Superman becomes a super-rebel – and scourge of the American right

 

Los Angeles

He's still a firm believer in truth and justice, but the world's foremost superhero is no longer sure he can carry on proudly endorsing the American way. As he approaches his 80th birthday, Superman has made a shock decision: he intends to renounce his US citizenship.

The move, to be announced next week in the 900th edition of Action Comics, comes after a peculiarly topical plot twist: the Man of Steel finds himself being criticised by the White House for joining young Muslims at a rally against the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran.

"I'm tired of having my actions construed as instruments of US policy," he wearily tells the President's National Security Advisor. "Truth, justice and the American way... It's not enough anymore. The world's too small. Too connected. I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my US citizenship."

The comments have sparked heated debate among fans of the superhero, who was created in the 1930s. With his perfect teeth, rags-to-riches story and enduring ability to kick butt, Superman has, until now, represented a red-blooded embodiment of the American Dream.

Born on a fictional planet called Krypton, he was raised by a farmer and his wife in rural Kansas. Since becoming an adult, he's lived a double life in New York as Clark Kent, a "mild-mannered" reporter for The Daily Planet, who uses vacant telephone boxes to change into his patriotically coloured blue jumpsuit and red underpants whenever a wrong needs righting.

But since the end of the Cold War, Superman has increasingly found his philosophy at odds with official US policy. His threat to renounce citizenship, which has yet to be followed through, can perhaps therefore be interpreted as an acknowledgement that modern superheroes can no longer view right and wrong through a prism of narrow patriotism.

That sort of liberal hand-wringing is more-or-less guaranteed to upset Middle America, however. News that Superman's commitment to the USA is wavering sparked comic levels of outrage among right-leaning commentators yesterday.

"We are turning into the biggest bunch of pantie-wasted sissies I've ever seen," wrote one Jimmy Wallingford, of Texas, after reading of the development on the New York Post's website. "Has anyone at DC Comics been to another country? America may have some problems, but there is nowhere I'd rather be!"

Another reader, Bernie Loverde, suggested that the development was part of a plot to indoctrinate children with left-wing beliefs. "Do progressives, with their one global life and political correctness, have no end to what they have to shit all over?" he asked. Such comments conveniently ignore the fact that, since he was never formally adopted, Superman is officially classified as an illegal alien. By the logic of most conservatives, he does not therefore have US citizenship to renounce.

Nonetheless, the publishers of DC Comics, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio, appear to be concerned at the level of hostility their new edition has generated. They released a statement yesterday arguing that, despite his commitment to an increasingly international outlook, Superman will continue to embody the best of America.

"Superman is a visitor from a distant planet who has long embraced American values. As a character and an icon, he embodies the best of the American Way," it read. "In a short story in Action Comics 900, Superman announces his intention to put a global focus on his never-ending battle, but he remains, as always, committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville."

The repositioning certainly makes sense from a commercial point of view, with a new Superman film on the way and Hollywood increasingly dependent on international box office returns.

Defenders of the move have also pointed out that Superman is not the first superhero to thumb his nose at the US. During the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, Captain America also renounced his citizenship.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?