It takes a lot to be a superhero, right? You've either got to be filthy rich or an alien or suffer some kind of lab accident. That last one, too, while it certainly leads to some awesome powers, doesn't seem like a very comfortable experience.
One thing you definitely need, if all the drawings are to be believed, are rippling, rock-hard abs.
Or … do you?
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm starting to doubt the realism of superhero abs.
That's right. I'm blowing the lid off this ab conspiracy.
When you think about superhero physique, you generally think about they way these heroes have been drawn in their costumes. Costumes that, somehow, show every curve and crease of musculature despite the fact that those costumes are supposed to provide some kind of protection.
How is this possible? The way I see it, there are three explanations:
1. Their muscles are just that big. They can't help it. They're superheroes and superheroes have to have big muscles, right? So maybe their muscles are just so huge that they can't be hidden by any fabric. Not even fabric that's supposed to be loose-fitting, like Green Arrow's tunic. Or even leather.
2. The fabric is so thin it's basically body paint. You know, sometimes you just want to present an imposing figure to the world. If you look big and strong then people will be afraid of you, right? So what if your costume is made of the spandex equivalent of tissue paper? If you've got the big heroic physique showing through, no one will even try to take a swing at you anyway, right?
3. They're adding the muscles to the costumes. This one is my bet. After all, adding muscles to a superhero costume has been a time-honored tradition of costume suppliers for years. There's no shame in a little enhancement for the sake of vanity. Doesn't mean you don't have that badass 12-pack really going on under all that padding, just that you want to be able to have your abs and protect them too.
I say celebrate your superhero physique, even if you have to cheat a little to show it off. You've got an image to maintain. And after all, it's not about the looks, right? It's about the comic book sales.