In a little more than a week, DC Comics will unveil a new Superman for a new millennium courtesy of such talents as Grant Morrison, George Perez and Rags Morales.
While a good deal of Internet scorn has (rightfully, IMHO) been heaped upon the Man Of Steel’s new costume/armor, I’ve heard few – if any – critical comments regarding the T-shirt and blue jean “Springsteen” Superman that will debut in Morrison and Morales’ Action Comics.
Such uncharacteristic restraint is undoubtedly due to the unbelievable amount of good will Morrison has built among the Netoblogotumblverse™. Fans mindful of comic-book history – um, there are a few of you out there, right? – have probably also noted that Superman 2K11 isn’t the first caped do-gooder to eschew spandex for a T-shirt and a tight-fitting pair of slacks.
Following the lead of Philip Wylie’s Hugo Danner and Lester Dent’s Doc Savage – who admittedly had a difficult time keeping his shirt from getting ripped to shreds – several Golden Age men of might donned the garb of the working class hero, including: the original Commander Steel and Captain Triumph.
Thanks to Alan Moore’s Tom Strong, the Golden Age Dr. (“Doc”) Strange is perhaps the most notable of the “Springsteen Supermen.”
The creation of writer Richard E. Hughes (better known these days as the co-creator of the unforgettable Herbie) and artist Alexander Kostuk, scientist Thomas Hugo Strange (no relation to this guy) gained incredible abilities after inventing and drinking – scientists, both good and evil, though nothing of experimenting on themselves back then – a serum known as Alosun, a powerful distillation of solar atoms.
Although he was just about as strong and indestructible as Superman, Doc Strange eschewed the seemingly obligatory circus outfit for a red shirt and blue trousers. The good Doctor liked the outfit so much, in fact, that he almost never changed his clothes.
Much like Clark Kent and his blue, three-piece suit I guess. Wonder if Grant Morrison has plans for that outfit?
From Thrilling Comics #59 (Better/Nedor/Standard, April 1947) here’s Doc Strange. The story and art are uncredited.