NEW Superman is like NEW Coke. BAD Idea.

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• THOUGHTS OF SUPERMAN, AND HOW HE MUST ALSO BE IMPERVIOUS TO TRENDS (FASHION AND OTHERWISE) -
- Superman is the FIRST superhero, officially. His costume design was based on several things, most notably the carnival strong man, hence the tights, and trunks. Clearly, it was a different era, an era
possessed of a greater measure of innocence than today. I think the fact that Superman's outfit looks dated is a GOOD thing, as it serves to always identify him as the beginning. Among an entire generation of "clones" HE is the Template Model. And his appearance automatically declares his primary status and importance.

In Mark Waid and Alex Ross' KINGDOM COME epic story, there's a great scene where Superman comes out of retirement to restore order in a chaotic world of destructive and egomaniacal super-beings. He strides authoritatively into a bar full of these godlike creatures, and they all immediately accord him the deepest respect, making way for him, and falling into awestruck silence. Now, sure, Ross did tweak Superman's old costume a bit here. But it remained essentially the same, old-fashioned, with the red trunks, and the cape tucked in at the shoulders. Superman looked dated and out of place, but that's as it SHOULD be. It's a frikkin' badge of honor. Haha!
Any effort to modernize this Template Superhero only reveals an agenda to serve crass commercialism rather than respecting the "landmark" status of a pop cultural icon. Other characters may be more malleable, changing with the times. But some are not.
Superman is the prime one of these, in my opinion.
Cheers!
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© 2015 - 2021 Jerome-K-Moore
Comments52
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utriv's avatar
I can't get my head around a depowered Supes and the new Patlabor...er...Batman.
clemon's avatar
Didn't realize that was probably what made me turn away from the lack-of-red-short-shorts. You explained it better than I could ever hope to!
PIG-0149's avatar
Sorry, but, what are you talking about?

:? (Confused) 
New Superman feels more like a "Superman" pretender.  He's got super powers and he is a man, but he's not really Superman... just like the guy in the movie.
korbindai's avatar
I don't mind the update. I just don't like how it's kind of a rip-off of Dragon Ball's Kaio-ken technique. I know DB when I see it. That's totally DB. At least they should admit it.
Jerome-K-Moore's avatar
Hmm...

If that's true, then it only underscores my whole point, that they're stripping Superman more and more.  First the red trunks, and steadily, the rest of what originality he possessed.
korbindai's avatar
It's DC trying to appeal to a very specific Tumblr, politically correct crowd. What's going to happen with them is what happened with Marvel: those books won't sell well.
Crowforge's avatar
There have been big changes to the costume (and character) before and it always went back. Because they got a lot of things right, and right for the character over the years.
Gojira012's avatar
Did they learn nothing from the disaster of Electric Superman?
yellowflowerevy's avatar
I disagree. Mostly because of time period. I do like what your saying, but due to writers never wanting characters to grow old and have the potential to die. It makes "keeping them relevant" an issue. Honestly if he were the first super hero in DC cannon (ie the history of the world he exists in), I would not mind. But a teen or an adult in this time period would not want to imitate the worlds strongest man show posters from the early 1910-1940's when it was popular. Heck many adults might not know about them either. So Unless he is ageless and has just been around a really long time. I just don see a need for this kinda feeling for him specifically.  (also if someone made a comic of that i would read the hell out of it)

I do on the other hand feel this is reliant for wonder woman. She is a character steeped in greek myth. Making sure she looks like an ancient greek person who had little to no contact with the outside world and its fashion trends till now, is critical to showing who she is as a person and why she sees the world differently. I feel this is rarely done well in her costume.  They have done great at making multi cultural costumes due t her being respectful. But...yeah the point still stands.

(On a side not I often find it funny people hold Super man to such high standards, his original comic personality was pretty clearly a jerk. And that was not even his first incarnation. ( Who was by all intents and purposes Lex Luther. Something I will never not find funny.) He be came an all American boy scout over time.)
Jerome-K-Moore's avatar
As I've mentioned, characters that become "classic," and iconic are accepted into the Zeitgeist in their most widely perceived  and most popular form.  This may not be the same character as was originally created.  There was an allowance for "growing pains" as Superman, Batman, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and countless others did not spring forth from nothing, whole and complete.  They were molded over time until they achieved a classic status.  And although they continue to sustain tweaks here and there, a demonstration that they remain alive and growing, there are binding parameters, limits which, when breached, summon the vehement protest by those who hold these icons dear, and by those who earn the privilege of being their custodians.  Some lovers of Mickey Mouse prefer the "pie-cut" eye shape design, and spindly limbs of the character's Steamboat Willie days.  Others cherish the Freddie Moore redesign for THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE animated short in 1940.  Nevertheless, the Mickey Mouse that continues to be a global icon remains within the parameters that have bound him, virtually unchanged for generations.  Bugs Bunny most recently underwent changes in design and character in order to appeal to today's kids.  However, this endeavor by WB and its marketing machine has, so far, failed to truly register enough to change the iconic Bugs overall.  The Zeitgeist was unmoved.

