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WELCOME SUPERMAN COSTUME ENTHUSIASTS…

Presenting the launch of the DEFINITIVE SUPERMAN MOVIE COSTUME ARTICLE by Supermania’78 Editor, Martin Lakin!

An essential resource for all Superman movie enthusiasts, this article is the culmination of many years of authentic costume research by Martin, with generous assistance by fellow costume aficionados like Greg Thomas, Chris King, Jason DeBord, Brian McKernan, Sam Rizzo, Jim Bowers, and others great friends.

This new article can also be enjoyed on the Supermania’78 blog.

COMING SOON…
An extensive costume photography gallery here on CapedWonder, with contributions by auction houses such as Prop Store of London & Julien’s Auctions; Martin Lakin; and the Bowers & Casares Photography Studio.

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“Let’s put him in this type of costume…

And let’s give him a big red ‘S’ on his chest – and a Cape –

Make him as colourful and distinctive as we can…

– Joe Shuster

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A MESSAGE FROM THE AUTHOR…

I’m so proud to finally present this labour of love that I’ve nurtured for over a decade. While it serves as the most in-depth analysis of the Christopher Reeve Superman costume there may ever be, I was keen to explore the origins and tell the story from the beginning. Fans have always asked me questions ranging from ‘Why is the underwear on the outside?’ to ‘What exactly is Bridal Weight Spandex?’, all of which I’ve tried to answer to provide the most exhaustive account ever produced…” — Martin Lakin

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1. ORIGIN

This was ‘The Superman’s‘ last chance. If this didn’t work, the project started by two ambitious Ohio teenagers five years prior would really be dead. After seemingly no end of submissions and no publishing deal in sight, writer Jerry Siegel was convinced that this time, he’d nailed it. He’d made his usual journey a mile down the road to his artist friend Joe Shuster first thing that morning and they would brainstorm on his new idea all day long.

Inspired by the pitch for a comic-book hero the likes of which the world had never seen, Joe immediately ditched his initial Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckler-type sketches and started over. Jerry just hoped it wouldn’t end up being rejected again and Joe blame it on his own rough & ready artwork. It was everything Jerry could do just to salvage the cover of the last book after Joe had burned it in frustration.

Shuster may have possessed a gritty pencilling style but it was perfectly suited to illustrate their new creation’s incredible range of abilities. The influence of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and early Sci-Fi Serials were omnipresent but both writer and artist agreed their hero’s outfit had to combine function with symbolism to lift it from the page. The character’s great strength recalled the attire of old-time Circus Strongmen, where long-sleeved leotards were worn over tights for flexibility and to compliment physique. A belt would be added to break up the midsection and the wide neckline was perfect to accommodate a cape reminiscent of the Roman Centurion. Lastly, a motif featuring the letter ‘S’ emblazoned on the chest would make the imposing figure uniquely identifiable across all cultures as a figurehead for Truth, Justice and the American Way – Superman.

Top Left – A familiar pose on the cover of ‘The Superman’ Monthly from the UK – the 1940’s equivalent of ‘Mens Health’ Magazine. Bottom Left – The Circus strongman of the 1800’s pioneered leotards over tights and right, Co-Creator Joe Shuster’s first sketch of the renewed Man Of Steel.

Publisher Jack Liebowitz, under pressure to meet deadlines at National Allied Publications urgently needed material for an new anthology comic-book series titled Action Comics. Siegel & Shuster’s rejected pages had been found trough publisher Vin Sullivan and the pair were offered a deal to submit a last minute lead feature. Superman would debut the cover of Action Comics No.1 in June, 1938, which sold out of its 250K print run almost immediately.

The immediate impact made by the caped wonder on newsstands made a transition from print to other mediums an inevitability. In 1940, the dramatic opening narration of ‘Look! Up in the sky!’ across radio airwaves welcomed ‘The Adventures Of Superman’ into American homes five days a week with an action-packed 15 minute broadcast. Already a familiar voice across radio networks, star Bud Collyer brought duality to the role by dropping his vocal register to utter the immortal line ‘This looks like a job – For Superman..!’ during every episode.

Publicist Allen ‘Duke’ Duchovny capitalised on the burgeoning popularity of the character by organising a promotional appearance of Superman ‘In Person’ at the 1940 New York World’s Fair. The ‘World Of Tomorrow’ theme was the perfect platform for ‘Superman Day’ where eager children could see their hero live and in full costume for the first time –

Broadway star Ray Middleton held the distinction of the first actor to ever play Superman – on parade atop a float in a costume comprising of lace-up boots, yellow belt, red cape and triangular shield with name added for the uninitiated.

In the intervening months, Superman’s look evolved as the property passed through the hands of various artists keen to make their mark at the now flourishing National Comics. The striking combination of primary colours of the costume may have originally been dictated by the cheapest ink to print but were now well-established and had since come to represent the character’s values of strength and optimism. In 1939 the costume would receive an overhaul courtesy of artist Paul Cassidy, who in the course of refining Shuster’s pencils would endow the cape with an ‘S’ shield that also became canon.

Having already thrilled audiences on both radio and in theatres – courtesy of the ground-breaking animations produced at Paramount Studios by Max Fleischer again voiced by Bud Collyer – it would nonetheless be a decade before Superman would finally arrive onscreen in live-action. For the Movie Serials Superman (1948) and Atom Man Vs. Superman (1950) produced by Columbia Pictures, the Western Costume Company of Hollywood concocted outfits for actor Kirk Alyn in shades of grey and brown for shooting on black & white filmstock.

In 1951, George Reeves would fill Alyn’s boots and sport a similarly monochrome ensemble for the independently made feature ‘Superman And The Mole Men’ which served as a pilot for ‘The Adventures of Superman’ (1952-1958) on Television. The show would shoot two seasons before the advent of colour broadcasting in 1954, when Reeves’ costume would be remade in its true hues for the remainder of its 104 episodes –

Premiere Superman Kirk Alyn’s (Left) wool-blend suit featured ribbed cuffs, suede boots and a stitched-on cape. TV’s George Reeves (Right) maintained the design of the chest shield patch, and would benefit from a padded undersuit made to boost the chest & shoulders.

For the next twenty years, the creative teams charged with enthralling the readership of its flagship character month after month would prosper and mature until both inevitably showed signs of fatigue. Editor Mort Weisinger had laboured on the title since 1941 and had made an significant contribution to the mythos, but as the Red Sun set on the Silver Age, he knew the ever-more outlandish stories were falling out of touch with the fanbase, culminating in a steady but sure decline in sales.

