The following article was published in the Superman Homepage “Big Blue Report” newsletter, which was emailed out to subscribers on January 15, 2017. I thought it was also worth posting here on the website for all to read…
Superman is once again undergoing a change in costume.
It’s only a relatively minor change, but the ever-evolving look for Superman remains a process in which DC Comics and its artists feel the need to continually make tweaks here and there.
I’m not against change. But at the same time I’m not in favor of making changes for the sake of making changes. If there’s a requirement for it within the story being told… great. But if you’re just making changes to leave your personal mark or for a gimmick… then you’re not going to get my support.
There are fans who claim, “Superman’s costume has remained the same for 70 years! Why change it?!” That’s not exactly true. Superman’s costume has been changing and evolving since Day 1. Even Joe Shuster himself made a number of changes to Superman’s look over the first year of drawing Superman within the pages of “Action Comics” back in 1938.
Even on the cover of “Action Comics #1” itself Joe had drawn Superman wearing boots with straps wrapping around his shins, only to apparently change his mind once the coloring took place. I could go on and on, listing various aspects of the costume that have changed over the years… but that’s no the point of this column.
And I’m not definitely not writing this to challenge those fans who feel angry or dismayed at the changes. Who am I to tell them how to feel? Every fan has their own personal feelings on what Superman’s costume should look like… Just like every artist who draws him has an image in mind when doing so.
The latest costume design, which will debut on the cover of Superman #20 to be released April 5, is very similar to what he’s already been wearing over the last few months. However the biggest change is the return of the red boots. Since the “Rebirth” era began in 2016, Superman had been wearing blue boots with red trimmings. The return to the red boots is a welcome one.
The red trunks are still not part of the new costume… and I frankly don’t see DC Comics going back to them any time soon… if ever. Personal feelings aside, I think they’ve just moved on from that look.
The other big change is the belt. The mostly red belt (like the boots) appears to be shiny… perhaps metallic, but it could just be the inking and coloring that make it look that way. The two strips of red (or one strip with a seam or indentation in the center) dips at the front to allow for the placement of a shield shaped yellow/gold “buckle”. There’s not “S” in the shield buckle, it’s just the same diamond shape. I think it looks good.
The “S” on the chest looms large. The red cape comes over the shoulders and attaches at the upper chest the way it should. No high collar, not cape-clips, just a majestic cape.
The blue costume has no seems, no metallic sheen, no long sleeves, no additional design elements. It’s simple. Classic.
Personally, I think this may be the best Superman costume design I’ve seen in the comic books over the last six years.
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