Each Wednesday, one of the Blog@Newsarama contributors discusses the things we love about comics in a feature we like to call, “I ♥ Comics”!
Whenever someone asks me what my first comic was, I have no idea, I’ve been reading them since I could remember. I know for sure it was the late seventies, I wasn’t even in school yet, and was partial to the female characters. Of course, I loved Wonder Woman, and I used to dress up like her, with my little Wonder Woman bathing suit, a home made tiara, and my little red booties. Then at some point, I started to get DCs Adventure Digest and the star spangled panties weren’t cool anymore. I wanted to wear all black! I wanted a black swimsuit, a black jacket, black buccaneer boots, and fishnet stockings. I don’t know why, but Alex Toth’s Black Canary absolutely captured me.
I wonder how many mothers hear those immortal words “mom, I want fishnet stockings.” Especially at a time when fishnets were associated to street walkers, not super-heroes. My mom would tell me those were adult clothes. Now, my mom is fairly cool, and reads comics herself, and has every issue of Mad Magazine to date so maybe that’s why it wasn’t a big deal to her that I was asking for such things. I have no idea if she thought I was serious or not, or if she would have let me, but it didn’t matter. Good luck being a child under five years old wanting black clothes. The availability of an item like that was next to none. The closest I could find to black in my size was brown or navy blue corduroy pants.
I believe it was in Blue Ribbon Digest that I discovered another fishnet clad heroine. Top hat, tails, fishnets! Oh my gosh, she was soooo cool! I told my mom I wanted to wear that to an upcoming wedding. I ended up settling with a mesh hat, a Barbie pink dress, and white panty hose with a frilly lacy bum. Okay, so it wasn’t quite the same…
I had a hard time finding a pair of fishnets. It was the post-Madonna 80s fishnet era. Black Canary ditched her stockings and was now sporting a mullet. Thank goodness I never thought that was cool. I don’t remember Zatanna being around much at the time. I think there might have been a mini-series and a special.
To much my enjoyment, Black Canary went back to solo stories and into her fishnets in Action Comics Weekly. I wrote my first letter to DC Comics. No, I didn’t thank them for the return of Canary’s classic costume. So like every good comic reader, I gave them heck for a continuity error. The 80s costume that she had burned was supposed to be fire retardant. Yes, they printed my letter, explaining that it would have been less symbolic if she had tossed it in a dumpster. Eh, I think it would have been funnier if she did, and a homeless person adopted the outfit. Rad.
A few years later, when I was old enough to start shopping for myself, I finally found it! I was in Holt Renfrew, and there they were! On a rack full of Donna Karan pantyhose, was fishnets! I almost didn’t buy them. $25 seemed like an insane amount of money to pay for hosiery, and this was about 15 years ago. Well I bought them anyway, and they were so well made, they lasted me easily through high school.
It was probably a bit of a shocker to my schoolmates to see me in dresses, with the fishnets. Before that, everyone thought I was very tom boy, hung out with the guys, played floor hockey with them and video gamed our eyes out together.. I remember the guys all wanting to touch the fishnets, not because they were hitting on me, but because they were so curious. “How do they work?”, “How are they made?”, “Where can I get some?”. It was really weird and fun at the same time.
Finally, graduation rolled around, and without hesitation, I rented a top hat and tails, got my hands on a crisp white shirt, and, of course, put on my fishnet hosiery. I went to grad dressed like Zatanna. It was a lot of fun, but people thought I was dressed like the Hochtaler Girl from the wine commercial. What sucks is my now ex-boyfriend also stole all the photos I had from our time together, so I don’t have pictures from those days anymore.
Since then, the popularity of fishnet mesh material has risen to the point of being a sexy fashion staple from goth wear to formal evening wear. Thay are everywhere! The variety of fishnets is incredible now, in multiple colours, styles and even how fine the mesh is varies. To my happiness, it has impacted my wardrobe greatly. Who would have though a comic characters can shape a person’s entire style? I should talk about my other fashion influences, but that might be a story for another day.