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How does Henry Cavill’s “Man of Steel” outfit compare to other Superman costumes?

How does Henry Cavill’s “Man of Steel” outfit compare to other Superman costumes? (photo)

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Henry Cavill officially owns Superman’s cape in “Man of Steel” now, and the first picture of him in costume shows that he will be wearing muted tones and a scaly texture. The costume marks just one more evolution in the history of Kal-El’s tights, which have been loosened, tightened and reshaped on numerous occasions since the hero first appeared on the cover of “Action Comics” #1 in 1938.

Although Superman has experienced a handful of dramatic makeovers in the pages of DC Comics, most of his animated and live-action adaptation incarnations have played it safe. Nevertheless, producers and costume designers always find little things to tweak. Here’s how Cavill’s costume looks compared to previous Superman suits.

Animated Superman (voiced by Bud Collyer), “Superman” (1941)
The old Max Fleischer-produced Superman cartoons are legendary in the world of animation. Modern-day movie goers would likely do a double-take, however, if Cavill’s “S” emblem showed up in a black-on-red design. “Man of Steel” will instead be sticking with the iconic red-on-yellow shield that should reassure viewers that they haven’t errantly wandered into some bootleg Superman film from Southeast Asia.

George Reeves, “Adventures of Superman” (1952)
During the laidback 1950s, George Reeves actually got to experience a little breathing room between his skin and his Superman costume. His “S” emblem was neither too small nor too large, but his yellow belt was kind of a joke. Cavill’s belt buckle appears to have some shine to it, indicating that his Superman won’t be clad in some non-functional, quickly-cut strip of fabric that looks like his mom crafted it for a Halloween outfit.

Christopher Reeve, “Superman” (1978)
When the late ’70s and ’80s rolled around and Christopher Reeve donned the big red cape, director Richard Donner kept the colors bright and the costume conservatively true to the comics. Reeve did get some more topography on his belt buckle, however. As far as the material used to make the costume went, this incarnation left little of Superman’s anatomy to the imagination, but the bright circus colors made the Last Son of Krypton look inherently more ready to appear at an 8-year-old’s birthday party than the superhero appearing in “Man of Steel.”

Dean Cain, “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (1993)
Superman’s colors had to turn it down a notch for nighttime TV audiences when Dean Cain showed up with an “S” on his chest for ABC. The shield stayed large, but this was the beginning of a trend toward less circus-appropriate shades of blue and red. Cavill’s look appears even more faded and looks much less like a giant multicolored piece of pantyhose and more like a thin suit of body armor.

Brandon Routh, “Super Man Returns” (2006)
The costume in director Bryan Singer’s film looked a lot more like rubber or vinyl than it did Spandex. The colors weren’t necessarily as muted as they were darker, and the costume had texture all over the place. Routh got a smaller shield on his chest that let him show off his abs a bit more than his predecessors were allowed to do. He also got a clearly pronounced “S” belt buckle. Cavill’s “S” seems to have grown, and his belt looks like it has reverted back to being a simple oval. We still need to see him standing up straight in the light to tell for sure though!

Which is your favorite Superman costume? Let us know below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

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Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

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Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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