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Author Topic: Superman is giving up his American citizenship .. ?  (Read 30198 times)
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BBally81
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2011, 02:50:29 AM »


I decided not to regularly read Action because I had no interest in a book devoted to Lex Luthor.


Well, I thought this was among the best Lex Luthor stories. Cornell's Luthor had that DC Animated Clancy Brown Lex Luthor feel to it.
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nightwing
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2011, 05:08:03 PM »

Quote
A poster on another board made a good observation about the internet and that a deliberate negative message about a character serves to revive and solidify the iconic status of the given character in the mind of people who might not have read this character for a long time.

Wanted to throw something else in here, and again this is with the caveat that I'm speaking in my (relatively recent) role as a non-collecting, non-reading member of the unwashed rabble. 

It's worth noting that every "Superman renounces his citizenship" link I found took me to the same blog, and that blog wasn't necessarily judging the move one way or the other; it just focused on it to the exclusion of the rest of the issue's contents.  Possibly this is a result of the "Drudge Factor," that tendency of certain link-collecting sites to seek out potentially controversial headlines and play them up, even if the link back reveals the original article wasn't so controversial at all.

In this sense, there's a certain amount of rabble-rousing involved, and it's interesting to review the factors that make that possible; the most obvious is the highly polarized nature of American politics today, but the other is that Americans can be counted on to have an understanding of, an affinity for, indeed even a sense of ownership about, superheroes, and especially Superman.  People who haven't read a comic book since childhood -- if ever -- nonetheless have an idea of what he's supposed to stand for, and if you assault that, they get their backs up.  Again, they don't read comics and wouldn't whether the character was done to fit their conception of him or not, but tamper with him and they'll raise a fuss.

Quote
I'm not so sure that the push back from the internet is such a bad thing for Superman. I seriously doubt that people are going to boycott comics in high numbers.

Nobody who reads Superman regularly could possibly be more offended by it than they were when he killed three helpless prisoners, grew a Fabio mullet or turned into a poor man's Lightning Lad.  From what you say, if they read the book, they took the scene in context and found it inoffensive, unless they were died-in-the-wool Conservative super-patriots, in which case it's hard to believe they've found anything nourishing in Superman comics for decades.

Non-comics readers are already "boycotting" comics in high numbers just through indifference.  You can't boycott something you never buy, anyway.

As for the rest, those who do buy comics but consider Superman a goody two-shoes, flag-waving boy scout, the controversy may actually help sell books to them.  But then again, maybe not, since I doubt the "flag-waving" part offends them as much as the "goody two-shoes."  I don't imagine Superman-haters avoid him for the politics so much as the lack of kewl disembowelments and decapitations.

Anyway, I haven't really seen a "push back from the internet" (though I haven't spent much time following the story, anyway, so many I missed it).  My take on it is that it went like this:

BLOGGER: "Hey, waitaminnit, did Superman just give up his citizenship?"
DRUDGE: "SUPERMAN RENOUNCES AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP!"
HANDFUL OF DRUDGE FOLLOWERS: "Traitor leftie!  It's Obama's fault!"
REST OF WORLD: "Who cares?  SuperWHO?"

FIVE MINUTES LATER: "Bin Laden's dead!" 

Then ten minutes of cheering followed by demands for proof and roll-out of first draft of conspiracy theories.
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BBally81
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2011, 07:20:03 PM »

I think Scotty V from the Superman Homepage makes one of the better discussions of the "incident" on his Great Scott! segment for the Speeding Bulletin despite making a small mistake saying that the American Way quote was part of canon from the begining since it was actually first used during WWII and was dropped after the war ended but was brought back and turned into an iconic part of the mythos by the George Reeves TV series in the 50's

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ2-tZwV9Rs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ2-tZwV9Rs</a>
(at 06:31 in the video)


I guess I fall in the middle, on one side I can see why many fans hate this or see this move as an unnecessary change to such an iconic part of the character but at the same time I can see why others don't mind this change and that the extreme rage reaction by the very far right is well blown out of proportion especially when they see it as Superman giving up his citizenship because he hates/disagrees with America which they of course wouldn't make that conclusion if they actually read the story (I'm looking at you FOX News :roll:   ) And I think the UN giving him the hononary citizenship isn't canon anymore after Crisis On Infinite Earths however to thos who say that there were no clues of Superman's US citizenship, he did call himself an American citizen in Geoff Johns Superman: Secret Origins.

