Superman recently proclaimed that he is renouncing his U.S. citizenship. The comic character admitted in the historic Action Comics #900 that he is disenchanted by “Truth, justice and the American way.” In one sense, it is understandable. The political body representing Americans hasn’t been much interested in truth, goodness, or justice for a while. He (the embodiment of his creators) is disgusted with being an instrument of American policy which he thinks is evil, and he understandably chooses to withdraw. Another choice he could have made is to fight the crooks in Washington and the state capitals to reverse their abuses and return truth and justice to its rightful place. That could have served to highlight the dangerous path that America is on. He could have helped make the American way virtuous again by fighting to restore the central role of the rights to life, liberty and property, rights conspicuously absent or flaccid in most countries throughout the world, rights which made America different, the country of which he used to be proud.
Worst of all, his announcement includes a tacit belief in the moral superiority of the United Nations: “I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my US citizenship.” The U. N. is the corrupt, socialistic parasite on the world population that the U.S. government is becoming to its own citizens. It is the blueprint for the very characteristics which Superman disdains about American policy makers. Thus, he is either ill-informed or he is dishonest (or rather, his creators at DC Comics are.)
That Superman has tired of being an instrument of government policy is a good thing. Instead of quitting the American people, however, he should have turned his attention to helping them in their struggle against the politicians who are stealing from the people and bankrupting the country. Someone needs get rid of the crooks and rein in the empire. Though Americans should, it seems, quit their support of Superman, his quitting of the American way is actually a positive thing. Dependence of functioning adults on anyone is not healthy or positive, whether it is on superheroes or superpoliticians. Americans became a great people by being free, by being individuals, and by being responsible for themselves, rather than bellyaching that someone isn’t fulfilling their every whim.
People immigrate to the United States because they see it as the land of opportunity. There was and still is opportunity for those who find a way to fill the needs and wants of others through voluntary exchange, but the politicians and bureaucrats all over this land make it ever more difficult to engage in that voluntary commerce between consenting, free people. Thus, they continually erode the very foundation of America’s greatness and goodness, the American way. They are giving incentives to dependency rather than independence.
Immigration is a good thing if the new residents are productive and don’t come here to live the easy life on someone else’s dime. There is no place for people who take without giving something in return, whether they are descendants of the pilgrims or have arrived on American shores yesterday. America has, for quite some time, become infested with complainers, crying for some savior personality to coddle them and provide all of the things which they should be providing for themselves and their families. We are paying the price of this dependency with a stifling burden of taxes and regulations in place of the freedom to prosper and excel.
Superman, if you cannot stand up in manly character to defend what is great about the American way against the onslaughts of policy-makers, then we don’t need you. The superhero mentality is why we are where we are today. We don’t need superheroes. We need real, every-day people to be committed to virtue, to what is right, and to what is true and honest, in other words, the “American way”. Dishonesty and dishonor are eroding that way. We all need to be our own superheroes, in our work, in our families, in our communities, and all throughout our lives. Superheroes don’t whine. They don’t give up. They say what they do and they do what they say. They try harder when they are down. They resist evil and tyranny. They inspire other people to be better and stronger. They do what is right, not what is expedient.
Americans, let go of Superman. We don’t need him. Are you ready to be your own superheroes?
Dan McLaughlin is a columnist for The Post-Journal. Contact him at email@example.com.
Geeks love their genre-specific holidays, such as May the Fourth be With You (May 4) and Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 17). Their favorite may be Free Comic Book Day, the first Saturday in May.
“It’s unbelievably popular,” said Mike Brodeur, general manager of The Fantasy Shop. “In retail, you develop an eye for names and faces. There are a few Free Comic Book Day customers we only see once a year, but we see them every year.” The free comics lure them in, but he said nearly all of the yearly customers leave with a large stash of purchased comics.
A.J. Trujillo, co-owner of Starclipper in the Delmar Loop, said that although it’s an industrywide thank you to comic customers, many of the Free Comic Book Day comics are aimed at younger audiences.
“It’s a way to remind families that comics are a great way to share the pleasure of reading together,” she said. She said kids who have difficulty reading often discover a real love of the written word when they receive a comic book.
