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Superman -vs- The American Way?

May 1, 2011 The FilmGuru 3

For years, Superman has been heralded as the champion of “truth, justice, and the American way.” But the editorial staff at DC Comics has dared to challenge this ideal by creating a controversy of global proportions. What does it mean for the U.S. if Superman is no longer American?

This week, Superman made news headlines by declaring that he intends to go before the United Nations and renounce his American citizenship. In “The Incident,” a story featured in the 900th issue of Action Comics, Superman is questioned by the U.S. national security advisor regarding the hero’s recent appearance in Iran.

What happened was this: Superman heard about protests in Tehran against Ahmadinejad’s administration. Knowing that past protests had led to violence and protest leaders being arrested, he decided to make sure things didn’t get out of hand. He landed at the protest and stood — neither moving nor speaking — for 24 hours. Then he left.

Considering the already tense state of affairs between the U.S. and Iran — not to mention the situation in countries like Egypt, Libya, and Syria — it’s no surprise that Superman’s simple appearance at a protest could spark concern from both governments. To Iran, this must have looked like America holding a nuclear bomb over their heads.

Superman -vs- Clark Kent

March 13, 2010 Bryce Zabel 2

How clueless do you have to be to not realize that Superman and Clark Kent look exactly alike?

That’s the question for the ages — something that has haunted every version of Superman since he debuted as a comic book character in 1938. His was one of the original “secret identities” and the concept involved the Man of Steel being accepted by everyone as an alien visitor (who looks human) known as Superman. Even so, no problem there. Part two got tricky…

When he put on a pair of glasses and a business suit and acted a little differently in order to pass as Clark Kent, however, it seemed that nobody realized they were the same person. As comic book films have gotten more and more realistic, the cognitive dissonance we experience in enjoying the character has grown greater and greater.

Back in 1994, I got a chance to wrestle with that conundrum for a while when I was supervising producer of the first season of ABC’s Lois & Clark. Now it looks like it’s Christopher Nolan’s turn since he’s been tapped as the Chosen One for the latest Superman feature reboot. He’s probably already obsessing on this and many other issues and, maybe, just maybe, he’s going to take the license to fix this one. I think he can — even while keeping the original conceit — and we’ll get to that in a minute… […]

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