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Truth, Justice, and the International Way
April 28, 2011 3:28 PM   Subscribe

In the landmark 900th issue of Action Comics, Superman has renounced his American citizenship.

In a story written by David S. Goyer, the screenwriter for the Christopher Nolan Batman films who has been tapped to write the new Superman reboot, Superman renounced his American citizenship after being called to task by a U.S. government official for causing an international incident by involving himself in a peaceful protest in the Middle East.

The usual suspects are abuzz with howls of protest and calls for a boycott because Goyer is tampering with an American icon.
posted by MegoSteve (117 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Newsflash: Superman is a fictional character.
posted by Ct314 at 3:29 PM on April 28, 2011 [17 favorites]


From the howls link: "Really, don't trust anyone with a new account after something like this happens."
posted by benzenedream at 3:32 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Muslim batman has yet to comment!
posted by Artw at 3:32 PM on April 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


gonna go ahead and say it.

Looooooong form!!!
posted by edgeways at 3:32 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does this mean Canada can take him back?
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:33 PM on April 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Following up: I'm actually boycotting Superman because DC has been plotting effin' impenetrable storylines for the last 10 years. I'd love to read Superman, but I have no idea where to jump on-- and everytime I've tried, the story has been so mucked up with previous continuity, I'm left feeling like I spent money on a comic where I has no idea what I was reading.

That said, Birthright and All-Star Superman were very good.
posted by Ct314 at 3:33 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hopefully in this continuity his father Jonathan is dead.

'Cause this would kill him.
posted by codswallop at 3:33 PM on April 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Did Superman ever have American citizenship? I assumed it was just Clerk Kent who had a legal identity, albeit a fake one. Did he forge a birth certificate? Is Clerk Kent going to be deported?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:34 PM on April 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


He was just an illegal immigrant taking a job from a REAL American anyway.
posted by inigo2 at 3:35 PM on April 28, 2011 [19 favorites]


I heard he wasn't even born in America.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:35 PM on April 28, 2011 [22 favorites]


This is important.

Changes made to comic book characters are usually permanent and binding for future writers. It's rare that DC does anything controversial with their high-profile characters just for sales. Especially not with Superman and his strict and well maintained continuity.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:35 PM on April 28, 2011 [41 favorites]


If people didn't start boycotting when JMS made Superman walk across America and be a giant dick to people I don't know why they'd start now.
posted by graventy at 3:35 PM on April 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


I hate to side with the privileged plutocrat over the hard-working illegal immigrant but Superman is pretty boring 90% of the time & only really comes into his own when contrasted with Batman and the rest of us mortals. Things like this give him a bit of the edge he needs.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:37 PM on April 28, 2011


*Shrugs*

He was dead and then came back. I doubt this change will stick.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:38 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm with you Ct314. For the most part, the Superman monthly comics have been unreadable/unpleasant for the last several years. He wasn't even in them for a year while that ill-advised New Krypton storyline was going on. Best to stick with the occasional special (like Action #900) or graphic novel. I highly recommend the super-cheap Showcase Presents series if you want a whole lot of classic Silver Age stories to read.
posted by MegoSteve at 3:38 PM on April 28, 2011


David Goyer you've just destroyed your career. Hard to believe that Donald Trump will still have a tv gig tomorrow, but you'll be in for a long period of unemployment. That is the way it goes though.
posted by humanfont at 3:38 PM on April 28, 2011


When people ask me "Mister Fabulous, why do think comic books are stupid?" I can point to this.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:38 PM on April 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Any storyline which goes on for 79 years, based largely on crazy and/or unlikely twists, written by hundreds of people, many of whom were endeavoring to outdo their predecessors in writing crazy and/or unlikely twists, and others of whom are just trying to get a paycheck, is not going to have "continuity". It's going to be a piece of folklore containing the framework of the original story and selected intermediate episodes.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:40 PM on April 28, 2011 [19 favorites]


Aquaman!
posted by clavdivs at 3:43 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm with Mr. Fabulous there, but I watch a lot of movies and I do know who Superman is. I also recall pretty clearly from the movies that he's... an illegal alien...

What "citizenship" does a drawing have, anyway?
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 3:43 PM on April 28, 2011


His permanent residence is in Antartica and I am kind of fuzzy on nationality issues there.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 3:44 PM on April 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Any storyline which goes on for 79 years, based largely on crazy and/or unlikely twists, written by hundreds of people, many of whom were endeavoring to outdo their predecessors in writing crazy and/or unlikely twists, and others of whom are just trying to get a paycheck, is not going to have "continuity".

