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Citizen no more
Cary
post Apr 30 2011, 05:19 AM
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http://comicrelated.com/blog.php#american-way-no-more

So I read that yesterday and the more I think about it the more it pisses me off. You can take all your sweet little PC talk about how the world is so much smaller these days and shove it. Superman has always fought for truth justice and the AMERICAN way. That's who he is. If he had fallen to Earth in Russia things might be different, but he didn't. So now they strip yet another piece of the character away, in what I can only view as a marketing scheme. They should have left him dead after Doomsday. This...is a travesty. DC comics should be ashamed.


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Glen Davis
post Apr 30 2011, 11:33 AM
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That's the way I feel about it.
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Mark Ellis
post Apr 30 2011, 11:47 AM
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QUOTE (Glen Davis @ Apr 30 2011, 01:33 PM) *
That's the way I feel about it.


Aw, c'mon...yet another cheap-ass, transparent Warner Bros. publicity stunt. They can't kill him or kill Clark Kent again, so they do something like this to generate sales and news coverage as well as op-ed pieces sloppin' over with feigned outrage.

Besides, isn't Superman an honorary citizen of all UN affliated countries, anyhow?



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tbrotomo
post Apr 30 2011, 12:08 PM
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Gimmicky and ridiculous. What's really annoying about it is Ron Marz, Mark Waid are using this on their twitter to get all political and mocking "right wingers who are upset with this." I think it's just comic fans that are upset with this, regardless of political orientation. It's about an iconic character who has always represented the US, to a market that is primarily readers who are citizens of the US. We're just sick of Marvel/DC forcing their comics to be "socially relevant" to get in the news somehow. As comic readers, we just want good storytelling to be the goal, not marketing tactics.


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Gonzogoose
post Apr 30 2011, 12:19 PM
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That's actually not necessarily true, Cary. That phrase never contained "and the American Way" until 1942:

COMIC LEGEND: The famous Superman phrase “truth, justice and the American way” did not originally contain the part about “the American Way.”

STATUS: True

There was a little bit of controversy over the seemingly pointed omission of the term “the American Way” in the phrase “Truth, Justice and the American Way” in the recent Superman film, Superman Returns.

The phrase has become ingrained in the world of popular culture through its use in the popular Adventures of Superman television series which ran from 1952-1958, where it was part of the opening of every episode:

Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! (“Look! Up in the sky!” “It’s a bird!” “It’s a plane!” “It’s Superman!”)… 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! And now, another exciting episode, in The Adventures of Superman!

However, when the “never-ending battle for…” phrase originally appeared, it was in the popular Adventures of Superman radio series that ran from 1940-1951

And there, the introduction went:

Yes, it’s Superman–strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman–defender of law and order, champion of equal rights, valiant, courageous fighter against the forces of hate and prejudice, who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth and justice.

That basic opening (“a never-ending battle for truth and justice”) was later used in 1941 for the acclaimed Fleischer Studios Superman animated serials…

It was not until the middle of 1942, with the United States firmly entrenched in World War II that the term “the American Way” was added to the opening of the series. But later in the decade, by the time the war ended, it was dropped once again.

But the TV series picked it up, and that has become the way the phrase has been known ever since (Christopher Reeve even explicitly says it in the 1978 Superman film). Now you know, though, that omitting “the American Way” is only taking the phrase back to its origins!

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2...s-revealed-276/

We may discuss this on next week's Zone 4, btw.

As for the issue in question, Action Comics #900, I've read it and first you have to understand that it's an oversized anthology like issue. The lead story follows the storyline running through the Superman titles, and has nothing to do with the citizenship. Following that are a few shorts, one of which is by David S. Goyer called "The Incident," which is the story in question. It's like a 5 page or so story and does have a political stance to it, so I get the feeling of being preached at with it. But it's not the main story, lead story, or even necessarily tied to continuity. So it's not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things unless they make it a bigger deal in the future.


