Superhero costumes have a slight tendency to be tight, revealing the shapes of almost every body part they cover. Except, thank God, for Hulk's pants.

This implies that superheroes have found a way to get rid of their civilian clothes before gearing up, otherwise some six- or eight-packs would be hidden by the super-suit molding a winter jacket, as well as other (mainly female) body parts writers judge worthy of attention. From where I stand, we can distinguish between several categories:

  • "I have super-speed, so one can assume I just drop my civilian clothes somewhere": Flash, Superman, Quicksilver...
  • "I don't have super-speed or any superpowers for that matter, but I manage": Daredevil, Green Arrow...
  • "I'm kind of a public figure so I can gear up without worrying too much about such things": Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Captain America, Iron Man, Fantastic Four...
  • "I don't care, I'm a shapeshifter": Martian Manhunter, Mystique...
  • "Shut up, it's magic": Zatanna, Doctor Strange...
  • "I'm Batman"

And then there are Green Lanterns1. Green Lanterns have great flight speed, but no speed to gear up and ditch their blue jeans the way Superman could. In fact, in most cases the uniform just appears to somehow replace the clothes, as depicted in the cover below:

Hal Jordan faces the viewer, pictured in the process of changing from civilian clothes (jeans, black t-shirt, brown flight jacket with wool collar and shoulder patch) into his Green Lantern uniform.  A jagged glowing line runs from where his neck meets his left shoulder down and across his torso to the top of his right thigh.  On his right hand his Lantern ring is glowing and the right part of his body is in Lantern uniform.  Energy lines from his ring and his hair blowing to the left imply that the ring is transforming or replacing his clothes with his Lantern uniform.

This is supported by the fact that when the suits rips, what is often shown is skin, like here:

Jessica Cruz, in her Green Lantern uniform with a tear on the left thigh showing skin to which a bandage has been tied, is holding Simon Baz by the hand above a lava-filled, volcanic landscape.  Flying insectoid creatures hover to the left.  Simon's uniform is completely torn off of his left arm, down to his shoulder, leaving them bare.

Though when it's needed for view angle reasons, Jessica gets her clothes back:

Liseth Vok holds Jessica in the air by her throat.  Jessica's uniform is patchy or torn, with a yellow glow around the edges.  Her arms and legs, where the uniform is missing, are bare, but where her uniform is missing on her lower back and butt her t-shirt and jeans are visible.

These examples are quite recent though, and Green Lanterns have been around for a while.

Was it ever explained, in comics or elsewhere, where the civilian clothes go when their suit is on, or if they actually stay there, why the green uniform fits the abs despite leather jackets? (apart for the obvious out-of-universe reasons that breasts and abs sell more issues)

1 Actually, I reckon every color of Lantern uniform behaves this way, but I'll just say with Green Lanterns for clarity. If the answer comes from another shade of the emotional spectrum, it's not a problem though!

  • 4
    Not an answer, but given that the Green Lantern corps is all about manipulating reality with their minds (and their rings), are you sure they're even wearing clothes in the first place?
    – Peter M
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 21:19
  • 4
    Superman takes off Green Lantern's ring to reveal his day clothes underneath; static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/5/54562/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 21:52
  • 3
    In other continuities, the clothes teleport from one place to another by force of will; static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/0/40/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 21:54
  • 1
    @Jenayah - Take your pick what's canon in a property that's run across nearly 80 years, twenty different comic serials, a dozen cartoons and films.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 22:16
  • 1
    @Valorum in any case, the Injustice situation - while proving that the clothes stay here - doesn't answer why the uniform is so fit. Given than I never saw a Lantern naked upon taking off his/her ring, I guess the clothes do teleport or handwaving vanish
    – Jenayah
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 22:22

2 Answers 2


You can't trust cover art, it is notoriously misleading.

Apparently originally Hal Jordan physically took the suit off Abin Sur and put it on (it wasn't an energy construct) comicvine forum.

Image of Hal Jordan, in Green Lantern uniform, pulling on his glove.  Narrative text reads "After Hal Jordan has followed the spaceman's orders in disposing of all remnants of him and his rocket..."  Hal thinks to himself "The spaceman told me to take his special uniform!  And I vowed to him that I would carry out my new responsibilities to the best of my ability!"

If the Green Lantern movie is any indication, the suit goes over their clothes.

Also in the cartoons

According to the DC Database

The Green Lantern's uniform is not made out of fabric. It is created by the Power Ring whenever the wearer wills to wear it. It automatically appears over the wearer's normal clothing, and vanishes when the wearer wills to return to their civilian attire.
Fandom page for Green Lantern Ring

That being said, the ring also has access to a pocket dimension (like where the lantern is sometimes hidden).

So I believe either the clothes are tightly covered over the person's body, or they are moved into the pocket dimension while the suit is in place. And maybe it depends on the user / clothing. Because in your examples, some of them appear to be wearing minimal clothing under their suit, while Jessica clearly has normal clothes under the suit.

  • Eh, in the end, covering clothes or not, it all boils down to comic book magic, does it :) I'm curious - is that first panel from the very first Green Lantern comics? (The Hal Jordan ones, not the Alan Scott ones).
    – Jenayah
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 16:11
  • @Jenayah I added a reference to where I got that image, so presumably it is the original Hal Jordan first comics. Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 16:29
  • Ah, indeed, traced it back. Green Lantern #1, 1960, though it's flipped in the reprint, for whatever reason...
    – Jenayah
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 17:01

Well, if the Green Lantern rings are able to store their super-suits and make them appear, it could be that the clothes just go into the rings while their superhero costumes are being worn. However, the costumes could be constructs (don't know too much lore so maybe that is illogical) and therefore not be stored and are just created instantly, in which case my logic about storing civilian clothes wouldn't be as sound.

EDIT: New theory: If the rings can transport their users like they did in one of the first chapters of Rebirth Green Lanterns, maybe they just create the construct-clothes and teleport the normal clothes away for the time being. BTW, I don't know a lot about Green Lantern lore, this is all just my thoughts. If nobody on this site has canon evidence of how this works, maybe someone on a Green Lantern forum or something has read every issue of the series ever and found something explaining this.

  • The wardrobe-ring could be (at least one Flash certainly uses those), but I don't remember even seeing one for the GLs. If you have a reference, I'd be curious! Should be noted however that the Green Lantern rings are more on the "pocket computer" side than the "miniature storage" one. As per the costumes being constructs, they probably are, but they would still be physically overlaying the leather jacket, so... Why do we see 'em abs? :p
    – Jenayah
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 16:44
  • I wouldn't take the cover as being canon if there is reasoning for something else being true that contradicts it. Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 19:57

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