Guest commentary: Who Stole Superman’s Undies?

Superman New 52

Guest post by T Campbell.

Can the soul of Western civilization be found in a pair of red briefs? Was our first great superhero at his strongest, his noblest, his superest, before modern interpretations stripped him of his underwear? Is there a connection?

A generation ago, when those red briefs were an inseparable part of Superman’s design, he was the most familiar superhero by a wide margin, leading the field in film adaptations,[1] headlining cartoon shows,[2] and even winning over famous media critics who were fiction writers in their own right. Even now, if you believe superheroes have anything to say to American culture or the human experience, you sort of have to start with him, because he’s the prototype.

Umberto Eco called him “the representative of all his similars” [3] and Harlan Ellison described him as one of “only five fictional creations known to every man, woman, and child on the planet.”[4] Born in the early hours of a visual, easily reproduced medium, he was popular enough to codify most of what being a superhero meant. The Oxford English Dictionary even mentions him by name in its definition of “superhero”:

Hurry! $14 sale at the Comics Beat TeePublic store


Speaking of that gifting time of the year, we’ve just partnered with TeePublic to offer the first ever Comics Beat TeePublic Store. TeePublic is a site that offers shirts designed by independent artists—there are hundreds of designs available, smashing up all your favorite pop culture icons and slogan, but The Beat staff has specially curated a store just for our readers. It is hard to choose!

AND there’s a $14 sales on all shirts until tomorrow—shirts are normally $20 so it’s a good deal! And we’ll soon have a special Beat t-shirt up in our store as well.

SDCC ’14: The Business of Geek Fashion


By Hannah Lodge As the popularity of geek culture and comic book movies surges, retailers have seen a significant increase in the demand for stylish, tailored geek clothing. That demand is responsible for the niche market of cosplay-centric, fandom-inspired fashion retailers, who compete to score the best licensing deals for their customer base. “When I […]

Kirsten Dunst actually wore that Rodarte Star Wars dress to the Met Gala


There is only one night of the year to challenge the Oscars as the fashion highlight of the year, and it’s the Metropolitan Museum of Arts’ annual Costume Institute Gala, this year celebrating designer Charles James and Vogue icon Anna Wintour. (You may recall many moons ago the theme was superheroes!) Everyone who is anyone […]

Kate Willaert’s amazing inforgraphic shows the evolution of Spider-Man’s costume



Hopefully by now you’ve all seen the debut of new contributor Kate Willaert’s column “By Its Cover” which looks at the best of the week’s cover designs—I’ve been wanting to add more craft-focused pieces to the Beat and this really fits the bill.

Ashley Eckstein launches geek couture fashion design contest for Comic-Con


Speaking of Comic-Con, Ashley Eckstein of Her Universe, the Star Wars themed clothing line, has announced a “geek couture” contest for designers at this year’s show. Eckstein showed up at a Pi Day party wearing a Darth Vader Dress and her website provided some sketches to inspire potential designers, such as the Transformers Windblade outfit […]