By 1970, the comic-book industry overall had become more socially conscious and reflective of society, exemplified by Stan Lee’s grounded and introspective characters from the up and coming Marvel Comics. Superman had been a lynchpin of the WWII campaign but had flown clear of many real-world political entanglements since. The dawn of the Bronze Age, then, would see the Man of Tomorrow revitalised under new editor Julius Schwartz in a back to basics approach that would send him soaring to the forefront of popular culture.

The character’s universal appeal continued to attract other mediums, with a comeback to both Television and animation in ‘The New Adventures Of Superman’ Produced by Filmation as part of CBS Saturday morning schedules. Its 68, six-minute segments were the first time Superman had been seen in cartoon form since the Fleischer brothers shorts with Bud Collyer reprising his role for the final time.

At 6’4″ Actor Bob Holiday (Left) cut an imposing figure in a costume reflecting the character perfectly for the era, often staying on in costume after matinees to sign autographs for children. David Wilson’s effort (Right) swung Superman into the 70’s with a new shield, smaller trunks and the first leather-type boots.

The Man of Tomorrow would also embark on first flight into Broadway in 1966 for the stage production of “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, Its Superman”. Despite good reviews, Hal Prince musical closed after 129 performances in the wake of a country consumed by ‘Batmania’ and was considered a victim of ‘Capelash’. The camp theme of the Batman TV show would permeate the Superhero genre and tarnish its image for years, the 1975 TV adaptation of the Superman musical for ABC-TV starring David Wilson epitomising just how low the bar had sunk. Development was already well underway, however, on a project that would forever change public perception of the live-action Superhero and revolutionise the Movie industry itself…

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2. EVOLUTION

Two years prior to the ABC broadcast across the pond in Europe, ambitious young film producer Ilya Salkind and his father Alexander were already in negotiation with DC Comics in an determined effort to bring the Man of Steel back to the silver screen. The deal was exhaustive but eventually planes were in the air over Cannes trailing banners heralding Superman’s imminent arrival. The Salkinds had pitched a no-expense-spared 70mm extravaganza but needed to attach bankable names quickly to secure investment for what was essentially an independent film.

Already reputed for hiring the best in the industry, their selection of Marlon Brando to star and Mario Puzo to write, for example, would generate the necessary investment and media interest regardless of their suitability to the material. Conversely, there was a wealth of technical and artistic talent at their disposal after the success of the ‘The Three Musketeers’ (1973) and its sequel for what was already being touted as the ‘Super-film of the Seventies’. So who better to translate the iconic superhero from page to screen than Academy Award® winning costume designer Yvonne Blake?

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“The premise of Superman’s costume was, theoretically, ridiculous.

It would be completely counter-character that the guy would

put an ‘S’ on his own chest to say ‘Superman’.

We made it the family crest.”

– Pierre Spengler

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Screenwriter Puzo had envisioned the retelling of Superman saga as a Greek Tragedy, an epic of three distinct acts packed with drama and spectacle. Such was the scope of the project that the Salkinds would split the 600 pages of the script in half for a story told over two chapters, which meant Superman: The Movie and its sequel would be filmed simultaneously akin to the Three (& Four) Musketeers.

As one of the first artistes hired for the picture, British-born Blake would draft her first sketches during pre-production at Cinecittà Studios in Rome in 1976. As the first act would delve deeper into Kryptonian mythology than ever before, Blake surmised that a more advanced civilisation would adopt a minimalist approach over the garish robes and metal headbands portrayed in the comics. Research into reflective fabrics lead to the implementation of 3M™ Scotchlite™ Front-Projection (FP) material, which would be torn into strips and applied to cotton undersuits. Once exposed to specific lighting the glass beads embedded in the fabric gave off an ethereal glow, a visual effect to be achieved entirely in-camera.

Other notes contained in the Puzo script was that both Superman and his father, Jor-El, be portrayed by the same actor and that he and all the members of the council should display the famous ‘S’ symbol. Marlon Brando himself proposed the ‘S’ instead represent the family coat of arms, inciting Blake to re-invent the diamond-encased ‘S’ as one of many abstract forms representing Kryptonian heritage –

Emblems – 11 Elders – “Black Velvet & FP material edged with Diamonte.” Superman’s ‘S’ revised with sleek curves and an angled serif to denote the ‘House Of El’ gave it purpose and significance hitherto unexploited in any media to date.

By now so iconic in its own right, the Superman shield had become a globally recognised Trademark, refined from a multitude of artistic interpretations and codified by DC in 1972. This branding would be pivotal to the advertising campaign, forming one of the trifecta of ‘S’ graphics to be associated with the movie. The familiarity of ‘Trademark’ shield had earned a place in the trailer and opening credits, while Steven O. Frankfurt Design produced a unique ‘Crystallised’ version for print.

Blake would extend the new rationale for the family crest to the entire ‘Superman’ ideology, seeking to undo the perception of the suit as mere ‘costume’ by establishing its origins in Kryptonian culture –

‘Krypton Crowd – Men’ – The austere robes and cloaks worn by the denizens of Krypton convey serenity, but the accoutrements of a Superhero lie beneath the vinyl and 3M™ Scotchlite™ trim.

‘Krypton Street’ – Three generations of Kryptonian fashion depict ‘Superman’ as everyman, with bleached out variations of the ‘Costume’ suitable for both Superboy and Supergirl.

After months of preparation in Italy, The Salkinds had made the decision to relocate production to England for cost purposes. This lead to the departure of Director Guy Hamilton for tax reasons and the hiring of American Richard Donner as his replacement due to his status as the director of the No.1 hit The Omen.

With millions of dollars already spent on material deemed unusable, Donner’s insistence on infusing the project with verisimilitude meant another screenplay rewrite and the rejection of Michael Stringer’s Production design. Donner also considered Blake’s concepts too similar to the comics and favoured a more cinematic approach, but as much of Blake’s work had been approved by the Producers in advance of the relocation to Shepperton Studios she would remain onboard.

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“Superman’s costume was created for the comic

and I could not change it. It was not allowed.

So I tried to make a costume as attractive as possible for the actor

and as correct as possible for Superman fans.

I was not particularly a fan; but I had to reproduce

a costume that did not seem ridiculous,

it had to be credible and manly, and not

similar to one worn by ballet dancers…”

– Yvonne Blake

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‘Superman’, 1976 – “Leotard in shimmering blue two way stretch fabric worn over fake muscles and harness for flying. Capes to be made in various flowing fabrics for testing. Boots in glove leather or elastic with small heel. ‘S’ motif in red and gold on breast and again in all gold on back of cape. Gold metal belt with ‘S’ buckle.”