“It’s not just kids’ comics,” said Paul Kortjohn, an employee at Newcastle Comics in Maryland Heights. “There’s something for everyone. Marvel puts out a lot of first issues. This year, I think the big hit will be from Image with (Robert) Kirkman’s Super Dinosaur #1.”
Brodeur said he really enjoys seeing the Fantasy Shop full of families on Free Comic Book Day.
“I hate to admit it, but it’s painfully known among publishers and retailers in the industry that comics have an aging demographic,” Brodeur said. “I’m 36 and have been reading comics since I was 18. A lot of the guys reading comics are in their 50s or 60s. Younger people aren’t gravitating to comics, and if they are, they’re going online. Free Comic Book Day is about introducing a new generation to that love of the medium.”
Trujillo said she loves seeing how excited kids get when they’re handed a stack of free comics. “Comics aren’t just superheroes anymore. There’s a real renaissance in the genre. Romance, horror, noir. One of the real beauties of the medium is, like TV or movies, it can stay with you for a lifetime, adding depth as you grow older.”
Both Trujillo and Brodeur acknowledged that the overall aging demographics of readers means some parents might be surprised by the adult subject matter in many mainstream comics.
Trujillo pointed out Starclipper’s large all-ages section. “I reassure parents, older people, fans of all ages who may have fallen out of the habit of comic reading, that there really are appropriate comics for readers of every age.”
Sometimes when a father who hasn’t read comics since he was a boy brings a child to a comic store, he’ll pull the father over Brodeur said. Then he’ll explain that because these days dad is the target demographic, he might want to be selective about his child’s comic choices.
“A lot of parents come in because their kids aren’t really developing an interest or strong skills in reading,” Brodeur said. “Comics are great for that, but some have mature content. I think they’re trying to make a positive impact on getting kids back into comics with Free Comic Book Day.”
Kortjohn at Newcastle Comics said the event brings out big crowds every year. The most popular free comics are gone in the first hour after opening. “A lot of people come out. It’s fun to talk to them.”
Broedur agreed. “I love to share the hobby with people. For me, it’s a wonderful opportunity to talk to the uninitiated, people who aren’t fans of the medium. They come into the store and you get to geek out and share that love with them. Hopefully, they’ll discover a passion for it, too.”
While Newcastle Comics isn’t holding any special events in conjunction with Free Comic Book Day, The Fantasy Shop will be open extended hours and, in honor of the shop’s 30th anniversary, any back issue priced for less than $10 will be on sale for 30 cents all weekend.
Starclipper is making the entire day a party. Ten artists will be on the sidewalk doodling and discussing the craft and love of comics. The store will host live music indoors all day, from bands like Vanilla Beans, Scripts N Screwz and Ra Ra Robot. In addition, people of all ages can also have their photos taken with Green Lantern and arm-wrestle Superman.
Trujillo said her favorite thing about Free Comic Book Day is that it’s become so well known in such little time. “There’s a delight when people talk about it. It’s a busy day, a big fun, exciting day. I love the fact that people anticipate it. Anyone who walks in the door that day knows it’s Free Comic Book Day, and they can’t wait.”
Remember in 1992 when DC Comics killed off Superman? A similar situation has surfaced, but with what is apparently much more catastrophic than the death of Superman: the renouncing of his United States citizenship.
“I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship,” Superman says in his apparently controversial story.
“I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy.”
This sentiment is expressed in the story after Superman attends a protest peacefully and his “defense” of protestors is misconstrued as an American act of war.
Sounds like an interesting and gripping story to me. A tad political for a Superman story, but still interesting.
But that’s not what some over-reactors feel. In a recent Fox News interview, potential presidential candidate and possible idiot Mike Huckabee believes that the comic book is leading to America’s transformation into a “stewpot of idiocy” – a stewpot that has to be dripping with irony, considering who made that statement.
“It is a comic book, but you know it’s disturbing that Superman, who has always been an American icon, is now saying ‘I’m not going to be a citizen,’ ” Huckabee said.
“I think it’s a part of a bigger trend of Americans almost apologizing for being Americans.”
Huckabee then launched into a tirade about Americans wanting to be less American because of other countries’ opinions of the States as a whole.
Disturbing? No. Intriguing? Absolutely. In fact, I want to pick an issue up as soon as possible, because I love the idea.
Superman isn’t a political drone or weapon; he’s a keeper of peace. So, if the United States and other countries are – in a fictional story, mind you – misconstruing his actions for the actions of America, then he should question it.
