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With so many super-powered characters in Invincible, it’s easy to overlook the puny powerless humans. Unless it’s Batman or Iron Man, why would I care?
Worse, if the person doesn’t run around wearing spandex and beating people up, why should I give them the time of day? Well, let me tell you: if you ever felt like that, you’re dead wrong.
Superpowers aren’t the only worthy ability. Like Edna Mode showed us, tailoring for superheroes is a demanding craft. But despite Edna’s widespread acclaim, she wasn’t the first superhero tailor to pop up on the block. Do you know who came in almost two years before? Invincible’s Art Rosenbaum.
To be clear, I’m not claiming one influenced the other or comparing their personalities – they are radically different. I just mention Edna to say Art should be at least as prominent as her because, though he doesn’t appear much, he’s integral to the plot.
Not only does he serve as an astounding tailor, but Art provides the final piece of information Invincible needs to discover how to defeat the series’ Big Bad.
Not a small feat, huh? So, let me grab you by the hand and tell you how it all happened.
My Bottom line up front: Few characters are as multi-faceted as Art Rosenbaum. A complete reading of the series made me see Mr. Ronsenbaum through three facets: genius, guru, and friend. Learn all about it in this Art Rosenbaum guide.
The first is self-explanatory, related to his tailoring skills, while the other two delve into his personal relationships. Art is a guru because he’s a guiding figure for Mark whenever the hero is in distress, and he’s a friend due to his close bonds with Nolan and Debbie Grayson.
The Best of Both Worlds
Prom dresses by day, nuclear-powered suits of armor by night, with your spandex number thrown in every now and then for good measure.”–Art Rosenbaum.
Art had the best of both worlds before Hannah Montana even sang about it: prom dresses by day and superhero costumes by night. But that makes me wonder, when does he sleep? I don’t know, but now I kind of want to ask Robert Kirkman.
Anyway, if you haven’t read one of the hundreds of Invincible articles on the site(I’m just kidding, it’s not that much), let me explain the premise. In a nutshell: teenage alien raised on Earth gets superpowers and has to fight an evil empire of men with mustaches.
That’s it. Unless you want the longer and more spoilery version when said hero discovers his dad is part of the empire that wants to conquer Earth.
But before the jaw-dropping revelation, Nolan Grayson was just an ordinary father. He did usual father-and-son stuff, like taking Mark to his tailor so the young hero could get a super suit.
You know, a good father may want to destroy your home planet, but he will never let you fight crime in joggers with a piece of cloth for a mask.
Enter Art’s shop: the place to be if you want to look dope while beating the crap out of bad guys.
Still, Mark’s unsatisfied with the options available – he wants something iconic. Which is precisely what everyone wants, according to the tailor, yet no one knows what they mean. But Art is an artist and a friend: he says that once Mark has a superhero name, he will work to build something great.
This interaction is significant because it shows Art’s craft is more than making beautiful or powerful clothes. It’s about having a concept and building around it, which is the foundation of any impactful work of art.
I should know: five years of Architecture school, and there’s no way I can get away with a project without a good concept.
Appearance and Personality
Art is a middle-aged, balding man who wears pretty plain clothes: a shirt and a vest. This intrigued me because I thought a tailor would put more effort into his everyday look. But maybe that’s on purpose – sometimes, when you work with something, you don’t want to keep thinking about it all the time.
Regarding personality, Art’s pretty level-headed and calm but possesses a sassy sense of humor – I would often find myself laughing at his remarks. He’s highly methodical with his work and knows how to get what the client needs most of the time.
Besides, Art is a perfectionist: he’s constantly tweaking his creations to make improvements. On a personal level, the tailor is a deeply caring friend, always willing to help.
But one overlooked trait is how much of a businessman Art is. Once, Debbie called him to ask the right way to wash Mark’s uniform. After tutoring her, the tailor said she should get one of his ionic cleansing machines because it would make her life much easier. What a way to turn a friendly call into a pitch!
Art has been friends with Nolan ever since the Viltrumite arrived on Earth. The professional bond between them is strong – the tailor would go on to design the costumes for his son and grandchildren – but the personal one is even sturdier.
When Nolan turned evil, Art was adamant the alien couldn’t have faked everything. The tailor knew deep down the man he befriended was still there. The friendship bar was raised high with this – I got really emotional.
Art’s friendship with Nolan also granted him a strong bond with his wife. When Nolan left, Debbie turned to alcoholism, but her talks with Art kept her going. This is a sweet relationship because the tailor was there for his friend in her darkest hour.
Art and Mark met when Nolan took his son to the shop so they could get a superhero costume. From then on, a professional relationship slowly morphed into a personal one. Art became Mark’s friend and a guiding figure whenever the young hero needed counsel. I loved their interactions because the tailor often heard the hero without judgment and offered sound advice.