With anticipation building around the picture, Blake was invited to the 1976 San Diego Comic-Con to preview her sketches in a panel for fans. While the response was positive overall, comic purists objected to the addition of the shield on the belt buckle. Upon her return to the UK, Blake surrounded herself with DC reference material and sought as literal a translation as possible of the art by Curt Swan and Neal Adams. In illustration there was no obligation by artists to depict practicalities in the costume such as exposed seams, zippers, poppers or straps. The challenge, therefore, of realising the suit in three dimensions was one of disguising functionality. Much could be attributed to Its alien origins but just how did that yellow belt fit together? How did the cape actually attach to the shoulders? How did the boots retain shape? All this and more had to be addressed way before concessions were made for the actor and the actual mechanics of flying.

According to Comic Book legend, Superman’s costume was adapted from the blankets that Baby Kal-El was wrapped in for his trip to Earth. Martha Kent would repurpose the Kryptonian fabric as a suit with the assistance of her adopted son, who would cut it to size using his heat vision. The other components such as the belt and boots would be fashioned from the seat belt and the lining of the passenger compartment of the Starship, respectively. The resulting outfit, combined with the ‘aura’ generated by the wearer, would never mark or tear and was comparatively indestructible.

While no such details were explicit or adhered to in the screenplay tailored to a sophisticated audience, the metallic blankets in which infant Kal-El makes his journey would disappear on his arrival, with a subtle inference that they had somehow evolved into the full Superman costume enroute. This would be supported by scenes of young Clark being swathed in the adult-sized cape by the Kents and a fleeting glimpse inside teenage Clark’s rucksack on his journey to the North Pole. The full ‘Superman’ uniform would be bestowed upon Kal-El after 12 years of training under the tutelage of his father before returning to the outside world to begin his mission.

Director Richard Donner (right) blacked Christopher Reeve’s hair with boot polish for his screentest in February 1977. The sweat marks first appearing here would continue to hinder both Reeve and the Wardrobe assistants throughout production – a problem finally nullified by the use of hairdryers between takes.

Meantime, the well-publicised two-year search for a Superman was nearing its conclusion. A slew of actors had been approved in advance by DC Comics – including such unlikely candidates as Sylvester Stallone and Muhammad Ali – but with top billing already filled there was latitude to fill the role with a suitable unknown. The open casting call meant aspiring Supermen were invited to screentest in a hastily assembled loose-fitting bodysuit with tiny separate briefs, a cape made from a piece of orange fabric tucked in at the collar and knee-length socks for boots.

Thanks to the diligence of casting director Lynn Stalmaster, 24-year old Christopher Reeve had finally been chosen to portray the Man Of Steel but after viewing his test, Blake would need a quick fix for the unforeseen issue of his slight build. Standing at 6’4″ with clear blue eyes and chiselled jaw, Reeve was the living embodiment of the character but weighed in at 170 lbs. With only months to go before shooting commenced, a latex musclesuit was prepared but would inhibit movement during tests and looked unnatural on camera. Reeve would reject the idea of wearing fake muscles and reaffirm his commitment to bulking up to the requisite physique naturally, undertaking a strict weight-training regimen to add another 33 lbs to his broad frame –

‘Superman’ – Christopher Reeve 1976(7) – “Leotard in shimmering blue two-way stretch Helenca worn if necessary over false latex muscles and a flying harness. Cape in fine wool – (various fabrics to be experimented with for flying). ‘S’ to be appliqued in yellow on back of cape & inserted in the front. Trunks to have higher leg-line than in the comic. Belt & Buckle in yellow patent leather & plastic. Boots in softest glove leather with concealed fastening.”

Throughout pre-production, Yvonne Blake would liaise with head of manufacture Noel Howard of world-renowned British costumiers Bermans and Nathans Ltd. who would be supplying the wardrobe for the picture. After the successful roll-out of the 3M™ Scotchlite™ Front-Projection material for the Krypton costumes, Blake was now seeking a similarly cutting-edge fabric for its Last Son. Howard, meanwhile, had managed to source a newly-developed stretch fabric called Lycra from a mill in Europe and had obtained some of the very first on the market.

As the casting process continued throughout 1977, so too did the regularity of the fittings as the costume was improved upon piece by piece during screentests for potential Lois Lane’s. A new bodysuit would try out opposite Anne Archer, an amended belt for Debra Raffin, and by the time of Margot Kidder’s successful audition Reeve was virtually modelling the final outfit.

Bermans & Nathans’ team of 60 skilled seamstresses would produce a total of 110 bodystockings for Christopher Reeve, his stunt doubles and the numerous Special-Effects flying miniatures. The final costume would undergo minor adjustments throughout shooting as Reeve’s workout regime steadily yielded impressive results under the tutelage of famed bodybuilder David Prowse. Director Donner would cheat some early footage by photographing Reeve from lower angles to exaggerate his size until Reeve attained his physical ideal, finally revealed to the world in a series of iconic publicity photographs shot by Bob Penn against the Manhattan skyline –

Classically trained stage actor Christopher Reeve eventually filled out the costume of a Superman fit for both the 70’s and the Silver Screen, with low neckline, high-cut shorts, tall leather boots and a flowing wool cape torn straight from the comic-book page.

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“I decided what I would do was let the costume do all the work.

Don’t do too much, don’t pose.

I decided against wearing the Styrofoam padding under the blue tights,

instead I went on a crash bodybuilding course

to give me the right physique… ”

– Christopher Reeve

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3. ANALYSIS

FABRIC

The New York World’s Fair was a significant event in Superman’s history. Not only did it host the character’s first ‘live’ appearance but it also launched a textile innovation which would inadvertently become forever associated with ‘Superhero’ couture. Unveiled in 1939 and hailed, ironically, as ‘Stronger than Steel’, the all-new US invented ‘Nylon’ fabric would revolutionise the clothing industry with its multitude of applications. By 1958, the DuPont Company using the same principle was developing a stretchy blend of Polyester known as Fiber K, later to be re-branded as Lycra. Originally marketed as the ideal choice for Women’s hosiery and underwear, the brand was adapted to meet the flourishing demand for aerobic and athletic wear in the mid-1970’s.

