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Superman No More?
The Weekly Standard ^ | Apr 28, 2011 | JONATHAN V. LAST

Posted on 04/28/2011 1:04:36 PM PDT by Bratch

Superman is about to renounce his U.S. citizenship. The nerd press is reporting that in a story written by David Goyer in Action Comics #900, Superman becomes disgusted with the U.S. government, renounces his citizenship, and becomes a “citizen of the universe.” Awesome.

Besides, this “citizen of the universe” stuff probably isn’t permanent, because virtually nothing in comics is. (See the Bucky Clause of Hero Death.)

Even so, having Superman renounce America is—as a point of storytelling—about the dumbest thing DC Comics could do. (And that’s saying something—because DC has been trying to drive their franchises into the ground since Dan DiDio came onboard in 2002.)

Why is it stripping Superman of his American-hood so stupid? Because without it, he’s Doctor Manhattan.

From the dramatic perspective, Superman is a problematic character because he’s just too powerful. Faster than the Flash, stronger than Wonder Woman, able to fly, x-ray vision, the heat-beam eyes, super breath—not to mention total and complete invulnerability to everything. (Except the kryptonite, of course.) If you’re writing a Superman story, it’s virtually impossible to put him in any real jeopardy, to build any dramatic tension concerning his adventures.

There are only two ways to write dramatically satisfying Superman stories. The first is to put the people around him in peril. (Though you he can only save Jimmy and Lois so many times before tedium sets in.) The second is to explore Superman’s moral limits—and their consequences.

And in the end, the only truly interesting aspect of Superman’s character is his complete devotion to America. Because it’s this devotion—of which his citizenship is the anchor—that establishes all of his moral limits. Why does this demi-god not rule the earth according to his own will? The only satisfying answer is that he declines to do so because he believes in America and has chosen to be an American citizen first and a super man second.

All of the best Superman moments come when the tensions of this choice are explored. Like, for instance, in Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, when Supes, acting on the orders of President Reagan, goes to Gotham City to arrest Batman. Or in Darwyn Cook’s New Frontier, when Superman is fighting in Vietnam as an agent of the U.S. government. He is partnered with Wonder Woman, who shares none of his fealty to America. At one point, Wonder Woman goes AWOL and when Superman finds her, she has taken control of a Vietcong prison camp and turned the female captives loose on their jailers. While Superman is startled by the carnage, Wonder Woman—who is, after all, a warrior princess—rejoices in it. As Superman wrestles with the moral contradictions, Wonder Woman says icily, “Go home, spaceman.” Heck, in Brad Meltzer’s fantastic Identity Crisis, Superman barely has ten lines of dialogue. But the story is shaped largely by the other heroes tip-toeing around Clark, because they know he wouldn’t tolerate their morally questionable actions.

And if an invulnerable demigod doesn’t believe in anything, then what he really believes in is himself—his own judgments, foibles, preferences, and partialities. At which point he is drained of every last bit of dramatic interest. He’s Doctor Manhattan and all he can do is exile himself to the moon and let the little people carry on with the hurly-burly of earth.

Like I said, there’s no reason to make too much of this. Captain America renounced his country once, too. And, like with Superman’s death, this will almost certainly be temporary. But for those of us who still hold some small lingering affection for DC Comics, it would be nice if they showed the teensiest bit of intelligence in the handling of their important properties.


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Society
KEYWORDS: drmanhattan; superman

1 posted on 04/28/2011 1:04:40 PM PDT by Bratch
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To: Bratch

Well, they could have made him go gay, wear high heels and stick daisies up his butt.

Sad they have to hijack an American icon and turn it against America.

Gave up on comics a lOOOOOOOOOONG time ago.


2 posted on 04/28/2011 1:09:21 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Bratch
If Barry renounced his citizenship, he may need to do it thrice: US, UK, and Indonesian.

3 posted on 04/28/2011 1:36:11 PM PDT by SERKIT ("Blazing Saddles" explains it all......)
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To: Bratch

One possible explanation of the roots of Superman’s rage is a rumor that he was actually born on the planet Krypton.


4 posted on 04/28/2011 2:08:23 PM PDT by haroldeveryman
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To: Bratch
Superman is about to renounce his U.S. citizenship

B0 is about to announce that he never had one.

5 posted on 04/28/2011 2:22:31 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: haroldeveryman

Some clear facts here. Superman never was given citizenship, nor did he ask for citizenship. He has no green card. He has entered and exited the US without the aid of TSA agents, which is strictly illegal. Superman has never shown an ID or a passport. With the exception of Superman and Martian Manhunter...these two gentlemen are the only non-Earthlings with any citizenship. Wonder Woman is an Amazon, but definitely born on Earth. Finally, as Clark Kent....he has paid taxes each and every year and will be able to collect social security and medicare at age 65. Note, never once has Superman or Clark Kent indicated that they have voted, so you can’t be sure if they voted Democrat or Republican.