Why are you still coming here, though? Can’t your new government bosses get you new costumes?”–Art Rosenbaum.
The first angle of Art’s personality is genius.
The tailor is an ordinary man, but he makes the best superhero costumes. So much so that when Mark started working for the government, the hero still preferred Art’s suits, claiming the competition’s clothes didn’t fit as well.
Keep in mind that a secret base below the pentagon would undoubtedly have more resources. Still, Art’s costumes were unbeatable.
It all makes sense when you remember how much of a perfectionist the tailor is. Arts constantly improves Invincible’s costumes, often redoing them from scratch to test new materials. One time, Mark noticed a change in his boots, and we got a whole explanation behind his thought process.
Yeah, I wanted to simplify the design a bit. Simple is in this year, y’know. That little square of black cloth showing through didn’t make much sense – it was like saying, ‘look, a weak spot here’ or something. Also, it’s much easier to support the kneepad now that there’s a whole boot under it.”
This is precisely the nitty-gritty I like to read about: I often do deep dives into explanations from writers, directors, and actors on how they do their craft. Every idea has so much thought behind it, and this moment shows it. This quote here made Art feel like a real person and artist.
Come to think of it, that’s probably why the guy is literally named Art.
Like any artist, Art likes to change the status quo with new ideas. That’s basically the reason behind Invincible’s black and blue costume. You may hate it, or you may love it, but the outfit provided a nice change.
I still prefer the original version, but that doesn’t make the shift less valid. Mainly because the suit has a design reason to be: it works with Oliver’snew costume. Invincible’s older colors would have clashed with his brother’s color scheme. Art knows what he’s doing.
Still, Art’s costumes aren’t just beautiful, they can be super powerful as well. Take the suit he designed for Black Samson, for instance: it aimed to restore the hero’s powers. This costume was so dangerous Art was terrified when someone stole it from the shop because, according to him, it had ” the power to level cities.”
Art blamed himself, but eventually, Mark discovered the culprit: Samson’s butler. He wanted to take revenge on the Guardians of the Globe for kicking Black Samson out of the team.
So the butler used the suit to wreak havoc on the group’s funeral. It all ended well, but Art’s guilt shows how much responsibility he feels toward his creations and their power.
But what I like most about Art’s job is his work ethic. When Mark complimented Shrink Ray’s new uniform, the tailor stated:
That was a freebie. I felt guilty about that first costume. It was basically just a Fantastic Four Uniform with a mask and different colors. Not my best work.”
Art can recognize his mistakes, which also shows in his relationships.
You just don’t break up with a girl because you think that she could do better. That should be up to her. Let her make that decision.”–Art Rosenbaum.
The second angle of Art’s personality is guru.
But that doesn’t mean he knows everything or pretends to. No, he’s conscious of his shortcomings and often apologizes. For instance, when Marks asks how Art became aware of the hero’s work with the government, the tailor says Debbie told him.
He then added there wasn’t much Mark’s mom wouldn’t say when drunk, but quickly apologized for the inappropriate comment.
Despite the slip-up, he often offers sound advice. For instance, right after the mistake, Art tells Mark to cut his mom some slack. Debbie has cared for him and his father for most of her life. With Nolan gone and Mark juggling his superhero career with college, she’s only got herself. She’ll need an adjustment period.
Art further helps Mark’s relationship with his mom.
Once the tailor realized it had been a month since the hero had visited Debbie, he stated Mark could fly and see her in a second – and not doing so was hurting his mom. The young man says he’s reluctant to return to the house due to the memories. But Art has none of it: “She’s your mother, Mark. Go see her.”
I thought this interaction was fantastic. Art acted like a cool uncle, caring about both parties.
During their frequent conversations in the shop, Art would give counsel about family, relationships, and superhero stuff – with valuable tips and sassy humor. When Mark seeks the tailor for relationship advice stating his mom and best friend aren’t available, Art replies: “good to know I’m third.”
Mark says Amber and Eve like him, and Art thinks he should just “pick one and move on.” The hero says it’s not that simple because he likes both. But the tailor keeps talking, prompting his friend to see what he likes about each girl, and the young hero finally reaches a conclusion.
Then they started the subject that would change the series forever.
Mark says he found Nolan on another planet, and the tailor is relieved to hear about his long-lost friend. Unfortunately, Nolan was captured, but he left vague instructions for his son: “read my books.”
Invincible is confused because his father only ever wrote travel books, and he can’t see how that’s useful. But then Art says the alien wrote a sci-fi series, and the tailor has kept it in his collection.
The premise is this: an alien hunts down enemies of his government and eliminates them. In each book, the protagonist goes after two or three threats to the empire.