Yeah, Cerebus made total sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:45 PM on April 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


David Goyer you've just destroyed your career.

M. Night Shyamalan is still making big-budget movies on the strength of one movie, despite a string of execrable flops. I suspect Hollywood will find it within itself to forgive the writer of The Dark Knight, the 28th biggest film of all time (adjusting for inflation)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:47 PM on April 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Superman is the original anchor baby.
posted by notmydesk at 3:50 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is going to be a complete cluster.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:52 PM on April 28, 2011


Does this mean Canada can take him back?

La vérité, la justice et la façon canadienne.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:54 PM on April 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


M. Night Shyamalan is still making big-budget movies on the strength of one movie, despite a string of execrable flops.

Actually, all but one of his movies has been a box-office success. His movies do especially well internationally. His last good movie was Unbreakable - which was about a decade ago - but he actually doesn't really make flops. Unfortunately, I'd say.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:54 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I heard his real name was Kal-Eliwicz anyway.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:55 PM on April 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


humanfont: "David Goyer you've just destroyed your career."

If Blade: Trinity couldn't do that, I doubt this could.
posted by brundlefly at 3:59 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what? Good. I'm tired of these Kryptonians coming here, taking advantage of our yellow sun, and bringing their problems with them. If the House of Zod and the House of El can't work out their differences peacefully, without causing mayhem in the streets, then they should find another planet! I'm all for immigration, but there are certain values you need to accept when you become an American.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:59 PM on April 28, 2011 [24 favorites]


Sticherbeast is absolutely right and I shouldn't have assumed that those movies were flops purely on the basis of their crapness. (Although Lady in the Water apparently lost money.)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:00 PM on April 28, 2011




Considering his parents were named Siegel and Shuster, does this mean he's moving to Israel?
posted by Yakuman at 4:03 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did Superman ever have American citizenship? I assumed it was just Clerk Kent who had a legal identity, albeit a fake one.

In the current continuity, "Superman" is a costume that Clark Kent wears.

People in the DC universe who don't know that ought to be scratching their heads and saying, "Superman was a U.S. citizen? Since when? I thought he was from another planet, and doesn't he maintain a residence in Antarctica for tax reasons?"
posted by straight at 4:04 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The article praises Alex Ross' take on the iconic cover of Action Comics #1, but doesn't print the image. Here it is, complete with Dan DiDio cameo and starring Geoff Johns in old-age makeup as "the guy who's always freaking out in the lower left." (A role previously filled in #800 by legendary poster artist Drew Stuzan.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:05 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


This makes me long for the days when Red Kryptonite turned Superman into a baby, and then Lois Land had to spank him to get him to turn back to "normal." Ah, the good old days....
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:08 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


After reading the comments on the Wired story, I think I understand the appeal of trolling. The spittle-flecked "how dare you suggest that a fictional alien would fail to consider our political boundaries sacrosanct!" rants really are unspeakably delicious.
posted by bjrubble at 4:11 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be less lazily relying on the weirdly perverted old Superman stories...

Back during the Byrne reboot of superman, I read a column (maybe in Amazing Heroes or The Comics Journal) about how the old Superman (from the viewpoint of the 1980s) was an immigrant, who longed vaguely for a homeland to which he would never return, a working man (he was a beat reporter who lived in a crappy apartment and ate at a lunch counter), and so on -- basically, a normal American in the 30s. The Byrne reboot made him an American, who rejected his Kryptonian heritage and who worked as a star columnist in a newspaper (a "prestige American" for the 80s). I have never been a huge Superman fan, but I kind of thought at the time that every generation gets the Superman that it deserves.

OK, now we can get back to Jimmy Olsen's cross-dressing. Yes, Jimmy, I know you "had to do that to uncover that Mob plot. Uh huh. Jimmy, there is nothing wrong with feeling that way; it's the lying we have a problem with...."
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:14 PM on April 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Fights the never ending battle for truth justice and the American way"

Maybe he just realized that American Democracy had turned into an Oligarchy.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 4:14 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


"the guy who's always freaking out in the lower left."

Best take EVAR on that guy in a fine comment by robocop is bleeding.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:15 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Superman es illegal
posted by stevil at 4:15 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still can't quite believe this fictional universe still has a constitutional amendment that prevents Superman from becoming US President (unlike say all-American boy Lex Luthor).
posted by jjderooy at 4:24 PM on April 28, 2011


So he'll be resigning his membership in the Justice League of America, right?

becoming US President (unlike say all-American boy Lex Luthor).

