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How does Superman cut his hair and nails?
July 6, 2006 4:36 PM   Subscribe

How does Superman cut his hair and nails?
posted by mikemonteiro to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Superman shaves by using his heat vision and a reflective surface from his Krypton spaceship. For his nails no mirror needed.
posted by jeremias at 4:40 PM on July 6, 2006


Trimmers made of cliptonite?
posted by anildash at 4:41 PM on July 6, 2006 [7 favorites]


He has superhuman self control and doesn't let them grow.
posted by nomisxid at 4:47 PM on July 6, 2006


He goes to a Korean nail salon that the Hulk recommended. They're fabulous.
posted by horsewithnoname at 4:53 PM on July 6, 2006 [2 favorites]


jeremias is right. I remember a comic where Lois instructs Clark to "scrape his face." He goes into the bathroom and turns on an electric razor while using his heat vision to trim his beard.
posted by justkevin at 4:55 PM on July 6, 2006


This question has an established, canonical answer: Jeremias's. Everyone else should be ashamed of themselves.
posted by BackwardsCity at 4:57 PM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Superman's hair is indestructible and can neither be cut nor can it grow in Earth's atmosphere. (S No. 132, Oct 1959)

Any attempt to cut Superman's hair by ordinary means results only in the shattering of whatever scissors are being used, but Superman can cut his own hair when absolutely necessary by subjecting it to the concentrated power of his own X-ray vision. In a red-sun environment, however, where Superman has no super-powers, his hair loses its indestructibility and begins to grow. If Superman undertakes a mission to a red-sun Planet, it is best for him to shave and trim his hair before returning to the yellow-sun environment of Earth, where his hair will once again become indestructible.

Similarly, Superman's fingernails and toenails, which are indestructible and do not grow in the earthly environment, do grow and are destructible on Planets revolving about a red sun.


per here
posted by neda at 4:58 PM on July 6, 2006


I stand corrected.
posted by horsewithnoname at 5:00 PM on July 6, 2006


Yeah, jeremias' answer is spot on - neda's quote from that Superman wiki is interesting, but refers to a different Superman to the one featured in comics these days - the modern Kal-El is a bit less completely invulnerable, and significantly less powerful.
posted by terpsichoria at 5:04 PM on July 6, 2006


Of course, neda, per Supermanica's mission statement, that answer only refers to the Silver Age Superman, 1939-1986. [/geek]
posted by BackwardsCity at 5:04 PM on July 6, 2006


The canonical answer in S No. 132, Oct 1959 is wrong, though, since he didn't have the same amount and length of hair when he was discovered as a baby. Still, suspension of disbelief, yadda yadda.
posted by Tuwa at 5:11 PM on July 6, 2006


If people didn't recognize Clark as Superman by appearance alone, how about linking them by the overpowering stink of burned alien hair?
posted by evil holiday magic at 5:24 PM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


There was an ancient Superman comic where it explained that to cut his fingernails, hair and beard, Superman would enlist the powers of (I'm not kidding) Supergirl and Krypto the Superdog, and with the combined power of all of their heat-vision focused on each respective nail or hair, they could keep Superman meticulously well-groomed. For some reason that ridiculous comic stuck with me as a perfect example of the irritating absurdity that can sometimes ruin the fun and mythic appeal of superheros comics. Perhaps I should go back and read Astro City some more to cleanse my mind of the memory of that ridiculous comic.

And of course, for the real answer to this question, both to the questioner and to the creators of that awful excuse for a comic, we must turn to Mystery Science Theater 3000:


If you're wondering how he eats and breathes
And other science facts,
Just repeat to yourself "It's just a show,
I should really just relax..."

posted by Eldritch at 5:38 PM on July 6, 2006


I remember from an episode of the 1990s animated Supes cartoon that a single strand of his hair (pulled out by him, of course) can suspend an aircraft carrier above the ground.

I'm sure he must be really careful disposing of all his hair, nail clippings and skin flakes, because if they were to fall into the wrong hands....
posted by elr at 5:44 PM on July 6, 2006


... Superman IV would happen?
posted by squidlarkin at 6:05 PM on July 6, 2006


I know where you're coming from, Eldritch, but I must admit that sort of thing (the MST3K song and the general 'don't think too hard about it, it's fictional!' attitude that tends to show up in questions like this) raises my hackles a bit. For me, at least, half the magic of a beloved fictional world or character is asking the what-ifs and the how-do-theys, and to cut all that out with a sweep of the hand and a whack of the 'just fiction' stamp would strip some of the joy from things.

I'm glad the question was asked, and I'm glad people are thinking about it - I knew how Superman shaved in modern canon, but I'd never heard of him having had invincible hair that only grew under a red sun, or needing Supergirl and Krypto to blast the crap out of his hair and nails, and knowing all this crazy, ridiculous stuff makes me love Superman just a little more.
posted by terpsichoria at 6:12 PM on July 6, 2006


heat vision
posted by caddis at 6:12 PM on July 6, 2006


There was an ancient Superman comic where it explained that to cut his fingernails, hair and beard, Superman would enlist the powers of (I'm not kidding) Supergirl and Krypto the Superdog, and with the combined power of all of their heat-vision focused on each respective nail or hair, they could keep Superman meticulously well-groomed.