Huckabee doesn’t think so, as evidenced by his interview.
Several problems arise from a segment like this airing on a news channel.
Obviously, priority is an issue. A Superman comic book is not important political news. Maybe instead of ranting about Americans seeing problems with their country, Huckabee should address those problems specifically instead of blaming what he sees as the downfall of the country on a super hero.
Aside from that, there’s a lack of understanding apparent in Huckabee’s argument. DC is obviously using the comic’s shock value to boost sales, just as they did when they killed Superman off in the early ’90s. It’s a twist on what Superman has always been characterized by, and it’s interesting, to say the least.
There’s little to no point in taking a comic book storyline and turning it into a broadcasted rant. Especially in this case, because the man ranting has no reason to commentate on comic books.
What does Mike Huckabee know about Superman? Apparently very little, because he didn’t even mention the Superman series “Red Son,” an alternate story of Superman in which he is raised in the Soviet Union rather than in Kansas.
Superman was a communist in this series. He wore a hammer and sickle on his chest instead of the iconic “S.”
Does Huckabee have a problem with that, too? Is it teaching our youth that since Superman is a communist, they should be communists?
One can only speculate, considering he doesn’t seem to know the series exists. It came out eight years ago; it isn’t that old.
Superman isn’t the reason for Americans “apologizing for being Americans.” Maybe a thorough look at genuine national issues and not a fictional alien super hero from the planet Krypton will give you more credibility in the future.
This past weekend, I got to hang out with some Marines, take a trip in a C-130 Hercules, then come home to the news that Osama “Chuckles” bin Laden had been killed by Navy SEALS. It was the most awesomely American series of events that has transpired since someone accidentally wrapped a hot dog in corn bread and dropped it into a deep fryer.
Let me tell you, even after I got done training those bald eagles to fly in a perfect U.S.A. formation, I was still feeling so King George-slappingly patriotic I chopped down a cherry tree and burned it to cook a cheeseburger while watching stock footage of the Battle of Normandy in my Larry the Cable Guy jammies.
I don’t think I was alone in this. Across the country, people gathered at The White House, Ground Zero and anywhere someone was playing a Toby Keith record and partied like it was 1776 all over again.
It was our American way of saying, “Just try picking a fight with America; after hunting in caves for a decade while you live in a million-dollar mansion in the suburbs several hundred miles away, we will eventually figure out where you are and shoot you in the head.”
But you know who wasn’t celebrating the death of this scumbag (besides wimps)? Superman.
That’s right. The Man of Steel. Mister Truth, Justice and the American Way recently shocked people who still read comic books by announcing that he was renouncing his American citizenship.
As part of the creatively titled “Let’s piss off AM radio hosts” storyline, Supes decided that the “American Way” part of his credo just wasn’t working out for him and he renounced his status as Earth’s second most American superhero.
Mr. Kent, if I can call you that without tipping off Lex Luthor, let me tell you about superheroes from other countries. They are lame. The Banshee, Black Panther, Captain Britain, Mr. Lichtenstein, all terrible, terrible creations from other parts of the world that tried and failed to be America. (Wolverine gets a pass because, while technically Canadian, he’s lived here since the ’70s).
Obviously, conservative media took Superman’s turncoatism as another sign of liberal politically correct madness run amok (remember, Clark Kent works for a newspaper, which as we all know are run by socialists). But before Glenn Beck gets a hold of this, I’d like to inject one point of order to the conversation.
How can Superman have renounced his American citizenship? He never had it to begin with. He’s an anchor baby.
His parents came from the decidedly Un-American planet of Krypton, where barely anyone had even heard of Toby Keith and everything was made of crystals (and who else loves crystals? Hippies). As their planet was blowing up, they sent their son Kal-El to live in America where he might have half a chance at not being a space nerd.
You know the rest of the story. And how does Superman repay the country that taught him how to solve problems by punching them? He goes off to be the International Man of Steel.
Well, Superman, on behalf of all Americans, don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you. After all, I think we found out last weekend that we don’t need some jerk in blue tights to fly around saving the day and making the world safe for the American way after all.
Steve Murray May 3, 2011 – 5:45 PM ET | Last Updated: May 3, 2011 6:44 PM ET
Come to Canada, Man of Steel!
