Superman has worn a variety of super suits over the years, but how do they survive? Are the suits as bulletproof as the Man of Steel himself?
In the middle of fighting his baddie of the week, fans of Superman can be assured that the favorite son of Krypton is almost guaranteed to come out on top. While he may be faster than a speeding bullet, he is also stronger than one, as time and time again fans watch as bullets ping off Superman’s chest (and, once, his eye). But what happens to the suit?
Superman’s iconic suit has seen some changes over the years, from the classic, strongman influenced undies-over-tights, to the blue suit with the belt, and even the occasional black suit, when the need arises. As the decades passed, writers and artists made little tweaks to the suit, changing designs and strength, meaning that the suit could often come back dirty and torn after a big battle with the newest supervillain. Bullets pinged, but it was likely that Superman would be spending his evenings sewing up a few holes and mending some tears in his super suit.
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In the early issues of the Superman comics, the thrifty Ma and Pa Kent worried about keeping their newly adopted alien son in clothes once his superpowers started to show. So, like any self-respecting Depression-era mother, Ma used what she had around the house to make clothes for her new child – the blanket the baby Kal-El was swaddled in. The Kryptonian cloth, imbued with the same solar radiation that gives Superman his powers, made the clothing equally indestructible and strong. Now, the Kents had a bulletproof romper for their equally bulletproof baby.
New 52 had some more tech-based ideas on Superman’s iconic suit. Gone were the red undies and belt, replaced by hints of armor and a stiff collar. The suit shifted over Superman’s body – something that feels more Tony Stark than Clark Kent – to cover him in Kryptonian armor. Battle-ready and sturdy, the suit wasn’t just for protection, it also boosted his powers. The armor didn’t last long, however, and Superman quickly returned to his old cloth suit and cape.
While the general consensus seems to be that Superman’s suits are as bulletproof as the Man of Steel himself, they don’t always seem to hold up to the wear and tear of crime-fighting. Panels typically have Superman dressed in clean, unrent clothes in the middle of a chaotic battle, but occasionally, the battle will leave a cheeky tear that shows off a bit of muscled chest or shoulder as Superman fights to save the day. Regardless of the inconsistencies in comic book suit integrity, most can agree that the knowledge that Superman’s mommy sews his suits is one of the more sweet and charming details that DC has given readers.
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