Saturday, April 30, 2011

Superman's Citizenship

There are all kinds of things I want to say about the Superman controversy sweeping the internet, but it would involve huge paragraphs about "continuity" and how not all stories that are printed in any given comic book (especially anniversary issues like Action Comics #900, where the story causing all this buzz appeared) are part of continuity, and how sometimes, especially in an anniversary issue, the people who write backup stories specifically write things that go against continuity because they think things need shaking up, and many other things besides, but I have to admit that I just don't have the energy. I don't even want to begin talking about how superheroes change over time, and none more than Superman who started out as a social radical when he first appeared during the Depression. That no one is bothering to have these conversations, though, surprises me. The thing that does interest me, though, is that EXTREMELY recently, the character went through a story arc where he not only ALREADY renounced his citizenship, but in fact left the planet to go live on a different one (the New Krypton storyline) and no one said a word. And those stories ARE official continuity handled by the official writers on the main titles, not a guest writer doing a short story contained in an anniversary issue (such as Action Comics #900). Nor does anyone seem to be mentioning that (if we're going to go this far in terms of discussing a fictional character), Kal El was not born in the United States, and his adoption papers are forgeries. There is a very interesting conversation about immigration that COULD occur if we were to continue thinking about a fictional character politically, as we seem to be doing. However, instead of having that conversation, we're instead taking one or two panels written by a guest writer in an anniversary issue that are likely not in any way official continuity to be canon, and then making them somehow a political statement on the part of an entire company and/or an entire political movement.

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