It seemed to me to have been little remarked upon that during the Bush years, it was literally the case in the DC Universe that a super-villain was the US president.
posted by Zed at 4:27 PM on April 28, 2011


I hear Luthor was actually born on a base in Guam.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:28 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: Any storyline which goes on for 79 years, based largely on crazy and/or unlikely twists, written by hundreds of people, many of whom were endeavoring to outdo their predecessors in writing crazy and/or unlikely twists, and others of whom are just trying to get a paycheck, is not going to have "continuity". It's going to be a piece of folklore containing the framework of the original story and selected intermediate episodes.

I didn't realize soap operas had been around for 79 years. I never thought about soap on the radio. Wait, what, Superman?


eyeballkid: Changes made to comic book characters are usually permanent and binding for future writers.

News outlets don't know this. COMICS ARE FOREVER. (Just wait until they find Superdickery (SFW)).
posted by filthy light thief at 4:43 PM on April 28, 2011


I only read Superman through the medium of Chris Sims. His Smallville recaps are hilarious and he just did a post on the 25 best Action Comics covers.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:51 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is the same thing as the whole Spear of Destiny idea that kept the DC superheroes out of WWII. Superman would have finished Nazi Germany in what, two weeks tops? So rather than have the DC continuity get all out of whack (and shorting the sacrifices made by all the GIs who are reading the comic), they gave Hitler the Spear of Destiny that would allow him to control any heroes that got near. This let Superman get out of the war and not get involved in the really dark stuff that was going down.

So this is Superman's out. America's bogged down in two long wars and various military actions. Supes would have taken care of those issues long ago. He would have found Osama, delivered Khadafi to the UN, and rescued Lisa Ling's sister before the media even started amassing b-reel. But he also would have been mired in politics, opinion polls, and a dreary 24 hour cycle.

Skipping out on his American citizenship is this generation's Spear of Destiny. It frees the character from getting bogged down in the too real, too stark world we live in and keeps him fighting for truth and justice and hell, even the American Way, just as he always had.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:01 PM on April 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


jjderooy: "I still can't quite believe this fictional universe still has a constitutional amendment that prevents Superman from becoming US President"

WHAR BURTH CERT SUPER MAN, WHAR?
posted by meehawl at 5:09 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


So he'll be resigning his membership in the Justice League of America, right?

What is the current status of the Justice League? For a while it was the Justice League International (I know, I'm old and quit my pull a long time ago) and he could still be a member of that.
posted by immlass at 5:16 PM on April 28, 2011


So, there was this girl that I really, really liked back in 1987.

I asked her out on a date - specifically if she'd like to see a movie. She said yes and I asked her what movie she wanted to see.

"Superman IV," she replied.

Well, I hadn't seen III, and I rather enjoyed II, and she seemed to be excited about it, so we agreed that Superman IV was the choice.

I picked her up and the date was actually going great. We were having a great conversation and getting along incredibly well.

Then we watched the movie. We left the theater in silence and chatted just a very little on the way home. Any interest we had in each other had been totally annihilated by the extreme, draining suck of that movie. We shook hands and I drove home - or interest in dating each other entirely destroyed.

Its probably not fair to blame Superman, because surely if there had been any sort of real potential connection between she and I our nascent romance would have survived a dreadful movie. Yeah, its probably not fair to blame Superman.

But I do.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:18 PM on April 28, 2011 [20 favorites]


As long as Margot Kidder isn't Lois Lane any more, I don't care what nationality Superman claims. Seriously, who the hell thought that was a good casting choice?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:28 PM on April 28, 2011


What is the current status of the Justice League? For a while it was the Justice League International (I know, I'm old and quit my pull a long time ago) and he could still be a member of that.

I'm old and quit my pull a while ago, but unless it's been retconned away, the latest incarnation really is The Justice League of America. Aquaman complained about the name.
posted by Zed at 5:35 PM on April 28, 2011


Yawn. Back in my day, they killed Superman. Then he came back as four different people. And then he got turned blue like a Smurf. This whole citizenship fiasco doesn't sound anywhere near as lame. It's like they're not even trying.

Is this really what comic books are teaching kids these days? Politics?

For shame, DC.
posted by fryman at 5:37 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always appreciated Alan Moore's take on Superman; Rather than being a normal person who dons a mask, his heroic self is his real identity, Kal-El of Krypton. His cape is not part of his disguise, it's the blanket his parents wrapped him in before sending him away for good.. Clark Kent is the mask, and his commentary on us. Clark Kent is how he sees us.

What happens to Kent now? Does he drop the facade altogether? Give up on trying to pass for human? If he's renouncing his American citizenship, he can indeed go up to the Fortress of Solitude and declare himself a sovereign state. That would seem like the logical thing to do.

