Every once in a while, you may see/ have seen me complain about something called "Lazy Costuming Syndrome" - heck, I think that there's a tag for it, I've bitched about it so much (yep, there it is down there). Since I have some good examples of this dreaded affliction on hand, I thought it might be fun to pin down exactly what I'm talking about in these drunken ramblings of mine. NOTE: I'm not actually drunk... this time.
Lazy Costuming Syndrome (LCS) can affect characters, writers and artists. It is characterized by a super-hero or -villain wearing as a permanent or long-term costume the clothes that they were wearing when they either acquired their powers or first put them to use in thwarting or perpetuating crime. There are two major sub-strains of this disease: Strain LB (for Lucky Bastard) and Strain LD (for Laundry Day). This syndrome is not exclusive to residents and writers of DC's 30th Century Earth, but is especially prevalent among them, possibly because virtually everybody in that particular fictional century is wearing some freaky tights-and-tunic-or-whatever getup that could qualify as a super-suit of some kind.
Strain LB affects characters by having them already in possession of a suitable costume when their moment of truth arrives, and occurs in a variety of levels of severity - the mildest cases appear in characters such as the Barbara Gordon Batgirl, who fights crime in a Hallowe'en costume that she was wearing when she happened upon a Killer Mothing-in-progress. Indeed, some experts argue that Gordon doesn't possess the disease at all, as she is perhaps the most severe case of the Coincidentis Virus on record, being a judo-, computer- and gymnastics-expert, who's adopted father the Police Commissioner happened to be Batman's best friend and who stumbled upon a crime-in-progress whilst wearing a superhero outfit and having something to prove re: her ability to smack down baddies.
Slightly more severe is the case in which a character comes from a race or group who share the same power and choose to glorify this in their everyday outerwear. Stone Boy, above, is an example of such. His people run around in bright orange getups that work perfectly well as third-rate super-hero costumes, with a logo and everything. Although I suppose it's possible that those are ceremonial hibernation clothes that everyone is wearing, which would mean that Stone Boy spent a number of years fighting crime in his pajamas. Either way, it's evident that Distant World does not possess an abundance of graphic designers - that rock is hideous.
Polar Boy is another example of this level of LCS, Strain LB, in that he is a member of the cold-projecting subset of the population of Planet Tharr and, judging from the above evidence, this entitles him to wear the little purple-and-fur number that we all know and love so well. Why, it is even likely that he already thought of himself as a Champion of Justice, in a lifelong struggle against the machinations of the evil Sun! Which is why I want to see Polar Boy in a costume modeled after the Kool-Aid Man.
Perhaps the most extreme case of Strain LB known, Fire Lad defied the laws of logic and causality and greatly advanced the field of LCS research by acquiring fire-based powers while taking a pleasant stroll wearing an almost excessively fire-based costume. Neither Fire Lad nor Science has been able to provide an explanation of why he might do so, and the level of LCS in his system at the time has been theorized as being near-lethal.
The LD Strain of LCS has similar symptoms to the LB, in that it causes the hero or villain to adopt whatever they were wearing at the time of their first foray into adventure as their costume. The effect is markedly different, however, in that the victims of LD Strain LCS essentially end up wearing their everyday clothes. The effects of this strain can be seen in heroes such as the Jack Knight Starman or Matter-Eater Lad (just because it's skin-tight doesn't mean it's a costume, Tenzil). It may never be known what percentage of the 30th Century super-human populace are afflicted, due to the above-noted fact that virtually every citizen of that time wears on an average day an outfit that wouldn't look out of place on, say, a one-shot Justice League Europe villain. Documented cases include Bouncing Boy and Mon-El, but by far the most dramatic is that of the ill-used Legionnaire Tyroc:
Note that Tyroc first used his powers at the age of about seven or eight and from that point wore exactly the same high-collared, gold-chained playsuit that he had had on that fateful day, down to the little Robin-style pixie boots. i would commend him for taking the little sleeves off around the time that he hit 14, but I suspect that he did it because they were starting to cut off the circulation in his arms. Perhaps the most telling sign that LCS was involved in the clothing choices of Tyroc is the fact that someone chose to send a small, seemingly non-super boy out to play in a gleamingly white outfit. Extra-dimensional island only sporadically connected to earth or not, no parent in their right mind would even consider such an act unless under the insidious thumb of this frighteningly pervasive disease.
LCS is NOT APPROVED, despite some giggles on my part.