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Secrets of Superman's Underwear

Fri May 9, 2014, 5:52 PM














Of all the questions that have long vexed my mind, and made for so many sleepless nights, has always been the Big One: Why the shorts on the outside of the leotard? At long last, it is with great pleasure that I present intrepid cub reporter and talented new writer, Ariel Williams, who has finally succeeded in getting to the bottom of “Superman’s Underwear.” Please join me in welcoming Ariel to the depthRADIUS family.











Written by Ariel Williams








Ihave always been a fan of comic books. I grew up in mostly small towns in the 80’s and 90’s and often had to entertain myself with only one or two television stations and no cable TV. Books were always a source of escape from the real world and from my own rather boring life. Art was also a way for me to express my own ideas and flesh out the images I saw in my mind’s eye when reading. From there comic books were a natural draw for me as they had both amazing tales like the books and creative visuals. The more I read comics the more I tried to learn everything I could about this unique art form. When it comes to comics, I’m the geek who usually has the 411…






A common question I get, especially from those that don’t read comics, is...





“Why do superheroes run around in those strange outfits?”



“Why does Superman wear his underwear on the outside?”





It really does seem strange when you think about it. Superman is apparently wearing tights with underwear over them and no clothes other than the spandex and his cape. This sartorial style is echoed in many comic book heroes with their origins in the earliest days of comic books in the 1930's and 1940's onward. The reason for the unusual superhero undies is a strange mixture of economics, printing technology and artistic talents trying to find a middle ground between the two.












— Aeschylus, in Prometheus Bound (c. 478 BC)












In the early 1930's and 40's, the printing of comics came in two forms, black and white and 4 color. (This is also where we get the term “4 color hero.”) In general, comic books were intended to be as cheap as possible so the lowest grades of paper were often used and the fastest and cheapest printing methods.








i
Capt. America, 1954 – Atlas Comics






Comics and comic books were not considered a serious art form. They were a cheap diversion or something for children. The color printing was initially only reserved for the cover page of a comic because it was a costly process that required the ink to be applied in 4 separate stages, one for each color. The problem became that when doing this the machines had to run at a very high rate of speed to produce enough comics and they would eventually become misaligned and need constant adjustment. This is why we see comics from this era onward with the colors bleeding outside of the lines. This is especially true when color was later applied to entire comics.






Due to these minor imperfections in the process itself the comics were produced with sharp clean edges defined by hard black and often the layouts would be done so that objects could be painted a single color. These restrictions and a lack of a proper gray constrained the art style to fit within the technology of the day. The methods they used to overcome this came in using either a style much like pointillism (halftone) as the image above or hard solid colors, hatching and crosshatching as below.


Keeping your colors simple was the best way to do this but it restricted character design and forced them to create an inventive way to make the character stand out.






i
Daredevil Comics #25, 1944 – High magnification scans of comic book details













— E. B. White, in "The Old and the New," in The New Yorker (19 June 1937)












Working within the limitations I have just described, comic book artists took great strides to make powerful and lasting impressions. Right or wrong and consciously or not, this led to emphasizing hyper masculine or hyper feminine character traits to make the characters seem larger than life on such a simple format. We often see color changes or divisions at the head, chest, waist, hands groin and feet. This allows the characters to have certain "attributes" stand out.






Which one looks more "heroic"?










Left: original, Center: "no undies", Right: groin accent






The center option almost seems to have neutered Superman with its lack of definition. While option three might be acceptable in this panel, in some poses or in very small panels in the comics his legs might overlap the groin area and the entire pose might loose definition. You literally might not be able to tell his leg from his a-hole. Also, inadvertently defining his "package" would have scandalized 1940's sensibilities.




Even characters that wore only a single color often had detail lines outlining the pelvis from the rest of the body so their features could easily be made out on small panels.


Here we can see what looks like "undies" even on the Human Torch and Mr. Fantastic.


















— William Shakespeare, King Lear (1608), Act III, Scene 2












Modern comics are starting to move away from this trend a little as better printing technology has allowed smooth gradients and shading to compensate for the issues of the past and opened up a whole new range of possibilities. Even so, the iconic images of superheroes in comics are so strong that little has changed from those early days.






