2018 marks two very important milestones for the Man of Steel. The 80th anniversary of the character and the 1,000th issue of Action Comics, the comic he debuted in. None the less Superman fans the world over are excited by these major milestones. These are not just milestones for the character, but for pop culture as a whole.
DC Comics had originally announced that the 1,000th issue would be released in hardcover format and would feature stories from various creators. Including Brian Michael Bendis’ first DC work, and stories from Scott Snyder, Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Tim Sale, Marv Wolfman, and many more yet to be announced.
Today (January 19th), DC announced another way they will celebrate the landmark issue. The return of Superman’s iconic trunks.
The trunks are not only a staple of superhero iconography but a classic component of Superman’s look. The reason we associate underwear on the outside with superheroes is because of Superman. But going further back, the look comes from circus strongmen who would traditionally wear tight spandex to show off their muscles while performing. The trunks were added out of fear of their spandex ripping in unfortunate places. Superman’s creators Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster took much of the iconography of circus strongmen in order to emphasis the strength of their creation. The cap and boots added from the world of professional wrestling and to emphasis movement. Particularly the cape.
During the 2011 reboot of DC Comics, known as the ‘New 52’. Many superhero costumes were redesigned, with the most noticeable one being that of Superman’s. Discarding the iconic trunks and giving the entire suit a thin armour appearance that made no real sense for the character. In 2016, DC rebranded themselves with DC Rebirth. Bringing the classic Superman and Lois Lane back into continuity. While his initial introduction back into this new universe did include the classic costume for a glorious half an issue in Superman: Lois and Clark. But Superman still chose to use a trunks-less costume. In Action Comics # 967 Jon, Superman’s young son, asks Superman why he doesn’t wear his old suit. A question echoed by many real-world fans.
Shortly after this exchange in the Superman Reborn storyline, Superman did indeed receive a new costume, though not the return of the trunks. This new suit was still a massive improvement over the New 52 designs. With full red boots, and a redesigned belt incorporating some yellow but it’s still not the classic suit many crave.
The return of the classic look, regardless of how long it will last, is still amazing news to many and a truly wonderful way to celebrate both the 1,000 issue and 80th anniversary.