Actually this wasn't normal grooming behavior for Superman. In the comic you're thinking of, he was exposed to an exotic red form of the fairly ubiquitous kryptonite-- which caused his hair to grow at a rapid rate. (For some reason this required three Supermen/girls/dogs to trim his beard. I guess like how our early ancestors could shave with a single razor blade, but modern man requires five or six blades to get the job done.)
posted by justkevin at 6:41 PM on July 6, 2006


I remember a comic where Lois instructs Clark to "scrape his face." He goes into the bathroom and turns on an electric razor while using his heat vision to trim his beard.

This was in John Byrne's Man of Steel miniseries, which reintroduced Superman and his origins after Crisis -- this is the current version of Superman. As has been pointed out before, he's not as powerful as the Silver Age version.
posted by modern_heroes at 8:37 PM on July 6, 2006


It seems that I remember as a lad, in the 70's, seeing the cover of a Superman comic where Lois Lane had some special scissors (originating from Krypton, perhaps?) that she could use to cut Superman's hair, but it had a 'Samson' effect on him, causing him to lose his strength. Seems kind of stupid now that I think about it. Anyone else remember this or am I out of my gourd?
posted by JamesMessick at 8:44 PM on July 6, 2006


Superman's hair is indestructible and can neither be cut nor can it grow in Earth's atmosphere.

If that were true, and since Superman was here on Earth since he was a baby, wouldn't he still be bald now, since his hair can't grow here? And if his hair can't grow, why can the rest of him mature normally from infancy to adulthood?

Here's the truth: It's a fucking comic book and this question is ridiculous.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:40 PM on July 6, 2006


I'm sure he can use kryptonite-laced scissors and nail clippers... probably manufacturered by LexCorp. But the heat-vision thing is certainly more practical.
posted by freakystyley at 9:41 PM on July 6, 2006


Superman having been stricken early on with Supermale Pattern Baldness

while this doesn't apply to Supes, it may well explain some aspect of the Luthorian alopecia.
posted by mwhybark at 11:02 PM on July 6, 2006


If he can only cut his hair with X-ray vision he must have had some crappy hair cuts while learning to use his powers, especially if he only got the hang of them during adolescence.
Also, how does he restyle his hair in making the change from Superman to Clark Kent, isn't he supposed to shrug off dirt, etc, that gets into contact with his skin?
posted by biffa at 3:38 AM on July 7, 2006


Doesn't he go to Supercuts?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:44 AM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Superman physics
posted by caddis at 6:27 AM on July 7, 2006


biffa: "If he can only cut his hair with X-ray vision he must have had some crappy hair cuts while learning to use his powers, especially if he only got the hang of them during adolescence.
Also, how does he restyle his hair in making the change from Superman to Clark Kent, isn't he supposed to shrug off dirt, etc, that gets into contact with his skin?
"

He cuts his hair with his heat vision. And he didn't just get the hang of his powers until adolescence, but his super powers didn't even emerge until then. Meaning that before this, he (and by extension, his hair) wasn't invulnerable. So it probably wasn't until high school or so that he started cutting his own hair this way.
posted by Plutor at 7:31 AM on July 7, 2006


The sissors being shattered by hair always bothered me. No matter how hard his hair is the barber would need to apply enough pressure to force them to shatter

Also, wouldn't they rip and tear and bend - not shatter?
posted by Brainy at 9:57 AM on July 7, 2006


So if he didn't develop his powers until adolescence and one of his powers is that his hair doesn't grow, then why have some artists drawn him with chest hair?

I can appreciate terpsichoria's appreciation of logically consistent universes in fiction, but they're fairly rare in comic books. It can't be easy writing a never-ending story that spans decades, with new chapters each month, and keep it all consistent. (I mean, indestructible hair? Who came up with that? Why? Because his skin deflects bullets, so his fingernails must too, so his hair must be somehow mposing as well? At this point we're running perilously close to that (in)famous story about Superman's adolesence, and all the holes he put through walls by masturbating.)

Maybe Crisis on Infinite Earths didn't clean up the DC Universe continuity quite enough, if Superman still has SuperHair.
posted by Tuwa at 11:17 AM on July 7, 2006


Tuwa: "So if he didn't develop his powers until adolescence and one of his powers is that his hair doesn't grow, then why have some artists drawn him with chest hair?"

Sorry, I guess I wasn't actually clear. The modern Superman did not develop powers until adolescence.

Modern Superman: Hair grows, cuts hair with heat vision, invulnerability/flying/super-speed/etc emerged in adolescence. Born on Earth (placed in the ship in a stasis field as a fetus)
Siver-Age (pre-Crisis) Superman: Hair/nails do not grow except when he's near a red sun. Had powers from the moment he landed on Earth. Born on Krypton, placed in the ship in a stasis field as a newborn. (Apparently. Admittedly, I know less about the Silver-Age Superman.)
posted by Plutor at 12:06 PM on July 7, 2006


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