Says the guy who grew up reading Marvel.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 5:47 PM on April 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


My take's pretty much the same as robocop is bleeding: they did it to avoid some weird political ramifications. It's the Spear of Destiny. This is ground that's actually been trod pretty completely: Frank Miller in The Dark Knight Returns dealt with the consequences of having Superman be publicly American and an actual agent of the government, Dr. Manhattan is basically this same story in Watchmen. Of course the story where Supes was elected president. And Invincible kind of broached this topic too.

And there really are some interesting stories to be told here, if it's handled right. Not the same old citizen-of-the-universe shit, which has been done, but like straight says above, if everybody in the world sees him renounce his citizenship, well then. There are legal questions. When Superman has acted in international conflicts before, was he doing so as an American citizen? If not, why did the American government intervene now and not those other times? That could be considered a serious issue of international protocol. Possibly even a question for the UN, possibly even casus belli. It could lead to other heroes having to declare their national allegiance, it could lead to Superman having to come back to defend the US or testify. I don't know. I doubt they're going to do anything with it, though, that Alan Moore didn't do back in the 80s.
posted by penduluum at 5:55 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Back in the Silver Age, this would be a Superman robot duplicate controlled by Jimmy Olson, who's actually a shapeshifted Batman. And it's all part of a plot to avoid Lois marrying Superman.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:58 PM on April 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


If people didn't start boycotting when JMS made Superman walk across America and be a giant dick to people I don't know why they'd start now.

You can't put "Superman" and "giant dick" in a sentence after reading Marshall Law.
posted by ennui.bz at 6:00 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the things about Superman is that as soon as he's not scrupulously nice he becomes a horrific concept (see: Ultraman, the guy from The Boys, Masterman, etc...) - of course, you've got those that will argue this makes him boring and impossible to do stories with, because they want everything to be all grim-and-gritty dark-knighty 90sGRAR all of the time, but for those prepared to work with that it's one of the things that makes him an interesting character - see especially Morrison's All Star Superman.
posted by Artw at 6:13 PM on April 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is a good start. Now I think he should do a slow reverse-Michael-Jackson-process and turn black.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:23 PM on April 28, 2011


lame


Oh you were so close.
posted by jeremy b at 6:23 PM on April 28, 2011


This is a good start. Now I think he should do a slow reverse-Michael-Jackson-process and turn black.

Well, there is a DC Multiverse reality where Superman is from another planet, black, and the preseident of the USA. It's like the birther head 'asplode reality.
posted by Artw at 6:27 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


.... of course, you've got those that will argue this makes him boring and impossible to do stories with, because they want everything to be all grim-and-gritty dark-knighty 90sGRAR all of the time...

Theres's lots of interesting stories that could be told about a not always nice, but still generally nice Superman, but DC probably doesn't want to much around with their brand too much.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:29 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Superman has always been bigger than the U.S. He really does represent the entire Planet Houston.
posted by jeremy b at 6:34 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Theres's lots of interesting stories that could be told about a not always nice, but still generally nice Superman, but DC probably doesn't want to much around with their brand too much.

That slope looks mighty slippery, even for a guy who can fly.
posted by straight at 6:42 PM on April 28, 2011


The original Superman busted up corrupt businessmen. In his first story he rescues a man from Death Row.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:54 PM on April 28, 2011


Seriously, who the hell thought that was a good casting choice?

I did. Her Lois Lane was a bit frazzled and frankly kind of a mess in some ways. She had -- even in a literal comic book movie -- something of the air of a woman who had reached her thirties and was not entirely satisfied with her career or her love life and was hearing the biological clock ticking and thinking about whether the choices she had made were the best ones. There was a bit of nuance there. She lives in an improbably nice apartment, I will grant, but this is a comic book movie.

In contrast, when Lois Lane appeared in Superman Returns, the powers that be decided to make her a 22-year-old who is married to a fantastically wealthy man who adores her and they live in a massive house in the countryside and also she has a sweet five-year-old son, and also also she has won the Pulitzer prize. Oh, and she looks like this (Not-Entirely-SFW).

