The question of Superman’s beard has never been more present in our popular culture. Gilette is running an advertising campaign asking how Superman shaves. Conan O’Brien is ranting about it on YouTube. And I’ve had to explain it to two different people already. So, since people keep asking, for those of you who missed out on reading DC Comics, here’s how he shaves.
To be fair, it’s not an unreasonable question. Superman’s facial hair is almost as invulnerable as the rest of his body, so normal razors, clippers, and other tools just snap, as if they were cutting diamond filament. Furthermore, Superman is lit on fire, blasted with lasers, shot at, thrown through suns, and the dude’s hair will barely even be singed, even when it’s that regrettable mullet he grew in the ’90s.
Yes, there was a supermullet. Sadly, that was not the worst thing DC did to Superman in the ’90s. But we’re getting off topic.
Believe it or not, though, DC has actually gone out of their way to explain how Superman shaves. Namely, he uses his heat vision:
Lest you think this is just the conceit of television writers, this idea first actually came up during the seminal 1986 reboot of Superman, The Man Of Steel, written and drawn by John Byrne. Apparently this bothered Byrne so much he actually went out of his way to explain it in great detail, and that explanation has been the standard ever since.
Of course, considering that in Byrne’s reboot, Krypton is an antiseptic, soulless world where Superman’s mother cringes at the sight of hair, you wonder why, precisely, Kryptonians don’t just all get Naired at birth. But that’s a question for another time.
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