Examining Superman’s Upcoming Costume Change

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.

Costume

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.

Costume

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.

Costume

Personally, I think this may be the best Superman costume design I’ve seen in the comic books over the last six years.

Regards,
Steve Younis

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lurker
Member

I’m with you. If we’re going trunkless, this look does the most to retain the iconography and tie the future to the past without feeling like we’re updating Superman to a look that will be outdated in a few years. It will still be recognizable to the general public, and I’m betting it works a whole lot better for merchandising than the New 52 suit, that never quite worked on t-shirts and toys.

Nate1986
Member
My feelings about the new costume are the same: its good, but the belt throws me off. Even with time passing, my feelings haven’t changed that much. First off: there was nothing wrong with the New 52 suit, the Jim Lee design. The Romita “fix” with the belt was bad, but quickly was forgotten which was good. Still, since this isn’t the New 52 Superman, he couldn’t wear that for obvious reasons, but okay. The Rebirth costume is great, and the reason why is because it had balance. The point about a redesign is that it shouldn’t remind you of… Read more »
liheibao
Member
The reasons for all the tweaks? None of the designs capture what the true outfit has. DC wants the iconic stature of the outfit. . .without the trunks. The only problem is that iconic nature INCLUDES the trunks, and all of the teasing about “underwear” that comes along with it. DC even told artists they cannot use trunks, as stated by Patrick Gleason in an interview with Supermanhomepage.com Superman has had 7 outfits since 2011 and none of them have resounded to permanence. Instead, DC has been tip-toeing back to the proper outfit, albeit begrudgingly. We go from metallic gauntlets… Read more »
Frogman
Member

I completely agree. Trunks for life! :)

Frogman
Member

This is a great costume, but I will always be pro-trunks, even if they’re not coming back. :D

mindhavens
Member

Looks perfect apart from the belt!

s-shield
Member

I think if they just got rid of the gold shield inside the belt, I’d be happy. The shape of the belt mimics the top of the boots, making an M to compliment the S, which is nice. That mini-shield just looks like it’s resting, perched, on the belt, ready to fall off.

MattComics
Member
Again just make it a standard belt band in red with a round gold or yellow buckle and done. No funky jagged edges and repeating the symbol shape. The Smallville Season 11 comic costume had the same problem for me where they just had to repeat the symbol shape and make the belt a V as well as giving him excess sleeve length. Some elements are going to vary from artist to artist such as whether it’s a sky blue or a deep royal blue. I also agree with the poster who said that the size of the collar is… Read more »
justasupesfan07
Member

Again just make it a standard belt band in red with a round gold or yellow buckle and done. No funky jagged edges and repeating the symbol shape.

I was going to say something like this before I came across it.

Why not make Superman’s buckle the yellow circle or oval to resemble the yellow sun from which he gets his powers? That would make it more distinct, allow it to stand on its own, and give it more purpose.

KANSAS-SUPERMAN
Member

Love the costume! Probably in the minority here but I like Superman without the red trunks.

BMoore25
Guest

No you’re not, I love it too

SuperJMC79
Member

For nostalgic reasons I still like the classic look, but I really appreciate the updated take on the costume. The New52 costume bothered me because of the armored look… truthfully, I liked the t-shirt and jeans look that Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics had.

Looking back at the inspiration of the original costume, the circus strong man get-up, it doesn’t have any place in the public mind anymore; it’s anachronistic and distracting.

MattComics
Member

But the thing about that is Superman’s costume completely surpassed those origins to become something that isn’t anachronistic because the association is no longer circus strong-man costume, it’s Superman and Superman didn’t go away nor have the characters he inspired.

liheibao
Member
liheibao
Member

When people say “anachronistic” I believe they think Superman’s outfit is akin to what the DC Bombshells Superman wears.

liheibao
Member

When people say “anachronistic” I believe they think Superman’s outfit is akin to what the DC Bombshells Superman wears.

justasupesfan07
Member

I do like the new Reborn suit. It’s better than the Rebirth one leagues (pun intended) better than the New 52 one.

Kal L
Member
I like the classic/iconic look with the trunks above all else. I believe that it has transcended time and fashion trends. It is the one that inspired all other comic book heroes and even villains costumes since it’s inception. (And I know that the suit itself had evolved over time, I’m just talking about the over all look). However, I feel that it did need to change, and for a longer period of time than a few months or a story arcs worth. Why?… So we could learn to appreciate it more! But more importantly, it needed to change, so… Read more »
Supreme
Member

Best superman costume to date. But I still think it can be better.

Darker
Member

It looks like a combination between the classic and New 52 suits, pretty neat.

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