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Joss Whedon Had A Very Specific Avengers Costume Rule That Changed Marvel Forever

In some of the earliest days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the shared superhero franchise didn't fall for the same tropes most evident in comics during the 1990s, as "The Avengers" director Joss Whedon made sure to implement a pouch policy when it came to some of the titular team members' costumes.

In the '90s, artists such as Rob Liefeld popularized an over-the-top, edgy style, where Marvel characters wore bulky, borderline nonsensical costumes with more accessories, weapons, and needless features than ever before. One of the core characteristics of Liefeld's X-Treme style was giving the heroes he drew many tactical pouches, including drawing the likes of Cable with more than 15 pouches throughout his ensemble. The pouches drew criticism for being all style and little substance, and readers often questioned why they were needed. However, the '90s wasn't the only era with pouches aplenty, as iconic Marvel designs, such as Nick Fury's SHIELD outfit created by Jim Steranko's late-1960s stories, had many of them.

Someone who took the pouch problem to heart was Joss Whedon. According to "The Avengers" costume designer Alexandra Byrne, when she was designing uniforms for SHIELD, Whedon made sure that every uniform pouch had a purpose; otherwise, it was cut. Byrne is quoted in the book "The Art of Marvel": "[Whedon] would always want to know what went in each and every pouch — and if there wasn't an answer, the pouch would go."

Rob Liefeld's pouches became their own hero

Rob Liefeld, who announced earlier this month that he was retiring from writing and drawing "Deadpool" at Marvel, once shared a superhero creation inspired by the joke that he overuses pouches. On his Instagram account, Liefeld showcased a new character made entirely of pouches called the Pouch, joking that he's "always packing." Liefeld poking fun at himself with his unique designs for the Pouch was warmly received by readers, as he's often overly serious about his work. 

The Pouch officially debuted in "Bloodstrike" #23 in a two-page story from Liefeld titled "The Pouch," where the pouch-filled hero takes down crime to protect the city he loves. In a hilarious scene, the comic ends with the Pouch resting in bed, where all of the different pouches that make up his body are seen split up. While Liefeld probably isn't thrilled whenever pouch- or design-related criticisms are sent his way (whether fair or unfair), creating the Pouch showed he has a sense of humor regarding one of his most notable drawing crutches. 

However, given Joss Whedon's dislike for pouches without any direct purpose, don't expect him to adapt the Pouch to the big screen any time soon. His choice to not let recognizable Marvel characters have any unnecessary pouches during "The Avengers" has led to subsequent MCU costume designs following the same trend of simplification.