The urban legend goes that legendary comics artist Wally Wood, one of the original artists for Power Girl at DC Comics, started enlarging her chest issue-to-issue to see how far he could go with it before the suits upstairs caught on. Again, this is just a myth; however, it started a tradition, and it's often considered one — er, two of the main features of the character, i.e. that she has even larger breasts than the average generously-endowed superheroine. Plus the "boob window" over her cleavage making them that much more obvious.
The same issue gave us this other great lampshading, when Superman and Batman talk with the Toyman about his invention after Power Girl is done distracting him:
Superman: "Will it work?" Toyman: "Does Power Girl have big— " Batman (cuts him off): "Alright then, let's go."
Many of the artists and writers over the past decade or so have had other characters point her figure out (such as in the preceding example), unlike other heroines in skintight and revealing clothing that other characters seemingly ignore. Even Power Girl is aware of her figure. She once commented that she doesn't need to wear a mask because "most of the time...they ain't lookin' at my face."
Some contemporary artists (from the last decade or so) also draw her as muscular, built like a body-builder. Adam Hughes, especially. He even drew a sketch of her lifting her own breasts for exercise in one of his convention sketchbooks.
As originally drawn in the 1940s, Wonder Woman had an average chest. Obviously, things have changed since then. Tellingly, she is described as canonicallythe most beautiful woman inThe DCU. All the beholders have the same tastes, then?
Black Canary once told Wonder Woman that she has "our community's second most famous bosom." The most famous one is Power Girl's.
She-Hulk is on record as the single most buxom female character in the Marvel Universe while her powers are active, but when she's not "hulked out", her proportions are perfectly average. Her proportions have been lampshaded more than once.
In an issue of Gen13, when Grunge absorbed Caitlin's power, he also acquired her bust size. Apparently, boobs ARE part of her superpowers. In the post-Worldstorm version, she was explicitly genetically engineered for attractive appearance. Regardless of continuity, her large breasts were always the result of her powers. In her first appearance, she suddenly turns from mousy and slender to muscular and curvy when her powers activate. This is attributed to an increase in "muscle mass".
Subverted and lampshaded in the Capes backup of Invincible #27, wherein Knockout dons large prosthetic breasts while getting into costume. Her also superpowered boyfriend comments that he wished she "didn't have to wear those anymore," to which she replies that her salary has doubled since she started wearing them, and that "the world just doesn't want flat-chested superheroines." Parodied later in that same series. When Atom Eve rebuilds herself using her matter-manipulation powers, in the middle of a life-or-death fight, she takes the opportunity to make some "improvements" by upping her cup-size. Subconciously. She then passes out, and is quite surprised by her new figure when she wakes up in the hospital.
Knockout later gives up wearing the prosthetic breasts once she and Kid Thor join up with the Guardians of the Globe after Capes Inc. disbands, due to both being comfortable in her own skin, and having a government salary that is already generous enough as it is, and doesn't hinge on the size of her breasts, but on her abilities as a hero.
Spoofed in the comic Young Justice, when mousy archaeologist Nina Dowd is transformed into the super-villainess Mighty Endowed, and finds her breasts are now so big she can't stand up without help.
Likewise, when Arrowette is convinced that she's going to have to turn evil, one of her major concerns is the costume that goes with a lifetime of villainy.
Openly lampshaded and mocked, like a great deal else, in Empowered:
Empowered: "'Racktastic'? Having allegedly large breastesses, that's not a superpower. Okay?" Ninjette: "Au contraire, Count Rackula. Believe me, I would so flaunt them if I had 'em." Empowered: "That I do believe, coming from someone with 'Ninjette' printed across the back of her shorts."
There's also a character called Jugganaut, whose power is implied to be related to her large breasts.
Lampshaded in one of the last Bloom County strips. Steve Dallas is showing Opus a comic book, and points out to him that "all the women look like Dolly Parton in zero gravity!"
Latex Red, a former member of the 3 Little Kittens team, had her breasts augmented to enormous size, considerably larger than her her head, in an attempt to out-do her former team mates. However she rapidly loses her balance and falls over a railing on her very first outing as a villain.
