The Emerald City’s Superman wants Seattleites to geek out with pride

Meet Jonathan Belle, a recent Seattle transplant who dresses up as Superman and posts photos of himself on his Instagram account. Jonathan recently moved here from Texas where he was a train conductor. Now? He works as a dishwasher during the day and after work, he combines his love for Superman with a passion for photography.

We caught up with Jonathan to ask all about the classic comic hero, his outfit, and why exactly he dresses up as Superman.

When did you first get into Superman?

I was 8 or 9. My family watched “Lois & Clark” with Dean Cain. Then there was “Smallville.” It’s always been a thing — I’ve had a ton of Superman clothes, all kinds of stuff from an early age.

What do you love most about him?

I grew up getting the short end of the stick … by being an African American in the United States. I spent the last four years in Texas, and I’ve had friends over there warn me right off the bat that, ‘Oh, my dad’s not going to like you because you’re black.’  

It’s not Superman’s powers that [matter] for me. He has this deep down belief that everyone’s good inside. He likes to treat people equal and treats people as innocent until proven guilty instead of the other way around. That’s how I aspire to treat people.

Your Superman outfit is pretty fancy. What was your first one like?

For awhile, I wore a Superman sweatshirt with a cape attached to it.

What’s the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from your outfit?

I like to be seen in public as often as I can. Typically people pretend they can’t see you or they look confused. Or people honk their horn and say, “Hey, Superman!”

The best reaction I ever got was when I walked into ComicCon this year. Within the first five minutes, I see a little Caucasian girl is dressed as Supergirl. She walks right by me, stops, and says, “I know you, you’re my cousin!” You could see it on everyone’s faces — there’s me and how I look, and her. You could tell that to her, it didn’t matter what color I was, all she saw was Superman. That really stuck with me. People forget that kids really don’t see things the way we do when we get older.

Why DO you dress up as Superman?

I want to motivate people to do what they want to do without feeling judged for it. I hope people that see me walking around with no shame can inspire someone to be what they want to be also.

What’s your favorite Superman quote?

“It’s never as bad as it seems. You’re much stronger than you think you are, trust me.”