Yvonne Blake had first shortlisted Helenca as her fabric of choice on her renderings, a derivative of Nylon and comparable to Lycra but with greater opacity. Given Lycra’s elasticity and strength there was an inevitability that Superman’s leotards for the screen would be accomplished in this new, exciting fabric and after much trial & error, experienced costumier Howard was convinced he’d struck the perfect balance of weight and texture.

Presented with samples fresh from a manufacturer in Austria, Blake conceded it had requisite ‘shimmer’ outlined in her designs, describing it as ‘Bridal Weight Spandex’ due to its thick mesh. An anagram of the word ‘expands,’ Spandex would become the preferred Stateside term while Elastane stuck in Europe. The actual composition of Spandex is derived from Polyamide, a generic term for synthetic fibres such as Nylon and Polyester –

The DNA of Superman’s costume – The unique knit and metallic properties of the Lycra fabric were exclusive to an Austrian textile company and become its key identifier.

Once the order for multiples of the Superman bodysuit were placed they were finished with Bermans & Nathans wardrobe labels and a pair of small tags stitched into the seams of the waistband of the tights, and sides of the tunics identifying the material as 100% Polyamid (sic) and the brand as ‘Zeta Modell’.

A set of interior labelling for the Superman Bodysuits comprised of makers tags, fabric composition and care instructions, while asset tags from Bermans & Nathans provide typed details of actor/character with a serial number. These could often be scene-specific and exhibit handwritten amendments.

The Superman character in comic book form was the very embodiment of the four-colour printing process, its basic combination of Yellow, Cyan & Magenta topped off with Black (CYMK). In order to reproduce exactly what was represented on the page under the strict guidelines, The staff at Bermans and Nathans would conjure with a total of 16 dyes to obtain the perfect shades.

As the hue of the costume had to be consistent throughout its appearance onscreen, the Wardrobe Department was tasked with catering for the demands of the revolutionary Special Effects sequences and process photography. Foremost of these challenges were separating the costume from the Bluescreen or Chroma-Key backing which required a turquoise blend of dye, and another combination to maintain the colour in scenes where it was soaked through with water.

Once bathed in Cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth’s light, the Superman costume on film was a perfect representation of its four-colour origins in three dimensions, however, the blue in particular would fluctuate in shade and photograph darker than it appeared in reality. This phenomenon would also extend to still colour images taken in costume, where, by its very nature, the two-tone sheen would transpose through the lens as anything from a flat Navy Blue to Cyan, making its precise colour designation an enigma –

Production made custom dyed Polyamid –

In Daylight/Direct Sunlight –

Indoor Lighting –

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“They had a special machine and some guy who had been sitting there

waiting all his life for a chance to put this costume together.

I don’t know what he’s going to do now the picture’s finished…”

– Christopher Reeve

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TUNIC

The first pair of Superman bodystockings trialled had seams restricted to one side to give the impression of a second skin. The logistics of shooting an already complex picture around left or right biased suits was rejected and the majority of the seams were relocated to the rear for subsequent garments.

The final bodysuit would comprise of two pieces – the Tunic (Leotard), incorporating Overshorts with belt loops (Briefs) and Tights (Leggings). The order of dress would be tights, followed by tunic, then shorts. Assistance would be required for the accessories with the securing the belt, zipping of the boots and mounting of the Cape.

Screen-ready costumes were designated by their Bermans & Nathans asset tags as Flying or Walking, with printed serial numbers supported by handwritten details in marker or ballpoint pen. Typical characteristics of a Flying costume would be reinforced slits on each side of the tunic at the waist to accommodate the metal links for the leather harness for cables could be hooked on for wire work, and/or dyed a shade of teal for the Chroma-Key process –

Figure 1: Flying Tunic, Front – Long-Sleeved stretch leotard with integral chest motif, double stitched square neckline, ribbed cuffs, arched elasticated leg holes w/gusset darts, x2 reinforced side slits for flying harness worn beneath.

Figure 2: Flying Tunic, Rear – Central waist length zipper w/hook & eye closure, side back seams, arm seams, low cut elasticated leg holes w/gusset darts. 2x pairs of press studs on shoulder seams for Cape attachment, x2 reinforced side slits for flying harness.

Special ‘Gimbal Costumes’ were made for process photography with break-away velcro closures so the actors could be dressed whist lay in the fibreglass bodymoulds. The costume would slide over the rig to conceal the pan and could be detached one component at a time.

A selection of early test shots showed the belt resting just below the waistline, exposing a portion of the waistband of the shorts. Revisions were made to the tunic to incorporate the briefs, fusing them with the tunic. The belt-loops would also be raised above the waistline so even at a stretch, the belt would never fall below the seamline. The reworked version was maintained for Walking costumes for the remainder of filming –

Figure 3: Walking Tunic Front, Revised – w/integral briefs. Wide belt loops re-positioned above dividing line.

Figure 4: Walking Tunic Rear, Revised – Intergral briefs with centre-seam, rear belt loops re-positioned against side-seams to secure Belt above dividing line.

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“We needed so many because they were so tight; they could only be

worn for about 20 minutes before becoming drenched with sweat.

Some of them also had to be specially strengthened

so they could take the huge hooks from the cranes

which made him look as though he was flying…”

– Noel Howard

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The chest motif would be the focal point of the tunic, with Yvonne Blake producing a hand-drawn template for a bold version of the family crest as presented by Jor-El. Supeman’s ‘S’ would be assembled from a five piece interlocking fabric mosaic and inset to the tunic front.

The stencil would be applied to mark out the border on the chest of the tunic, the motif outline in red, and again for the ‘negative shapes’ in yellow. The pieces would then all be trimmed, leaving seam allowance so the segments could be pinned together. On the rear, the larger yellow portions were married up with the stencilled outlines in red and raw edges secured with an overlocking stitch. The smaller yellow segments, too intricate to insert, would be topstitched on the outward side leaving the threading visible. The five-point outline was then cut from the tunic and the shield inset using the same process.

Though the cape & chest shields were borne of the same template, with such complex construction ultimately none of the costume shields for the Superman tunics would be a precise match to each other. Indeed, with each costume finished by hand the inconsistencies in size & shape between shields became more pronounced when conforming to the contours of the body –

Figure 5: ‘S’ Motif, Front & Rear – Left, direct tracing of Cape shield, tracing of the inset chest shield (unstretched), chest shield highlighting approximate expansion, full distortion when taut.

Figure 6: Overlay of Front & Rear shields – Example of variation/margin of error between embroidered finish (Cape) and inset (Tunic).