In a bold move last week, (i.e. something that slipped by all the higher-ups) DC Comics had Superman announce that he was renouncing his U.S. citizenship in the 900th issue of Action Comics, the series where the Man of Steel first appeared back in 1938.
As is always the case when fictional characters change, the U.S. media lost their minds, with everyone from Bill O’Reilly to Mike Huckabee weighing in on this horrific turn of events. The very handsome hero from an exploded planet justified this decision in-story by saying, “I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy,” which is a reasonable enough justification and an amazingly boring thing for Superman to say.
Speaking as a man whose catchphrase is “you don’t own me,” I still recognize that I need to have citizenship of at least
one country, because my “Pretty Great Dude” passport that I made at Kinkos just doesn’t cut it at any border. So, I maintain that Superman also needs a country, and I’ve got just the country for him — the United States of Pretty Great Dudes, population: me and Superman. Or, failing that, Canada.
Here are some of my well-constructed reasons.
1. Superman’s home, the Fortress of Solitude, is usually located in icy, desolate areas, which we have in abundance. And, like Michael Moore so famously pointed out in Bowling for Columbine, Canadians don’t lock their doors, so Superman can finally ditch that giant yellow key nonsense.
2. We love immigrants and Superman is the ultimate immigrant! Also, in Canada we respect traditional immigrant garb, so Superman’s Kryptonian-inspired super-snug ensemble is totally fine by us. We will not laugh at his outside-the-pants underwear choice. We swear.
3. When teens backpack through Europe they proudly display Canadian flag patches on their gear, even if they’re not from Canada. A couple of patches on Superman’s outfit and he’ll be totally welcomed everywhere, no longer a “tool of the American oppressors,” just “that nice man from Canada who shoots fire from his eyes.”
4. Superman was co-created by a Canadian, Joe Shuster! After 73 years of belonging to America, he could at least spend a year or two here. Out of respect for the man who first drew him.
5. A lot of Canadians work in the United States! Superman could totally keep his job at the Daily Planet. But, if he so chose to continue his journalistic career here in Canada, the Post is hiring (not really. Please don’t send us your résumé, Jimmy Olsen).
6. Superman was raised to be polite, which we value greatly here in Canada. Frankly, we were relieved when that potty-mouth Wolverine moved from Canada to the States. That guy has no manners.
This is clearly an idea whose time has come. I will forward this to the powers-that-be at DC Comics and see what they have to say about this. Probably, “yes, of course! What a great idea, Canada!” but I’d still like to hear them say it. Together we can give Superman a home. A Canadian one.
htmlstr += ‘ Digg It!‘;
htmlstr += ‘ Newsvine‘;
htmlstr += ‘ reddit‘;
var print_article = new showPrint();
As most comic readers know, Superman announced in last week’s Action Comics #900 that he plans to renounce his U.S. citizenship.
The story shows Superman taking the side of demonstrators in Iran. When his actions make trouble for the U.S., the hero responds by saying he’ll make it clear to the United Nations that he will no longer be an American citizen.
Many in the political media — and some fans — have decried the end of the clear-cut “good vs. evil” idea behind the “American way” that Superman once represented.
For this edition of “The Q,” where we ask several comic book creators to answer the same question, we asked:
– What is your general reaction to the announcement by Superman that he wants to renounce his U.S. citizenship — and do you think today’s news about Osama Bin Laden’s death affects whether or not it fits the current culture?
Peter David: I think that Superman felt so badly about the negative response to the announcement about his citizenship that he hunted down bin Laden and put a bullet in his head personally. No gun. He just shoved the bullet right in there by hand.
B. Clay Moore: I’ve always thought it was a little silly that Superman would adhere to “the American way” in a modern context, so his status as a citizen of the world makes perfect sense. That’s not a knock on the United States, I just think it’s just a more logical, inclusive perspective.
And I’m not sure I understand the implication in the second part of the question. Does the killing of bin Laden somehow make the United States superior to the rest of the world? I would hope bin Laden’s death doesn’t translate into new waves of jingoism and xenophobia. Job well done, yes. But there’s a global perspective at play here, too.
I think the correlation is strange, personally, and I don’t think it would have much long-term resonance in relationship to anything Superman does.
Chuck Dixon: The expression of personal politics has no place in mainstream superhero comic books.