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Cary
post Apr 30 2011, 02:07 PM
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Ok so it's only been "American way" for 60 odd years then. Sheesh. At the end of the day it doesn't matter. He's an American. He's ALWAYS been an American. To have this character who holds so strongly to Midwestern values due to his Kansas upbringing decide one day to renounce his American citizenship is a slap in the face, regardless of whatever or whenever the tag line was used. It is very MUCH a big deal Brant. Superman's a hero. Now he's right out front making a statement like this? Five pages or fifty that's wrong.


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Tim Tilley
post Apr 30 2011, 02:30 PM
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I'm just mostly re-posting what I said on Facebook.

Is Clark still an American? I mean, is it just Superman who's renouncing her citizenship? After all, Superman (in the comic) is known as a symbol of hope world-wide, not just America, it could be that he wants to make himself a available (as a hero of all nationalities) globally, and not be labeled solely as an American. That's just a guess. “Truth, Justice and the American Way” no longer makes sense even by today's standards. This isn't the 20th Century anymore, and after the 1950's things changed in the way America operates these days; we've gone corporate, cold and evil. Today, “Truth, Justice and the American Way," is more or less condensed to "Deceitfulness and injustice."

Heck, Superman was created by an American team, but Jerry Siegel was the son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and Joe Shuster was born in Toronto, Ontario to a Jewish family; That would make them for all intents and purposes, Jewish by blood, even they were not truly American. So, I don't get the whole deal about Superman, a fictional character who was not born in America decides to no longer consider himself American. By naure he was never American to begin with, this despite being illegally adopted by the Kents. (If he were legal, they would have had to have had a Birth Cirtificate).

Personally, I can care less since this is just another publicity stunt. I think he is still very much a Hero, no less than Wolverine from the X-Men or other Non-American characters who are heroes.

It won't be long before they make Robin or Nightwing/Batman gay, when that happens, all hell will break loose.
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Dave Arhar
post Apr 30 2011, 02:52 PM
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It's definitely a publicity stunt, but I think it's of part of a series of disturbing trends.

Personally, I'm really sick of comic book writers politicizing iconic characters just to shove them into the small mindedness of their own personal world view. I think it's dishonest to their craft, and dishonorable to the art.

I remember very clearly all the insane pro-American, September 11th nationalistic fervor our country once experienced. The American flags on comics, magazines, and right next to the logo on every other cable network. The angry contempt for anyone who spoke out against war, or the policies of the incumbent administration, despite the opinions of the rest of the human race. Where were all the free thinking citizens of the world then? They certainly weren't writing or editing mainstream comics. The comic companies all capitalized on our fear every step of the way to let us know our heroes were there for us in our time of need. And that they were American.

Now that the winds have shifted yet again, they're right there, lapping it up, and regurgitating the global village crap back to us. Breaking no new ground, taking no real stand, never going against the grain, with no real views or beliefs. That's not art, it's plain cowardice.

Clearly they have an agenda, and if you don't agree with it, you're ONE OF THEM. If Superman denounced his American citizenship because of a specific political issue, that would be wrong, but it would show some real balls. DC couldn't skirt the issue, and would have to take a controversial stand on something tangible. But to have Superman cast off his citizenship based on perception alone? Gutless.


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Gonzogoose
post Apr 30 2011, 02:57 PM
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Cary, you said "always," I was just correcting you, sir. wink.gif

But no, it's NOT as big a deal as people are making it because it's just one single writer's take on it in a short buried in an over-sized anniversary issue that will most likely never tie into regular continuity. If it does, then sure, it COULD be a big deal. Right now, not really.

SPOILER

And in the context of the story, Superman (not Clark) is renouncing because his appearance at a demonstration in Iran caused an international incident as people thought he was there as an act of US military aggression (even though he did nothing aggressive), so he said to save from doing that he was appearing before the UN and renouncing as to leave the US out of it and be able to go where he needed to go without causing such incidents.

In a way, for a hero the caliber of Superman, it's kind of a noble and sacrificial thing to do...

Furthermore, the story itself was nothing more than a social and political commentary by film writer turn comic writer. In the story was an homage to the famous US incident of the hippie putting a flower in the barrel of a cop's rifle. It's a fluff piece that doesn't impact the comic beyond this one short, so I don't personally get what all the fuss is about.


