The little red briefs are gone.
Superman has been wearing those scarlet undies since his debut in Action Comics #1 in 1938. George Reeves on television and Kirk Alyn, Christoper Reeve and Brandon Routh in the movies have done faithful service to the iconic costume. But when the latest Superman reboot opens on June 14, 2013, actor Henry Cavill will be wearing the famous cape and the big "S" logo on his chest, but not America's original superhero's trademark red briefs.
Director Zack Snyder claims he tried to keep the superhero's briefs when reimagining Superman's appearance for the upcoming film, Man of Steel, but eventually opted for a different look.
"If you look at the costume," says Snyder, "it's very modern, but the relationship to the original costume is strong.You come onto a project like this, and you hear about modernization and you hear about bringing things forward to today, and all you can do is hope that it's going to look cool and different from anything you've seen before."
Cool? Meh. Different? Oh, yes.
The new Superman is fitted out in an oh-so-tight textured blue unitard, with what look like leather (vinyl?) cuffs and piping down the legs and a curious medallion/pushbutton/hernia patch beneath the navel. Now that I've seen the new getup, I am compelled to ask the following questions:
Would a wholesome Midwestern Mom like Martha Kent really make an outfit such as this for her son? I can hear the jaws and casseroles dropping at the Lutheran Ladies' Pot Luck Supper already.
Is the thicker, armored look around the waist just for a stylish, sleek look, or does it serve some protective purpose? Surely a superhero impervious to bullets, knives and kidney punches wouldn't need an outfit equipped with armor or padding.
If there is some hip, modern, 21st century objection in Hollywood to a man battling evildoers while wearing bright red briefs, shouldn't the same reasoning have been applied to the big red cape, too? That super accessory has never served any real function but to billow heroically in the breeze while Superman struts his stuff. Does Superman have a supersized ego as well, or just a super sense of fashion flair?
Finally, what's that - a lump of kryptonite in the crotch? We know the man is super and all, but some things are better left to the imagination. Unless you want villains aiming at it all the time, put it away, Superman.
Or is this what the Man of Steel losing his red shorts was really all about all along?
Image © Warner Brothers/DC Comics