Oh, and if you wondered....Bruce Wayne is a multi-millionaire and very likely to be a Republican.


6 posted on 04/28/2011 2:30:39 PM PDT by pepsionice
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To: Bratch

I will never buy another Superman product, I will not see another Superman movie....everand I will not support anything else these people are attached too.


7 posted on 04/28/2011 2:35:39 PM PDT by The Wizard (Madam President is my President now, and in the future)
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To: Bratch

I will never buy another Superman product, I will not see another Superman movie....ever and I will not support anything else these people are attached too.


8 posted on 04/28/2011 2:35:50 PM PDT by The Wizard (Madam President is my President now, and in the future)
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To: Bratch

I was always partial to the “Blackhawks”!
On radio it was Don Winslow.
Years were 1940-48, for me.


9 posted on 04/28/2011 2:42:36 PM PDT by GOYAKLA (Flush Congress in 2010 & 2012)
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To: Bratch

Dr. Itdfery Bkdiuhty of Krypton sent word to Earth that he delivered Superman and has a copy of his birth certificate.

“He is a Kryptonian and never was a citizen of your silly little planet.”


10 posted on 04/28/2011 3:12:01 PM PDT by RetSignman ("It's about saving our Republic, STUPID")
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To: pepsionice
Oh, and if you wondered....Bruce Wayne is a multi-millionaire and very likely to be a Republican.

And Ironman too.........there is still hope for this country.........

11 posted on 04/28/2011 3:16:57 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (It's a beautiful day and I'm glad I can see it in color.......)
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To: Bratch

Got to hand it to DC Comics...when you make a blunder; you don’t settle for second. Coke/New Coke level blunder...this will shave MILLIONS off the box office of the new Superman movie next year.


12 posted on 04/28/2011 3:53:11 PM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Bratch
Superman Isn’t American Any More
DC Comics is publishing a big Issue 900 spectacular for Action Comics, where the adventures of Superman began in 1938. In Issue 900, an all-star team of writers and artists will tell us how Superman came to renounce his American citizenship.

Wired magazine calls it “a sobering moment, as obvious as it is revolutionary. Superman’s conscientious creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who dreamed up Superman for Action Comics‘ 1938 debut, positioned their deathless hero as an American heartland warrior battling tyranny and evil.” They approvingly note that “Superman has always been bigger than the United States, and not just because he was inspired — directly or indirectly is still subject to debate — by Friedrich Nietzsche’s polar-opposite Übermensch.”

The Man of Steel puts it this way: “I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy. ‘Truth, justice, and the American way’ – it’s not enough anymore.”

This happens after Superman joins a peaceful protest against the mullahs of Iran, who are therefore prevented from carrying out their normal reaction to peaceful protesters, which involves beating and murdering them. The Iranians accuse Superman of acting as an agent of the American president (stop laughing) and perpetrating an act of war.

Good. It is an act of war. The ‘American way’ is an act of war against tyranny. When will people finally get that through their skulls?

Do the writers of this wretched little tale not understand that the mullahs of Iran would say that about Superman’s actions anyway, even if he loudly proclaimed himself a Citizen Of The World? No amount of global charity would ever make the primitives and tyrants of the world hesitate a micro-second before condemning a super-hero as the agent of their preferred enemies, once he chose to speak up against their evil.

The most obvious detail missing from this comic-book tale is that the Iranians wouldn’t have stopped at accusing Superman of being an agent of the White House. His real name is “Kal-el,” after all. “El” is commonly found at the end of angelic names in the Old Testament. Superman’s real masters would be all too obvious to the mullahs.

This latter-day revisionist notion of Superman “transcending” the American Way to become First Citizen of the Earth is airheaded nonsense from people who don’t understand what the American Way is. Among many other things, it is not exclusionary. It’s not an act of national chauvinism. Everyone is invited to embrace it. What patriotic American doesn’t long for the day that every flag on Earth is raised in the name of the values we cherish? We don’t ask for submission to those values. We don’t dominate. We elevate.

We’ve shed blood and spent vast amounts of treasure to prove this. Ask the liberated people of the world what colors were worn by the heroes who threw down the Axis. Ask the starving people of the world what colors were worn by the men and women who shouldered their weapons to carry food and medicine. Ask Eastern Europeans old enough to remember a better President of the United States what colors rose defiantly above the Iron Curtain. They’re the same colors Superman has proudly worn for the better part of a century.

(Well, he doesn’t wear white, but he was a White Lantern for a while. No, I don’t read comic books very often. Why do you ask?)

