How to be a SUPERHERO! (or a villian...)

In honor of one of the greatest comic books ever written being turned into a film this spring, I thought I'd return to my costuming roots of yore.

How does one become a superhero?
First, you have to develop a character, and then create a fantastic look.
Naturally, you can always be an established super hero, such as Wonder Woman or Superman. These are pretty easy to pull off, so long as you don't mind a lot of spandex. There are, however, a handful of super heroes and villians that actually wear normal clothes, such as Rorschach or Wonder Girl.
1980's Supergirl (right) and Contemporary Supergirl (left)

American vs. International Superheroes
Generally speaking, American superheroes tend to follow a tried and true formula: SPANDEX. ... and usually bright colors, unless you're going for a more contemporary, film-loosely-based-on-comic book look, as in the more recent X-Men movies.
The latter, however, would probably involve a lot more molded plastic.
Additionally, female characters tend to have low-cut necklines and (generally) bare or tightly wrapped thighs. Men, by contrast, have their entire body covered and wear boots, more often than not.

Note the tight spandex and difference in clothing style between men and women.

Shaktimaan (India) wears a more "futuristic" costume.
With international superheroes, the field is a little broader. Costumes range from traditional folk clothing to a crazy, 1950's era "future look" (think Ultraman). Despite the wider range of options (and the fact that these characters tend to wear less revealing outfits), there are some drawbacks. Namely, few people will know who you are portraying. Also, straying to far from the traditional unitard/bathing suit look might make you a less convincing SUPERHERO/VILLIAN.

More Information on International Superheroes

Captain Canuck (Canada)

Ultraman family (Japan)
Costume How-to
Now that you've decided on who you will portray, you need to build a costume. Generally, your persona will have one or more of the following boots, a utility belt, cape, and bizarre makeup. For guidance on quick and easy ways to create all these goodies, please refer to the links provided.

Boot covers

Mel's Boot Cover Tutorial (if you have boots to cover)Boot Covers by Love Meeko (You can use any shoes for this one. On the menu, click "Tutorials" and scroll down to "Boot Covers")
Circle capeSquare cape

Utility belt pouches by Kazumi KurosakiScary Makeup by Martha Stewart (or one of her minions...)

Additional tips...
How to Make a Super Hero Costume by indymogul