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Friday, April 29, 2011

Truth, Justice, and all that other stuff

Scary Gary brought this article to my attention about Superman renouncing US citizenship. Symbolic gestures go with the territory for a guy who wears a cape and tights, but the "Superman" persona can't actually hold legal citizenship as it is not his legal name. The point they're trying to make is that Superman wants the values and ideals he stands for to be applicable to everyone everywhere. Therefore he must divorce himself from the conception that he is an instrument of the American government.


This is interesting. The idea is that Superman wants to stand for everyone, not just America. But "the American Way" used to be about standing for everyone, so who split from whom? It's a clever idea because it makes the suggestion that maybe America stopped being about the American Way. 


It's not anathema to the superhero genre to address political issues. As a stylized art form they are actually in a better position to mirror the world we live in than other media. It's also good for superheroes and their scribes to ground themselves from time to time and analyse their world and through it ours.


Green Lantern and Green Arrow did this back in the 70's and it helped make comics better...



This could also be a good move for Superman when you consider future dystopia stories like "The Dark Knight Returns" that envisioned Superman as the red right hand of a corrupt American government. With this move he's making a statement that the principles he stands for are timeless and not subject to the changing of regimes. In that respect he's actually preserving the American Way, at least the one we all used to be so proud of.

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