Change is ever-present in the fluid nature of comic books. Status quos are short-lived and the promise “nothing will ever be the same” is the only certainty. With the changes come reboots, revamps, relaunches, etc. Characters live, characters die, and characters get new threads. New costumes often mean new logos to identify and set apart new versions. Inevitably, that means someone thinks that they can improve upon this:
Yeah, that. The greatest superhero emblem of all. Every now and then someone looks at that and says “yeah, I can do better.” Guess what? You can’t.
Whenever Superman’s iconic logo is reinvented, it always seems to get simplified. Now, I’m not talking about various, alternate, one-off, Elseworlds type of stories. I mean monthly continuity Superman. The logo that is seen in this month’s issue of Superman that you are picking up at the comic shop. The “for real” Superman. It’s not that the classic logo is overly ornate. So why simplify it? It always feels as if an artist looked at it was like “Oh man, I gotta draw that how many times this issue? I better make this easy.”
Like this lopsided looking logo we’ve been subjected to for 51 months.
This drives me crazy. How lucky are you that you get to draw Superman for a living? And now, you don’t want follow through and draw the “S”? The hell? Oh, what? It makes the stodgy old Superman icon look hip and edgy?
No, no it does not. It attempts to turn Superman into Poochie.
If it’s not laziness that leads to this, then why is there almost never a more elaborate variation on the “S”? Don’t tell me there’s nothing to be gained by adding detail to the symbol.
Someone obviously thought there was merit to it.
But Batman’s logo is constantly tweaked almost on a weekly basis depending on which artist is drawing it? Yeah, guess what? Batman is a lot more malleable than Superman is. Plus, Batman’s logo is a silhouette. You can get away with a lot more with that shape. Superman’s logo is the first and represents the icon of superheroes. Hey, they aren’t called spider-heroes.
Superman’s classic emblem is probably the most widely recognized superhero logo there is. As such it deserves the respect that is has gained after 78 years. Now, I know this logo didn’t start out this way. Over the decades it has morphed into this form. But this is what it has evolved into. Not devolved.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel for this however. With DC’s Rebirth announcements, Post-Crisis Superman is making a comeback. And guess what’s coming with him?
Yeah, vague, fire-based villains! And the classic “S” is returning. I’m not sure how permanent this change will be, character designs of the new Rebirth costume seem to reinforce that the iconic “S” is back.
Meanwhile, functioning belt technology is apparently off the table. Give and take I guess. It’s good to see the symbol back in Action (literally). Bringing this back reinforces the importance of this form of the “S”. It’s still widely used on merchandise that doesn’t tie into a specific movie. Go to the mall, I bet you can find a shirt with it.
Just like Superman’s battles, the relevance of this logo is never-ending.