“Look ma no undies!”






(To be honest, even here a fine line is observed to make sure there is definition between pelvis and legs, but at least it doesn't look like underwear.) Even here we can see the issue of not segmenting the body by contrasting colors. In the pose to the bottom-left, Superman’s leg and groin area seem to blend together a bit too much for my likes but the shading makes it acceptable and the red belt provides a visual queue for his midline.








i
The New 52 Superman – Art by: Jesus Merino, Lettering by: Carlos M. Mangual, Colored by: Brian Buccellato






i
Fantastic Four #49 (1966) – A comparison between a scan from the original to the present-day reprint.

















  1. Did you ever question why Superman wore his shorts outside his leotard? Or did you simply accept this as being the standard super-hero uniform? Can you think of other odd quirks we accepted in our comics heroes that were necessitated by technical/political/economic/social considerations more than by artists’ choices?
  2. If you are an aspiring comics artist, do you think you would have enjoyed the challenge of trying to solve the restrictions of primitive print production, or are you very grateful to be using today’s technology?
  3. Do you think more should be done to educate arts students in the creative innovations that were invented to keep comics alive in their earliest days? Should the comics narrative storytelling form get more of the respect regularly lavished upon early cinema?
  4. After reading an article like this one about Superman’s underwear, does this special knowledge make you feel just a little bit superior to everyone else not in the know?
  5. Funniest answer possible please: Youtubing the opening credits of the weekly 1952-58 Superman TV show, the bad guys shoot Superman in the chest. He stands there as a motionless target, smiling, hands on hips. The bullets all bounce off his big “S” insignia. Out of bullets, the bad guys toss their empty revolvers at Superman’s head. He ducks. Why?







Ihave always been a fan of comic books. I grew up in mostly small towns in the 80’s and 90’s and often had to entertain myself with only one or two television stations and no cable TV. Books were always a source of escape from the real world and from my own rather boring life. Art was also a way for me to express my own ideas and flesh out the images I saw in my mind’s eye when reading. From there comic books were a natural draw for me as they had both amazing tales like the books and creative visuals. The more I read comics the more I tried to learn everything I could about this unique art form. When it comes to comics, I’m the geek who usually has the 411…

Writers: FromAriel, techgnotic 
Designers: marioluevanos 
Credit: to John Hilgart @ 4CP | Four Color Process


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:iconloulougstp:
LOULOUGSTP Featured By Owner May 17, 2015
JE SUIS CHARLIE !!!
Reply
:iconskyewolf1312:
SkyeWolf1312 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
5. Why, because his hair is not indestructable, and you simply cannot mess up his fabulous hair!
Reply
:iconrohit-orange:
rohit-orAnge Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ans 1. Shorts over pants were worn by strong men in the circus during the Victorian era.
That might have influenced it.
Reply
:iconrohit-orange:
rohit-orAnge Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ans 1. Shorts over pants were worn by strong men in the circus during the Victorian era.
That might have influenced it.
Reply
:iconpotatooni:
PotatoOni Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

1.
Why should I've ever questioned that? Without his red shorts (wich could also not actually be shorts at all but just a colored area of his pants) the costume just looks horrible. They broke up the costumes color palette nicely and without them it's just way too blue and looks embarissingly ridiculous. DC should fix that as soon as possible. They don't even need to bring back the shorts just color the hipbone/groin area red and turn the useless yellow belt into a pattern.

The only other choice made due to social/political considerations I can think of is making the character white and male but that was standart for the vast majority of fiction back then.

2.
I would say today's tech gives an artist much more freedom for designs without technical restrictions so I'm happy that it exists.

3.
Finding a creative way to make your work more interesting is important for artists so I would say yes.

Well, when it comes to early superhero comics I would say their narrative wasn't that different from the movies of this time anyways. So sure, why not?



4.
How could it? I mean, many other people read that article aswell so I can hardly call myself superior to them. Besides it's just a random bit of trivia. Just knowing that wouldn't make me superior anyways.

