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Belvoir

Of course Perry would say, "Superman". No doubt fits his self-image. As far as I know, "..and the American way!" was the tagline from the 1950's television serial, not the comics. I could be wrong.

Very good point about how Superman's horror of death, his oath not to harm, to ever cause anyone's death. It's famously his weakness (after kryptonite): with all his powers, his enemies nearly always have to resort to hostage-taking. Republicans are pretty big on hurting bystanders, and they don't call that FL governor "Lex Luthor" for nothing. Perry's bragging of all the people he's executed (and the nauseating applause that followed) is pretty far from Superman. (Dunno, "thou shalt not kill" was pretty severely underscored for me in my Christian upbringing. I believe the nuns let us know that God didn't really care about the "name in vain" part, the murder part was rather important.)

Superman's American in that, in our real world, he's part of the amazing, colorful, vibrant world of visual pop-culture America produced in the twentieth century. It's just an astonishing thing when you consider in its entirety. But the character himself, as you say, isn't really American. He's an "illegal", an "anchor baby". No, Superman is not American. He's just always evinced, suggested a heartbreaking longing to be, doing some mightily backbreaking work on America's behalf. Sounds like a lot of immigrants . At least Superman got thanks, often.

I can see the Christ comparison you alluded to. It's true, but there's another part. Superman's origin story is that of Moses found as an infant in the bulrushes by a princess. I find something terribly poignant that Superman's creators, two (I believe) first-generation Jewish teenagers in Brooklyn gave Superman an origin where he was found not by a princess but by a good-hearted "non-ethnic" couple in somewhere like Kansas. "Real" America. I wonder if such a thing seemed almost as good, to the authors, then. . To be accepted as "real" Americans, like in the movies. Not ethnic, not in Brooklyn. It's not original, anything I'm saying here about Superman's origins, but there seems a terrible longing for assimilation in Superman's origin story by Siegel & Shuster. And in 1938, turning Nietzsche's "ubermensch" into a hero who could save the day.. well we wish he could have then, knowing the horrors of the war abroad soon after Supe's creation. Superman is an immigrant to America whose only wish was to fit in, doing heroic feats on our behalf, working harder than the next superhero. His secret isn't that he's Clark Kent; his secret is that he was a Jewish orphan and refugee, which wasn't acceptable back in the twentieth century , in 1938. Doing valorous work ever since, just to fit in to his adopted country.

He's an American that way. The furthest damned thing from Perry's idea of who Superman is.

(Cheers to Oliver Mannion, by the way. Hawkman was meant to be a tough cop from another world- I mean, carrying a spiked mace meant business- and Green Arrow was portrayed since the 60's as sympathetic to the countercultural side. I stopped reading superhero comics long ago, but in recent years I'm drawn back to the older ones. The history. It's nostalgia, but it's also appreciation for what a great history superheroes have, what a great pop mythology. I'm terribly fond of them, and thanks to Oliver, I am happy to hear they are keeping their character traits, personalities. As a grown up I think it was the artwork-and spirit of same- by Alex Ross that intrigued me again. His love for the mythology I once loved too. He made me see those heroes anew. )

The Heretik

I love the idea of Superman as an anchor baby, but truth is the rest of his family probably will not be immigrating to earth any time soon. Mostly because his home planet got blown up.

And while I am no fan of Perry and however he might save America, as Belvoir notes, the tv show, if not the comic book, always began with a paean to the black and white America of old when evil was not good.

"The Adventures of Superman" Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound! Voices: "Look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!" Announcer: "Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands; and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way."

I occasionally wonder what the next strange visitor from another planet might think were to arrive today. He probably wouldn't live in Smallville.

Lance Mannion

Heretik, did you click on the picture of Supes up top?

Always click on the pictures, kids. You never know what surprises are in store.

Oliver Mannion

Thank you Belvoir.

Tom Coombe

I'm pretty sure the "American Way" thing comes from the TV show, and not the comics, just as I'd suspect a lot of people's understanding of Superman comes from his TV adventures.

And maybe Perry SHOULD have been paying attention to current comic books. If he had, he'd known that Superman renounced his American citizenship in Action Comics #900 earlier this year.

The Heretik

O, Mannion Man, I am just so blinded by your words, I could hardly see the pictures. Or their crafty hidden links.

Charles J. Sperling

For what it's worth:

"The American Way" does come with the George Reeves television show. On the radio show which ran in the 1940s, the Man of Steel fought for "truth and justice."

On radio, Perry -- White, that is -- was Mayor of Metropolis in 1948 and was being touted as a possible Presidential candidate.

actor212

In fact, we’re all supposed to want to be Superman or be like him, at any rate---it’s a matter of character not of power. Superman’s mission is to inspire human beings to be better.

This.

You may recall the recent hoopla created on the right when Superman renounced his American citizenship...in favor of becoming a symbol for the other 6.7 billion people on this miserable rock.

I wonder if Perry will get called on that?

actor212

Never mind that Superman championed the New Deal and took on the KKK and Joe McCarthy.

Dude, he defended mine workers who were using defective equipment!

Dave

I never cease to be amazed at the level of enthusiasm Metropolitans can give birds flying overhead.

I'd advise anyone with any question as to Superman's politics to pick up the first issue of Action Comics 2.0.He's got the attitude that Siegel and Shuster gave him in the 30s, and he's going after corrupt politicians, wife beaters, and anyone outside the law or common decency.

I have a lot of doubts about the DC reboot, but this issue ain't one of them.

"It's Ben Steel and his bear, Hans!"

xaaronx

If Perry is anybody, he's Guy Gardner.

Which means he gets knocked the hell out by Batman: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=topxx&id=5&pg=16

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