With superhero comics, there is the intent to straddle the line between keeping the most popular characters relevant as well as ageless.  It is the injection of realistic continuity that has become both blessing and curse.  The blessing is in the form of relatable characters for each successive generation, appearing in topical stories resonating with relevance, and increasing realism.  The curse is in the challenge of keeping these iconic characters ageless despite the realism, and this results in the unfortunate "retirement" of beloved versions in order to pass the mantle onto younger copies over time.  Of course, this process is inherently damaging to the fantasy element which makes the medium so much fun in the first place.  Inevitably, publishers concoct contrivance after contrivance so that the version of a beloved character can somehow return again and again and again.  It grows increasingly ridiculous and aggravating for the fans, all because of walking that line of timelessness, and realistic continuity.

Reinventing Superman is hardest of all because his premium cachet of being the first superhero of all seems like it must be sacrificed if he is to be continuously kept young enough to appeal to new generations of fans.  This was never more evident than on the television show SMALLVILLE.  There, young Clark Kent could not yet fully become Superman, but the producers couldn't resist introducing an array of DC Comics' other famous super-characters, inevitably stripping Superman of his rightful primary role as the forerunner of all the heroes now predating him.  I believe that the true challenge is to the imagination of the writers, as it has always been.  I believe that it is possible to conjure a way for the Superman character to still be the same one from the 1930s, able to forestall aging somehow, leaping from one era to the next, while preserving his most iconic look and personality.  The scenario I envision in my head this very moment is no more preposterous than the myriad of outlandish storylines to have appeared in comics over the course of history.  It's not impossible.  This is fantasy after all.  It's just a matter of being creative, and earnestly respectful of that which is most important in the longer run. 
Gojira012's avatar
Every  thing you have said is true sir. There are things in this world that should never be tampered with. All of which the idiots of today remain blind to. If it is truly what appeals to  today's youth then I weep for it
yellowflowerevy's avatar
Not going to lie here I think after reading that ,eloquent and well thought through statement, that we are really saying the same thing. Yours is a ...version with more information but the same thing rings true. Keeping them outfits the same would strengthen the characters a lot as icons. But until more writers try that, change will still occur weather or not it's a worth while endeavor is to be seen. And again if someone ever does try that superman being ageless thing I would still read the hell out of that.
In the end I guess I agree more than I thought.
MorganRLewis's avatar
A bigger problem than the costume is the frequent attempt to "update" his personality. Superman doesn't need to be edgy. He doesn't need to be dark.
Dave-Wilkins's avatar
So you mean to tell me, you don't think those fingerless gloves are the hotness ;)
BrooklynPhoenix's avatar
I concur completely.
andypriceart's avatar
So very very well said. New Superman is... offensive. Visually, dramatically... everything feels wrong.The ideals of Superman currently are off. And while "The American Way" may not truly fit a character from an alien world (particularly in today's volatile political environment and "politically correct" atmosphere), his moral compass and even temperament should never be updated to "modern" comics. He's worked for 75 years for every reason you point out. He's the sticking post, the example. I feel in many ways the same should be said of Batman. These two represent the two superhero models... everyone else is a combo or derivative of these two.

And frankly, without the briefs, the flow of the costume is way off. Same for Bats.

At least he doesn't have holes for his knees like Supergirl. 
BrooklynPhoenix's avatar
I would also add Spiderman to the primary superhero model. He's so unlike Superman and Batman to the point where he's an original: the ordinary guy gifted - not by birth or choice - with power to do right thing, even when 'real life' gets in the way. Spidey is the maturation of the superhero genre, hence the counter-intuitive genius of making him a teenager and a celebrity; having actually falling into the superhero genre. I see it like Superman was your Dad, Batman was your big brother, and Spidey, your best friend. haha. I feel that those three are the quintessential archetypes that all other heroes are molded from.
Jerome-K-Moore's avatar
Spider-Man fills the space of the "accidental" superhero, and his regular persona's complexity is what makes him unique.  But he adheres to the typical tropes and patterns already established by Superman, and Batman to some extent.  Spidey has super-strength, speed, and super senses.  That's Superman.  And even though the early printed colors were more limited, the red and blue, as it signified the hero, began with Superman.  For a brief moment, Spidey used a dune buggy to commute into town, and this is the province of none other than The Batman.  The Batman swung from tall buildings as well, long before Spider-man arrived, although this activity is better suited to the web-slinger.  The deceased family is another coincidental derivative.  And wearing a costume underneath street-clothes also originated with Superman.
Jerome-K-Moore's avatar
Wow.  You're the first person to ever express the very same viewpoint that I have concerning our two principle superhero templates: Superman and Batman.  Those to whom I've mentioned this don't seem to get it, at least, not right away.  But I believe it's true.  From Superman and Batman, you get virtually every other superhero character in existence, from the various super-humans and extraterrestrials, to the self-made superheroes dependent upon masks, acrobatics, vehicles, mystique, elaborate motifs, and gadgetry.  Spider-Man is a combination of the two.  So is Captain America.  So is Green Lantern.  And The Flash.  The Hulk, with his incredible brute strength, and his mile-spanning leaps?  Superman.  Wonder Woman?  A female version of Superman, for the most part.  Iron Man is rife with Batman elements.  On and on.
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