Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we have reached that time of year when the November chill seeps into our very perceptions and every image of a person makes us debate the most pressing question of our time: is she warm enough?
With comics characters, who have a variety of special genes and circumstances affecting their inherent warmth and their outfit choices, the answer may often surprise you. I asked WWAC Publisher Wendy Browne, an expert on both comics and outfits, to discuss with me whether Dejah Thoris, Storm, Vampirella, Squirrel Girl, and more … are warm enough.
Wendy: The princess of Helium is acclimated to the scorching, arid planet of her birth. It is so hot on Mars, aka Barsoom, that clothing simply is not necessary, however, adorning one’s body in gossamer crotch curtains and bedazzling one’s nipples is a standard statement for a princess. How else will warring tribes know she is a princess and therefore useful as a pawn to be married off for political gain?
In Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris Volume 4: The Vampire Men of Saturn, she seeks to prove that she is far more than just a scantily clad object of desire. She is also a very pragmatic object of desire who dresses appropriately when she visits places that are the climate opposite of her home.
Emily: Wendy, thank you! Even though I hadn’t known all that stuff about her home culture, I can tell from this picture that she feels warm enough. If she didn’t, she’d be wrapping the cloak around her, which she is not doing. My guess is that she feels as so many of us do, that if her feet are warm, the rest of her will feel fine.
Wendy: As someone whose feet are perpetually cold, her fuzzy boots please me, but my other digits likewise suffer from the cold. As such, I find myself wishing she had matching warm fuzzy mittens before I could feel confident in saying that she truly is warm enough. However, I am pleased to see that her cape has hidden pouches wherein she may hide snacks. Snacks might not keep one warm, but sustenance is equally important when one is trekking across frozen tundra.
Emily: Now, this one is fascinating because it presents the rare Warmth Mullet: Warm up top, chilly down below. I am glad that she is clearly engaging in strenuous physical activity, possibly fisticuffs, because otherwise her butt and thighs would be far too cold here. I hope in punching someone, she keeps the blood flowing sufficiently.
Wendy: The #WarmthMullet is a fashion trend that I would really like to see become popular. Furthermore, it would be very useful for polar bear dip challenges, allowing participants to fulfill the requirements below, while avoiding hypothermia above.
Emily: Wendy, I’m glad our readers can count on you to think of the practical applications.
Wendy: Storm is not warm enough. She is, in fact, so hot that her teammate can barely touch her. In X-Men Unlimited #1, we learn about Storm’s mutant abilities when she collapses in the middle of a raging snowstorm and Cyclops discovers that her body temperature has skyrocketed. “I thought Storm’s body was immune to the effects of the weather,” says Cyclops, to which Professor Xavier replies, “That may be the most foolish thing I’ve ever heard.” Fortunate that we have a professor to rid Cyclops of his foolishness, explaining that Storm’s body temperature changes in contrast with the environment. The colder the air, the hotter she becomes.
Emily: That is truly vital information about Storm’s warmth. She’s so cool she’s hot; so hot she’s cool. It must be a distinct burden. Personally, I have never thought of Storm as a chilly character, but rather as one who causes chilliness in others.
Wendy: Now, the professor’s explanation begs the question, “is she cool enough?” How well would Storm handle hanging out with Dejah on Barsoom? 🤔
Emily: A question for the ages.
Emily: Vampirella is warm enough. At first I suspected that she would be cold to the touch but totally fine with it because she is undead, and I consulted with Bon Alimagno who literally wrote the Vampirella Bible for new writers on the character when he worked for Harris Comics. Bon confirmed that I was right, but for the wrong reasons: “Yes. Definitely warm enough. Alien chemistry. From the planet Drakulon. There was a comic set entirely in the arctic where I’m pretty sure she was not cold at all.” Vampirella, like Dejah Thoris, would only be wearing more if she wanted to be.
Wendy: Thank you for sharing these fascinating details! I have often seen Vampirella wearing a trench coat, and I am very relieved to know that is purely out of courtesy to make sure that no one is left feeling uncomfortable about her minimal attire if they had to share a cab with her.
Emily: Fun Fact: WWAC has analyzed this specific cover of Vengeance of Vampirella #1 in our ongoing Cover Girl series!
Emily: Doreen Green is warm enough, not because of alien blood or superpowered hotness, but rather because of good squirrel-themed planning. Her cozy jacket, lined footwear, and overall practical layering should make her the obvious role model for superheroes who wish to be warm enough whilst kicking butts and eating nuts.
Wendy: Most certainly warm enough, but I am a little concerned about what she is lining her furry boots with.
Wendy: Darth Talon is a Sith lord. She is indeed warm enough, thanks to the seething heat of the hatred and evil she channels through the dark side of the Force. It not only helps her in battle, it frees her from the trappings of clothing. You might ask why her companions are not similarly dressed. I would answer that Force abilities often differ from user to user, and Talon’s abilities, thankfully keep her very warm.
Emily: I agree that the pertinent question is not why is she wearing so little, but rather, why do other Sith wear so much? Swishy robes must be cumbersome in any kind of battle, and the metal armor must be akin to a roasting pot when using a lightsaber.
Thank you, Wendy, for your valuable expertise! I, for one, am relieved to realize that so many scantily-clad characters are so comfortable that way. And to the readers I say, you’re welcome. I hope this broad range of examples helps you determine for yourself if the depictions of people you are looking at—whether they be comics, classical sculpture or fashion photo shoots—are, or are not, warm enough.