Lampshaded also in Outlaws case (issue #2 of Agent X) when Alex wakes up to her wig having fallen from the bedstand to his face which surprises him and he starts screaming
Alex:" A wig? * points to boobs* Are...are those real? "
Outlaw: "Well...hate to tell you this, cowboy, but..."
Outlaw:" What, did you reckon that they just grew all of us out on a perfect body farm somewhere?"
Alex:" Well, I just naturally assumed..."
One of the girlfriends of Savage Dragon sees a photo of Dragon's deceased wife, the busty superheroine Smasher. She wonders out loud if her power was the power to defy gravity.
Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen flat out admits that he utilizes this trope. In fact, he lampshaded this with Earth Girl, a superheroine with ... um, great power who often finds herself the victim of a Wardrobe Malfunction.
In an issue of The Sandman, a knockout blonde describes going into a comic book store; the creepy clerk says "we don't usually see breasts as small as yours here", presumably because the only women ever seen in that store are on the pages of the comic books.
Similarly to Wonder Woman, she had an average bust size when she first appeared (in Amazing Spider-Man #194).
Britt in CVO: Covert Vampiric Operations is a supermodel-turned-vampire. "Naturally", this means she has huge rack (another female character once calls her "38 Double-D"). On the other hand, she also has plenty of muscle and is fairly tall, and her vampiric strength likely prevents any back pain. Then again, she still would've suffered problems as a human (although her career as a supermodel was assured). Again, "naturally" for a comic book, she wears a skin-tight leather outfit with a very low cleavage.
Lampshaded that her bust size isn't a common occurance when Benny, a nerd-turned-zombie, who is two heads shorter than Britt, ends up staring at her boobs (which happen to be at his eye-level) when he's performing a medical examination on her (she's in her underwear). She asks him a question, and it takes him a few seconds to tear his gaze away to answer. She's not repulsed by a dead man taking an interest in her in the least. Then again, she's undead as well, just a different kind.
Lampshaded in Strikeforce: Morituri. First a female character celebrates that her enhancement process has given her a bigger bosom, and later other female characters are amused/skeeved by the size of the breasts they have been depicted with in the in-universe propaganda comics about them.
The eponymous Spider-Girl a.k.a. May "May Day" Parker doesn't have absolutely huge breasts but average sized ones. However when two of her friends, who have no idea she is Spider-Girl, decide to draw an indie comic based on the heroine they ramp up her breast size - as well as change her outfit to be more revealing and to display a head of long blonde locks. May Day finds the entire thing silly.
Jules from Bazooka Jules is a teenager with a slender build but thanks to a micro-robotic weapon fusing with her body anytime she's in danger she transforms in an adult version of herself with extremely large breasts. When she asks her professor why activating her powers makes her breasts so big, he explains that the weapon automatically provides its user with physical enhancements and weapons its user wants for the situation. One of the enhancements Jules has been subconsciously commanding the weapon to get her is large breasts.
In Brian Tarsis' erotic graphic novel City of Dreams, when the heroine steps through the mirror into the fantasy world and becomes her alter ego, her first comment is "I am the Princess - look at these tits!"
In My Super Ex Girlfriend, the advent of G-Girl's metahuman abilities is heralded by an, er, expansion, of her bosom, followed by several other cosmetic changes. Which is a total Big Lipped Alligator Moment, as no one ever points this out and her breast expansion is never once mentioned in the entire film. As well as the fact that in every scene of her as an adult, G-Girl seems to be pretty average sized up top.
Terminator 3 lampshades this since the T-X is able to adjust its breast size and shape to better win over male humans.
Averted in Supergirl by the modestly-endowed Helen Slater, whose bra size is 32A according to several online sources. In an interview with Starlog magazine, Slater noted "In the comics, Supergirl is quite, um, buxom... so I hope people won't come to the film expecting that."
Lampshaded in Perry Moore's Hero, where pyrokinetic Miss Scarlet says during an icebreaker that she grew up by a nuclear power plant and one day in her teens, she woke up with her flame powers and "a rack that would make Dolly Parton jealous."