You want to tell a great Superman story? Tell the truth. Show the massed ranks of Americans standing proudly beside the mightiest son of Krypton – and Kansas – when some gang of blood-drenched thugs accuses him of acting in the interests of the United States. You’re damn right he does.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster wouldn’t have had it any other way. They certainly wouldn’t have written a story about the Man of Tomorrow making a futile attempt to hide from a legacy he should carry with pride, as he changes the course of history on behalf of all mankind… the same way America did, right about the time Superman became an eternal component of our popular culture. His creators came out of the Depression on a mission to provide inspiration, not tap into a thick zeitgeist of American decline. Putting Superman in a blue U.N. helmet is another way of saying our best days are behind us. “The American way – it’s not enough anymore.”

The tyrants of the world would never let Superman forget he was American. Why should we?


13 posted on 04/28/2011 4:24:29 PM PDT by Bratch
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To: pepsionice

As an illegal alien, Superman would have been inclined to vote Democrat. But he hasn’t bothered to get a drivers license.

Wonder woman visits one of those Greek islands every year or so and jumps in a pile with all those other amazons. You know she’s a Democrat.


14 posted on 04/28/2011 6:43:15 PM PDT by haroldeveryman
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To: Bratch
DC Comics is publishing a big Issue 900 spectacular for Action Comics, where the adventures of Superman began in 1938. In Issue 900, an all-star team of writers and artists will tell us how Superman came to renounce his American citizenship.

At the rate DC is falling... 100 issues in the future: DC, now a subsidiary of Disney's Marvel Comics, announces that on Action Comics issue #1000, Superman will denounce wanting to live with humans and migrate from planet Earth with his gay lover! Quote the Man of Steel: "You humans are freaking nuts! I've had enough! Kal-gon, take me away!"
15 posted on 04/28/2011 7:49:38 PM PDT by hawaiianninja (Palm note to self: Work towards a succesful 2012!)
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To: Secret Agent Man

This is so Typical. When I was working at Disney I wanted to do a series of old WW2 Patches, you know when the company was American and backed our men? So I did some research and found out the artwork is actually property of the Government, so I said we can do new ones. We did some concept sketches that would blow your mind. We were shot down by the talentless liberal designers that came from fashion avenue to take over and destroy our way to make a living.

We were told Mickey was not “American” he is a citizen of the world.

2 years later after that 911 happened and all of a sudden Mickey was in front of and wrapped in every American flag they could find.
WHORES.

So after losing my job and house and basically my life I am now doing a menial job to make ends meet. I know the companies like WB DC and Marvel will never accept what I want to do which is tell real AMERICAN stories with their superheroes, so not making dime one I decided to do a real American story using my favorite character.

I am not doing a politically correct story, this puts the blame of 9-11 where it belongs, on klinton. And Cap is not going to stand over the towers crying like they portrayed him, not this Cap. he’s going after our enemy.

I expected to be attacked by the libs but so far I have gotten great responses on how they love the old Captain America again. Maybe I am on the right track, it’s too bad I couldn’t have saved Superman.

http://captainamericagroundzero.blogspot.com/

Please don’t give up.


16 posted on 04/28/2011 7:54:09 PM PDT by longfellow (Bill Maher, the 21st hijacker.)
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To: longfellow

Linking your site to my blog-reader. Keep up the good work!


17 posted on 04/28/2011 8:03:13 PM PDT by hawaiianninja (Palm note to self: Work towards a succesful 2012!)
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To: Bratch
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

18 posted on 04/29/2011 12:57:48 AM PDT by freejohn
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To: hawaiianninja

With a name like Hawaiinninja I expect no less!! THANKS!

I will try. I am trying to show the difference between the way things were in America. I know our fighting spirit still exsist even though they have tried to bury it under political correctness for the past 60 years. Think of the mentality of someone who witnessed Pearl Harbor.
That is why in the first scene that you see Cap he is muttering “Damn Japs.” because he is remembering the first time we were attacked. Sure it isn’t
politically correct but we weren’t back then and we are still not today.
I know for a fact that after the cameras were turned off at the 50th anniversary of Iwo Jima the vets said the same thing.
I would never be hired by Marvel and they would never print this type of a book. Especially since they have Cap attacking the Tea Parties it just shows you how far from reality they are. Cap would be LEADING but since they stole Cap, I think he’s now fair game. I can write this character.


19 posted on 04/29/2011 1:07:47 PM PDT by longfellow (Bill Maher, the 21st hijacker.)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; Delacon; ...

Thanks Bratch.
20 posted on 04/30/2011 10:13:32 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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21 posted on 04/30/2011 10:39:16 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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