Mark realizes his dad was writing about himself – the books contain secrets to defeat the Viltrumites.
And just like that, Art showed Mark how to beat the Big Bad aliens.
You can’t fake that – not how he acted towards me. He was my friend. He couldn’t have faked everything. Not everything.”–Art Rosenbaum.
It’s not absurd to say without Art, Debbie wouldn’t be the same. After discovering her husband was a murderous world conqueror who saw her as nothing but a pet, she hit rock bottom.
Debbie fell into deep sadness, but Art was there to help her each step of the way. If she needed a drink, they drank. If she needed to talk, he listened. And if she needed to cheer up, he had a sassy remark ready.
But what struck me the most was the tailor’s certainty that the Nolan Grayson he knew was still there under the Viltrumite’s evil actions. The tailor wasn’t wrong. Omni-Man eventually redeemed himself and started fighting against his own people.
Still, Nolan didn’t make everything right because he was a shitty friend to Art.
One day Mark arrives at says Nolan is on Earth. The young hero states it’s easier for Art to visit him because Omni-Man can’t be seen on the planet. But when the tailor arrives at his friend’s home, he only finds disappointment: Nolan has already left for space.
Omni-man did it to save the world? Yes! But that doesn’t justify it. He could have taken a minute to visit his best friend – the hero’s super fast. So Art understandably takes the news to his heart and leaves with his head down. This moment hit me hard. It’s one of the saddest panels in the comic, even with all the death and gore.
I could forgive Omni-Man’s murders, but I couldn’t forgive ignoring his best friend. Poor Artie never did any wrong.
But thankfully, that’s not how the story ends. Over thirty issues later (yeah, it took a long time), Art and Nolan finally catch up. They talk about the good ol’ times, and the alien apologizes.
The Viltrumite says he’ll make more time to see the tailor. Though we don’t see them interact again, I like to believe Nolan made good on his promise.
Sadly, the Viltrumite wouldn’t have a lot more time alive. Still, Art’s friendship with Debbie and Mark would live on. Once Marky, Invincible’s son, was old enough, his grandma took him to the tailor. Art made him a costume, keeping on the family tradition.
Awesome or Lame?
No doubt Art is awesome. Not only is he the best at what he does, but the tailor is also a fantastic friend who helped those he loved each step of the way.
But my favorite thing about him is this: despite the enlightenment his qualities may grant him, he doesn’t shy away from admitting his mistakes and, better yet, correcting them.
Plus, the tailor is an example that dedicating yourself to your job and relationships can make you a hero too. It’s easy to be impressed at superpowers and incredible fights, but Art proves that being the best at being human can outshine any gimmick.
And the Award of Best Quote Goes to…
That’s really up to her, Mark. She didn’t know before, but she knows now, and she’s still with you. If you like Eve better, if you feel more connected to her, if you’ll be happier with her, that’s one thing. But you just don’t break up with a girl because you think that she could do better. That should be up to her. Let her make that decision.”
Invincible issue 35
When Mark can’t choose between Eve and Amber, Invincible wonders if it’s fair for Amber to date a superhero. Then the tailor drops in this fantastic piece of advice.
I’m so sick of the tired excuse, “I’m not good for you.” In real life, that’s often a poor way to avoid bruising someone else’s feelings, but in fiction, that’s a tired trope to create unnecessary drama.
Normal humans can handle relationships with superheroes if they’re careful about it. Of course, I was still rooting for Eve because I liked her better. But if Mark was to choose her, this should be the reason.
Fortunately, Art showed him that.
Question: What Did Art do to Omni-Man?
Answer: Art made many costumes for Omni-Man, but I would argue what he did best was believe in his friend unconditionally. Even when everyone thought he had gone evil forever, Art was confident there was good left in his alien friend. The best Art ever did to Omni-Man was a being real friend.
Question: How Did Art Ronsenbaum Die?
Answer: It’s unknown how Art dies. As of the last issue, he’s alive and makes a costume for Mark’s son. But since he’s human, he certainly died. We just don’t know how.
Question: Who Plays the Tailor in Invincible??
Answer: Mark Hammil plays the tailor, Art Rosenbaum, in the Invincible Amazon series. He’s most well-known in the voice-acting arena for his role as the Joker in the 90’s Batman animated series. But the main part you probably know him from is Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars franchise.
Simply the Best
Art Rosenbaum proves a friend in need is a friend indeed. If you are curious about Omni-Man’s journey from hero to villain, then hero again, you should read Why did Omni-Man Kill the Guardians?
The article provides great insight into the alien’s motivation and journey. But if you’re already on par with the comic’s events, you could think about cosplaying as your favorite Invincible character with the help of this guide.