Lady Death Costume History
Lady Death was created by writer Brian Pulido and artist Steven Hughes. She would make her first appearance in the 1991 issue of Evil Ernie #1. Evil Ernie was originally published through Eternity Comics, but Brian and Pulido formed Chaos! Comics in 1994 and took their characters with them. It was at Chaos! Comics that Lady Death came into her own as a fully developed character.
Lady Death was thought to be a hallucination of Evil Ernie. By promising to love him forever, this sexy woman gave Ernie the motivation he needed to kill everyone on Earth. Her sensuality was emphasized physically by her voluptuous figure and scant clothing. However, we soon learned that Lady Death is a real being. As her character developed, she moved away from a simple sexual object and into one of the most popular bad girls in comics.
Hope was born in medieval Sweden. She was the daughter of nobleman Matthias and his wife Marion. Her mother, Marion, had a pure soul and could trace her bloodline to Heaven. Unfortunately, she passed away when Hope was a teenager. This left Hope to be raised by her father for almost a decade. Matthias was a seemingly pious man. He worked closely with the church and was honored for his fight against paganism. In reality, Matthias lived a more nefarious life. He embraced his ancestry as a descendent of the fallen angels who rebelled against God. Not only did he force the peasants living on his land into military service, but he also practiced black magic and demonology. One night, Hope saw him sacrificing servants to demons and discovered his dark secret. Hope was not a part of her father’s evil actions, but was accused of witchcraft after she saved a castle maids life through an unorthodox medical practice. When a plague struck the land, the people had had enough of Matthias’ cruelty and revolted. Hope’s father was slain by the angry mob, but he was oddly grateful for their actions. Hope also suffered from the wrath of the villagers. She was captured and going to be burned at the stake for witchcraft. Out of desperation, Hope attempted to recite a spell she had overheard her father use. It succeeded in summoning a demon who offered to save her, but only if she gave up her humanity and became a servant of Hell. Trapped, Hope agreed to the terms and was instantly sent to Hell. While in Hell, Hope found herself in a civil war between Lucifer and a sorcerer. The sorcerer attempting to take over hell was Hope’s father. Filled with betrayal and anger, Hope sets out to destroy her father. Lucifer helped Hope in her quest, by endowing her with some of his powers. Hope’s humanity was not instantly lost, but slowly drain from her as she remained in Hell. As her humanity faded, so did her human appearance. Her skin became a deathly pale white, her hair turned snow white, her eyes changed to a pearl white and she became significantly larger. However, unlike male characters who become more monstrous in appearance, Hope grew taller, stronger and more voluptuous. Early in her journey, Hope encounters two large wolves. She defeated them and they became her first followers. Hope is later attacked by Cremator, but he is so impressed with Hope that he joins her quest. As the blacksmith to the arch-dukes of hell, Cremator constructs Hope a special sword known as Darkness. Once she accepted her loss of humanity and place in hell, she begins to go by the name Lady Death. While Lady Death is searching for her father, Matthias has fought Lucifer. It appeared Lucifer was defeated, but he had actually possessed Matthias. Lady Death then fights Lucifer/Matthias in single combat and is victorious. However, Lucifer was able to curse Lady Death before his defeat and she could not return to Earth until all life had been destroyed. That is why she enticed Evil Ernie into his killing spree. She could briefly travel to Earth, by possessing the corpses of Ernie’s victims before they completely expired. With Lucier defeated, Lady Death is now the new ruler of Hell and she reshapes it into an endless graveyard. With her eyes set on returning to the world of the living, there is one grave for every soul that must perish on Earth.
Origin Story Reboot
After Chaos! Comics went bankrupt, Lady Death would be published by CrossGen Entertainment. It only took two years for CrossGen to go out of business and Lady Death had to find another home. In 2005 Avatar Press acquired the rights to Lady Death. To make things worse for fans, Chaos! Comics sold their character to different publishers after they closed. This meant Lady Death’s past storylines, that were tightly intertwined with many of Chaos! Comics’ characters, had to be wiped clean. These new publishers were challenged with having to create a new origin story that would not alienate Lady Death fans.
