Comic book trackers say Superman - and his red briefs - first hit comic books in 1938 in the Action Comics title. The book tells the origin story of Superman and includes the first appearance of his love interest Lois Lane. Today Action Comics Issue No. 1 is among the most valuable comic books in the world. The Man of Steel got a namesake comic book in 1939. Superman has had many starring roles, including this black-and-white TV series in the 1950s and the Christopher Reeve film in the 1970s.
But many in Metropolis - and elsewhere -- have struggled with our hero's fashion faux pas. The 1990s remake "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" even features a costume-selection montage, poking fun at other comic book classics as well as Clark Kent's threads.
But now DC Comics is relaunching and remaking its 52 titles with entirely new looks and storylines. DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee said he imagined a Superman with a bright red belt, hair that's no longer "a concrete spit curl... impervious to wind and movement" and a costume made from segmented armor (you can see a peek of his new costume in the image above). Why, you ask, should the Man of Steel need anything more substantial than spandex to protect him? Lee says the answer is in the storyline.
Superman is certainly not the only character who's struggle in the style department. Lee says Aquaman has gone through a rough patch for basically his entire existence. Aquaman's new look features details that resemble fish scales. That's certainly a change from Aquaman's old look. In this cartoon from the '60s, the King of the Seven Seas looks more like a Ken doll that swims...
We'd love to hear what you think of this ocean dweller's costume, as well as any others in the DC relaunch. Listen to my story on today's Marketplace show, and view a slideshow of some of the relaunched characters, including Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and the Green Lantern.