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Tim Tilley
post Apr 30 2011, 02:57 PM
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I think the main reason I don't care is because (A) I was never a huge Superman fan (I'm more of a Batman fan) and (B), I know for a fact that this is just another one of DC/WB's stunts to gain attention.
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Gonzogoose
post Apr 30 2011, 03:01 PM
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Honestly, I don't even think that was their intention. If it was a special issue, part of a story arc, or even the lead story then I'd agree. I think it was just a short thrown in an anniversary issue that media ran away with.


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Mark Ellis
post Apr 30 2011, 03:54 PM
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You realize of course that unless Superman (not Clark) provided the government with a birth certificate, then his American citizenship is purely honorary, much like it is in France.

I think it would be more relevant for Glorious Godfrey--whom Donald Trump was born to play--go after Superman for his immigration documents and since he couldn't produce them, brand him an illegal alien and try to strip him of all his rights.

All the sturm-and-drang over this to the contrary--this is just a publiclity stunt, it's transitory, it's temporary...no doubt Superman will renounce his renunciation when the release date of Superman: Man of Steel is on the horizon.



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Mike Luoma
post Apr 30 2011, 04:30 PM
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Supes is an illegal. Always has been, really. Look at how he got here. Violated American airspace. Destroyed property. Showed no regard, no awareness, even, for the borders of our country. So what if he was an infant! He was an illegal alien infant, right? And now? Any citizenship he has anywhere is honorary. So...

Clark Kent may be the adopted son of the Kents of Kansas, but he could not produce a legal birth certificate, only a certificate of adoption. I can speak with a little authority on that, being adopted myself. I have both a birth certificate and a certificate of adoption - though some still insist I am from another planet. But if challenged, Kent could not produce such a document, unless it was fabricated, and that's dishonest...

I've got no problem with this as a concept. Can't speak to the execution. I haven't been able to read the story as the LCS sold out of #900. But this hoopla is all really just tangling up in symbolism and metaphors - Superman has been portrayed as a citizen of the world for a long time. He helps people who need help, no matter their nationality.

All things considered, this smells to me like a publicity stunt. The left doesn't have the indignancy machine that the right does, so to really gin up the awareness you've gotta piss off the right. then FOX and Rush and company spread the word for you. Timing wise, seems like this would have been generated and started a little after Marvel had its blow up with the Tea Party, which Marvel survived... Pure speculation.


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Eric Adams
post Apr 30 2011, 08:08 PM
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Man, this thread is ripe for sparring...

First, I'm not a fan of Superman. Just not my thing. But, regardless of your level of patriotism or how much you care about Superman's citizenship, doesn't this make for interesting reading? Do you really want any character to go on without any big controversial changes?

Also, it's very interesting that the phrase "and the American Way" didn't become part of the character until 1942 (during WW2). Sounds to me that the marketing ploys were just as prevalent back then.


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wwi3313
post Apr 30 2011, 09:00 PM
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Perhaps if this was a part of a bigger storyline -- something where he seemed to deliberate and talk over this decision with those he cared about, it wouldn't be so bad. But it's kinda thrown out with a bit of carelessness that doesn't really take into account (even recently with his "walk-about") what Superman's presence AS an American has brought about. I'm all for interesting character developments, but something like this should've been played out to be a bit more personal than strategic, not because he's an alien, but because he's human and we don't make those kinds of sacrifices lightly.


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ChadStrohl
post Apr 30 2011, 10:47 PM
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Sounds like the writer in question is honoring the age old stereotype of Superman being a dimwitted sap. He never seems to have his own opinion on much of anything and he's a windsock when it comes to his political ideology. I love Superman as an icon, but I have a hard time getting into him as a character, so my analysis is based on a lot of assumption as I'm not well read on his exploits over the years.

Going deeper down the rabbit hole, one could argue that Truth and Justice are just as arbitrary a term as The American Way. Does this mean Superman must question his own moral belief on what constitutes Truth and Justice as well if a culture thinks it's perfectly acceptible to hang a horsethief, stone an adulterer, or remove the tongue of a heretic? And what's this wishy washy stance that his "attendance" was portrayed as an act of American aggression? For cryin' out loud, an American could sneeze in the wrong part of the world and somebody would call it an act of aggression.

