Thu
Apr 11 2013 1:10pm

The Man of Steel: No Kryptonite, Still No Pants

The Man of Steel Superman no pants

Listen, I’m a fan of the “Everyone on Krypton was a perfect super-person, it was a utopia and now it is gone, alas” viewpoint so I am with you that far, Mister Snyder. I am also a fan of the Donner Era “let’s just lean on the Christ-like imagery” angle, as well. Sure! I’m just...trepidatious at Yahoo Movies saying he’s a “special child” and that his birth was a “cause for alarm.” You don’t need to push too hard on the space-savior angle. It is already built right in. I’m guessing that this actually ties into a more cerebral, Byrne- era Krypton; Krypton as a sparse emotionless world where children are conceived in test tubes birthing matrices rather than through physical contact.

As for leaving out kyptonite, sure! Heck, as Superman: the Unauthorized Biography will tell you, it was only added in by the radio series to give him an Achilles’ heel. You can tell a perfectly good Superman story without it; Superman can have mental conflicts with people like Luthor, or the military, he can have emotional tension with Lois and the public and Zod and company will provide plenty of grist for a physical clash.

Call me old fashioned, but personally, I just wish Superman would put on some pants. Saladin Ahmed puts it quite succinctly: “Superhero costumes look silly. Feature, not bug. Attempts to make them look ‘serious’ just makes them look stupid.”

(Photos from Entertainment Weekly)


Look! Up in the blogs! It’s a Tumblr! It’s a Twitter! It’s...Mordicai Knode!

13 comments
Mordicai Knode
1. mordicai
I think it was The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings that introduced me to the term "area." Superman, you are better than this 90s throwback costume, is what I'm saying. I guess I should just be happy he isn't made of blue lightning.
Jenny C
2. Jenny C
I'm mostly concerned about the lack of red "overpants". Yes, they're trying to make the costume cool and serious and it's a mistake because you're still dealing with a costume made of skintight primary colors, but those thin wavy ridges do not work to separate the upper and lower body parts and when you take Superman's costume and remove the separation of the upper and lower body parts what you get is Ultraman's costume. Ultraman, he's Superman's alternate dimension antimatter duplicate who's just as evil as Superman is good. So, you know, concern.
William Carter
3. wcarter
The armor look in the new 52 isn't bad per se as far are phasing out the red briefs, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a good look for realism.

I don't know of a way to make a superhero's costume look anything less than silly in reality. The closest you can come is Frank Castle's skull shirt, headband and duster. And even that doesn't quite make the cut.
Jenny C
4. TheAdlerian
Dear People Who Don't Exercise,

There's nothing silly about superhero costumes since they look just like my biking gear and CW-X tights I wear to the gym.

Thanks.
Mordicai Knode
5. mordicai
2. Jenny C

My favorite thing about the Ultraman costume is when the U is in a circle symbol so that the negative space makes an up arrow. Really though, my favorite Earth-3 or anti-Earth guy is Owlman.

3. wcarter

I think, personally, that the Donner movies nailed it, but if you wanted to over-think it I would go the All-Star Superman route of just saying that this is how Kryptonian fashion is. Heck, men in tights & shortpants was the rage in Europe for a while, right? It isn't even implausible.

4. TheAdlerian

If only there was some clever mnemonic here for what happens when you make assumptions.
William Carter
6. wcarter
@ 5 Mordicai

I think fashion itself can be inherently silly. I guess there's no reason Superhero costumes shouldn't.

@4 The Adlerian

I'm a white water raft guide. I literally get paid to exercise.

As for biking gear not looking silly? That all depends on who you ask and who's wearing it. Same goes for just about any outfit exercise related or not.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
7. ZEXXES
The whole point of costumes as far as physical activity is concerned is mainly for relief of extra weight, extra drag and freedom of movement. Given the purpose of the costume from a superhero standpoint, it makes sense on sum levels. But not every superhero needs skin tight costumes top to bottom. Esthetically men who are in shape tend to where tighter and more form fitting clothing the closer to true pro level athleticism. In this case, Superman being the zenith of supremity, I see nothing silly to argue over. He should be showing off every bit of his superior genes. If he were me and it was somehow appropriate, I'd walk around naked knocking foes out with my nair'ed man of steel sack, while pistol whipping....well you get the picture. Anyway... Updated costume has been needed like forevahhhh!
Mordicai Knode
8. mordicai
7. ZEXXES

I would argue that the point of costumes is to easily differentiate characters on a printed page.
Jenny C
9. Practicality
If anybody has access to a mannequin and a Mach 2 wind tunnel, please run some quick tests and tell us which would be more practical for a flying man:
1. A cotton T-shirt and Levi's jeans
2. An Armani suit
3. A form-fitting, impact-resistant material

You can try #3 with and without a cape. But by now, hopefully we all know that capes are just a stupid fashion statement.
Mordicai Knode
10. mordicai
9. Practicality

When your issue with practicality involves capes, & the subject at hand is about an alien who coincidentially looks just like humans only he can defy the laws of physics, then I think maybe you are doing it wrong. You might as well ask why people can't tell Clark Kent is Superman...after all, they are just glasses, right?
James Whitehead
11. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
Figuring Practicality is just channeling his/her inner Edna Mode:



Kato
Chris Nelly
12. Aeryl
I like the lack of underpants. It's a better aesthetic. It doesn't look inherently silly, like I always felt the underwear-on-the-outside did.

I don't agree that superhero costumes MUST look silly. Sure they did look silly, but I think the modern adaptations of Thor's armor and cape, Cap's uniform, and the tossing of Hawkeye's purple jumpsuit all work. I don't think Snyder's attempting to make him look "serious" cuz yeah that's not what comic books movies are for unless you're named Nolan, I think he just wants to look more modern.

This Supe is going to be the first exposure for many people who are too young for Donner and Singer's movies, and having one of those hell spawns myself, her incredulity will only stretch so far, and undies-on-the-outside is WAY TOO FAR for her.
David Moran
13. David Moran
+1 for refreshing 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings in the public consciousness.

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