Howard Stern may be the King of all Media, but Kal-El (that’s Superman’s Kryptonian name, n00b) is the Superhero of All Media. The world’s first cross-platform comic book hero, Superman got his start in print before leaping over to radio, TV, and movies. He’s even been featured on the internet!
There have been more than 65 years of red Superman superpanties filled out with varying degrees of bulge, camp, and gravitas. Next to get a turn at filling out those panties is Henry Cavill — okay, technically his version of Superman doesn’t wear the red Speedos — in the new movie Man of Steel. But he’s got a pantheon of predecessors with whom to contend for the title of Best. Superman. Ever.
Our mission today is to anoint the best one the way the internet never does: with science. We’ve identified five categories covering how each actor best filled out the tights, sold the All-American-alien dichotomy, played Clark Kent vs. Superman and, most importantly, styled his hair. Some credit/blame will fall on the actor, some on his writers. Either way, not our problem.
5. DEAN CAIN | LOUIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (1993-97)
A Superman for the ladies, there’s no way they would get the hair wrong on this unmistakably ‘90s incarnation of the character. Plus Cain is a former football player, so filling out the costume wasn’t a tall order. Unfortunately, looking tall was; Cain was barely six feet tall with red boots on.
Cain’s was the least alien of the Supermen on our list and, for that matter, the least All-American. Despite representing the American ideal, there’s not typically much melting pot to the Man of Steel’s look, and Cain is a quarter Japanese. He always kinda looked like a porno version of Superman anyway. There’s a difference between wholesome and cheesy, and Cain tended toward the latter.
All-American/Alien Dichotomy: 3
Mild-Mannered (Clark): 8
Heroic (Supes): 3