Superman's fan-favorite black costume, which debuted in 1993, is reportedly coming to the Justice League movie. ComicBook.com reached out to artist Jon Bogdanove, who designed the suit, and he provided us with a peek inside his design process.
After Superman's death in the early '90s, the character returned from the gave sporting long hair and a black costume with a silver version of his classic red-and-yellow logo on its chest.
As we have heard it, each of the four pencillers working on the Superman titles at the time (Dan Jurgens on Superman, Tom Grummett on The Adventures of Superman, Butch Guice on Action Comics, and Bogdanove, who drew Superman: The Man of Steel) submitted a design for Superman's "gestation" suit, worn during his time in the Kryptonian regeneration matrix. Bogdanove's was ultimately chosen, with some minor tweaks to the design made before publication.
Recently, a fan approached Bogdanove on Facebook with a scan of the design, as faxed around by then-group editor Mike Carlin; Bogdanove shared the fax as well as his copy of the original design, which was slightly different.
"As you can see, Mike edited it a bit to ratchet back the 'designy-ness,'" Bogdanove told ComicBook.com. "My original had the silver 'S' shield very large and run right up to the collar/neckline. Mike shrank the emblem and pulled it down to create a more traditional black neckline above the emblem."
Things were moving pretty fast at the time, and the original design, complete with the giant "S" and short hair on Superman. Early on, the long hair was not yet decided upon, apparently: Superman wore the black costume (or some version of it) and sported short hair on several covers and the interiors of at least one comic.
Another interesting element of the fax is that it is dated from late October 1992. It has been widely discussed that while the Death of Superman story (the final issue of which shipped in November of 1992) was never meant to be permanent, that the creative teams did not know exactly how they would bring him back when they wrote it.
In a documentary attached to the Superman: Doomsday Blu-ray, the sense was that the massive success of the Death of Superman storyline sent them scrambling to create something they knew would be worthy of the hype, resulting in "The Reign of the Supermen!," the story in which he returned. Here, though, it seems that their resurrection plans for Superman always included the black costume, even befor the death itself had happened.
Superman will return from his death at the hands of Doomsday again, this time in live-action, in November's Justice League.