully covering her body. It is obvious that she is very confident in her appearance, since many of her outfits are so tight they leave nothing to the imagination. When the occasion arises that Rogue does not have to worry about making contact with somebody artist rarely waste any time in letting her reveal a little to A LOT more skin.
For the X-Men movie trilogy Rogue was played by Anna Paquin. For the film version her clothing took on a more realistic quality and lost the comic book feel. They did keep the streak of white that ran through her hair that made her instantly recognizable to audience members.
Despite the variety of outfits Rogue has worn over the years mass market costumes have been relatively limited. That has not stopped fans from finding their own interpretations of their favorite heroine.
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.
Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)
And of course: Reading way too many comic books.