In 2011, with the release of the “New 52” initiative, DC Comics changed Superman’s costume, removing the red trunks. This look was further solidified with the release of the movie “Man of Steel”, in which Henry Cavill donned a Superman costume that was also missing the familiar red trunks.
Further changes in the comic books, the dawn of the “Rebirth” era, changes to Superman’s story, would see more changes to the costume, bringing it back to a more traditional look (no high collar, no metallic sheen), but still no red trunks. Excellent Superman stories, with 2017 being one of the best years in recent memory… but still no red trunks.
We thought they were gone. Relegated to history. Some fans were happy. Others, not so much. Debates raged on across social media and in comic book stores. Polls. Articles. Memes. Charts. Red trunks. No red trunks.
Underwear. Speedos. Underoos. Panties. Shorts.
Originally, Joe Shuster was inspired by the circus strongman of the 1930s as his model for the red briefs. It was a design that most superheroes that came after Superman employed. But over the years many of those superheroes did away with this part of their costume… and so too for a while did Superman. Until now…
With the release of the 1000th issue of “Action Comics” (on April 18, 2018), Superman’s iconic look will be complete with the return of the red trunks to his costume.
“I knew when I took them off in the New 52 that they were going to come back,” Lee said at WonderCon in Anaheim, as reported by CBR. “It was just a matter of time. We figured the 1000th issue was as good a time as any. The danger with creating new costumes is that someone always loves it, so I’m sure the trunks will leave again at some point. At the end of the day, I have no horse in the race. I have fun drawing both.”
While the trunks may leave at some point, their color is already under threat… DC Comics has plans to explore a different look for the Man of Steel, with the discovery by fans on Reddit that Superman will sport YELLOW trunks by the end of Brian Michael Bendis’ six-issue “Man of Steel” miniseries.