Boots, Schmoots: This is the Costume DC Really Needs to Fix

Superman may have gotten his old boots back but Green Lantern needs some help too.

Kevin Nowlan

What’s wrong with this picture?

Not much, actually. It’s a beautiful variant cover by Kevin Nowlan that I made a point to buy. Gorgeous, really. Old school and new school at the same time.

But I can’t help but be annoyed by this:

Let me back up.

Fans got very excited this week when DC (via showed off a tweaked Rebirth costume featuring the return of his classic red boots.


Still not all the way there though.

I don’t think I’ve ever formally waded into the shorts vs. no-shorts debate but I’m a believer in Superman’s red trunks and Batman’s black or black/blue trunks.

Fill in your jokes now.

The republic will stand either way, obviously, but I’ve never understood the point of doing away of them. They never struck me as especially antiquated, any more than the whole idea of grown men and women running around in garish costumes bopping similarly attired bad guys over the head.

I mean, part of the beauty of Christopher Reeve’s performance as Superman is that he didn’t look silly wearing this:

So when I see Batman or Superman in their modern, more monochromatic outfits, something seems … off. Part of it is that your eye is trained to see them, so when you don’t it’s like having an itch that’s just out of reach. And from a design standpoint, the contrast helps both costumes.

That brings us back to Green Lantern, or more specifically, Hal Jordan. The original Silver Age design is one of brilliant simplicity. And I think it was improved by the green-shoulder revision.

Gil Kane on the left. Neal Adams on the right.

Those are great-looking outfits. Great balance of color and cut. Near perfection.

So why, oh why, did DC feel a need to raise the green in Hal’s midsection when they brought him back about 12 years ago?

Shane Davis. (Just an example.)

It’s not even like they were “trunks.” That seemingly small change makes everything seem out of balance — enough to make me notice it every time I see it.

So, thanks for Superman’s boots, DC. Now please send Hal to a tailor.

Another great Nowlan variant that would be so much better with the old costume design.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I like Hal’s newer outfit. I didn’t like the New 52 version at all.

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  2. Yeah, I totally agree. I have issues with removing the “trunks” from Batman and Superman and now this. It just looks incomplete. I guess it started with the Michael Keaton Batman who was the first “trunkless” version and the comics soon copied that look. I also hated the oversized pouch utility belt look. Ugh. Batman should be sleek and those things looked like some para-military outfitter.

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  3. I think DC must think there is some rad rationale to keep the trunks off. I agree that it looks, well, just off. The reason the trunks arrived in the first place for both Batman & Superman was that it breaks up the design. It adds a design balance to the whole uniform. Gil Kane’s GL uniform is a mastery of design. Yes. I agree it looks off to move the green up but overall it keeps the original design elements intact. Superman really looks off model to me without the red booties & trunks.
    Here’s hoping the shorts return again!

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    • The reason supes had trunks was because it was an outfit people at the time would have associated with circus strongmen, the costume was a clue as to what you could expect from him in that first apearence. It does work as a design element and i miss them as part of the costume.

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      • Well that, along with Ringling Brothers is no more also. Sad to me. I played in the red circus band of Ringling one summer. Another piece of Americana gone.

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  4. I think the suit looks way better without looking like a lady’s one piece bathing suit. Keep it as is now.

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