Margot Kidder was pretty refreshing in retrospect.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:02 PM on April 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


DCAU has some pretty terrifying dick Supermen in the Justice Lords episode and in an earlier episode of Superman: TAS where Lois Lane dies and, as witth the Justice Lords, he starts a fascist regime dedicates to stamping out crime.
posted by Artw at 7:07 PM on April 28, 2011


Lois Lane, reporter
posted by Artw at 7:08 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


That Action #1 cover's been done to death, but I gotta say, in your very first link that Action #2 cover is pretty damn cool.
posted by marxchivist at 7:33 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


they gave Hitler the Spear of Destiny

I never understood why they didn't just give Hitler a squad of Nazi-themed supervillains. Superman would have been far too busy stopping their evil schemes to get involved in small stuff like Normandy. Also, see the artistically-impressive-but-incredibly-racist WWII era Superman cartoon Japateurs.
posted by EarBucket at 7:35 PM on April 28, 2011


Darker and Edgier
posted by dunkadunc at 7:39 PM on April 28, 2011


Comics SUCK. I miss 1982.
posted by rahnefan at 7:45 PM on April 28, 2011


Or 83 or 84
posted by rahnefan at 7:46 PM on April 28, 2011


Batman should always be the dark counterpart to Superman, and Superman his light counterpart. They work as twins.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:47 PM on April 28, 2011


In theory, this trope usually means that a show will shift towards cynicism on the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Versus Cynicism. In this process, archetypes which we are usually accustomed to acting in a more noble setting will have to act one where they must think and act grimly in order to make progress, thus forcing re-examination of the tropes involved and making a different sort of character. In practice, though, writers often aren't entirely sure what most of those words mean, and ending up "spicing up" a work with gratuitous gore, cursing, and sex.

How right you are, TVTropes, how right you are...
posted by Artw at 7:47 PM on April 28, 2011


This is important.

Changes made to comic book characters are usually permanent and binding for future writers. It's rare that DC does anything controversial with their high-profile characters just for sales. Especially not with Superman and his strict and well maintained continuity.


Mmmmm...yes and no. Permanent and binding in that they do become part of the character's official history, but literally almost never do major character changes in mainstream hero comics last forever or even for any real length of time.

Green Lantern losing his shit and killing the corps, dying to save Earth, going to purgatory and then being saddled with the burden of the Spectre? Not only undone, but...he didn't really lose his shit, yeah, it was...a big yellow alien thingy. Yeah, that.

Spider-Man develops new powers, gets a super-cool suit, unwittingly sides with fascism, unmasks himself to the world? Umm...deal with the devil or something undoes it? Yeah, that sounds good. And let's take away his marriage of several years and have him be living with his aunt again.

And they only half-explained how Superman came back from the dead. Literally almost no changes in superherodom are permanent. All can be and nearly always are reversed, left to be rarely and briefly referenced in dialogue from time to time, if that. I think it was in a thread here that someone pointed out that the only two major title characters to stay dead are Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy.

Maybe they are doing this to de-politicize Superman and really mean to stick with it, but experience tells me that in a few years tops his citizenship will be reinstated. I hope I'm wrong.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:52 PM on April 28, 2011


His cape is not part of his disguise, it's the blanket his parents wrapped him in before sending him away for good.
He's Linus to Batman's Charlie Brown. (It's the "They Gunned Your Parents Down in the Street Like Dogs Charlie Brown!" Special. WAUGH!" Snoopy would make a good Robin.)

So this is Superman's out. America's bogged down in two long wars and various military actions. Supes would have taken care of those issues long ago

DC doesn't do the 'real world' thing well. Marvel not so much either but at least some people boo the Avengers. You'd think the out for getting involved in politics would be giant radioactive meteors heading for Earth, but apparently Superman gets soul-checked for not being everyone's medical plan too.

I read Brat Pack a while ago. Interesting thing there was people were building nuclear power plants without safety controls because ersatz Superman ("The Maximortal") was around to take care of it all.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:53 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know this is going to totally ruin his friendship with that nerdy straight-laced reporter, Clark Kent. Wait a minute...
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:02 PM on April 28, 2011


There was a super hero group called Axis Amerika
posted by ServSci at 8:37 PM on April 28, 2011


Changes made to comic book characters are usually permanent and binding for future writers. It's rare that DC does anything controversial with their high-profile characters just for sales. Especially not with Superman and his strict and well maintained continuity.

Mmmmm...yes and no. Permanent and binding in that they do become part of the character's official history, but literally almost never do major character changes in mainstream hero comics last forever or even for any real length of time.