Suzie Shooter in Nightside is quite female and from several descriptions, is... endowed with MCSP according to John Taylor's own internal dialogue
John Taylor: "She wore two bandoliers of bullets across her impressive chest."
Lampshaded in Paths Not Taken, when Suzie, John and Tommy Oblivion all see Alternate Universe versions of themselves in Old Father Time's mirrors. On viewing themselves as superheroes, Suzie complains that she's never had breasts that big.
Ms. Fate, the Nightside's resident costumed superheroine, averts this trope because she's the crime-fighting alter-ego of a male transvestite. He does, however, include a high-grade set of falsies in his costume, the better to emulate this trope.
This trope is averted in Wearing The Cape. Hope/Astra, while a Flying Brick, describes herself as "built like an underage pixie" and has a stuffed bra built into her costume to make her look older. Elsewhere she comments that the practice of incorporating wonderbras into superheroine's costumes is almost universal.
Live Action TV
In Roseanne, Darlene makes David redraw their comic book to remove this superpower from all the female characters.
Manga and Anime
Subverted in Tiger & Bunny. Blue Rose looks like she matches this trope at first, but then you look at her costume notes◊ and realize that her sponsors make her pad out her costume. After all, you can't market your superhero as a sexy dominatrix with just a B-cup, now can you?
Tabletop Game/Aberrant, part of the Trinity Universe, has a "Mega-Attribute" section of powers which are enhancements of the standard "attributes" that all characters have in the Storyteller system—strength, dexterity, and so forth. Although "Mega-Appearance" comes in many forms, the pic accompanying the section is of a woman with gigantic breasts being photographed by paparazzi. This is partially justified by the way that nova bodies tend to reshape themselves according to the subconscious desires of the nova upon eruption; thus, if a woman wants to be a big-boobed goddess, she gets to be a big-boobed goddess.
In City of Heroes, there has been some complaint from female players that even the smallest bust option on females is at least a C-cup. It's annoying if you're trying to make—say, a realistically-proportioned speedster.
It is possible to create the illusion of smaller breasts with judicious use of the waist, hips and physique sliders. And some clothing also tends to downplay them.
This is also true in Champions Online, which isn't surprising given the game was made by the same developers. And likewise, some clothing options make it easier to downplay it (or not) than others.
In Scott Kurtz's PvP, Jade complains that she can't make a super-heroine on NCSoft's City of HeroesMMORPG without producing an avatar with a back-breaking pair of breasts. When Brent and Francis explain that this condition fits the genre, Jade retaliates by naming her character the Titillator with the battle-cry macro, "Eyes up here!" On the other hand, she's got a decent pair herself, and her bustier sister Miranda uses hers as psychological weapons. After failing to manipulate a male character on one occasion, she looked down at her breasts and asked, "Are these on?" Brent once dreamed of Jade in a classic comic-book style - appropriately drawn by Frank Cho himself - and was awestruck with the results.
Alternately parodied and embraced in Supermegatopia, especially by the characters of Buxom Gal, an explicit parody of Power Girl whose breasts expand as she absorbs energy and contract as she uses it, and Distraction Damsel, whose "super power" is to distract bad guys (and everyone else) with her assets and precisely-timed "wardrobe malfunctions".
Lampshaded by the newspapers of that world who have offered a large reward for photos of Buxom Gal after more than a week of not using her powers. Sadly, the constant amount of supervillain attacks means she can barely go one day without expending her power.
Subverted in thesetwoPS238 strips. Villainess "The Kestrel" is blackmailed with medical pictures proving that hers aren't all-natural. She had it done because she's "got a mystique to maintain in this business." Beyond that, author/artist Aaron Williams rarely portrays any of his women with the Most Common Superpower. Especially Piffany, who is short and rather dumpy. The aversion in PS238 is justified in-universe by the fact that most of the superheroines in the comic are still prepubescent.
