DC Rebirth brought us a brand new Superboy in the form of Clark and Lois’s son, Jonathan Kent. A bright and kind-hearted kid, newly developing his powers and discovering that the father he already looked up to is really Superman. In issue two of Superman, Jon goes along to help his father when he is asked to step up and use his heat vision in action. In the freezing cold arctic weather, he rips open his coat to reveal a two-toned blue shirt with the Superman emblem emblazoned across his chest.
Once the action dies down, Superman gets to look at Jon’s shirt. Jon states that he got it from a second-hand store and liked that it had the “S” on it. Comparing it to people wearing Wonder Woman’s and Batman’s logos all the time. That he wanted to feel super, like his dad. Clark’s response is both incredibly poignant, and deeply personal to them both.
“Jon, you’re not like the boy who outgrew this shirt and donated it. I’m afraid someday soon – too soon – you will have to pick it up and embrace the “S” for yourself. it’s not about our powers or strength, or heat vision. It’s about character. It means doing the right thing when no one else will, even when you’re scared…. Even when you think no one is looking.” [Tomasi & Gleason. 2016:09]
Jon’s costume is a wonderful mixture of both the classic Superman and the New 52. The world Jon has lived in already had a Superman that was not his father. The shirt was created to celebrate the darker interpretation, and was donated by someone who outgrew it. Only for it to be picked up and embodied by someone who wants to stand for the same thing as classic Superman. Hope and justice. The two blue tones nicely show this divide between the two, while combining them into one garment. A few issues later, Jon gains a cape and completes his wonderful costume.
On Twitter, Supersons artist Jorge Jimenez released his sketches of the possible costume ideas before the current design.
They scream of the classic, and much missed Superman costume design. Complete with red boots and trunks. The lighter blue is striking, though the high collar is heavily reminiscent of the New 52 armour. But those classic trunks not only harken back to the classic Superman design, but the inspiration behind that. The circus strongmen of the early 1900s.
It’s clear that Jon is perfectly aware of the original costume. In Action Comics #967, Jon pulls up images on his phone asking his father why he never wears either the classic look, or the black suit he wore while in hiding. Clearly enthusiastic about both looks.
While Jon’s current costume fits the character and world perfectly, it’s wonderful to know that in some version of the multiverse. The classic costume lives on through Superboy.
- Jimenez, Jorge (2018) Do you want to see something curious?? Here my first versions of Superboy’s design. [Twitter] 9th Available from: https://twitter.com/JorgeJimenezArt/status/950760640771182599 [Last Accessed: 09.01.2018]
- Graydon, D. & Brownie, B. (2016) The Superhero Costume: Identity and Disguise in Fact and Fiction. Bloomsbury Academic: London.
- Nerdsync (2015) Why Do Superheroes Wear UNDERWEAR on the Outside?!? || Comic Misconceptions || Nerdsync [YouTube] 16th Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOhQlqrp2oM [Last Accessed: 09.01.2018]
- Tomasi, P. & Gleason, P. (2016) Superman #2. DC Comics: Burbank.