BELT

The gaudy yellow gloss band called for an alternative to its supposed connection by its ornamental clasp. By relocating the fastening to the rear, the belt could maintain its decorative appearance by obscuring the working closure under the cape.

The panel itself would be marked out using a template of a form-fitting curve, cut from sheet leather and then coated with a patent yellow vinyl. Hook & Eye closures would be added at both ends to be bound together by a length of white elastic and tied shoelace-style for comfort –

Figure 7: Front & Rear view of Belt – curved leather base strip with patent vinyl overlay glued to rear w/hook & eye closure and mounted buckle.

The buckle itself would be a straightforward brooch, its concentric design sculpted by hand with impressions cast in lightweight resin. A pair of brass paper fasteners were pressed into the rear of each cast before the resin cured to secure them in place and the surface spray-painted an approximate matching gloss yellow. The pins form the fasteners would then be pierced through the topside and leaves opened to fix the buckle in place. A thin piece of leather would then be glued on top of the mounting to avoid snagging as the belt was passed through the loops of the tunic for wear.

Figure 8: Belt Buckle Front & Rear – double-tiered oval clasp w/paper fastener attachments.

LEGGINGS

During Wardrobe tests, the initial concern with Superman’s tights was what could potentially be showing through them. Producer Alexander Salkind would insist the Supermanhood be emphasised to maintain the virility of the character, prompting the Wardrobe Dept. to trial a number of codpieces of various sizes & styles. The final selection was an athletic supporter with integral metal protective cup, demonstrating the requisite masculinity without drawing attention or compromising on comfort.

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“I think with the costume…

You’re stuck with the fact that Superman is in tights.

Chris was so disarming…so kind of shy…that you barely noticed.”

– Tom Mankiewicz

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The tights were assembled from a conventional pattern with the exception of the inside leg seam, which was rotated behind the triangular gusset. Once the tights were drawn over the underwear followed by the tunic, the midsection was flawlessly smooth with no unsightly protrusions. For the stocking feet, the Polyamid was cut at the ankles and replaced with breathable soft fabric socks –

Figure 9: Stockings, Pair – w/elasticated waistband, reinforced crotch area and soft mesh footing.

BOOTS

The custom knee-boots were assembled from six perfectly-tailored pieces to accurately portray the ‘molded’ look of the comic version while the Kryptonian editions were finished in reflective 3M™ Scotchlite™. In order to withstand gruelling action, Superman’s boots would need to be pliable, smooth and form-fitting. Working on the principle that Superman would maintain an aerodynamic position when airborne, the boots would prioritise flexibility at the ankle to allow feet to be pointed out straight. The structure would be based around a Pointe or Ballet shoe-style vamp, merging into an elongated shaft and topped by a cuff reinforced with a thick band of black elastic –

Figure 10: Boots, Left & Right – w/tall shaft, Wide Scalloped Cuffs, narrow Outsole, Rounded Toe-Box and Slipper-esque Vamp.

The ‘Softest Glove Leather’ of the original sketch notes translated as thin Calf’s Leather, dyed Crimson Red and cobbled around a block of Reeve’s US size 11 foot. The soles would also consist of the same leather and be completely smooth and flat with a slim internal heel and no outer grip.

One minor deviation from the comic design was the extended cuff, noticeably thicker than the narrow rim as illustrated. This afforded better balance and proportion but necessitated metal shirt collar-type stiffeners to be stitched into the peak of each ‘V’ for support –

Figure 11: Boot Cuffs – w/double stitched centre seam and metal stiffeners machined in at scallop peaks.

The boot closures consisted of zinc full-length zipper down the calf to be secreted by a flap of leather secured by velcro strips. For stunt purposes and to uphold the ‘molded’ appearance, pairs would be made with the zippers in the front seams, leaving the rear shafts ‘clean’ for shots where the velcro seals would crease and look cumbersome.

All pairs of footwear would be numbered by hand in marker and feature the initials ‘CR’. Other notes in marker or ballpoint would indicate specifics such as flying, walking, or waterproof.

Figure 12: Walking Boots, Rear – w/zipper from Heel counter through Back Shaft. Leather flap w/velcro Closure.

CAPE

When early camera tests to simulate flight caused the cape to wrap around the wearer, the Visual Effects team again sought collaboration with the Wardrobe Dept. to convey realistic flowing motion whilst Superman was airborne.

Visual Effects artist Les Bowie devised a self-contained mechanical rig operated by remote control, generating a convincing ripple effect by rotating a set of 8 thin metal poles running the entire length of the cape in sequence. Special ‘Mechanical’ Capes were made with eight corresponding pockets and press studs to attach the ‘Flapping Device’. Meantime, dozens of different fabrics were evaluated for their billow and drape for wire-flying scenes, including lighter blends such as crepe and silk –

Figure 13: Walking Cape, Exterior – w/reverse Shoulder Pleats, Tension straps and embroidered applique.

Just as with the Bodysuits, capes would be tagged by Bermans & Nathans as ‘Flying’ or ‘Walking’, and would often be switched out between takes to meet the requirements of a particular scene. The majority of Walking Capes were cut from a single piece of Wool Gaberdine in a triangular configuration converging with two neat reverse pleats on the shoulders. The hems were finished with a zig-zag stitch and the excess trimmed, leaving a raw sawtooth pattern along the bottom edge. As filming had started before Reeve had reached his ideal weight, extra padding was added to fill out the shoulders and would gradually decline as shooting continued. The tension from the cape straps would also round out the squared neckline of the tunic to a perfect graduated curve.

The procedure to attach the Cape to the bodysuit would be undertaken by the Wardrobe Assistants, who would first mount it on one shoulder by connecting the first set of press studs and tucking in the first strap, passing it under the armpit and out through the back of the open tunic. This was repeated on the other side until both straps were hanging loose from the back of the tunic so they could be pulled in together to the required tension, tied in a knot and tunic zippered up.

CapedWonder.com.

“I read somewhere that Chris is supposed to have twenty-five

different costumes and six or seven special capes – for flying,

crouching, leaping, sitting, standing, whatever.

Actually, the number’s probably higher than that.

Mainly, that’s where the wardrobe expense comes in,

on all the doubles and duplicates and special-effects needs…”

– Yvonne Blake

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Figure 14: Flying Cape, Interior – w/tension Straps, Silk Yoke Lining (w/Cotton Wadding stitched in beneath) and Press Studs (lower set for attachment to mechanical cape flapping device).

