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Man of Steel

The Superman look

Christopher Reeve

Actor Christopher Reeve as Superman in the 1981 movie "Superman II." Associated Press file

10. Cape: Usually red, but sometimes maroon or black. Often contains the “S” logo. Varying depth of “scoop.” Attached at the shoulders or tucked into the collar the Superman’s bodysuit.

11. Spit curl of dark hair on forehead

12. Boots: Usually red and calf-length. (Regrettably, we do not get to see Clark Kent pull off the super feat of changing from his loafers to his boots inside a cramped telephone booth.)

13. The “S” logo: The most iconic logo in comics, and possibly in all of popular culture, the crest or “shield” evolved from a simple monogram by artist Joe Shuster into a blocky, red “S” within a yellow cut-diamond shape, with negative space that resembles two swimming fish. It stands for “Superman,” yet in the new “Man of Steel” it is said to be a Kryptonian symbol for “hope.”

14. Primary colors: Superman is usually depicted with a blue body suit, red cape and overshorts, red boots and yellow belt. There are yellow accents in the “S” logo. However, several seasons of the George Reeves TV series used a gray-and-brown uniform to simulate the primary colors on black-and-white televisions. And in the new “Man of Steel” uniform, there is no yellow belt on the high-tech bodysuit and only a faint greenish-yellow tint behind the “S.” Alternate versions of Superman, including the Justice Lords vigilante and the “Smallville” blur, have worn black uniforms. Another version, developed during a copyright dispute with Jerry Siegel’s family, split Superman into red and blue alter-egos.

15. Block letters: Many of the classic comic-book covers displayed their titles in a quasi-three-dimensional font, with the letters arranged in a curve.

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Joe Williams is the film critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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