|Reconstructing the history of the development
of Superman's costume is not easy, due to high number of incosistencies
exhibited and the failure of the publisher to faithfully reproduce the
original material when reprinted.
It seems clear to me however that the original Superman uniform was intended to look as shown here from Action Comics 1. Wide scoop neck, Yellow S symbol on a yellow background and blue boots. Superman here appears to be wearing gloves but that's a mistake.
Art by Joe Shuster.
|By Action Comics #6, Shuster had
added boots and they were colored red. In Action #7 they were colored
yellow, but that also appears to be unintentional.
Art by Joe Shuster
|When did the S become red? Good
question. It's red on the first cover and occasionally red inside
in the early issues, including the panel shown above, but mostly it's yellow
on yellow. The first story in which it's red consistently is Action
Art by Joe Shuster.
|The next change to be introduced was the S symbol on the cape, which first appeared in Action 13, but only in occasional panels. This story appears to have been pencilled, at least in part by Paul Cassidy. The S on the cape would continue to be associated with him through the early years, as neither Shuster nor Boring ever bothered to draw it.|
|Another development took place in
Action 19, when, halfway through the story, a red border was added to Superman's
Art here shows a strong Cassidy presence.
|As strange sidestep occurred on the cover
of Superman 4, April 1940 on which Superman's logo has a black background
for the only time. This was later used in some of the early Superman
cartoons, apparently because the color process the Fleischers were using
had trouble with the color yellow.
Mostly Shuster, possibly some Boring.
|In June 1940, the Superman studio apparently decided the S logo would be easier to draw and color consistently if it was larger, so the tiny triangle became a larger 5 sided pentagon. The new version first appeared on the cover of Action 25, drawn for the first time by Wayne Boring.||The interior story was produced by the entire shop but Paul Cassidy's work is clearly evident in the panel below. Cassidy drew the new S design with a flat top slammed as tightly as possibly up against the shield border. He also pulled Superman's cape tightly up against his collar, as opposed to Boring, who always left a large loop of air showing through.|
|Beginning in Superman 7, December 1940 and continuing at least through 1944, Superman is depicted at least half the time with a blue S on his cape. The depiction of the cape S is maddeningly inconsistent. Often it's not there at all. Sometimes it's yellow on yellow, sometimes yellow on red, once or twice it's yellow on blue. My estimate is that blue on yellow is the most frequent, but probably not the majority. Art here is by Joe Shuster and friends.|
|The last unique distinguishing characterisic of the Golden Age Superman was the S symbol design first created by Fred Ray for a Superman Christmas giveaway in 1940. Ray continued to use this design on all his Superman covers. The top serif of the S extends all the way to the right side bar of the shield. The same design was later adopted by Sam Citron, but fell out of fashion because Wayne Boring never adopted it. It was later used to distinguish the "Earth 2" Superman from the modern version, even though it was never consistently used during that period.|
|By 1945 the development phase of Superman's costume was over. The classic Wayne Boring/Stan Kaye look that would remain in effect up until the end of the 1980's was now in place.|