The “new” costume.
I first designed Tommy’s costume in the mid 90s. When I got to the graphic novel, I did make a new design for Tommy’s grandfather, but very much wanted to keep my original design for him. At least, for a short time, because I had drawn it so much over the years. And for the first issue I kept it for the same reason. Issue 2 was going to be the debut. However, since the backup story in #1 was so special with the story by Michael A. Baron, I thought it was a good place to debut it.
The thinking behind the design? To be honest, it was from a presentation point of view. When you draw a character with an all black shirt and then put him in all black panel you have to cut out his form with a white outline or scallop out white on his outfit like a reflection. I did it a few times and really didn’t like it. So it just made sense to make the white part of his costume to make it look intentional. The added benefit was that it allowed me to add white to his costume and reflect the white that was in his Pop’s suit.
Simple as that.
A lifelong comics fan, Mike W. Belcher is the writer/artist of MAN IN THE MASK. A story he's had with him for over 20 years.