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Author Topic: Superman's body hair  (Read 7798 times)
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NotSuper
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« on: November 11, 2004, 09:12:56 AM »

As we all know, the pre-Crisis Superman's hair does not grow in Earth's environment and is indestructible. Since Superman came to Earth as an infant (two or three years old), his hair would have stopped growing the instant he was exposed to the yellow sun.

But what about Kal’s body hair? If we assume Kryptonian males go through puberty the same way as humans, how could Kal grow body hair in the environment? Would Kal's armpits be hairless, for example?

I realize this is kind of an unusual and somewhat unsettling question, but I feel it's a question that should be asked. Does anyone have any insight on this subject?
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The Starchild
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2004, 04:56:55 PM »

Pre-crisis, I can't recall ever seeing any body hair on him.  Of course, if he were ever under a red or green sun or something, it would presumably have grown along with his beard.

Post-crisis, I know that he had lots of it.
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2004, 08:08:19 PM »

Yeah post crisis he's as hairy as Robin Williams...well, nothing's THAT hairy, but he was pretty furry to be sure. Like in that one comic, just before he gets his electric powers, when he's standing on the roof of the Daily Planet with his shirt off trying to absorb sunlight to reboot his powers...he's like...Chewbacca hairy.
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NotSuper
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2004, 09:08:10 AM »

It would be kind of weird if Superman had no hair below his neck. Not that he needs any body hair under a yellow sun, but it is a part of puberty.
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2004, 09:36:49 AM »

I've never seen this really addresssed (good question!) not even by Larry Niven.  What do the other "Science of Superman"-types say, I wonder?

There is definitely alot of pre-Crisis Clark Kent in bathing suit type stories I've read where body hair was non-existent (Eliot Maggin even wrote Jimmy's lack of body hair into one of his novels).  Of course, alot of those stories seemd to suggest that Clark/SM lacked genitalia as well.  Who would be the hairiest member of the pre-crisis SM family?
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2004, 06:36:31 PM »

NotSuper, I think the statement in your original post is confirmed by pre-Crisis continuity.  To wit, the pre-Crisis Superman had no body hair.
Quote from: "TELLE"
Who would be the hairiest member of the pre-crisis SM family?

Our own Super Monkey, of course!  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2004, 08:32:57 PM »

Yeah, this is a weird question alright.

I think we've seen that, pre-Crisis anyway, Superman went through the normal "maturation" phase of aging in the same way an Earth man would.  But there's some doubt about whether he then segued into the "senescene" phase.  In other words, he grew taller, he filled out, he got his adult teeth, etc, but once he hit physical maturity he seemed to level off and maintain his "peak."  In many imaginary stories, we saw that while Lois, Jimmy and everyone else passed that peak and started getting "old," Superman never did.  Thus, I think Kal would have gotten hair everywhere anyone else would...it's just the graying and balding phases that would be postponed or avoided.

Having said that, the difference between Superman's hairless pre-Crisis chest and his post-Crisis hairy chest is easily explained.  It's just a matter of artistic preference and what's considered socially acceptable.

There was a time when hairy chests were considered, well if not "obscene" then certainly vulgar and suggestive.  If you look back at all the matinee idols from the 50s for example, they were forever taking their shirts off for the flimsiest reasons, but they always had chests as smooth as a baby's butt.  (This is the same kind of thinking that kept belly buttons from appearing on TV for years) Then came the 60s, and in particular Sean Connery, who takes off his shirt to reveal a chest as hairy as Gargantua's.  It's hard to imagine now, but at the time that was considered vulgar and risque...or sexy and liberating depending on one's point of view.  Even a few years later you still had William Shatner shaving his chest for shirtless scenes on "Star Trek," but after Burt Reynolds in the 70s and Tom Selleck in the 80s, the new ideal was hairy-chested hunks.

Thus, no hair when Curt Swan drew Superman (even though pre-Crisis Batman magically grew chest hair between Carmine Infantino days and Neal Adams days), but lots of it from Byrne's era on down.
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2004, 12:05:06 AM »

That is a good point about the teeth --was it ever mentioned in a story?

I think we are returning to a hairless society, just like the pre-70s, judging from the amount of articles/TV news segments about men shaving their chests, etc (and not just to compete as swimmers!) that I've seen lately, but it may be just a fad.
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