In the end, DC did say the story isn't canon and NO I don't think this is a good excuse to boycott the comic nor upcoming the Superman movie. Then again, I'm not American and I see Superman as one of the more universal superheroes ever which is why for the most part he's always been my favorite.
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India Ink
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2011, 07:41:29 PM »

Of course, since Superman is in reality Clark Kent, and Clark Kent is an American, Superman knows that he's an American. So he would identify himself as such, but he wouldn't be able to prove it to anybody without revealing his other identity.

Now if Clark Kent gave up his citizenship that would be a different story. But I don't think it would grab any headlines. Because people understand that ordinary citizens like Clark Kent are often forced to give up their citizenship and other rights in the normal course of events.

Americans are forced to give up their citizenship all the time when they are trying to find jobs outside the country or when they have other legal problems. Sometimes citizenship is denied Americans against their will.
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India Ink
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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2011, 08:26:13 PM »

I know it's conventional wisdom that the "American Way" bit was adopted by the TV show to head off scrutiny from McCarthy-types, but really I never took it that way.  My perception was that "the American Way" meant fair play, honesty and equal treatment under the law.  Which can sound corny and hollow, but at the time it was a bit brave.  The radio show famously exposed the KKK, public service ads in the comics promoted racial and religious tolerance, and if the TV show didn't dive head first into any of that (it was a decade too early for that kind of TV), I still got the "play nice" vibe from George Reeves.

Indeed, if the phrase was entirely motivated by fear and wanting to be seen as "playing along," then the producers would have fired Robert Shayne the moment someone suggested he was a closet Communist.  Instead, they stuck by him.

I don't know the precise moment standing proudly in front of a flag became a liability, but it's worth noting that Superman was never, to my memory anyway, an agent of the US government.  The comics studiously avoided international politics, to my knowledge, beyond caricatures of Kruschev or Castro, and never had Superman say, cleaning up Korea or Vietnam.  A President may have asked him to save the Earth, or promote physical fitness, but they never asked him to remove a dictator, or melt Russia's ICBM's from orbit.  Frank Miller did a lot to cement the notion of Superman as a government "lap dog," but honestly he based that on almost nothing.

The really curious part is that the first time Superman does start "working for" the government -- again, to my knowledge -- is in the 80s, when he invades Qurac (or whatever it was).  Considering sentiment was already turning against his (heretofore unearned) "government lackey" image at that point, that always seemed like a dumb move, to me.

Anyway, the LA Times has chipped in to the debate with this article, which suggests -- I have to assume jokingly -- that Superman's renunciation of his citizenship inspired the killing of bin Laden!

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-dorfman-superman-20110506,0,4184100.story?track=rss

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DBN
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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2011, 07:37:40 AM »

The really curious part is that the first time Superman does start "working for" the government -- again, to my knowledge -- is in the 80s, when he invades Qurac (or whatever it was).  Considering sentiment was already turning against his (heretofore unearned) "government lackey" image at that point, that always seemed like a dumb move, to me.





The story took place in Adventures #427-428 (428 also serving as the introduction of Bibbo). Superman wasn't working for the government in any way, shape, or form. He destroyed Qurac's military after Qaraci terrorists attacked Metropolis. His actions led to the nutball dictator being deposed and later arrested and brought to the US for trial.

The Superman of the '80s didn't have a problem violating international law in order to do what he believed was right. What does the Superman of 2011 do after non-violent protestors are slaughtered? He flies in country the next day, stands there like a bump on a log, and ultimately accomplishes nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Then again, this is the same idiot that allowed Zod to come to rule in New Krypton and let General Ros...err Lane destroy the planet. That's how Superman is portrayed now: as a weak-willed, ineffectual, imbecile. Par the course, really.

Geez, I long for the days of the Byrne Superman now. At least that Superman was competent.
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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2011, 12:19:59 PM »

Aha, thanks for the correction, DBN.  Like nearly all stories from that time period (except "Krimson Kryptonite" and "Time After Time") I was underwhelmed by this one and forgot most of the details.  All I really remember is that it was drawn well, that the dictator was obviously Saddam and that the cover had Supes with...I'm thinking a jet or a flag, or both...just enough random, half-recalled images for my mind to put it together as "government-sanctioned action."  I suppose I could have straightened it out by re-reading the story, but frankly I like it better where it is, in a polybag in a box in a closet in a room I don't use.

What baffles me is how DC can still offer up stories built around real-world events when they long ago divorced the DCU from the real world's timeline or reality.  In a world where whole countries have been wiped off the map (Montevideo or whatever they called it) and Lex Luthor was president of the US, why would *anything* be happening in the same way it is here?  If they wanted to make commentaries on real-world events, they shouldn't have left the real world behind years ago.
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Great Rao
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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2011, 04:45:09 PM »

In the end, DC did say the story isn't canon <...>

Where did DC say this?  Anyone wants to read it, here it is

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