Superman 80th Anniversary Thread

Started by Silver Nemesis, Sat, 31 Mar 2018, 19:41

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DC Comics house advertisement for late 1993 following the conclusion of the "Death of Superman/Funeral for a Friend/Reign of the Supermen" trilogy story arcs.

"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."

An interesting tidbit about Superman's return during/after the Reign Of The Supermen storyline was how his uniform was subtly different from what it was before.

First, arguably, the chest symbol was bigger than it had been before. This is a little subjective, granted. But it looked TO ME like the symbol was larger than it used to be.

Second, the cape seemed to get noticeably longer. Which, again, is kind of subjective. Different artists, different interpretations and so forth. But I always got the idea that the cape was longer, fuller and more "billowy".

Third, what's NOT subjective is the blue bodysuit shifting from a softer powder blue (which is what it had been up through the Doomsday storyline) over to more of a shade of navy blue. The bodysuit is undeniably darker than it had been before.

Fourth, there's obviously his long hair. Again, different artists interpreted "long hair" in different ways. Jackson Guice drew it as slightly mullety. Jon Bogdanove drew it like a rock star's hair. Finally, Tom Grummett and Dan Jurgens drew it as thick, flowing and just a bit longer than before.

Basically, after ROTS, Superman was drawn to more greatly resemble Dean Cain in the first few episodes of Lois & Clark. The larger chest symbol, the royal cape, the darker bodysuit and the hair were intended to match up with Dean Cain.

In the L&C pilot and in the first few episodes of L&C, Dean Cain had thick hair. And obviously, the various Superman artists interpreted "longer hair" in their own individual ways. And eventually, comic book Superman's hair looked not very much at all like Dean Cain's hair, esp after Cain got a haircut in the first season. But still, the intent seems to have been there.

For anyone who doubts this, keep in mind that the only reason that the Doomsday/Funeral For A Friend/Reign Of The Supermen trilogy ever existed in the first place is because Mike Carlin delayed Lois and Clark's wedding to (eventually) coincidence with Lois & Clark's eventual wedding. So, if Carlin was willing to throw out firmly laid plans for Lois and Clark to get married in the comics (and obviously, he was willing to do that), then why wouldn't he visually realign comic book Superman's appearance with TV Superman?

I can't prove any of the above about Superman's appearance. But the changes simply look too big and substantial AND TOO SIMILAR to L&C for me to think it was all just a big coincidence.

No, I think there was an editorial agenda going on with that stuff.

I always wondered about Cain's longer hair in those early episodes, and whether it was the show reflecting the comics or vice versa. For most of L&C's run Clark sported a shorter neatly-cropped haircut, but in the earlier episodes he clearly sports a longer more casual hairstyle.

Was the decision to shorten his hair intended to make Clark look more nerdy/square? Perhaps. But shorter hair also has the effect of making a man's head appear smaller, which in turn makes his body look bigger. Bodybuilders and wrestlers often shave their heads for that reason. Tom Hardy did so when he played Bane in TDKR.

Cain's physique is noticeably different in season 1 than in the other seasons. He's in great shape throughout the series, but in s1 he has a leaner more athletic body shape, whereas in s2-4 he has a more powerfully-built jacked look that's closer to Cavill's physique. Maybe the shorter haircut, like the bulkier physique and altered costume, was a deliberate change to make him appear less boyish and more masculine like the comic book Superman. If so, I'd say it worked.

As for Superman's longer hair in the comics, I thought it looked good with the black suit during the Reign of the Supermen arc, but once he got back in the classic blue and red outfit it looked out of place.

A 1999 Wizard mag article discussing a little more in depth the then-upcoming changes to the Superman line of comics.

Admittedly, I was pretty much on a hiatus from reading comics altogether around this time, but when getting back into the hobby around 2003, I do remember picking up some back issues of this time period. I think Ed Mcguinness' art was one of the few positives of this era. I like his (bulky/blocky) art style, though would probably say, overall, he's best suited for the incredible Hulk.

"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."