Cary Bates: To my way of thinking, Clark Kent is the U.S. citizen, not Superman. In recent times I think Superman has been more widely portrayed as a “citizen of the world” anyway, with less emphasis on being a symbol for America. This trend has been going on for a while. I remember some critics taking issue with 2006’s Superman Returns, because the signature slogan “truth, justice and the American way” was truncated when Perry White asked if Superman still stood for truth, justice and “all that stuff…”. With respect to Osama Bin Laden, he was an enemy to the entire free world, not just the U.S, though it’s only fitting that it was our Navy Seals who took him out. I’d like to think Superman would have approved.
Ron Marz: Osama bin Laden’s death is a serious event with real-world consequences. Superman’s citizenship is much ado about a make-believe person. Honestly, even mentioning them in the same breath is ludicrous. The people using the Superman story to further their own political agendas — Breitbart, Huckabee and all the rest — should’ve been ashamed of themselves last week, and should be even more ashamed of themselves today. I’d prefer to praise the real-life heroes who carried out the bin Laden mission, rather than waste time debating the citizenship of an imaginary hero.
Jamal Igle: Well, having actually drawn a small portion of Action #900, I actually read the story on Monday. I’ve said this a few times before: Superman not being an American citizen makes sense to me. The symbol that is Superman needs to be beyond borders and nationality. I’ve always seen Superman as a symbol of the world. Superman represents the best of us. Superman has always, to me, been the standard bearer of good. Truth and Justice aren’t purely an American concept, and the term “The American Way” has been a nebulous concept for a very long time. no one seems to have a common opinion of what the “American Way” is supposed to be. The American Way was slapped in Superman years after his creation. Superman has and always should be about the everyday man, helping those who can’t help themselves.
Marc Guggenheim: I consider it something of a tempest in a teapot, but I’m always happy when a comic book character gets such heavy mainstream media coverage. I don’t really think Bin Laden’s death has any relevance on the story. Though you’ve got to wonder why Superman wasn’t just scanning Afghanistan and Pakistan with his X-ray vision looking for the guy.
Ethan Van Sciver: Well, I think my country falls into the category of “good” whether we have a fantastic day like yesterday or not. Even with all of our failings. I’m not thrilled with the short story in Action #900 in which Superman renounces his American citizenship, because I think it makes Superman a character that reacts violently to what, in his term of reference, would be a tiny irritation that could have been solved by a bit of diplomacy and charisma, rather than a show of nerves. He is Superman, after all. But it got fans talking, and I love that. I also love that fans in other countries seemed grateful that Superman’s decision made them feel as though he belonged to them as well. He always did, though.
I think my instinctive, sad feeling about the story grew from the idea that Superman always represented the best of American values, and those have always been about helping the entire world. And since he’s always been a “global citizen” in that way, if Superman “renounces” us, no matter what his reasons, who has failed whom? It’s a very gloomy event, certainly darker than anything Doomsday managed. America is a great country. We deserve to be proud of Superman. We’ll share him. Don’t worry. In the meantime, hopefully some fascinating stories will come of this.
Kurt Busiek: I haven’t read the story, so I haven’t seen the announcement, just other people describing (and usually fulminating) about it.
As such, I don’t have any reaction. I do find it amusing that the people who are most up in arms about this seem to be the people who most want to keep illegal immigrants out of the US. Apparently, when they come by rocket, it’s OK?
When I was a kid, though, Superman was a citizen of all nations, and I never had any problem with that. He’s not just an immigrant to the U.S., he’s an immigrant to Earth. That works for me.
Beau Smith: In recent years, I personally feel that editorially, managerially and even from a creative standpoint, we have neglected the true goal of creating good comic books, characterization, and writing compelling stories.
In my opinion, I feel that we have confused compelling with “for the moment attention” and have substituted stories that will stand the test of time for ones that will get attention for a 24/7 news cycle. We have quit reaching for the goal line and seem to be happy for the moment’s first down.
Stories that are “ripped from today’s headlines” quickly find themselves dated; this stunts the growth of comics as a creative whole. The Amazing Spider-Man #31 through #33 still stands as a prime example of a story for the ages on character, story and inspiration for any generation 45 years later.
