At last, we have our first look at David Corenswet as the Man of Steel, in a lovely costume image released to social media by Superman director and DCU lord James Gunn. In our first look at this Superman costume, we see it has plenty of influences from Kal-El’s 86-year history. These influences stem from comics costumes, as well as from other Superman media over the years. Let’s break it all down.

The “New 52” Superman Costume

Jim Lee's New 52 costume from 2011.
DC Comics

The biggest influence on this new suit is Jim Lee’s 2011 update for DC’s “New 52” initiative. Lee gave Superman his most radical redesign in decades for that reboot. He gave Superman a raised collar for the first time, and added tons of piping and extra details to the suit itself. The red boots suddenly had new ridges on the side, and most famously, a red belt replaced the red trunks. The suit was always controversial, and the classic suit returned just a few years later. This new cinematic suit keeps the extra details, like the raised collar. Thankfully, the red trunks made a comeback, too.

The Muted Tones of Recent Live-Action Superman Costumes

Warner Bros.

In the comics, and in most outside of comic books media, Clark’s colors were bright red, blue, and yellow. But in live-action, that changed with 2006’s Superman Returns. Brandon Routh’s costume switched out the bright red for an almost maroon color but kept the blue classic. Ever since, the Superman costume has become more and more desaturated on screen. Both the Man of Steel suit as well as Tyler Hoechlin’s on Superman and Lois have extremely muted tones. With this latest costume, it looks like the red pops, but the blue remains muted. We should note that the image James Gunn released shows a Superman mostly in dim lighting. In places where the light hits his costume (in the knee area) the blue looks rather bright. So we’ll have to wait and see what this new Superman costume looks like when his DCU movie arrives.

The Classic Superman Spit Curl

Warner Bros/DC Comics

It’s technically not part of Superman’s “costume,” but it’s a classic part of his overall look. Since almost the very beginning of his comic book career, Superman has had a stylized spit curl in his jet-black hair. It’s almost like a little min “S” on his forehead (branding, folks!) Original ’40s Superman Kirk Alyn had it, yet TV’s George Reeves didn’t. Christopher Reeve famously kept it for his incarnation of the Last Son of Krypton, as did the live-action Superboy TV series of the ’80s. However, most live-action Superman actors have since dropped it. Dean Cain on Lois & Clark in the ’90s had slicked-back hair, as did Henry Cavill. Brandon Routh, whose Superman was a version of Christopher Reeve’s iteration, maintained the spit curl. We’re glad David Corenswet is staying traditional and bringing back the spit curl for modern times.

The Kingdom Come “S” Shield

DC Comics

Although we’d already seen it, we’d be remiss not to mention the “S” shield. Artist Alex Ross designed this new crest for the series Kingdom Come. That  1996 mini-series by writer Mark Waid was about an older Superman who returns to the scene years after retiring. In that comic, the yellow was replaced with black. This version of the emblem has been seen in live-action before. Brandon Routh used it in 2019’s Arrowverse Crisis on Infinite Earthcrossover event. At first, it was a direct homage to the Kingdom Come look. By the end of that crossover though, it was a version in the traditional Superman colors. In fact, one of the very first things James Gunn teased when taking on the Superman job was an illustration from Kingdom Come.

DC Comics/James Gunn/Warner Bros.

Of course, we won’t really know how this DCU costume looks until we see Superman in action. We do know that this Superman costume is definitely full of influences from many previous takes on his iconic outfit. It remains to be seen if this one will become as legendary as many of the rest of them. Superman releases on July 11, 2025.