Superman on Television
Examining the Superman Costume for "Superman & Lois"By Steve Younis
Date: December 10, 2020
In this article I'm going to be examining, in detail, the updated Superman costume for The CW's "Superman & Lois" TV series. I previously wrote a similar article when the costume for Superman was revealed for his first appearance on The CW's "Supergirl" TV series back in August 2016. In this review I'll not only give my thoughts on this new costume, but also make comparison's to that older costume.
Initial Reaction: The first thing I noticed was the removal of the horrible "buckle" attachment design for the cape. That alone makes this costume design so much better. But just in general, my initial reaction was "very cool". I like it!
I really like the look of the material being used for this cape. It as a nice cloth look it that evokes the Christopher Reeve Superman cape for some reason. It's definitely better than the pleather look his previous cape had.
I also like the longer length. I've always felt that Superman's cape should come down to somewhere between his calf and his ankle.
Once again we don't know if there's a yellow version of the "S" emblem on the back of the cape... But, as I've said before on previous costume reviews, I'm not too worried either way. I'd prefer to see it there, but it's not essential.
As with any cape for a Super-family member, the most controversy seems to be about how the cape attaches to the costume. The weakest design element of Tyler's previous costume was the gold "clasps" that attached the cape to the front of Superman's shoulders. Thank fully, as I said above, these have been removed from the new costume. The fabric of the cape now tucks in to the neckline as it should.
Speaking of the neckline, I would have preferred a lower neckline, but this doesn't look bad. It does remind me of the Brandon Routh costume for "Superman Returns," which had a similarly high neckline.
It doesn't appear that too much has changed with the fabric or design of the bulk of the costume's main body area. The blue looks the same color, and the fabric has that same mesh look about it made popular by "Man of Steel".
The seem pattern is similar to his previous costume, but they do appear to start lower down his chest in this costume, but that may have more to do with the size of the "S" shield (which I'll get to below). All in all, I like the fabric and the design of this area. It just seems to be more streamlined and less "armored" than the previous costume.
Again, this design feature of having seems on the main body area may be inspired by the New 52 costume, which had similar design elements, but, once again, it does break up the blue fabric and gives form to the bodice of the costume without being distracting. The sleeves do seem to have a more pointed ending on the cuff, but it's minimal and hardly worth mentioning. It may just be the way they're cut to allow Tyler better wrist movement.
THE "S" SHIELD
Once again, the shape and design of the "S" shield is the best thing about the costume, although I wonder why they reduced the size? It's the same "S" shield design shape as previous, but it's obviously smaller and now looks to be made out of the same fabric as the rest of his costume, where the previous costume's shield appeared to be more solid. It could just be the lighting, but the yellow also appears to be less vibrant than his previous costume, but that's not a complaint, just an observation.
I don't mind the size of the "S", it's just that the size difference is quite noticeable. The smaller size is exacerbated by the fact that there's now more blue fabric above the top of the "S" due to the higher neckline design and the removal of the cape clasps. The four little yellow "notches" around the "S" shield, which were a strange addition to his previous costume, are thankfully missing here.
There are no trunks once again in this costume design. Which, as I said in 2016's costume review, will likely be the standard for many years to come when it comes to live-action portrayals of the Man of Steel. If they were designing this from scratch, without Superman having been on any show on The CW before this, they may have gone for the red trunks seeing as how they're back in the comic books. But seeing as how this version of Superman has never had red trunks, it would have been odd for them to suddenly be included.
Superman gets a totally new belt design for this costume. Where the previous belt had a straight "hoop" design to it, this one dips at the stomach area.
While the belt serves no practical function without trunks, the costume as a whole does need something in this area to break up the solid blue.
Once again the belt has a mostly red design, but the gold elements from the previous belt are reduced somewhat in favor of a diamond shaped "buckle". The belt also seems to be more metallic in appearance than before, which does make it stand out a bit more, considering there are no other elements of the costume that have this shiny appearance.
We can't really see the boots in the photo released of the new costume, but the shape does seem to be the same when it comes to the way they sit on his shin. They do seem lower though, in that they don't come up his leg as high as the old ones used to.
I've always preferred that Superman's boots be of a similar material to the rest of his costume. His old costume's boots appeared to be a leather boot, which didn't look that good to me. It's unclear what material these new boots are made of.
Interestingly, costume designer Laura Jean Shannon did state that they're "athletic inspired" boots, so I guess we'll just have to wait to get a better look at them down the track.
Now for the man wearing the costume...
From his time playing the role on "Supergirl" and the various crossover episodes on The CW, I like Tyler Hoechlin in the role. I prefer his Clark Kent, which he seems more comfortable playing, but I think he makes a very competent Superman... as long as the writers give him good material to work with. On "Supergirl" he was a supporting character, and therefore written as such. On "Superman & Lois" he's the show's leading man... a Super man. He needs to be portrayed in that light.
I do like what Tyler said about being tasked with playing the icon role. "I appreciate the opportunity to wear the suit and the responsibility that comes with it. But it's always interesting when I'm asked how I feel about "my new suit," because I've always felt that the suit doesn't belong to me; it belongs to everyone that finds some kind of meaning in that suit, in the symbol on the chest. I just happen to be the one wearing it. I come from the world of baseball and a line of coaches that always preached that the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the one on the back. Because when you wear that jersey, it represents not only you, but your entire team, and everyone that has ever worn that jersey that came before you. So when I wear the suit, that's what it means to me. It represents everything that Superman stands for and has stood for, for almost a century now. And I look forward to carrying on that tradition."
I look forward to seeing him being given the chance to own the role on a TV series of his own.
IN CONCLUSIONThe new Superman suit, designed by Laura Jean Shannon and built by her L.A.–based Supersuits team in conjunction with Creative Character Engineering, does (as the press release stated) have a "classic, timeless vibe" while "grounding him and elevating the suit in a modern arena".
Looking at online reactions, it appears as though most Superman fans like this new costume a lot more than Tyler's previous costume. Once again, I think it comes down to the fact that they haven't strayed too far from what makes the Superman costume "classic" and iconic.
This time around I'm a lot more impressed with this costume design than I was with what they came up with for Superman's debut on "Supergirl". Tyler just looks more like Superman in this photo than he did in the one they released in August 2016.
I'm happy with this costume design. Relieved even. This is a costume that I'd be happy to watch on a weekly TV series about "Superman & Lois".