5.
Because he fears that the revolver bounces back at him... yeah, I'm not very funny.

Reply
:iconlizardlover15:
lizardlover15 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
I know I know! I once read in a volume of Superman Chronicles an entire anthology and collection of every known issue and comic that was Action Comics Superman and Superman comics also some World's Finest and the world's fair issues everything that had Superman was included... Including some written Text Superman stories. and inside one issue tells the inspiration for Superman's costume. Simply is that the look at the time the 1930's was Circus strongmen and the shorts on the outside was apparently apart of the strongmans' looks? Wearing the tights with the shorts on the outside. A funny theory is that while indeed it seems heroes wearing nothing under the costume is the factor; the outer wear shorts could serve as a sort of "athletic wear" that constricts and supports like a jock strap or a sports'. anyway the first explanation was what I learned from the minds of Creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster who was hard of seeing so they hired artists and illustrators do do dictations while Joe read... Or was it Jerry? anywho think of The apostle Paul reading to Timothy what he's writing in the Bible? Jerry or Joe was enlisted to the WW1 army so they needed the extra hands anyways. anywho um I am getting off track that is all. Why don't you tell me your theory if you've got a real or even better one?
Reply
:iconmy-immortals:
my-immortals Featured By Owner Edited Jun 14, 2014  Professional General Artist
#5: 'Cause guns don't kill people, throwing guns kills people...
Reply
:iconhumblemarty:
HumbleMarty Featured By Owner May 28, 2014   General Artist
I thought Superman wearing his underpants on the outside of his pants was just part of the costume, like it was some one size fits all supersuit you just throw in the washing machine and call it quits for the work day. Another comic book character trend I found kind of pointed out was the effeminate looks of Batman's sidekick Dick Grayson. At least in one of the 1940's dailies Robin ended up actually dressing up like a girl for one undercover stint as Marie Antoinette and those guys at the party thought "she" was quite the babe, much too Robin's chagrin and even Batman's amusement (to which Robin haughtily gives the famous Bat Glare but fails at it since how can anyone take a guy seriously in a poofy dress?). Those comics were extremely detailed and had to convey a huge range of emotions and storytelling in four panels or less not mentioning the fact that it was a newspaper comic so it had even less colors to deal with if it was painted in black and white. It's too bad the only way to read these stories was to get this as an enormous "gift book" because the writing and art actually brought me to tears a few times. This is the one thing that proves to me old comics can still teach aspiring cartoonists like me new tricks. As for Superman ducking a thrown gun after smiling in the face of flying bullets . . . Either the actor was trying to duck or Superman's inner Clark Kent squirmed out from under the veneer. He spent nearly maybe a decade and a half thinking he was human. So maybe he still nerds out a little.
Reply
:iconcorykent7:
CoryKent7 Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The thing is most people say why is his underwear on the outside. Just because there is a color there on his costume does not mean it's underwear. Seriously right, can I make a costume and put a different color in that region? Of course I can. It's just people's personal idea that this is underwear on the outside. So I say stop making fun of it. It's not underwear, and you who think it is are wrong. No one seems to look at Wonder Woman and say she's wearing her panties on the outside. No one says it about Batman. Or at least, it's not such a joke, and it's not such big deal that people are changing the arguably most iconic costume in comic history.
Reply
:iconphilluppus:
Philluppus Featured By Owner May 25, 2014   General Artist
just tuck it, i think
Reply
:icongbollard:
gbollard Featured By Owner May 25, 2014
Sorry for being crass but I just wonder what happens when superman farts. Maybe the outer pair of underwear serves a special "containment" purpose.  After all, if he has freeze breath, what kind of farts does he have?
Reply
:iconcorykent7:
CoryKent7 Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I can tell by the way you asked, that you have a lot of class. Very impressed, and a fact for sure. All we can possibly say is that no one's every really talked about his digestion, but if you watch All-Star Superman, it's probably as amazing as ever, and flatulence isn't a part of it. I mean he doesn't get sick at all, under normal conditions, so why have a side-effect of improper digestion? Just my thoughts. Anyhow, kudos to you in every way. No one could have put that any better.
Reply
:icondyscalculie:
Dyscalculie Featured By Owner May 25, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
In Saoudi Arabia or New Guinea, they don't make Superhero comics: they have their own art.
Superheroes were born in England in the 19th century: the ancestor of all of them was a British hero from a series of very exciting novels: he was called the Scarlet Pimpernel. He was the first adventurer who saved people from danger using a secret identity which was one of an inoffensive and helpless, underestimated alter ego, a very vain and silly dandyish Lord. He was able to change, but not by supernatural forces but by his talent of disguise. Great series. 
His "successor" was of course Zorro: transplanted to the lawless former Spanish colony which is now the region around Los Angeles, where the poor were bullied by the military leaders, a vain and too well-dressed Don Diego de la Vega, whom nobody took seriously, changed into the mysterious masked hero Zorro, the champion of the poor.
Superman was the third. In the very first drawings he looked a lot like Tarzan, but dressed in a sf-costume which showed just as much of his anatomy as the little fur loincloth of the Lord of the Jungle. The cape is a reminiscent of Zorro. Litlle boys as well as women like to watch that, I'm told...
After him came a tsunami of other superheroes, encouraged by his success.