The final detail of the Cape was the all-yellow shield, marked out on Polyamid from Blake’s Costume ‘S’ template and embroidered with black thread. Unlike its complex chest counterpart, the rear shield comprised of a basic appliqué mounted on white fusible backing and machined over with a zig-zag stitch. The standard of the finish between duplicates was negligible, with dropped stitches and deviations from the stencilling making no two patches the same. There would also be irregularities with the border, cut true to the outer edge or left with visible excess before its application by tacking it below the yoke of the shoulder –

Figure 15: Cape Shield Applique – All Yellow Polyamid w/White interfacing embroidered w/black cotton.

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“Once he was in that suit – he was Superman

and he believed he could fly.

That level of dedication and verisimilitude clearly shows

on screen and helped bring Superman to life…”

– Colin Chilvers

CapedWonder.com.

CapedWonder.com.

4. LEGACY

After five years of development, 350 shooting days and a budget reportedly exceeding $55 million dollars, Superman: The Movie would finally be released on December 17th, 1978, six months past its scheduled date. The film would receive almost universal praise and be nominated for 3 Academy Awards®, winning ‘Special Achievement in Visual Effects.’

For Yvonne Blake, three years of sleeping with a comic book under her pillow for reference would reward her another fulfilling personal triumph. Indeed, her artistic stamp was all over the picture, from Gene Hackman’s flamboyant, tastless plaid suits for arch-villain Lex Luthor to the chic skirts & blouses worn by Margot Kidder as sassy love interest Lois Lane. The innovative Krypton costumes may have been scene stealers but the one design where she was afforded least input would ironically be her biggest success. For her Superman costume, sharp and bright as a crystal would be carried off with such casual regality by Reeve that any concerns about him being laughed off the screen were silenced by his electrifying presence in the suit.

Nominated for her work at the 32nd Annual BAFTA awards, the film would win for ‘Outstanding British contribution to Cinema’ and star Christopher Reeve would be crowned as ‘Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles’ for his performance. Blake would also receive recognition form the Science-Fiction literary community with a nomination for a ‘Saturn’ Award, with the film winning in four other categories.

Bermans & Nathans goodwill message in the programme for the Royal Premiere. The Leicester Square based firm would later be honoured with the Queens award for Export Achievement, with overseas trade totalling over £1.3 Million between 1976-78.

While the production had been challenging and fraught with problems, the film had gone on to earn $300.5 million worldwide and, with 75% of the sequel already in the can all involved were keen to get back to Pinewood Studios to resume filming on Superman II. Meantime, escalating tensions between Donner and producer Pierre Spengler fuelled by the trades came to boiling point and, secure in their worldwide hit, the Salkinds took the opportunity to release the remainder of Donner’s team from their contracts.

Although she would be credited as Costume Designer for Superman II, Blake’s contribution would be limited to footage shot by Donner in tandem with Superman: The Movie and the torch passed to designer Susan Yelland. With the caveat already set there would be no intervention for the key players for Superman II so Yelland would be mainly be accountable for the supporting cast. As the plot dealt with the return of the trio of villains, another of Blake’s original concepts would be highlighted, with General Zod & Co. in Maroon-trimmed Black silk jumpsuits with Patent thigh-high boots representing the Kryptonian Military.

Released in 1980 (June 1981 in the US) Superman II would enjoy similar plaudits as the first, although faced with stiff competition with Raiders Of The Lost Ark at the Box-Office. Besides the many creative casualties suffered by the production, a great deal of footage shot by Donner would be excised in order to bring the picture on time and under-budget. Scenes with the increasingly expensive Marlon Brando were re-shot with Susannah York and a new ending was hurriedly devised having surrendered the original one to the first picture.

Originally brought in as an envoy between the Salkinds and Donner, Director Richard Lester had fulfilled his obligation to complete Part II but in doing so had changed the tone to match his comedic sensibilities. Audiences hadn’t noticed even if fans and critics had, with some citing the heady mix of drama, humour and action better than the first.

*

The Salkinds had envisioned the Superman series as having the potential to emulate the Bond franchise, with their original seven-picture option escalating to ten. By the time of the inevitable Superman III, however, the series was already showing signs of mismanagement and creative bankruptcy, with an extravagant script treatment by Ilya Salkind rejected in favour of a lighthearted romp to exploit the comedic abilities of Richard Pryor.

Written by David & Leslie Newman and again helmed by Richard Lester, Superman III retained the production values but lacked the heart & soul of the earlier entries. With a contemporary setting and a plot involving the creation of a Super-Computer there was little Sci-Fi influence for new designer Evangeline Harrison to explore. While the proud association with Bermans & Nathans continued, the only requisite for new Superman costumes was that they be rinsed in black dye to show stages of degradation as Superman gradually succumbed to the effects of artificial Kryptonite –

“He’s changed…” Christopher Reeve hits the streets in the final and darkest wash of the costume for ‘Evil Superman’ with painted boots & belt.

Superman III may not have made the same kind of numbers as its predecessors but had benefited greatly from the flourishing video rental market, adding another $30 million to its overall gross. While the film was considered a modest hit and was popular with a general audience, critics were scathing and the slapstick humour alienated fans of the originals. With his contract expiring and also unhappy with the direction of the series since Donner’s departure, Christopher Reeve publicly announced he was hanging up his cape, leaving the franchise up in the air. Reluctant to abandon their hugely successful empire, the ever-pragmatic Salkinds instead went back to the roll-call of characters their rights extended to, after all, adventure did run in the family.

Supergirl was announced in customary style at Cannes and scheduled to arrive in the summer of 1984. Produced by Timothy Burill, the film would be another no-expense-spared extravaganza shot at Pinewood Studios reuniting much of the crew from the Superman series. By now a 25 year-old character, the Supergirl legend would be updated as present-day fairytale, a coming-of-age story set in the established Supermovie continuity but geared towards a younger audience.

The development of the picture would reflect the battle to bring Superman to the screen in a number of ways, with Ilya Salkind determined to cast an unknown in the lead having screened hundreds of young actresses. Brooke Shields and Demi Moore were under consideration before Lynn Stalmaster’s timely discovery of New York stage actress Helen Slater, who despite never having appeared in a feature was immediately contracted for a three-picture deal –

20-year-old Helen Slater strikes a defiant pose as the Maid Of Might on location in Scotland – her costume a fusion of comic & movie influences. During rehearsals the Flying unit would accidentally swing her into a tree and drop her in a lake.