Pretty sure the post you're quoting was sarcastic.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:52 PM on April 28, 2011


Boycott it, you right wing loonies. Maybe burn the copies your kids bring home. That really helped kill off Black Sabbath.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:16 PM on April 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't have my copies at hand, but Goyer is the guy who ghost/co-wrote Starman's third quarter when Robinson lost interest, right?
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 9:20 PM on April 28, 2011


Even if he's not an American, he must still KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!!
posted by XhaustedProphet at 9:30 PM on April 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's no more boring character than Superman. He can do anything, literally anything, so there's never any tension in the stories - give or take a bit of kryptonite he's always going to win. The 6 million dollar man could run at 60 mph but a car going 80 mph would overtake him. Doctor Who can't fly through walls. A hero is someone who battles against the odds with character and wit, not someone who can deploy cannons against pop guns every time. As for the political protest this move is supposed to make, I don't really understand it. The type of people who complain that the USA isn't supporting the people of a country against a dictatorship are all too often exactly the same people who march, protest and whine whenever the USA actually does.
posted by joannemullen at 9:41 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now more than ever I really, really want to see the Kevin Smith/John Peters Superman movie get made.

Sean Penn with the glowering eyes of a violent, caged killer, no cape or flying, battling polar bears at the North Pole... sounds better than the emo-fest the last movie turned out to be.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:06 PM on April 28, 2011


ERF... this Superman movie.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:07 PM on April 28, 2011


In the current continuity, "Superman" is a costume that Clark Kent wears.

Bah. "Clark Kent" is just Superman's critique on the human race.
posted by homunculus at 10:12 PM on April 28, 2011


Changes made to comic book characters are usually permanent and binding for future writers.
?

I haven't followed comics in a long time, but as far as I remember, wouldn't DC just say "Oh, that was only on Earth-832, of course"?

Due to not having followed comics in a long time, I only have a vague awareness of the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" thing, but I gather that that pared the multiverses down to a single universe, so I guess they can't simply say "Earth-832", but there's always "The Crisis on Infinite Earths only happened in Multiverse Group 944".
posted by Flunkie at 10:25 PM on April 28, 2011


There's no more boring character than Superman. He can do anything, literally anything, so there's never any tension in the stories - give or take a bit of kryptonite he's always going to win.

He can't warp reality, like The Endless. He's weak to magic. I'd love to see John Constantine vs Superman....
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:54 PM on April 28, 2011


From here in Australia, I'm hearing indications that the right wing blogs, Fox, etc. are going batshit over the Superman story. Is the news in the States really hammering this that hard, and if so, how much of a smokescreen is it providing the GOP, allowing enough time that they don't have to uncomfortably distance themselves from Trump's recent birther idiocy?
posted by MarchHare at 11:29 PM on April 28, 2011


Bah. "Clark Kent" is just Superman's critique on the human race

Sorry, but I've got to go with "nurture" over "nature" on this one. The dude came to Earth when he was an infant, where he grew up on a Midwestern farm, with good, caring parents. He may be incredibly strong/fast/full of lasers, but he's got the same emotions and non-physical failings as any human. For all his power, the one thing he can never be is like everyone else, and the thing that makes him heroic is that he doesn't think it makes him better. (Even though, let's face it, it does.)

So I vote wholesome farm boy with super powers. The alternative, "creepy alien with contempt for human weakness," doesn't seem "core" Superman, IMO. (And that's why we have Martian Manhunter.)

It's part of what makes him such a good contrast to Batman, who's been putting on a "Bruce Wayne" costume since he was eight.

Is the news in the States really hammering this that hard, and if so, how much of a smokescreen is it providing the GOP, allowing enough time that they don't have to uncomfortably distance themselves from Trump's recent birther idiocy?

No, it's pretty minor so far. There's a select group of culture warriors who really wig out about this kind of thing, but it's never a big enough deal for conservatives to get much traction out of it. See the the complaints about: Captain America punching Tea Partiers, Muslim Batman, Black Asgardians, etc. If this were WWII, we'd have fucking Brown Shirts complaining about everybody beating up Nazis.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:02 AM on April 29, 2011 [5 favorites]



It's part of what makes him such a good contrast to Batman, who's been putting on a "Bruce Wayne" costume since he was eight.


YES

There was an Elseworld where Kal-El was found by the Waynes. As you could imagine, seeing his parents shot in front of him didn't do great things for his mental health.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:10 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's no more boring character than Superman.

If you really think that, you're not imaginative enough to be writing this character. There have been Superman comics longer than probably any of us have been alive. There will almost certainly be Superman stories after we're all dead. If a writer can't think of what to do with Superman other than somehow turn him into a different character -- some kind of superpowered version of DKR/Arkham Asylum-era Batman, usually -- then the failure is a failure of the writer, not the character. The problem here is pure user error.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:29 AM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Totally, kittens. Superman, both comic and character, has long been a mirror of some facet of American life, from the immigrant experience to the big suited eighties. Heck, even the super ventriloquist Silver Age years were an embrace of a rampant America's hope and optimism following WWII. Contrast this to Batman who, after the Frank Miller and Tim Burton, got locked in a sort of hyper-noir for years and years.

