From the previous thread…
Originally Posted by StarvingArtist
Here's the bottom line: People's misgivings about the trunks, or even the cape, the boots, or whatever....all of these issues have a common origin. That origin is very simply that Superman was conceived without compelling reasoning behind the suit. It was meant to be appreciated more on a symbolic level rather then a literal one, similar to Uncle Sam in many ways. However, the appeal of brands that draw their allure from symbolism tend to be very subjective because ultimately there in many cases is no literal real world underlying reasoning for the specifics of the aesthetic. It just kind of "is what it is." Superman was meant to be a colorful catharsis representing the unlimited potential for good and heroism in humanity. Who cares where he got the suit?
As far as I know, not even the revisionists are suggesting truly radical
revisionism (e.g., Superman in a track suit - because, hey, that’s way more realistic than ye olde tights and cape.) I think most folks (the general public, as well as fans) accept the “symbolism” and the genre convention of the (super)hero donning some manner of distinct and outré uniform. Moreover, and notwithstanding modernization, there’s almost always some
allegiance to tradition. E.g., Burton’s “new” Batman costume still retains the cape, the eared cowl, etc. Ditto for Thor, CA, Green Arrow, etc. And while there will always be debates about where the right “tradition/modern” balance is, most seem to accept that a balance - of some
kind - is necessary.
This poses interesting problems 70 years later. Superman's power as a symbol has waned over the years, and lots of other heroes, while owing their existence to Superman, still are honestly better conceived and more creative. Such is the territory that comes with building upon and refining an original idea. The ideas behind a lot of the newer heroes make more sense in a real world context. We love these characters and want them to exist so badly that we've made them uber-realistic. Regardless though, Superman still appeals to people and imprints like a hot brand on young kids. Children don't give a crap that he wears his underwear on the outside. And when they grow up, they seem to generally fall into 1 of 3 categories: a.) they grow out of comics altogether, b.) they continue to love superman as they first saw him, or c.) having become conscious of social trends, other interests, and education begin having a tough time taking the character seriously and become critical of him, demanding he evolve with them so that they can hang onto their appreciation.
I still go back to this foundational principle: Superman was conceived as a dashing, romantic, “cool” hero. S&S weren’t going for laughs or doing satire; in their minds, the classic Supes costume was supposed to be impressive, imposing and worthy of a larger-than-life champion. In other words, the costume is merely a representation or symbol for a larger concept
. So if, over the course of time, some elements of the costume (e.g., the trunks) become (for whatever reason) stigmatized, you alter them - because the first duty is to the concept
and not the superficial details.