Probably the most drastic direction DC has taken the character since the first time they killed him. So drastic that it's making headlines (and yes, you'll probably see this hit the cable news cycle any day now). The original story:
After recently undertaking a journey to walk -- not fly -- across the United States in the "Grounded" storyline and reconnect with the country and everyday Americans, Superman appears to be taking another step that could have major implications for his national identity: in Action Comics #900...
...Superman announces that he is going to give up his U.S. citizenship. Despite very literally being an alien immigrant, Superman has long been seen as a patriotic symbol of "truth, justice, and the American way," from his embrace of traditional American ideals to the iconic red and blue of his costume. What it means to stand for the "American way" is an increasingly complicated thing, however, both in the real world and in superhero comics, whose storylines have increasingly seemed to mirror current events and deal with moral and political complexities rather than simple black and white morality.
It's an interesting idea, because on one hand, you would think of Superman as a citizen of the world, as you often hear of Earth as his adopted homeworld.
But at the same time, "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" has been a staple of the Superman character since his creation. To now say otherwise is to change a fundamental aspect of the character. He is an American, born in Smallville. You can see it in many of the iconic poses, with Superman standing in front of the American flag. I don't think the idea of "citizen of the world" is faulty in itself, but at some point, you can't just spit in the face of tradition.
And to go into a more complex argument, I always thought of Superman as someone that exemplified the best of what America is. He's every bit the American patriot that Steve Rogers is and both men personify the greatest qualities of what being an American is. Superman is brave, selfless, compassionate, resilient, willful, etc. etc. etc. He's everything that America and Americans aspire to be, to both ourselves and in the eyes of the rest of the world. To have Superman renounce his citizenship is to say that America is NOT any of those positive qualities. Even if that was true (I have my doubts, like many others), then Superman is supposed to be the ideal. He's the one to aspire. If America isn't perfect, then Superman is supposed to be the symbol that America can be BETTER!
I do not like this editorial decision. Not one bit.
To be honest, I never realized Superman actually has the US nationality. The whole real world knows Superman and that he stands for what's right. Does it really matter if he has a US passport or not?
Originally posted by It's FalseHe's every bit the American patriot that Steve Rogers is and both men personify the greatest qualities of what being an American is.
Yet even Cap goes up against the American government when he has to. He was actually an outlaw for a time (Civil War). And we also had the Nomad story. That never stopped him from personifying what's right. But it technically meant the same thing; not being a US citizen.
Originally posted by It's False Superman is brave, selfless, compassionate, resilient, willful, etc. etc. etc. He's everything that America and Americans aspire to be, to both ourselves and in the eyes of the rest of the world. To have Superman renounce his citizenship is to say that America is NOT any of those positive qualities.
This sounds harsher than I want it to sound but for arguments sake, I'll call you out on the above paragraph. "So you say the rest of the world does not aspire to be all of those things? " And I don't see how not being an American means he cannot stand for the American way, or even worse means he doesn't think America has any of those qualities mentioned. Plus, I don't get that idea from the page they show in the article at all. The whole DC world looks up to Superman. I feel by not being American BUT still representing the American/Good ideals to the rest of the world, he actually becomes a bigger icon to the rest of that (DC)world.
One last thing. I saw another article that basically said "It's a marketing ploy to sell more comics worldwide" Just like I said at the start of my post, I never asked myself what nationality Superman has. Does this kinda thing really matter and can it really boost sales?
Originally posted by It's FalseHe is an American, born in Smallville.
I thought he was born on Krypton and sent off in a rocket ship when he was a baby.
But yeah, I agree with you that it's a questionable editorial decision, at the very least.
"Nobody ever came out and said, 'Please pass a law so I can be forced to stop doing something I shouldn't be doing,' no, it's always 'Please pass a law to force them to stop doing something that I don't like.'" --Manny Garcia, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
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I am on the fence about it leaning ok with it. The Truth, Justice and American Way stuff came from the radio and TV stuff. It was a marketing ploy to begin during the 40s and 50s. Plus, Sups is the embodiment of all mankind not just the United States. It will lead to some interesting storylines of the US vs. Superman or the JLA vs. Superman and so on. It sounds like they are going to make Superman into what Cap was during Civil War. The storyline possibilities if done right could open up an new world for him which is cool.
On the other hand, I don't why they choose to do it now and not say during the Bush years. It was going to be a political move regardless, but during the Obama administration, it just doesn't make sense. Of course, I have no idea who is President in the DCU after the Luthor stuff, so maybe that guy is a dick too. I also think the American fan backlash will be huge since global sales are not as high as people think. The other downside for DC doing this in Action Comics, it just cut the legs out from the "Grounded" story in Superman. Granted, JMS is not writing the book anymore and it has become a talky book, but as someone buying the current line I feel fairly cheated. The decision should have come in that storyline instead of the Luther heavy Action storyline. I wonder if JMS pissed off another editor?
(edited by lotjx on 29.4.11 0723) The Wee Baby Sheamus.
People are reading way too much into this. It's a plot decision that makes sense at this point in the ongoing story. Perhaps there are some underlying political messages that DC is attempting to get out, but I highly doubt that was a significant factor in the decision.
(edited by samoflange on 29.4.11 0831)
(edited by CRZ on 29.4.11 1213) Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her. Harry: That's a special feeling.
I think he is possessed since those sorta look like the eyes of the African-American woman who has been following him around. She is possessed by some Kryptonian artifact or Brainiac, so I think the out will be he is possessed. If that is the case all of this shit should be in the Superman book not Action Comics.
(edited by lotjx on 29.4.11 1448) The Wee Baby Sheamus.
And here's this week's comics. FINAL CRISIS #1: The Goon's got me covered on this one. Thumbs in the middle. GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN #1: I mentioned in the Final Crisis thread that death in comics is such a cliche and they rarely ever stick.