In Europe, apart from the Scarlet Pimpernel, there were never any "superheroes". And even Sir Percy Blakeney was just a man of flesh and blood. So, I'm guessing in other civilisations, they won't do it either. It's a typical American thing.
Reply
:iconedgod:
Edgod Featured By Owner May 25, 2014
Like Marshall MacLuhan said, The Medium is the Message. In other words the medium determines the content e.g.high pitch  singers used to burst the valves on the old radios, so crooners like Bing Crosby became popular as they got all the air time. They had to invent the transistor before other types of singers became popular.
Reply
:iconedgod:
Edgod Featured By Owner May 25, 2014
The gun was made of Kryptonite. I wonder how Superman would have gone down wearing baggy trousers, a blazer and sneakers while he was flying through the air. Why does he lie down to fly, what if he flew in a vertical position, or even a sitting position? What if Clark Kent had been brought up in Saudi Arabia and adopted their clothes fashions? Or New Guinea with those sheaths?
Reply
:iconlonewriter76844:
Lonewriter76844 Featured By Owner May 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've always preferred Superman in his red underwear because that's what I grew up with. When I was a kid back in the early 80's I had Superman underoos, I wore them all the time with a red towel tied around my neck (I could have used that towel later). When I was 8, I had to go to the bathroom really bad but the teacher said I had to wait for the bell, long story short I learned something, never wear red underwear under white pants especially when you have to pee! Yes, I wet my white pants and the entire class saw what I did and could clearly see my red Superman underwear!
Reply
:icondyscalculie:
Dyscalculie Featured By Owner May 24, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Hee hee hee, it's so funny, how thoroughly you guys are thinking this over :-D
But seriously, people, we didn't have time for all those details, we had deadlines!
Especially with a series that already existed but that you had to "take over", you simply had to adopt the the costume of the character somebody designed before you. And he probably had had even less control over what he was supposed to think than you ... we were like Charlie Chaplin in "Modern Times", you know, turning bolts, and running  like crazy as soon as the chain threatened to get ahead of you. The chain, that was time. And the machine in which you were at risk of being gulped up, like happened to Charlie in the end, that was the idea of you missing your deadline and getting fired!
Did you really think we had time to spare a thought about underwear?
Comics were just crawling with that kind of mistakes, caused by the pace we had to work. And our predecessors had it even worse. I suppose it wasn't any better in America!
I'm guessing the 4 finger-mystery was a time thing too.  As it says in the text above, comics weren't considered real art; we were mere office clerks with nothing to say whatsoever about our work or how it ended up in the newspaper or the magazine. And we were underpaid, too...
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:iconsirarnold:
sirarnold Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
It is grim necessity, Having no parents , Killed on Krypton, Adopted parents too bloody old and a girl friend Lois Lane as useless as tits on a bull, he has had no one but himself to wash the skid marks off his undies so he resorted the wearing them on the outside.
Reply
:icongamewritermike:
gamewriterMike Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
There is one reason not really mentioned, and it's notable because it's the one that I assumed when I first started reading comics. It all stems from the old line "..and reveals his true identity as the Man Of Steel...". I always thought that the purposes of the costume being form-fitting was to enable it to be hidden beneath street clothes, like underwear, only to be revealed when the mundane subterfuge was stripped away to reveal the hero beneath. I approached most origin stories as employing the same essential plot, the discovery of the capacity for heroics within, and hence the costume change was both a metaphor for the origin (who this character really was) and a signal that the character was ready to perform heroics. Adding to this was the fact that villains only ever wore their costumes unless forced by prison/asylum authorities to do otherwise. They were always ready to perform villainy and had no public face of normality.
Reply
:iconfrankmicheal:
FrankMicheal Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
P.S.  I STILL don't believe they are underwear...I think that concept was actually originally an insult, and it sort of stuck.  
