Now we dive into the Man of Steel’s wardrobe and the many designs and iterations he was had over the years. We will try to keep the entries on this list as original as possible, making sure that they are all unique in their right. We will not be including other characters who have taken on the mantel of Superman and made it into their own right, we will primarily be focusing on Clark Kent/Kal-El. Other heroes like Steel or Superboy will not be included on this list. We will be looking at suits with stylistic and memorable suits over the last eighty years of Superman.
Also Read: 10 Most Iconic Batsuits
First Appearance (Film): Superman The Movie (1978)
Taking a look at Chris Reeves suit from the first big live action film. This version of the suit pays tribute to the original red, blue and yellow from his first appearance in 1939. A fabric based material with a large red “S” and yellow interior, everything about this iteration says “Superman”. Being the first appearance of the character for many people around the world. Watching Christopher Reeves take flight for the first time is what made Superman a household name.
First Appearance (Comics): Kingdom Come #1 (1996)
Told in an Elseworld comic, Kingdom Come was written by Mark Waid (Superman: Birthright, 52) with pencil art by Alex Ross. Not only does this suit beautifully drawn by Alex Ross, but it keeps its simplicity with making slight adjustments with a big impact. Instead of sporting a red and yellow chest piece, the logo was redesigned to feature a large red line across the shield with a black background. Superman keeps the red and blue for the most part, but the black adds a type of edge to suit.
Man of Steel
First Appearance (Film): Man of Steel (2013)
Created for Zack Snyder’s first DC film and used throughout future installments in the DCEU. The Man of Steel suit is worn by Henry Cavill and has dark tints to the suit, compared to the brighter colors in the previous incarnations. Its unique patterns and alternative design makes this suit look more “alien from another planet” rather than “All-American hero” which sets the tone for what Snyder is trying to portray with his version of Superman. Giving his film a realistic tone that reminds everyone that although Superman is a superhero, he is also an alien.
First Appearance (Comics): Action Comics (vol.1) #689 (1993)
Given many names, we chose to refer to this one as the “Resurrected” suit. Used during the Reign of Superman story arc, this black and silver suit was worn by Kal-El after succumbing to his death in Superman (vol.2) #75. When it is discovered that Kal-El’s body has actually been stashed away in the Fortress of Solitude and being healed by the robots that run the fortress. When he returns, he has to prove to everyone once again that he is the true Superman and faces off against Cyborg-Superman to prove it.
First Appearance (Comics): Action Comics (vol. 1) #812 (2004)
Told throughout three separate Superman comic series, where Superman wakes up on Krypton with no memory of who he is and must reconstruct his memory and get back to Earth. Designed by Michael Turner, this suit is unlike any other ensemble we have seen from the Man of Steel. Ditching the Blue and Yellow and replacing it with silver and grey to give it a futuristic new look. The suit can be seen as a player skin for Superman in the Injustice video games.
First Appearance (Comics): Superman (vol. 2) #123 (1997)
Another unique suit that fans have never seen before, we will be looking at the modern aged variation from 1997 and not the ones looked at in the Golden age of Superman. When Superman splits into blue and red entities of energy, we get this super charged blue version of the Man of Steel. While the red one is also an incredible look, there is just something that works with the blue. Ditching the cape and instead leaving a blue streak with his movements, this suit is one of the most original looks we have on our list.
First Appearance (Comics): Superman/Batman #45 (2008)
While there have been many versions of an Anti-Kryptonite suit throughout the history of Superman. We will be looking at the one that came out in 2008, as Batman and Superman work together to get rid of all the Kryptonite on the earth. A robotic look that takes references from some of the other incredible Superman looks, this armor is a unique design created to protect Superman from one of his weaknesses, Kryptonite. We have to admit, this is quite the upgrade from what we first saw in Superman The Animated Series.
First Appearance (Television): Batman Beyond Season 3, Episode 7 (2000)
The only entry on this list with a first appearance coming from an animated series. Superman made an appearance in the show Batman Beyond, in an effort to recruit the new Batman to join the Justice League. Bruce Timm and his team had a large task of making something true to the character and the setting they created for the series. Once again ditching the cape and replacing all the red, blue and yellow for Black and White. This version pays homage to the Kingdom Come design featured earlier on our list.
First Appearance (Comics): Justice League (vol.2) #1 (2011)
Redesigned in 2011 for DC’s relaunch of their characters. While we appreciate the Action Comics reboot featuring a more “make-shift” version of the costume. It’s the New 52 look that first appeared in Justice League: Origin. Keeping reference to the original look, but featuring more modern designs and looks. The New 52 look came with sharper lines, bold colors and ditched the cloth fabric for a more armored look.
First Appearance (Comics): Superman Unchained #7 (2014)
Used for the Superman Unchained storyline, and comes equipped with a shield and battle axe. When a weaponized alien called a W.R.A.I.T.H. enters the batcave, Superman attempts to battle the enemy with this gladiator like armor in hopes of defeating it. While it has only been featured once so far in comics, it is still one of the most badass Superman suits to date. We are used to seeing Batman in something like this, but man can the Boy in Blue really pull it off.
Honorable Mentions: Dark Side, Rebirth, First Appearance, Superman Returns
Also Read: 10 Coolest Spider-Man Suits