The reflection isn't total - comics can't afford to be super-topical - but it's there. Recent Superman has been a reflection of a later-day America, an America that isn't growing like it used to, one that's frankly tired. So Superman walked the earth and renounces his citizenship. He's being reinvented as the reluctant hero, the person everyone turns to in a crisis but really would rather focus on other things. "Zod's attacking? Ungh. Great. Yeah, I'll stop him, but I really wanted to focus on this drought..." Meanwhile, America is still looked to for leadership by the rest of the world when we'd really like to get our own shit sorted out.

And that's just the baseline Superman. There are literally dozens of Superman Iterations out there now* each focusing on some aspect of the core character.



*Off the top of my head: All Star Superman, Red Son, Captain Marvel, Sentry, Samaritan, Ultraman, Irredeemable, Supreme, Invincible, Omniman, Hyperion, and what the hell, Doc Manhattan.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:53 AM on April 29, 2011


Fine. Who needs him? We'll just rely on good old AMERICAN heroes like Wolverine!
posted by Legomancer at 5:38 AM on April 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


He can't warp reality, like The Endless. He's weak to magic.

And one of my favorite story elements, he can be taken over and used as a weapon.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:45 AM on April 29, 2011


This is what I wrote after I finished reading Infinite Crisis:

I think I "get" Superman now; k so, you know how people will be like, "If God is so loving and powerful, why does bad stuff happen?" When he's written well, Superman's whole thing is that he IS God, and he's asking himself that constantly. Despite how awesome everyone tells him he is, he's pissed because he thinks every shitty thing that happens that he can't stop is his fault. Also he's an alien. I can relate.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:20 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Superman is the original SPACE anchor baby.

I look forward to the greys crossing international space borders to have more children in America. GET THE PROBES* READY, MA!

* on a related note, my mom made me watch that new Katy Perry "ET" video and I am still traumatized from hearing Kanye West rhyme "disrobe" and "probe" in the same sentence.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:29 AM on April 29, 2011


Superman is the original SPACE anchor baby.

Is he not the first intergalactic boat person, an asylum-seeking refugee?

And Superman: Яed Son was brilliant. "...as the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact."
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:17 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]




It's part of what makes him such a good contrast to Batman, who's been putting on a "Bruce Wayne" costume since he was eight.

There was a recent story somewhere--maybe the animated Justice League series?--where a telepathic supervillain is planting ideas inside the heroes' heads, to get them to do his bidding. Even though their actions were against their natures, it felt like they were the result of their own thoughts.

Only Batman was able to figure out what was going on. How? The villain's manufactured thoughts had him calling himself "Bruce"...and he doesn't think of himself as Bruce Wayne.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:55 AM on April 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


* on a related note, my mom made me watch that new Katy Perry "ET" video and I am still traumatized from hearing Kanye West rhyme "disrobe" and "probe" in the same sentence.

DRIVING SPACESHIPS INSTEAD OF CARRRSSSSS
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:31 AM on April 29, 2011


There was another good bit in Mark Waid's run on JLA following Grant Morrison, in which Batman and Superman had agreed to reveal their identities to the rest of the JLA, most of whom didn't know them. They invited the others to the Batcave, where they were dressed in their Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent clothes.

Batman made his declaration bluntly and easily; Superman felt awkward. It wasn't personal for Batman -- his masks are just a tactical choice. For Superman, it was intensely personal.
posted by Zed at 9:31 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The usual suspects are abuzz..."

What are they suspected of?
posted by Eideteker at 9:50 AM on April 29, 2011



There was a recent story somewhere--maybe the animated Justice League series?--where a telepathic supervillain is planting ideas inside the heroes' heads, to get them to do his bidding. Even though their actions were against their natures, it felt like they were the result of their own thoughts.

Only Batman was able to figure out what was going on. How? The villain's manufactured thoughts had him calling himself "Bruce"...and he doesn't think of himself as Bruce Wayne.


I think that was in Batman Beyond.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:57 AM on April 29, 2011


Q: Did Tarrantino lift from Alan Moore, or did I just totally misidentify my super-baby-blanket observation?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2011


I think that was in Batman Beyond.

Yeah, and it was a sonic-based villain, Shriek. The turn there, when Bruce Wayne reveals that he hasn't thought of himself as Bruce for years, is a really good point in the series.

