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What Happens to Clark Kent's Clothes When He Changes Into Superman?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Andrew K. wrote in to ask, "While reading a comic with my 8 year old son the other night he pointed out something that hadn’t dawned on me before. We often see Clark Kent tear open his business suit to reveal the Superman suit underneath before flying off to save the day. Disregarding the fact that no one ever seems to notice, what ever happens to his suit that he apparently just left on the streets of Metropolis? My son thinks he must have a robot that goes back and collects it. Is this ever addressed in the comics?"

As I alluded to recently when discussing how Superman's secret identity was treated in the early days of the Superman comics (where it was simply a matter of fact that Clark Kent was a successful disguise for Superman and there wasn't even a consideration that Lois Lane might try to see through the disguise for a couple of years), in the first time that we see Clark Kent transform into Superman in Action Comics #1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Clark literally just takes his clothes off in the hallway outside of the apartment where he is bursting in to to confront a domestic abuser...

Once he settles things with the wife beating jerk, Superman then just picks up his clothes in the hallway and changes back into his Clark Kent persona....

Generally speaking, the way that Siegel and Shuster got around the whole "changing from Clark Kent into Superman" issue was to have Clark change his clothes in the privacy of his own apartment, like this bit from Action Comics #8...

There are some funny stories from around this period that show Clark literally stripping down to his underwear before changing into his Superman costume. There's a bit where we even see him take off his socks!

However, in times of crises, Clark still just dumps his clothes in alleys when he turns into Superman, like here in Action Comics #9...

People even see the clothes in the alley!

Luckily, Superman distracts them long enough for him to snare his clothes and get them back on before they can learn his secret identity!

Obviously, this could not last. However, for the most part writers just ignored it for years. As time passed, though, and Mort Weisinger, editor of the Superman titles, began to address stuff like this, a solution was devised that is awesome and also absolutely bizarre...

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