The Multiversal Wardrobe of Superman!

Superman Lives!
Superman_1998 - Nicolas Cage (Superman Lives!)

I’m sorry you had to see this, but really, it’s not my fault. Well, it kinda actually is ’cause the movie never really got made, but unfortunately the costume fitting was done, so enjoy!


Smallville will always have a special place in the hearts of many. Even to those who ended up hating it.

With a solid three starting seasons, the show plummeted in its 4th season when it started fabricating the most inane excuses to prevent young Clark Kent from becoming Superman. And by the time they realised that they couldn’t get away without slapping that ‘S’ on his chest, they decided to first spray paint a white logo on a black t-shirt with a thrift store Neo-esque look, followed by what I assume a Superman-obsessed biker would wear.

Superman_2001 - Tom Welling (Smallville)_4
Due to budget constraints, the show did tease fans with recurring looks at the Superman Returns version of the costume behind an unwashed comic-con display. But it was never really used for the much bigger Tom Welling.

The series finalé did finally have him heroically rip his shirt open on the rooftop of the Daily Planet building as he runs towards the camera and–

Superman_2001 - Tom Welling (Smallville)_3

See, things like these is why I ended up hating this show.

Superman Returns
Superman_2006 - Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)_1
Ah, Superman Returns, you chocolate-covered raisin.

A movie that I love and enjoy while watching it tribute to the legacy of the ’70s’ and ’80s’ Superman films that featured Superman, I nevertheless can’t help but feel really let down when I think about what it could have been instead of just a love letter to a franchise already done with.

Oddly enough, the costume well reflects this movie with a design that’s pretty awesome at first glance, but falters under further scrutiny. Much too dark of a red, low cut boots, unnecessarily embossed shield that’s inexplicably shrunken, and a recurring motif with the ‘S’ on the belt as well–these elements prevented the suit from matching up to its predecessor.

Interestingly, the movie also included a deleted intro which featured a grey space suit that was designed to help Superman retain his powers when deprived of the Earth’s yellow sun’s radiation for extended periods.

Superman_2006 - Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)_2
The costume can still be glimpsed in the shots after he crash lands back on the Kent farm, but for a better look, check out the deleted scenes that come with the DVD.

Superman_2006 - Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland)
2006 saw not one but two Supermen, as Ben Affleck (way before his run as the Bat) acted as fellow list-maker George Reeves in this semi-biographic look at the actor’s death.

While not exactly a costume you’d wanna see on Superman in a film today, the design did a great job in mimicking the one worn by Reeves more than 50 years prior.

Man of Steel/Batman V Superman
Superman_2013 - Henry Cavill (Man of Steel)
Worn by Henry Cavill in the recent superhero parody films directed by Zack Snyder and produced by famed superhero parody director Chris Nolan and his pet clown David Goyer, this costume was designed to fool fans into thinking that a competent re-envisioning of the hero would soon be on screens.

Suddenly David Wilson in It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman! doesn’t seem so bad, huh?

Nevertheless, the costume concept was a pretty cool interpretation of it sans briefs and with an alien touch (much better than what the comics were offering back then, anyways). Unfortunately, the writing/directing team weren’t nearly half as competent as the costume designer.

Superman_2016 - Tyler Hoechlin (Supergirl)
While it didn’t get a great start with the official promo image, subsequent spy shots of the costume don’t really look too bad.

I’m not a fan of the boots and the “floating” belt, but everything else looks pretty cool for the tone that The CW has set for their universe.

Here’s to hoping for at least one good current adaptation of big blue on the screens!

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