1938 - Superman DC Comics

1938 - Superman DC Comics

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it the origin of the most Super-est S to ever exist? 

Superman is the sh*t. He can fly, shoot lasers, act tough and hear stuff from really far away. Despite having these enviably superpowers, he's yet to provide the one thing this human civilization actually needs. Answers. 

What Clark Kent does provide is a clear timeline into his fashion antics which rocked the superhero world forever. 

Superman Action Comics #1

CK featured on the front cover of Action Comics #1 (the first ever DC comic to feature him) dated June, 1938. A big deal at the time, Clark enlisted his stylist mother, Martha Kent, to make him a costume. Little did they know then, that her unique styling would influence generations of superheroes and supervillains to come. Made from Kryptonian cloth that infant Kal-El was swaddled with during his flight to Earth, the indestructible cloth was adorned with a simple 'S' on Clark's broad chest. 

As with all good brand logos, Superman evolved with the times and developed his own sense of style and design. Between saving the world in fancy dress, reporting the local news and chasing his heart's desire, he was an OG of logo design. Let's take a look at 25+ designs Clark has crafted over the years. 


Superman Logo History 75 years


Most people would associate Superman with the 1952 version. When attempting to draw it in school, most would come out looking like the original from 1938 - a red S squished awkwardly into a yellow chest. 

In 2016 Julian Morgans of VICE called DC Comics to get their spin on the Superman theory: 

*According to Benjamin LeClear, who manages the comics library at their studio in Burbank, California, the "S" has nothing to do with Superman.

"It doesn't look like any of the emblems from the old Superman Shield logos," he said after rummaging through their collection. "His 'S' has a lot of open space and almost never connects to itself."

LeClear told me he'd become intrigued and, like me, launched his own mini investigation on the web only to turn up nothing. "I didn't realize what a crazy urban myth and mystery this pointy 'S' thing is," he said. "I would love for this to be Superman-related, but I don't think it is. Though Superman has the most famous 'S' symbol of all time."


So with documented evidence of Superman's arrival on the 1938 fashion scene to 25 progressive logos over the next 75 years that don't quite cut it, it's safe to say Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman are not the creators of the original S. But damn they made a pretty cool S themselves. 

 Superman vs S Thing logo


* Julian Morgans - 'What the Hell Was That 'S' Thing Everyone Drew in School? - VICE July 26, 2016


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