Reply
:iconfrankmicheal:
FrankMicheal Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I actually never thought that was his underwear.  (Outerwear, maybe, but not a sanitary protection.)  I always figured it was more of a stronger material designed to keep his Super Friends from flapping in the breeze while leaping over tall buildings in a single bound;  Designed more for modesty than anything else.
Reply
:iconlick:
lick Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
I always figured they wore their underwear on the outside because they could.
Reply
:iconlick:
lick Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
Nicely done.
Reply
:iconkuro-ookami-seishin:
Kuro-Ookami-Seishin Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
Too funny.. You guys are awesome.. At least they are not pink panties.. Please don't tell me that there is an issue that he wore pink panties.. ;)
Reply
:iconwendygoerl:
wendygoerl Featured By Owner May 23, 2014   Traditional Artist
Well, I knew about the "spandex uniform is an excuse to draw the nude,"  but I never considered pelvis definition. And I never thought of Superman as wearing his underwear on the outside (Then again, I was more a Marvel fan than DC). And I miss the old ten-screen process: I look at the slick comics today and all that CG gradient shading gets downright annoying. It's getting to the point where I prefer black and white!
Reply
:icontexgraff:
texgraff Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
I don't really care why he wears his underwear as outerwear or vice versa. Ok, this is a really nice article on the why's. I thought this article was going to address an even more pertinent issue. In fact, maybe I overlooked it, but has no one addressed the actual, yes, actual, fabric of his outfit–undies, etc.–that makes bullets bounce OFF the FABRIC, not just Superman's "S" or crotch or wherever?!?! At least, that issue was addressed somewhat in the first Spiderman trilogy that had Peter Parker occasionally wearing burnt and shredded from "pumpkin bombs". At last! Superhero fabric mortality! I think it adds a more human element in that the superhero can identify with the rest of us cotton, polyester-blend, silk-wearing consumers. The question remains unanswered still regarding Superman's outfit. Obviously, this is not a indigenous material of planet Earth. But, besides Spandex, which apparently Kryptonians were far more advanced in developing, what component in the fabric–on a molecular scale, could Krypton have that we don't? It's a perplexing conundrum that I have yet to be answered even by the most studious Comic-Con fanatic. 
Reply
:iconfrankmicheal:
FrankMicheal Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Bullets bounced off of Superman because he was invulnerable.  They bounce off his costume because Martha unraveled the blankets which covered him in his space shio and re-weaved them into the material to make the suit.  Hence, the material is Kryptonian and invulnerable under a yellow sun.  Just one of those things you need to take on faith.  I am NOT making this up...It's in the early comic books where they show his origins.
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:iconstrotherdw:
strotherdw Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Dryscalculie, that's because it is not underwear.  People say it's underwear about Superman and other heroes to use as an insult.  Sometimes especially in particular
to people like us who are fans of the superhero genre.
Reply
:iconstrotherdw:
strotherdw Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry typo, that was suppose to be threw and cow lick.  I hate type text features!
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:iconstrotherdw:
strotherdw Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Superman ducked when the crooks who shot at him with no effect through their guns at his head because he didn't want to get his cowl lick messed up. Plus he didn't know where the pistols had been and didn't want to get lice.
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:icondyscalculie:
Dyscalculie Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
About Superman:
I actually never saw those red shorts he wears on top of his thights as "underwear". I always saw it as some sportive pair of short, like a gymnast. So, I never wondered why he wore it underneath: actually, that thought feels rather unconfortable... to put on some shorts under tights that titght, must wrinkle and ripple far too much! He would spend half his time scratching and pulling it down, while doing his heroic stuff :-D
Just try it yourself: put on some boxers and a pair of ver tight pantiehose: you'll soon know how that feels...