Action Comics #900 may be a goal for the sheer amount of issues that have been printed and the longevity that the title has amassed, but the story itself will more than likely be nothing but a very small blip on the memory wheel of the character and the readers.
I’m sure that within the New York offices of DC Comics and its parent company in L.A., the quick newspaper clipping and media attention for this story will be sufficient for in-office pats on the back and job security for another month, but to the silent majority and bulk of comic book readers, this will soon be forgotten and filed under, “When will the real Superman return?”
The death of Bin Laden is a monumental victory for America and the free world seeking to escape and defeat terror. Is it the end? No, it’s the motivation to continue to fight what is truly wrong and evil. Only by defeating this kind of core evil, can we as human beings, detour, slow down and in the end, defeat evil. We may not all be soldiers in uniform, but as creators, we can do our part in fighting evil through the characters we write, draw and create for comic books.
Superhero comic books have always been a source of heroism and admiration for not only the young, but all ages. We need to regain that admiration for what’s right and heroism in fact, in fiction and our day-to-day lives.
As comic book creators and readers we have to remember, it’s not the event that makes the story, it’s the characters and how they act in that event. If you don’t care about the heart of the character then you don’t care about the event.
Brian Reed: I admit I haven’t yet read the story, but I don’t see how Superman ever had an American citizenship anyway. Secret identity, public acknowledgement he’s from another planet — did he take the citizenship test and I missed it? I’m not huge on my DC continuity. Now, Clark Kent, sure, but unless Supes is outing himself, it all seems pretty much beside the point which country he considers himself a member of. Unless he’s looking to get hit for back taxes. Actually, now that I think about that, I need to get Tom Peyer on the phone. I’ve got a Superman script he should write.
So by now, unless you’re embarrassingly behind on your incredibly important pop culture news, you’ve probably already heard: Superman’s not an American anymore! Stop the presses! Call the fire department! Or – or – or something! However, the truth, as with most everything, is far murkier.
This whole ordeal arose from the nearly 100-page issue of Action Comics #900that was released on Wednesday. Being a celebratory issue – indeed, 900 comics are a whole lot of comics – in addition to the main storyline by Paul Cornell, there are several back-up stories by various writers and even a storyboarded screenplay by Superman: The Movie director, Richard Donner.
The 9-page back-up story that set off the controversy in question, “The Incident,” was written by Man of Steel screenwriter David S. Goyer (who has also had at least some involvement with films like Nick Fury: Agent of Shield starring David Hasselhoff, Blade, Blade 2, Blade 3 (bleck), Batman Begins, Jumper, Ghost Rider, and so forth) and drawn by Miguel Sepulveda.
Here’s what you need to know about Goyer’s story before you decide whether or not to be livid about it:
Superman, not Clark Kent, stated his plans to renounce his American citizenship
Superman, not Clark Kent, stated his plans to renounce his citizenship because he doesn’t want his world-saving/interfering ways to be used against America anymore.
This was a back-up story written by David S. Goyer – not a typical comic book writer.
This will probably never again be referenced, by Paul Cornell or anyone else at DC.
This back-up story might not even be in continuity.
If DC Comics wanted to actually change Superman’s citizenship in a serious, line-wide fashion, they wouldn’t have let David Goyer write it and it wouldn’t have been nine pages in the back of a milestone issue. They would’ve had one of their go-to writers do the job – maybe Paul Cornell, maybe Geoff Johns. It would’ve been its own storyline with every single major character (Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and so on) making an appearance to say something about, I don’t know — America.
Now, in my opinion, Superman is unequivocally an American icon. It doesn’t make you conservative or right-wing to believe this, because I’m about as liberal as they come and I believe it. By the same token, I don’t believe this was some leftwing conspiracy for Superman to reject America and all of its values; it would be hard for you to thoroughly examine the issue, the story, what was said by Superman, and come to that conclusion.
That said, the story in and of itself – “The Incident” – is pretty flawed. Controversy notwithstanding, it’s one of the more insignificant and arbitrary Superman comics I’ve read in a long while, and that’s saying something if you’ve read JMS’ short-lived Superman run from late last year about the man of tomorrow walking across America. David Goyer’s story references the Iranian protests from 2009 as if they happened yesterday (implying to me that it was written by Goyer back then and has been sitting around his apartment ever since). And yes, I’m aware that there have been Iranian protests since then, as early as two weeks ago even, but this comic seems to explicitly reference the 2009 protests.