To tie this in with the thread, one of the major differences between Batman and Superman is that Batman lost his childhood (hope, innocence, positive outlook, what have you) all at once in Crime Alley; Superman loses his by degrees. I think that makes the latter an interesting character, he's an invulnerable man dying by inches, not from wounds but from the slow realization that mankind might not be as inherently good as he thought. I think this is why Superman's origin gets reset every seven to ten years or so while Batman's remains untouched - you have to reset the optimism before the world wears it down again.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:11 AM on April 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Pirate, et al: Tarantino lifted from Feiffer, possibly via Pynchon.
posted by kipmanley at 11:35 AM on April 29, 2011


I stopped following superheroes after the Justice League Lockout.
posted by srboisvert at 11:36 AM on April 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


joannemullen, You are the wrongest wrong in wrongville. If you think a dude who has laser eyes, freeze breath, xray vision, superhypnotism, superventriloquism, superintelligence, and A FLYING CAR THAT PUNCHES PEOPLE is boring then I'd really like to know what gets you excited. There are some great Superman comics out there Go read All Star Superman or almost anything from the sixties and tell me it's not fun. A lot of good Superman stories are out of the main DC continuity, because most of DC's main titles are just completely bogged down by their continuity and unable to produce a coherent or enjoyable story. Still, Superman, boring? Nope.

Also, it boggles my mind that James Robinson, the man who wrote Starman, one of my all time favorite series (Although I wasn't aware of the Goyer ghostwriting thing. Is that true?) is writing the Justice League of America, which is DC's flagship superteam (like Marvel's Avengers) and it's just awful. It's not just bad, but because of it having to keep up with every "event" in the DCU it's damn-near incomprehensible.

I really wish DC would foster the kind of good storytelling with JLA and Superman that they have been with the Batman line of comics. Or at least something coherent and fun (if not very good) like Green Lantern and his Rainbow Brite buddies.

Also, I know it's comics, but how is Superman a citizen? And, how can you renounce citizenship? That's like, not how it works right? I guess if you can flash fry a government official you just say "I renounce my citizenship." and he just takes care of that shit.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:35 AM on April 30, 2011


I think this is why Superman's origin gets reset every seven to ten years or so while Batman's remains untouched - you have to reset the optimism before the world wears it down again.

Does Superman age? Has that been established? I'm fascinated by the thought of a Superman a hundred years from now, worn down to complete and utter nihilism.
posted by EarBucket at 7:50 AM on April 30, 2011


Does Superman age?

It seems not. Or at least not to the same degree Batman does.

By the way, searching for these images brought up one of the nicest bits of The Dark Knight Returns. Love that sequence.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:23 AM on April 30, 2011


"There was an Elseworld where Kal-El was found by the Waynes."

Oh dear god, I read that as if he was found and raised by the Wayanses.
posted by Eideteker at 11:38 AM on May 2, 2011


"By denouncing his citizenship, Superman becomes an eerie metaphor for the current economic and power status the country holds worldwide."

Wait, FoxNews correspondent, you mean Superman represents our corporate masters? Having grown too big for America, he no longer needs us and is free to leave us to our own devices.

The fact that he doesn't seem to age makes him even more like a corporation.
posted by Eideteker at 11:45 AM on May 2, 2011


GailSimone: "Geez, Superman...um. That's quite a...well, umm. Look. I'll just go quietly." #Supermanrenouncespants
posted by filthy light thief at 5:30 PM on May 3, 2011


This is the most sensible article I've seen about this whole controversy.

(but it's not nearly as entertaining as #Supermanrenouncespants)
posted by straight at 10:29 PM on May 3, 2011


That's a really good article, straight.

I've finally read the story in question, and it was okay, but pretty much just a stunt. As mightygodking points out in his article, only the lead story by Paul Cornell actually "counts" as being in continuity, and the others are just filler. There was a time when DC would label stories like Goyer's as "imaginary," or use some framing device to show they were disconnected from Superman's continuing adventures at the front of the book, but they're just not that careful these days. Anyway, I don't expect it to ever be referenced again.

But this could have been an interesting extension of continuity if it had been handled right. In the current storylines Superman spent a year in space on the planet New Krypton, only to see it destroyed by a rogue US army general. Then they went straight to the JMS Grounded stuff and ignored any ramifications that might have come from that. But I imagine it would have pissed off Superman quite a bit to see his relatives murdered by a man who was putatively working for the President and Congress. Maybe he would renounce his citizenship and start wandering around the world, taking a more active interest in the spread of democracy and the exposure of secrets. Showing up in Iran, helping to bring down corrupt politicians and that sort of thing, instead of always fighting super villains. It might have made for an interesting storyline, anyway.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:08 AM on May 7, 2011


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