And about the head ducking: My guess is the artist simply didn't think it over too attentively before drawing. They use to have terrible deadlines!
Reply
:icondyscalculie:
Dyscalculie Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist

I remember in the '50's, my Donald Duck magazine was in 4-color print as well, and indeed, sometimes the colours would shift, and that looked real funny. 
I also always wondered why "people" (mice, ducks, dogs, you know, that sort of people ;-P ) in that magazine always wore white gloves, even while doing the dishes or so, and why they always had but four fingers on each hand, thumb included.
I already made comics myself at that age; I made my own heroes. In Europe, we didn't create superheroes but real people, knights, policemen, detectives, reporters, adventurers, pirates, and imaginary characters (think of the Smurfs...)
I found out about the sharp black lines and the no-no of shades of grey later, when I had grown up and sent my comic art to newspapers and comic-magazines: you could only use black or white, nothing in between, because the pages had to be photographed on film, and that camera couldn't recognize grey. So, we made do with shading, hatching and perspective tricks, to give our drawings some depth. We also had this stuff called "grid", which were sheets of self-adhesive film printed in all different types of pointillism, from completely black to very pale pointillism, which we used to cut out in the required shape and stuck on the required spot of our drawing. From a distance, that looked exactly like a shade of grey, but in fact they were spots of black on a white background. The camera was fooled by it. Or more correct, the reader.
We couldn't afford to leave anything to the colouring, that was  expletive: your drawing had to be completely finished in black and white. You never knew whether the editor would have it collared or not, nor how, nor by whom. You had no control over that. Sometimes even the text in the bubbles was changed or edited by someone, with terrible consequences for your script!
And since in my country, which is bilingual, all comics appear in both Dutch and French, you better had done your homework in French class (or Dutch class, at the other side of the country), so that you could do the translating yourself! For if you couldn't, they would put someone else on the job, usually a Master's degree in Germanic or Roman philology, but without the slightest feeling for comics or stories in general...   He would spoil all your jokes and puns, put the lines for character A in the bubble of character B, in short, watching your work appear in print was sheer torture. I always thought of the song by Melanie when I think of that feeling. You know, the song: "Look what they've done to my song, Mum... Ils ont changé my chanson!" The way she sang it, was exactly how you used to feel at that moment.

so yeah, I'm glad we don't have to go through all that anymore, even if it requires learning all these computer techniques. At least, you have a lot more control over your work and how it appears before the public!

Reply
:iconi-nimphy-i:
I-Nimphy-I Featured By Owner May 23, 2014   Writer
Interesting article! I love the research you put into it. Now, to the questions!

1) Of course I did, at first, but I eventually stopped questioning everything that ever appeared in a comic book! 
2) I'm not an aspiring comic artist (don't have the talent to be one), but I think I would enjoy those challenges!
4) Well, duh! Now I can feel superior even when faced with the geekiest nerds!
5) Well, Superman helps people, and he wants them to feel better. His enemies would feel better if he at least dodged them, we wouldn't want them to feel inferior!
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:iconduskinator:
Duskinator Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
#5) Well, that's because he made his special 'S' out of Steel. If they threw guns at his head, his hair would be mucked up and he'd get bruises all over! I mean, when have we ever actually been told that his face is as super as the rest of his body? What if only his chest area is super, but all the skin on his face (I remember laser vision and freeze breath, don't worry) isn't? WAIT!!!

