Q and A: Mark Newport

Costume designer Mark Newport talks about knitting outfits for superheroes, both famous (Batman) and unknown (Sweaterman)

Artist Mark Newport replaces the flashy capes and skin-tight garments of comic book superheroes with soft, hand-knit costumes. (SAAM)
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Knit costumes stretch and sag. They take on a completely empty look that challenges the image of the big muscular superhero body. And by displaying the costumes on a hanger, it’s like they’re in a closet. Anybody can imagine putting on the costumes and taking on that superhero role. What does that mean and how does that affect who you are and what you do?

Do you have a favorite?

Batman. For the most part, I identify more with the “make-yourself” type of hero as opposed to the ones who have their powers thrust upon them or magically given to them. That’s more interesting to me. It mimics the idea of how we can take care of the people around us through mundane, human roles.

Do you have a favorite original costume?

Sweaterman is the one I return to the most. Usually that’s because that series explores the different textures and patterns of knitting. He is an easy, open-ended kind of superhero. In reality, my favorite costume is usually the one I’m working on. That’s what I’m most obsessed with and interested in.


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