Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (TV, 1993–1997)
Dean Cain's Superman costume


This is a custom made Superman costume used in the 90's television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. It can be seen throughout the action packed series worn by Dean Cain as he goes about his double life. The costume consists of a thick blue spandex body suit, which features the legendary red and gold S insignia across the chest and a back zip closure, as well as a pair of red spandex briefs with a gold spandex belt. Also included, is a long red cotton blend, cape with padded shoulders, Velcro closures, large solid gold S insignia and two snaps that connect the cape to the body suit. There are two production markings located on the costume, inside the briefs is marked "Stunt Fly" and on the interior of the cape "FLY." Best of all, the costume exhibits a production distressed bullet-like hole located on near the left shoulder; likely from an episode where superman is wounded.

Owning a Superman costume has always been one of my "Holy Grails". Few other costumes beat the pure iconic power and immediate recognition factor of the big "S" on the chest and the red cape, regardless of Superman's film or television incarnation. I'd like to thank the good folks at the Propstore of London for helping me fulfill the dream.


UPDATE: August 2016
Dean Cain's costume for "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" ranked second of 12, in CBR's article "Superman’s Live-Action Costumes, Ranked: “On My World, It Means ‘Haute Couture'", placing only after the classic Christopher Reeve's film costume. It also mentions this very article... :)

"2. Dean Cain in the TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman” (1993-97)
If “Lois & Clark’s” Superman costume hadn’t been upgraded after its pilot episode, Dean Cain wouldn’t have placed this high. On the plus side, that first outfit did look like something Clark and Ma Kent would have put together in an afternoon; and it followed the classic design for the most part. However, it seemed to be made of regular old spandex, the boots laced up the front, and it too had a crewneck collar and smallish “S”-shield. Additionally, Cain’s pilot-episode hair was a bit mullet-y, perhaps following the contemporaneous comics.
Many of these bugs were worked out by the time the series went into production (although apparently the cape attachments were tweaked over the first few episodes).
A larger, more solid-looking “S”-shield covered more of Cain’s chest, and an open-neck collar replaced the pilot costume’s crewneck. The red trunks got beltloops, and the boots lost their laces. Cain also got a better haircut.
The boots and belt were still slightly off-model, but the overall effect was very convincing. The cape was pleated at the shoulders, helping it flow; and it even had a good-sized yellow “S” made of contrasting colors of thread, for that extra bit of flair. Most importantly, Cain’s easygoing manner anchored a portrayal inspired mostly by the post-John Byrne comics of the early ’90s. He looked very comfortable in the suit, and it allowed him to move well. He also made a fine Clark Kent (who, counterintuitively, ended up with the spitcurl)."

The website Kryptonknights.com offers great info about the costume. [Update 3.Dec.2016: The website seems to have disappeared, so this page seems to be the only surviving copy.]
Some relevant parts are reproduced below:

The Superman costume created for Lois and Clark had a few cosmetic changes compared to previous versions. The tights were a darker blue and the boots were a darker red and they did not have the V-notch cut in the top. The belt had a rectangular buckle rather than a round one, but most problematic for the wardrobe department was the cape.
Being the longest and therefore heaviest cape ever designed for a Superman costume, finding a good way to attach it to the tights was difficult.

Traditionally the cape  was a throwback to the days of the Musketeers and Robin Hood and added an aesthetic reminder of those bygone days of gallantry and chivalry.  However, getting the cape to fit a modern material that was never meant to support a long heavy accessory and have it look good on a human actor became a never-ending battle.

The first three episodes featured three different cape attachment designs. On the left was the cape from the episode Strange Visitor, which had raised epaulet-like attachments.  In the center, the absolute worst design from Neverending Battle. The attachments were so stiff and heavy, it was impossible for the tights to be pulled up any higher. This version was dubbed 'the cleavage costume.'
The third episode was the charm. In I'm Looking Through You, a cape attachment design finally worked and, with few changes, would be the design used throughout the run of the series. 

It was decided that Dean Cain himself would support the cape with his shoulders. The tunic was pulled up and under the cape. The arm loops were snug and flat against the body so they would not show up under the form-fitting and unforgiving tights. It's not surprising that Dean Cain commented that staying in shape was the hardest part of the job. Any weight gain would show up faster than a speeding donut.

To preserve the illusion that the cape was attached to the tights and to hold down the pleated front pieces, patches of Velcro were placed high on the shoulders. Tabs were also tucked into the neckpiece, but notice one has come loose in the photo on the right. 

The experimentation finally paid off. The long cape design allowed for a rather regal look, or as Perry noted, "a kind of royal outfit."  Pleated at the shoulders, but wide at the hem, the cape had a fluid, sweeping movement.Also, the embroidered back emblem of contrasting gold threads was unique to Lois and Clark. Prior costumes used a flat patch with a black stencil 'S' outline, or in the case of George Reeves' costume, a chest emblem was attached to the cape.

Lastly, a large part of the Kent family budget must have been set aside just for buttons. While it's probably true that Clark Kent could have unbuttoned his shirt at super speed, there has always been the dramatic appeal of seeing the shirt ripped open and revealing the costume underneath. Even Spider-Man has stolen this technique. Not to mention Lois Lane seemed to love watching the transformation. 
From a technical standpoint, though never mentioned, the shirts were likely fitted with Velcro similar to the tuxedo shirt Dean wore at the 1993 Emmy Awards. As to where the cape and boots are hidden, that's a secret Superman has kept for over 60 years. 

The website also Redboots.net offers great info about the cape. Some relevant parts are reproduced below:

The costume used in the pilot episode was actually created by a company that specializes in dance costumes since they were one of the few costumers that actually worked with the unusual combination of tights and capes. After the pilot was bought, Warner Bros. wardrobe department was in charge of the costume, but there were problems. For more information on the costume, click here.

The cape, being the longest and heaviest created for Superman, stretched and pulled conventional tights/leotard material. Arching, rolling and bracing the cape to attach it to the costume didn't work (left-hand and center pictures).  It took a few design changes to reach the costume style used for the bulk of the series (right-hand photo). Using spandex rather than leotard material solved problems that had traditionally plagued the Superman costume such as wrinkles, puckers and perspiration stains, but it would take actual muscle to solve the cape problem.

Having Dean Cain support the cape with his shoulders solved the cape droop problem. However, it led to an unconventional costume design. 
The cape went on first, then the tunic was pulled up and over the shoulder loops and zipped up the back. 

1 comment:

  1. Great look at how all the problems involving the costume were solved. I think it was the episode 'Madame X' where Superman was wounded with a green K bullet.


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