Apparently, Superman reads the news, and he can’t stand seeing the Iranian leaders treat their people so deplorably. Fair enough. So, as an act of solidarity, he flies to Tehran and stands between the soldiers and the protestors for an entire 24 hours, letting them throw whatever they want at him in the process.
Long story short, the U.S. gets a lot of crap for this move. It’s perceived as an American-sponsored act, because obviously Superman represents “Truth, justice, the American way,” and so forth. Superman tells the President’s National Security Advisor that he plans to go to the U.N. and renounce his citizenship post-haste – this, he hopes, will free him up to do whatever he feels is necessary in the future, and in the process not have his actions reflect poorly upon the good, old U.S. of A.
After reading this story, my main primary thought is this: Comic books creators just need to stop shoehorning real events into their comic books in an effort to make them more “important” like the “real world.” It’s rarely, if ever, done in any interesting or satisfying way and it almost always trivializes the events themselves. I’m reminded of the time Doctor Doom shed tears at Ground Zero after 9/11:
Amazing Spider-Man #36 (Doctor Doom) as drawn by John Romita Jr.
It’s a silly notion to suggest that Superman would go to Tehran and involve himself in the protests in any way whatsoever. Superman is smarter than that. Hell, he’s got an advanced Kryptonian brain – he would know better than to wade into such a delicate situation without a second thought. In the end, the Iranian government doesn’t give-in to the protestors’ demands – an ending we already knew because it happened in real life. Regardless, as Superman’s flying away from Tehran, he spots a protestor reaching out with a flower in hand toward the soldier in front of him. The soldier takes the flower (oh, symbolism!), and Superman takes credit for this small but amazing development – he even brags about it to the National Security Advisor, which is, again, something Superman would never do in a million years.
In sum, the media, the Internet, everybody everywhere, have blown this whole situation way out of proportion. This isn’t (in my humble opinion) DC’s attempt to de-Americanize Superman as a character, and there’s no evidence that this story even belongs in DCU canon. I mean, just check out the visual progression of Superman through the years as drawn by Brian Stelfreeze (below) that appeared in the very pages of Action Comics #900. The rightmost iteration of Superman (in the style of the awesome Gary Frank) is the most modern of the six, and he’s the one waving the massive American flag. If David Goyer’s Superman renounced his Americanism, doesn’t this counteract that?
Click to enlarge:
Instead, “The Incident” is just a terribly ham-fisted tale written by one David Goyer that fell flat on nearly every page. Frankly, we should be more concerned with the Man of Steel writer’s ability to write the character of Superman than whether or not he’s currently American.
Action Comics #900 has already sold out and will likely go back to a second printing. Overall, it’s pretty good – especially Paul Cornell’s work on the issue.
As the story goes, Superman flies to Tehran, Iran to nonviolently come to the support of the Iranian dissenters facing the mad Mullahs that have been terrorizing them since 1979.
When he comes back to the USA, our government is furious that Supes interfered with foreign policy. Because Superman was seen as an agent of the US by the murderous Iranian regime, the Iranian government denounced Superman and the USA over his pointless intervention.
At this point, in a fit of pique Superman tells the USA that he is going to renounce his citizenship apparently because he doesn’t want to be a pawn of US foreign policy.
Now, let’s think about this “logic” — or lack thereof — that causes Superman to renounce his citizenship.
He’s perfectly willing to stand idly by offering only empty words and symbolic support of the supporters of democracy in Iran. Superman has no problem just flying in for a ten-minute sit in with the Iranian protesters but otherwise doing nothing as the Mullahs continue to torture, rape and kill the Iranian people. Then he just flies away with nothing changed. Imagine how you’d feel when the most powerful person in the world just flies in for a photo op then leaves without actually helping you at all. Gee, sounds like Obama, doesn’t it?
In any case, Superman is all upset at the USA for the situation. And where does Superman draw the line? Why in remaining a US citizen, of course.
You see this new Superman is more upset at some sticky foreign policy problems than he is at actual torture, rape, murder and oppression of an entire nation.
Just like all liberals, it is easier to stand up against the USA than it is to stand up to any real oppressors. Just like all liberals this Superman hates the USA more than terrorists, more than tyrants, and more than despots because it is easier to attack the USA than it is to solve the problems presented by real evil.