Ellen from El Goonish Shive has this pretty literally: her "superpower" is to transform anyone into a beautiful, busty, long-haired girl. This is tied to the origin story that magically created her, so she's normally fairly well-endowed, although she can transform herself even further. Her own assets have occasionally been referred to as the "Wonder Twins" on this basis, both in comics and within fandom.
The whole premise of Sidekick Girl is that superheroes are chosen because they "look the part" and sidekicks are assigned on the basis of the heroes' needs. This leaves the intelligent and skillful but relatively plain Valerie as Hypercompetent Sidekick to a telegenic and curvaceous blond bombshell Brainless Beauty named Illumina, with a (highly inaccurate) reputation for getting a long string of sidekicks killed with her incompetence. Valerie was picked because she can't die — and that's it. No Healing Factor, no immunity to injury or pain. She just doesn't die from anything. She can suffer, though. Man, can she suffer.
Aubrey: Oh, I wanna be a superhero! All that power and might! The cool abilities and costumes! The shockingly perfect boobie-spheres that have their own unique center of gravity! Davan: I noticed fighting for truth and justice wasn't in that little wish list. Aubrey: Davan, super women have super boobies. Super boobies are a "get out of fighting for good" card in the Monopoly game that is our lives.
The character Joule from WICKEDPOWERED has this power, and a whole lot of it. One example.
The titular character of The Challenges of Zona, and even more so the giantess Liri who would be at least a DD if she was human. Being around 15 feet tall her breasts pretty much demand their own zip code.
In Spinnerette, this is apparently actually part of a superpower. The Freak Lab Accident that causes her super-powers turns her from modest to busty, while having her get toned everywhere else.
Her rival, Evil Spinnerette, exhibits this trope, to an unusual extent for a girl her age (16).
Justified trope for Greta Gravity. She was a busty woman prior to gaining her gravity control powers which explain how she can, well, defy gravity.
Justified for Super Milf in her origin story. She was a scientist investigating the mysterious alien bio-reactors the military discovered. The reactors suddenly went critical and a huge explosion ensued. Miraculously no one was killed, but the reactors somehow merged with the scientist's breasts, turning her into a very powerful and very busty superheroine. She claims that her costume's generous cleavage helps vent heat from the reactors in her breasts.
The Magnificent Milkmaid, Chocolate Milkmaid and the villainesses they fight. The Milkmaids' powers are that their breasts expand from about D cups to closer to triple-K cups when they drink milk, and they can use their jugs as weapons.
Played with in the online story Interviewing Leather: Leather is a supervillain who used to be a superhero. Amongst her reasons for her Face Heel Turn is the fact that she didn't look like a superhero: she was only a B-cup and most heroines had at least double D's. "You know what they call it? Side Kick physique." Then again, she may be an Unreliable Narrator making excuses. Especially given that female supervillains are, if anything, even more inclined toward having supersized breasts and skimpy costumes that barely hide them.
Justified in the Whateley Universe, since the Exemplar power that a lot of these teenaged mutants possess reshapes their body image to what they subconsciously think it ought to be. With a few exceptions, a lot of these teenaged girls have huge tracts of land for their age, just as a lot of these teenaged boys look way too buff for growing high school boys. Phase has said that Mindbird and Attributes have some of the most "powerful" Most Common Super Power among the students, and her girlfriend Vox has that power too.
There's also the tidbit that most superheroines wear some sort of protective armor over the easily-hurt parts. Phase has kinetic gel protection in her supersuit, and she hates that it makes her even more endowed.
Lampshaded, by name, by Jadis Diabolik, who doesn't have this despite being an Exemplar, and isn't very happy about it.
Done (but certainly no more or less justified than in any other instance) in Pokegirls, in which the female monsters were created by the Big BadMad ScientistSukebe, who made the majority of them very well endowed.
Given that the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a superhero setting, this was pretty common. Nearly every female character was explicitly described as being "top heavy". As long-time player China Pettinger once put it, "I'd rather have my characters be stunningly attractive and sexy than lucky or powerful."
Winked at in this short story, when the superheroine's boyfriend notes that her action figures "look like someone has gone at her strategically with a large vise and an air pump" despite her modest actual figure. He blames marketing.