Ever since director Zack Snyder announced that Superman would not be donning his famous red exterior underpants in Man of Steel, a rift was created among the comic book community. Some praised Snyder’s decision while purists chastised this bold change in design. But let’s get serious here, it’s a forgone conclusion: Superman works best without this embarrassing super hero fashion faux pas. And here’s why!
1) The Underpants Are An Antiquated Design
You have to remember that when comic creatives Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were working on their idea for Superman, their costume design was based largely on 1) space age heroes of comic strips such as Flash Gordon, and 2) the tights and underpants worn by traditional, early 20th century circus strongmen. For the late ‘30s this made sense, but it only became more obscure with each passing generation since... well... you don’t see a ton of circus strongmen nowadays.
2) The Underpants Aren't Practical
In real life, those underpants would be a hindrance bound to wreak havoc with Superman’s heroic performance. Think about it, with the kind of punishment he goes through on a daily basis, they’d be riding up so far it’s unpublishable. And what if the belt holding them in place snapped? He’d be spending more time trying to hold onto them than stopping Brainiac or Doomsday from decimating Metropolis. If he’s wearing them solely for the color contrast, a red belt is more than enough since anything else is just overkill. Not to mention a liability.
3) It Looks Like He Can’t Dress Himself
Superman is viewed as a paragon of truth and justice by both the people of the world and his fellow heroes on the Justice League. He can move entire planets and withstand the most powerful of weaponry, but that all amounts to nothing if it looks like he doesn't know how pants work. The only thing Superman’s traditional wardrobe manages to do is perpetuate that stereotype of aliens having no concept of Earth culture.
4) He’s Obviously Caving into Peer Pressure
In this case, Batman is a terrible influence. Before his redesign, Batman had been rocking the exterior underwear since his debut in Detective Comics, and seeing as how the man obviously bleeds charisma and is by extension a trendsetter, it’s no wonder that Superman would try to copy his style (he’s an alien stranger to Earth customs and wanted to fit in). But let’s look at Superman’s fellow members of the Justice League—the ones that can think for themselves. The Flash doesn’t wear exterior underpants. Nor does Green Lantern. Martian Manhunter, well, he needs to if he doesn’t want to get arrested. So aside from avoiding indecent exposure charges, why does Superman need them in the first place?
What’s your verdict on the red exterior underpants debate?