The first draft of the script had been submitted with a major role in the story for Superman, with the intention of promoting the movie as the first Superhero team-up in cinema history. Unfortunately, David Odell’s screenplay would be almost completely re-written as a solo adventure by an uncredited W.D. Richter when Christopher Reeve dropped out of the project only months before shooting. Superman’s absence would owe to a ‘Peace-keeping mission in a distant galaxy’ while Reeve’s cameo would be reduced to his image on a poster, leaving Marc McClure’s Jimmy Olsen as the only bridge between the franchises.

No stranger to the fantasy genre having won a Saturn Award for her work on ‘Clash Of the Titans’, experienced Costume Designer Emma Porteus would draw equal inspiration from the movies and character’s current look in the comics. Slater had screentested in an outfit pulled from the latest DC Style Guide, sporting a candyfloss blonde wig and red headband. Porteus would export the mini-skirt, belt and boots from artist José Luis Garcia Lopez’ ‘Headband Costume’ but mirror the Superman Movie Costume from the waist up –

Supergirl’s outfit would maintain the family tradition of inheriting traits from her predecessors, not least her cousin’s hand-me-down capes and a chest motif potentially crafted from the left-over template of Jor-El’s trial robes.

Bermans and Nathans were once again entrusted with the manufacture of the costumes, with Porteus favouring a lightweight silk stretch fabric in flat Navy Blue for Slater’s Leotard over Superman’s heavyweight Polyamid. The tunic pattern would be resized and the chest motif scaled down accordingly, leaving it too minute to be assembled from separate components. Instead the red ‘S’ would simply be mounted on its yellow backing and machined around the border, then inset to the tunic using the Blake technique.

Cost-conscious as always and with inventory left over from prior adventures, the producers gave Porteus carte blance to recycle Christopher Reeve’s expensive wool capes, ‘Remade’ with a much shorter hem but with no alteration to the liner. The yellow appliqué, although noticeably larger than Slater’s chest motif, would also remain intact. The new accoutrements of the flared mini-skirt and V-shaped yellow waistband/belt would be worn over nude stain tights with attached stretch fabric boots. These would be obscured by Kryptonian-style genuine leather boots with pointed yellow trim and zipper fastening in the rear.

With returns of only $14.3 Million from an estimated $35 Million dollar budget, Supergirl failed to re-invigorate the franchise despite an enchanting turn from Slater, who was later nominated for a ‘Best Actress’ Saturn Award. Director Jeannot Szwarc (Jaws 2, Somewhere In Time) had been hired to make Superman in a skirt but had instead delivered Once Upon A Time Warp, the mix of genre’s proving too potent for the audience’s taste.

*

Undeterred by Critics and diminishing Box-Office, The Salkind’s would keep Szwarc on board and forge ahead with their next pop-culture mythology revival with equally discouraging results. Receipts from ‘Santa Claus – The Movie’ would incite the Salkinds to sell their stake in the The Man of Steel to The Cannon Group, Inc. Purveyors of such low-brow fare as ‘American Ninja’ and ‘Missing In Action’, the studio craved legitimacy as a power-player and Producers Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus were banking on Superman to break them into the mainstream.

The cousins knew enough that it would be impossible for audiences to accept a new actor in the lead so the key component for their planned sequel was enticing Superman himself back to the role. Conscious of typecasting and having spent the intervening years distancing himself from the hero image, Christopher Reeve was understandably reluctant to to return. However, with a $1 Million paycheck, an automatic greenlight for a personal project, story credit and second unit direction duties, Reeve was welcomed into the Cannon Family in 1986 with the announcement of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace

Made to Measure – Christopher Reeve prioritised tone over mass having suffered a herniated disc after a decade in the flying harness. Subtle adjustments made to the costume included a higher neckline, double-stitched cuffs and longer cape.

With contracts drawn up, the latest installment faced adversity from the outset, forced to start from scratch having been denied use of any of the specialist equipment, props or costumes financed by the Salkinds. To the despair of Pinewood Studios, who had hosted the series since the beginning, their plans to build a Superman stage (similar to their famous 007 facility) were scrapped when the Production shifted to EMI Elstree due to its recent acquisition by the Cannon Group.

Sidney J. Furie (‘The Ipcress File’, ‘Iron Eagle’) was hired to direct from a screenplay based on a story by Reeve about Superman’s intervention in the Nuclear Arms Race with a script by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal. Also new to the team was notable Welsh Costume Designer John Bloomfield, arriving with an impressive resume peppered with such classics as ‘Conan The Barbarian’ and ‘The Bounty’.

To maintain continuity between pictures but granted no access to the original costumes, Bloomfield would consult Bermans & Nathans, who had thankfully saved all their original Superman related material. Spandex fabric was arguably at the peak of its popularity during the mid-80’s, with manufacturer’s struggling to cope with demand in the decade since Noel Howard’s initial discovery. While there would be no deviation from the Yvonne Blake blueprint, the bodysuit was upgraded to a stretch Polyamid of greater density and lustre. Though treated with the same combination of dyes, the new fabric would photograph a significantly lighter shade in daylight and the Flying costumes an intense turquoise green –

Leaping with a single bound – The new bodysuits were issued with a Ballerina-style label found between the more familiar Bermans & Nathans asset tags.

With no caveat set for Superman’s new adversary, Bloomfield would bestow Nuclearman with as extravagant a rehash of the classic costume as only Lex Luthor could imagine. Former Chippendale Mark Pillow would make his acting debut in a sleeveless leotard edged in gold trim dominated by a Sunburst motif with central ‘N’ detail made up from a matrix of reflective dots. While the standard trunks were abolished, the Kryptonian boots & belt were retained in homage alongside the new additions of gold-banded black leather gauntlets and a black satin cape.

Principal photography commenced in 1986 with the hope of recapturing the ‘magic’ of Superman: The Movie and kickstarting the series. Unfortunately, with over 30 projects shooting simultaneously worldwide all haemorrhaging cash, Cannon would slash the allocated $35 Million budget to just $17 Million and divert the funds to complete their fantasy opus Masters Of The Universe.

The cuts would impact hardest on the visual effects, with missing background mattes, wobbling sets and repeated use of footage. The drop in standards for the vast majority of flying sequences was evident in the all the travelling mattes, the Bluescreen shots severely bleaching out Superman’s costume. None of the matte lines or colour correction would be completed in post-production and even the wires from the live flying were still present.