Hope is now the daughter of the crusader Marius and his wife Mary. Marius was constantly going into battle against the pagans, but only his most loyal troops would survive. This angered the local villagers, who were constantly witnessing their loved ones not returning from battle. Hope noticed her father had changed and followed him down to the dungeons. It was there that she saw her father summoning wraiths and offering them human sacrifices. It turns out that the warlock Sagos has possessed Hope’s father and was using him to secure a kingdom in The Labyrinth. Things soon escalate from bad to worse. Hope’s mother was right behind her in the dungeon and an angry mob had stormed the castle. Marius/Sagos snatches Mary and flees through a mystical portal. The villagers were unable to bring Marius to their brand of justice, but they captured Hope. As in her original story, Hope was about to be burned at the stake for witchcraft, but she recited the spell she had heard her father use to summon a wraith. The wraith saved her, in return for Hope pledging her humanity to the Labyrinth. Only this time, Hope instantly transformed into her albino white form, when she passed through the portal and into the Backlands. While in this new land, she crosses paths with Wargoth. He is impressed by Hope’s natural but undisciplined use of magic. He agrees to help her destroy Sagos and recruits the sorceress Satasha to their cause. While he trains Hope to fight, Satasha instructs her in the art of magic. They attempted to arm Hope but every weapon she held melted, because of her vast uncontrolled powers. Satasha and The Silent One had to forge a special sword, known as the Deathbringer. It allowed her to wield a weapon and help channel her magic. As Hope and her party tracked Sagos through the Backlands, she became known as Lady Death. After two years, they were able to find Sagos in the Temple of Karrion. The encounter did not go well for the group. They discovered Lady Death’s mother in chains and Sagos demolished the temple while the group was inside. Lady Death managed to dig herself out of the rubble, only to be attacked by a pack of Nameless Wolves. She killed all but two of the wolves and they became her companions. Lady Death would later bathe in the Fanghorn River to gain knowledge of elemental magic. She used her newfound powers to save Satasha’s home city from Sago, but learned that Sago has grander plans than just conquering the Blacklands. He wishes to destroy all life.
Classic Bikini Costume
Lady Death started out as a sexual incentive for Evil Ernie to go on his murderous rampage, so it makes sense that her original costume would be risque. She also lives in a place known for fire and brimstone. Which means, she will want to wear something cool. Her most iconic costume is the black, two-piece, thong bikini. She also wore long, black, leather opera gloves and thigh high, stiletto boots. The garterbelt kept the boots up, but I am not sure what kept her thong from falling down. All these pieces were clamped together with small, gold skulls. To make sure she was not completely exposed to the flames of hell, she had a black cape. This ensemble was the typical demonic garment worn by many women in Hell. Lust is one of the 7 deadly sins.
Lady Death is royalty, but rather than dress in royal robes, she just added some bling to her bikini. Instead of a small, gold, skull clasp holding her top together, she now had a large, gold, skull with wings. Her bikini bottoms had a matching skull in front, covering almost the entire area. Her opera gloves were laced together with gold string and the garter belt had gold rings along the straps. The biggest pieces of gold were at the top of her boots. The sharp pointed design made them look lethal.
Dragon Bone Armor
After five years in Hell, Lady Death once again attempted to get back to Earth. However, she ended up in the Dragon Realm. She is attacked by the Red Dragon Clan and defeated. She is drafted into their army, to fight the Green Dragons. During these Dragon Wars, Lady Death was given armor crafted from the bones of a dragon she killed in battle. Of course, armor might give the wrong idea of it actually offering protection. Yes, it is better than her regular clothing and covers more than Red Sonja’s iconic chainmail bikini, but it still left a lot of areas vulnerable. The most well protected area are Lady Death’s legs. She now wears plated armor, over her thigh high boots. Her arms were covered in a thick armor plating and her gauntlets are large enough to easily double as weapons. She was given a demonic looking helmet that covered most of her face. The large daggers/horns sticking out the top would strike fear into all but the most hardened opponent. The rest of the armor was not as encompassing. Her cloth thong was simply replaced with an armored chastity belt. The bra looks to actually cover less of her chest. It has a small solid piece on the bottom, but the rest looks to be made from the dragon’s ribs. It gives off the impression of hands holding her up for support, rather than protecting vital organs.
Purgatori revealed to Lady Death that she had captured Marion’s soul right before it had entered heaven. After hearing this news, Lady Death was prepared to completely destroy Purgatori. However, right before Lady Death could carry out her desire, Lucifer showed up and stopped her. It turns out that Lucifer has been manipulating Lady Death from the very beginning. The shock of discovering she is no more than Lucifer’s puppet releases Lady Death’s demonic persona and she becomes Lady Demon. While in this state, Lucifer had her fight Purgatori for his amusement and made Lady Demon his concubine. She is able to break free of Lucifer and her Lady Demon prison, after finding her mother’s soul. Marion is able to infuse her soul into Lady Death and give her the angelic energy needed to defeat Lucifer.
It is impressive the way artist were able to give Lady Demon more clothes, but still manage to show more skin. Technically, she is wearing a monokini. However, it is so ripped and shredded that it must be magic holding it up. It makes sense from a story perspective, because she is Lucifer’s concubine. The boots and gloves that Lady Death used to wear, are now shredded and look more like netting. The top is now longer, but makes up for it by being much slimmer. The extremely large golden skull on her bottom piece probably contains more material than the rest of her costume put together. It would not be shocking, if people didn’t notice the large horns sticking out of Lady Demon’s head. This costume draws the eyes to different parts of the body.