What if his super powers come from his CHEST HAIR??!?!?!
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:iconshiryou666:
Shiryou666 Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
#5 He's allergic to gun metal? Pistols don't bounce? WAIT! I KNOW!!! The guy who threw it F***'d up! He was supposed to miss!
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:icongregorkerle:
GregorKerle Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Professional General Artist
It's actually very contemporary =D
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:icondadeus1:
Dadeus1 Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
If his uniform didn't have pants, he would have looked like a spandex hoser ready for the disco, a sanitation worker or an out of work poolboy.  They may not have had discos when the comic was created but they still had standards.
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:iconfroschgott1965:
FroschGott1965 Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
#5 It is pretty sure that even his head won't be hurt by anything (except for cryptonite) but his hair-do would suffer. And as a public person he takes care of his looks.
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:icontheimpossibles:
theimpossibles Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Except... as you can see even in the 'amended' pictures you posted of Shuster's art, there are red belt hooks around Superman's belt so they were never, ever underwear and simply a red midsection of the pants.
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:iconsaintalbans:
SaintAlbans Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Professional General Artist
I wrote an article many years ago that explains the evolution and the reasons for comic book super hero's clothing style. I titled it "Supersuits." But I am interested in other people's research as well. This one was hard to read due to the ads and artwork interspersed in the pages. But I will say that Superman's undies have nothing to do with how they colorized comics. So I am not so sure I am in agreement with this idea. I will read more in depth however.
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:iconshadowhawk137:
ShadowHawk137 Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice points here. Got to answer some of them questions
#1 - I don't think any kid would question why Superman wore his undergarments on the outside. Kids don't think that way. We're always too busy looking at shiny things (I might not still be a kid, but doesn't mean I've grown up!)
#4 - Of course! Knowledge is power, and knowing random facts about random things makes it seem like you know a lot more about everything!
#5 - It's not that he dodged the revolvers, it's that he didn't dodge the bullets. Superman's telescopic vision makes him incredibly far-sighted (which is why Clark Kent wears glasses. Otherwise he couldn't function in a business setting without them). So Superman didn't choose to let the bullets hit him, he just didn't see them. He actually thought that the men were throwing grey blobs at him, and he didn't want his suit to get messed up.
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:iconfromariel:
FromAriel Featured By Owner May 22, 2014   Writer
I'll play too just for fun. 

#5 He dodged the revolvers not because he was afraid of getting hurt because he was but afraid he would get turned around.
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:iconfromariel:
FromAriel Featured By Owner May 22, 2014   Writer
Typoed myself...

#5
He dodged the 
revolvers not because he was afraid of getting hurt but because he was afraid he would get turned around.
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:iconcrazyartist12:
crazyartist12 Featured By Owner May 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Superman with no undie on the otherside would look abit off since most people got used to his looks, it's like McDonalds with without it's golden arch.
as for the last question:
Superman's head isn't pistol/weapon proof, but however his chest has more super powers than that head of his. :lol:
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:iconfrankmicheal:
FrankMicheal Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I'm sorry, I believe you are wrong about Superman's head.  I believe there was even an episode with George Reeves where they shot him with a bullet that had some Kryptonite in it and it hit him in the eye, and he was surprised it hurt him.
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:iconcrazyartist12:
crazyartist12 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
hum
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:iconjaninna:
Janinna Featured By Owner May 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
To answer Q #5, I think it's one of the following:

1) It looks epic to see bullets bounce of his chest, but a gun hitting his face and dealing no damage, while it sounds handy, it doesn't really seem 'cool'. It doesn't do much to let it hit him, so he just ducks.

2) He secretly keeps an advanced-tech bullet-proof vest inside his suit, and his face would actually get hurt, or maybe his face just isn't included in the invincibility there.
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:iconfromariel:
FromAriel Featured By Owner May 20, 2014   Writer
marioluevanos  You really outdid yourself with the layout and the additional graphics to my original ones. I was truly blown away by the layout. You really supersized my article. Sorry I am late to comment here but someone ( techgnotic ) :) forgot to email me and tell me this went live. Not upset at all, I know you're busy. 

Thank you to everyone that commented and enjoyed this! It was very fun to write and working with the deviantART staff on this was a really fun experience. Thank you to everyone involved! I hope to be able to do something like this again in the near future.
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:iconmarioluevanos:
marioluevanos Featured By Owner May 21, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
Hi Ariel, thank you and happy that you enjoyed it. Thanks for teaming up with us for this. :) 
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:icontechgnotic:
techgnotic Featured By Owner May 20, 2014
Mea Culpa! :)
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