As if this wasn’t insurmountable enough, 40 minutes of footage would be left on the cutting room floor after a calamitous test screening, leaving irreconcilable plotholes and reducing the runtime from 130 minutes to 90. The butchered final edit was released in July 1987 to almost universal derision, with many aghast that a once-beloved film series so renowned for its revolutionary visual effects could deliver such a sub-standard entry. Though critics would acknowledge the story had heart and certain scenes recalled the style & wit of the original, not even a tour de force from Christopher Reeve could avert this disaster and the film quickly disappeared from theatres with Box-Office of $36.7 Million.

*

For his 50th birthday in 1988, TIME Magazine would proclaim that the Superman character was born on February 29th, making him a leap year baby. The celebrations to mark the event would be substantial, with a televised one-hour special on CBS charting the history of his exploits through interviews with key players interspersed with clunky sketches by the Saturday Night Live crew. Ruby Spears also premiered a new animated series unashamedly inspired by the movies, even adapting John Williams by now definitive theme for its 13-episode run.

Not to be outdone in the wake of renewed interest, Ilya Salkind had plucked another dormant member of the Superman family from the smallprint of his DC contract and was busy developing Superboy for Television at Disney-MGM Studios. The Boy of Steel had already failed to take off in an ill-fated TV pilot in the ’60’s and had also been erased from comic book continuity in the mid ’80’s, but Salkind had banked on the family reputation to convince Viacom that this new show was going to be a weekly Superman adventure in everything but name –

TV Superboy’s Haymes Newton (Left) and Christopher (Right) costumes had lineage to the Motion Picture Series, with both utilising pre-owned capes – By Season 3 the change in tone spawned the most comic-faithful live-action costume ever made for the screen.

Set in its own continuity, the episodic format bore all the Salkind hallmarks, with former cast & crew from the Superman Movies taking on directorial duties. Bob Harman would again lend his considerable experience to the live flying sequences as he had done so capably in all of the Salkind productions. With an initial order of 13 episodes and scripts from a succession of contemporary comic-book writers such as Cary Bates and Denny O’Neil the show would shoot in and around Orlando to air in October 1988.

Casting Kal-El junior was unsurprisingly entrusted to Lynn Stalmaster, who hired newcomer John Haymes Newton due to his resemblance to Christopher Reeve, even screentesting him in one of the Superman Costumes. Walt Disney World Creative Costuming would fashion Newton’s costume after the Movie suits, using the Reeve as reference and plundering the leftover wardrobe from Supergirl to recycle the movie capes. The Superboy costume would end up a fusion of both film and comic influences, incorporating the ‘Trademark’ shield for the chest but neglecting to alter the Reeve cape shield to match.

After a shaky start, with thin plots and visual effects recalling the shoddiness of Superman IV, the series would be picked up and improve throughout its run. Production would relocate to Florida’s Universal Studios and Newton would be controversially replaced by Gerard Christopher after the first season wrapped. Christopher’s costume would completely embrace its comic book roots, remade by Disney-MGM Buena Vista with a larger ‘S’ shield and a cape with snaps mounted at the neckline, although Reeve capes would still be utilised for various episodes. The complete Reeve costume worn by Newton for his screentest would also be re-purposed as Superboy fancy dress, worn by Ilan Mitchell-Smith in a second season two-part episode.

Christopher’s bodysuit would become progressively darker in shade from season to season, the original cyan deepening to Navy Blue to reflect a paradigm-shift proportionate to the impact of Superman’s arrival a decade earlier. By 1989, Tim Burton’s Batman had redefined the Cape & Tights as sculpture, with Bob Ringwood’s inspired body-armour effectively bringing the spandex age to a close. The once chided latex muscle undersuit was now a weaponized oversuit, requiring no workout regime to gain the desired effect – indeed, now anybody could be a Superhero. Such was the influence of this new wave of real-world application that it would dominate the genre, with DC’s ‘The Flash’ TV show taking the armour concept and embellishing it with red flock.

In the background, The Adventures Of Superboy had become modest ratings success, developing a loyal fanbase before its cancellation in 1992 after four seasons and 100 episodes. Lawsuits over distribution rights meant the show would never be repeated in the US, or shown at all in various parts of the world, giving it true ‘Cult status’ and the potential of development for a possible feature.

In fact, Superman V had been announced by Cannon as early as 1988, in ‘Pre-Production’ just before their inevitable collapse. Cannon’s demise meant the rights for future Superman productions reverted back to the Salkinds, who had tentatively been developing the project as a potential Superboy spin-off. Alexander Salkind had already pre-sold the picture under the working title of Superman: The New Movie to numerous foreign territories and was already in the process of hiring crew with the Production scheduled to shoot at Universal. Superboy writer Cary Bates had submitted a script treatment and Ilya Salkind had already started courting Christopher Reeve, who’s only stipulation for returning one last time was that it equal the production quality of the first two.

The Salkinds latest venture, historical biopic Christopher Columbus; The Discovery starring Marlon Brando, marked the final collaboration of the successful father/son partnership, with Alexander Salkind estranged from his son and vowing never to make movies again. In 1992, both Superman: The New Movie and Superman in the comics would share the same terrible fate, both being killed off to usher in a new era. The following year, Warner Bros, publicly announced it had re-acquired all the rights to future Superman Movies, officially bringing the Salkind Legacy to an end.

*

Today, Richard Donner’s magnum opus justifiably remains the standard by which all other comic adaptations are judged, with Superman: The Movie honoured by the National Film registry in 2017 and preserved in the Library of Congress. Conversely, Action Comics #1 is now the most valuable comic-book of all time and universally acknowledged as the birthplace of the Superhero genre. Back in the days of the great Depression, Siegel & Shuster could never have foreseen that their pioneering creation would not only endure, but would set the precedent for a legion of imitators to follow. Channelled through the finest in the comics industry or perfected by visionary Oscar®-Winning costume designer, their simple design brief remained constant – It’s clothes that maketh the (Super)man…

Dedicated with Love & Respect to Yvonne Blake

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ARTICLE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Jim Bowers
Colin Chilvers
Jason DeBord
Matt Derby
Andrew Hanton
Kyle Hughes
Chris King
Tim Lawes
Brian McKernan
Sam J. Rizzo
Alexei Lambley-Steel
Greg Thomas
Ramon Casares
Jay Towers
Costume Diagrams By Sebastian Columbo

Costume article © 2020 SUPERMANIA & Martin Lakin, and is not to be reproduced or excerpted without prior written permission. All Rights Reserved. Every effort has been made by the author to make the above information as accurate and true as possible.

Imagery © each respective creator/photographer. Billowing cape photo © Bowers & Casares Photography Studio.

SUPERMAN and all related elements TM and © DC Comics. © 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. No copyright infringement intended.