So, I suppose that this Superman sees nothing wrong at all in North Korea and China. The USA is the great evil, after all.
Now, for some time the comics industry has been steadily turning comic book characters away from their American roots and allegiance and pushing them toward an ideologically left-wing philosophy. Superman is only the latest comic book character to turn his back on the United States of America.
That isn’t the only whitewashing of America that the new Captain America movie looked to implement as the film was being planned. The director of the movie said that his Captain America won’t be a big “flag waver.” Imagine that. Captain America also not being that into America.
It’s PCism run amuck, for sure. But it isn’t surprising for DC, a comic book company that has a character that is based on “corporate greed.” Nor is it surprising in an industry where tea party members are made the enemy of super heroes. For the character based on “corporate greed” look up DC’s Larfleeze character and see the Marvel Comics’ Captain America, issue 602 where The Captain makes Tea Partiers into a danger to America (Marvel later apologized).
The fact is the comics industry coupled with the movies based on them have been trying to excise anything American from them for quite some time. In the end, this move in the Superman Comics is just one more move toward de-emphasizing America in America’s comics. It’s just one more American icon taken away from us by the PC crowd.
Let’s just acknowledge the significance of the occasion. Action Comics – the book that introduced Superman and thus helped push comic books from a cheaply produced delivery system for reprint newspaper strips into something unique – has reached its 900th issue. To commemorate the occasion, DC has released the ish as a “96-page spectacular,” opening with a 51-page lead, followed by five shorter pieces examining facets of the Man of Steel’s life. Written by such familiar names as Damon Lindelof, David S. Goyer and director Richard Donner, it’s the latter half of the book that’ll most likely appeal to readers who haven’t been closely following the DC Universe.
The lead story, Paul Cornell and Pete Woods’ “The Black Ring/Reign of Doomsday,” proves a bit more dubious. Culling together plotlines from five different DC titles, it primarily features our hero in an extended debate with a god-like version of perpetual villain Lex Luthor. The chapter ends with a resurrection of the monster who once “killed” Superman, Doomsday, and whether that will warm your heart most likely depends on if you were the right age to fall for the original “Death of Superman” storyline when it was first published/publicized in the nineties.
The other tales examine our hero’s original and place in the superhero world. Lost‘s Damon Lindelof, aided by artist Ryan Sook, looks at Superman’s father Jor-El in the time before Krypton’s cataclysm, and while Sook’s art is typically moody, the story details themselves seem a bit too Earth-bound, not alien enough. In contrast, Paul Dini and R.B. Silva’s “Autobiography,” which also shows the Man of Steel’s home world, has an appealing visual strangeness typified by Silva’s depiction of a hippopotamus-y alien named Serva.
Geoff John and Gary Franks’ “Friday Night in the 21st Century” is a lightweight look at Lois and Clark’s relationship, while director Donner and Derek Hoffman’s “Only Human” uses a faux movie script/storyboard (sketchy graphics courtesy of Matt Camp) to tell the tale of a scientist who tries to artificially replicate Superman’s powers. Of all the back-of-the-book entries, this ‘un reads most like a story rather than a vignette.
The fourth entry, David S. Goyer and Miguel Sepulveor’s “The Incident,” is the one that’s been generating the most fannish comment, however. In it, the longtime icon for “Truth, Justice and the American Way” renounces his U.S. citizenship after witnessing a citizen demonstration in Iran. “I showed up in solidarity,” our hero says, a gesture which brings the president’s national security advisor out to determine if our hero has “gone rogue.” He hasn’t, of course, though judging from the contentious politicized responses from many fans, you might think otherwise.
Those of us with a longer view of the character, though, know that with an established figure like Superman, every major change is a reflection of the time in which it occurs (could you imagine DC’s editors trying something like this in the immediate wake of 9/11, for instance?) – and is something that can very easily be undone by subsequent editorial regimes.
You don’t last 900 issues without enduring a lot of editorial tweaks along the way. Remember when Superman had a mullet?
Ken DenmeadEditor-in-ChiefMatt Blum</p" href="http://superkalel.com/blog/2018/01/17/review-superman-39-caring-for-kids-2/">
Ken DenmeadEditor-in-ChiefMatt Blum</p">Review – Superman #39: Caring For Kids