When Lady Demon switched outfits and started wearing tight leather pants, she looked like a biker or an apocalyptic warrior. With weapons strapped to her black boots and belt buckle, there was no mistaking that Lady Demon ment business. However, she forgot to put on a less revealing top. Rather than wearing full opera gloves, she went with fingerless gloves and leather bands around her elbows. This offered more dexterity and support for wielding weapons.
There have been a couple storylines where Lady Death was not dead. When this happened, her all white coloring changed back to her pinkish flesh tone and blond hair. She didn’t let being flesh toned again, get in the way of her modesty. The use of black fabric against her human colored skin gave off an even skimpier look. The black bikini costume is very similar to her original costume. The biggest difference is the gold buckles on the gloves and boots that match her blond hair. The garter belts were now made of a thin gold strands. The Batman fins on the side of her gloves did give the costume more dimension.
To see Lady Death wearing pants is a drastic change from her previous costumes. Of course, they were skin tight, so they still did not hide very much. These hip hugger, leather pants always completely exposed her abdominal muscles. To keep her pants from falling all the way down, she wore a matching black leather studded belt. There would either be one large skull for the buckle or several skulls circling around for decoration. Her choice in tops varied drastically. They would range from her classic bikini top, to a mid sleeve shirt. There were two constants. The shirt would always be black and had her cleavage about to pop out like a wardrobe malfunction or rip through the fabric like the Hulk during a transformation.
Heavy Metal Lady Death
For a while, Lady Death took to wearing leather studded armor. This would be one of the few costumes that actually made her look like a bringer of death. Over her skin tight leather pants, she had solid metal leg guards with large skull knee pads. She had a matching set of armor on her arms and the skulls placed on the shoulders to act as pauldrons. Her hands were exposed to allow for a better grip, but her arms were covered in small spikes that could double as weapons. Lady Death almost managed to have a complete spike studded shirt, if not for the large section removed from the top of her chest. To be fair, Lady Death has a big selling point and it makes Power Girl’s look like an A-cup.
Full Body Armor
This would be Lady Death’s most practical wardrobe, but it existed is an alternate reality and is not part of any long running storyline. In this reimagining of the mythology, our heroine’s name is Faith. One day she found her father torturing a Templar to try to locate the Holy Grail. In order to stop his plans, she disguises herself as a soldier and follows him with the army. She ends up fighting her father to try and stop him from drinking from the grail and gaining ultimate power, but she is no match for him. She switches tactics and drinks from the grail before her father can. Unfortunately, her noble action had dire repercussions. The Templars cursed the Grail for anyone who drank from it. Faith lost her soul and became Lady Death. She is doomed to search and kill for her soul till the end of time.
The armor Lady Death/Faith is wearing could realistically be something a soldier would don into battle. The sleek, black, plated armor offered protection for her entire body and looked light enough to not severely restrict her movement. The only touch of color is the small gold skull brooch on her neck. The whole appearance looks effective and regal.
Medieval Lady Death
Medieval Lady Death strayed from the original story and costume, which is probably why many fans were disappointed with this interpretation of the character and sales were lackluster.
In this origin story, Hope did not know her father. Her mother, Marion, was impregnated by an Eldritch and raised Hope by herself. When hope was eighteen years old, she traveled with her mother to Novgorod, where she was conceived. It was here that her eyes turned white like an Eldritch. The town paniced and they attacked Hope and her mother. The hysteria builds even more when Hope instantly heals from a cut she suffered at the hands of a villager. Hope and Marion are then dragged to the nearby river and killed. Her unknown father, Tvarus, tries to revive them using his magic after the town folk are gone. He leaves after believing them to be dead. However, Hope is brought back to life, but not her mother. Hope swears revenge and begins her long journey as Lady Death.
The Medieval Lady Death costume would radically change the concept behind her characters clothing preferences… she would completely cover her breasts. She still wore a form fitting outfit, but it was tame compared to most costumes worn by many superheroines in comics. The all black, form fitting, leather suit made her look like an assassin. The long spikes protruding from her vambrace made her a warrior. Her pauldrons lacked the aesthetic skull design, but were smooth and perfect for deflecting a blow. Her bodice was not laced fully closed, but in a rare moment of modesty, she wore a red shirt underneath. It gives off the mental image of a black widow spider, which goes along with her deadly persona. The only other color found in this outfit is on the belt. The black belt has decorative gold lining that run into a large, red, circular gemstone.
For someone who started out as the ruler of hell and wanting to wipe out all living souls on Earth, Lady Death is surprisingly festive. She can be seen dressing up for the holidays and getting out of her usual clothing. It might appear that she dresses scandalously, until you look at some of the costumes out in the market. If you don’t believe me, check out some of my Men vs. Women Halloween Costume Hubs.
Lady Death costumes can’t be found at your family Halloween shop, but that does not stop fans from dressing up as their favorite bad girl of comics.
Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)
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