Superman’s red trunks are back! It happened in Action Comics #1000.
However, not everyone is happy this is taking place.
Let me give my two cents on this subject!
IT’S DANGEROUS TO CHANGE A CLASSIC
First thing, do we really call them “trunks” as in “swimming trunks?” I’ve seen them referred to as “shorts” (as in “boxer shorts”) or even “pants,” the latter of which I have preferred. When statues and figures came out with Batman in his new duds, I would tell people I don’t like the Dark Knight without his pants on. I got the strangest looks when I’d say that… .
Back when the New 52 was coming around, DC thought that might be a good time to implement some changes to the costumers their heroes were wearing. Jim Lee was recruited to come up with more modern takes on the heroes’ uniforms. After all, a visual change is often one that lets people know something new is happening.
Now, I have to say that I do like the new outfits he came up with. It makes total sense to me that heroes would want to wear armor to protect themselves, especially given the weapons the bad guys have at their disposal today.
The only exception to that rule was Superman, who is himself invulnerable and has worn a costume woven from the threads in the ship that brought him to Earth. (Okay, John Byrne liked him wearing a cape that could get torn at times. It was a thing.)
It might be – just might be – that one of the reasons the Man of Steel got a wardrobe change had to do with what was going on with the Siegel and Schuster families. DC may have wanted to make just enough changes to show they could go on with a Superman costume that was different enough that the fans would be okay with it and they didn’t need to pay the families so much. I don’t know for sure on that, I’m just guessing here. Someone might know much more about this than I do!
The trick is that Superman wore those duds for decades. He wore them in comics, in TV, in movies and on clothes from underwear to winter coats. People got really attached to that image. It represented “truth, justice and the American way,” after all. To some, changing his outfit was even thought of as unpatriotic.
BACK WE GO
However, I was okay with the change. And I’m okay with going back to the original.
I know that makes me sound wishy-washy, but I actually like them both. I guess if I had to say which one I prefer, I’d go with the classic one with the trunks. Maybe he could switch to the Lee armor if Kryptonite was around?
I have seen people look at the guy wearing the New 52 armor and wonder just who that was. They didn’t think it was Superman, so maybe it was a brother or a cousin or something. They couldn’t figure it out. After all, Superman wore the red trunks, they’d say!
On one level, it makes sense to go back to the classic outfit because there are literally millions of promotional items with that costume on it. Granted, the New 52 outfit hasn’t been around long enough to get out in the public as much.
And given that DC actually changed Supermen during the New 52, it can be kind of confusing.
I applaud DC in that they can realize when something new isn’t working as well as something older. They returned Barbara Gordon to Batgirl when it became apparent that none of her replacements held a candle to her.
One of the great things that DC can now do is use that old familiar phrase – “Back because you demanded it!” Whenever a comics company makes a change and they need to return to the way it was done previously, that catchline resurfaces. Did fans really demand it? Maybe, maybe not. But it sounds good, anyway!
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
It’s ironic to me that Marvel is also bringing back some of their classic characters. Of course, their changes seem to have been much more significant. I mean, after all – a woman hero instead of a man compared to shorts versus no shorts. Really.
Still, I’ve enjoyed a lot of the New 52 and Rebirth. The returning of focus back to the core of the characters has been really worthwhile, I feel.
I also have conflicting feelings about Batman. I really like the new Greg Capullo-designed costume. In fact, I just got the action figure wearing it. But I still would like to see the Dark Knight back in the blue trunks and the big black bat across his chest. That was really classic to me.
Who knows what classic hero or costume will come back next? I can’t wait to find out!