But I'm straying from my point here. I don't necessarily have a problem with Superman not being an American. I think it's perfectly "right" for him to be a citizen of the world. What I do have a problem with is the (assumed) possibility such a statement suggests that Americanism is somehow wrong. This is not an issue that should be wrestled with and decided in a handful of panels. This is something that character should wrestle with every day of his life on earth.

Let the man stand for something and have him stick to his guns when that stance is questioned.


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tbrotomo
post Apr 30 2011, 11:52 PM
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QUOTE (ChadStrohl @ Apr 30 2011, 09:47 PM) *
But I'm straying from my point here. I don't necessarily have a problem with Superman not being an American. I think it's perfectly "right" for him to be a citizen of the world. What I do have a problem with is the (assumed) possibility such a statement suggests that Americanism is somehow wrong. This is not an issue that should be wrestled with and decided in a handful of panels. This is something that character should wrestle with every day of his life on earth.


There we go, this statement right here is the crux of what's offensive with the gimmick. You know, I was watching the NFL draft the other night and they called up a member of every group of the armed services, applauded them, and the crowd chanted "USA! USA!" I watched this right after I was reading Ron Marz's twitter ramblings to make his political points about how stupid it is to be upset about Superman here, a week after he was going off on twitter calling fans of Atlas Shrugged stupid (which I could go off on a whole other tangent of. I as a writer vow to never call fans of another writer names or berate them). This is exactly why sports captures people's hearts more than comics. It's an attitude of the professionals, and it's that simple. Bummer for the craft we all love here.


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Cary
post May 1 2011, 05:30 AM
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QUOTE (Gonzogoose @ Apr 30 2011, 03:57 PM) *
Cary, you said "always," I was just correcting you, sir. wink.gif

But no, it's NOT as big a deal as people are making it because it's just one single writer's take on it in a short buried in an over-sized anniversary issue that will most likely never tie into regular continuity. If it does, then sure, it COULD be a big deal. Right now, not really.

SPOILER

And in the context of the story, Superman (not Clark) is renouncing because his appearance at a demonstration in Iran caused an international incident as people thought he was there as an act of US military aggression (even though he did nothing aggressive), so he said to save from doing that he was appearing before the UN and renouncing as to leave the US out of it and be able to go where he needed to go without causing such incidents.

In a way, for a hero the caliber of Superman, it's kind of a noble and sacrificial thing to do...

Furthermore, the story itself was nothing more than a social and political commentary by film writer turn comic writer. In the story was an homage to the famous US incident of the hippie putting a flower in the barrel of a cop's rifle. It's a fluff piece that doesn't impact the comic beyond this one short, so I don't personally get what all the fuss is about.


Brant, just by your post I completely get that you don't understand, and that's cool, I suppose. Superman falls back as a character so much on the upbringing his parents gave him. In fact the whole New Krypton thing kept bringing that back into focus, because he's clearly vastly different due to that raising than he might otherwise have been. That AMERICAN upbringing means something, and to far more people than just comic fans. People flock here from all over the world with the promise of a better life, with the promise of freedoms they never dreamed of where they come from. It's a very serious privilege to live in this country, a place where even speech we don't always agree with, or religions that make our skins crawl are allowed. American citizenship isn't something to be discarded like an empty milk jug. We take too many of our freedoms and rights for granted, and we've cheapened what it means to be an American. That's what's sad about this story.


QUOTE (Erik Adams @ Apr 30 2011, 03:57 PM) *
Do you really want any character to go on without any big controversial changes?


I'm fine with character changes. In fact I LOVE them. This isn't a character change though. It's a fundamental alteration of a character without any real need or justification other than the personal views of the writer coming through.

And say what you want about the origins of the tagline "American way" It's been around and a part of the identity of the character for over 60 years. That's not something to take lightly either.


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Mark Ellis
post May 1 2011, 06:42 AM
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QUOTE (Cary @ May 1 2011, 07:30 AM) *
It's a fundamental alteration of a character without any real need or justification other than the personal views of the writer coming through.


This so-called alteration had to have been approved editorially. Writers don't work in vacuums either at DC or Marvel.

Rather than use this shallow and fundamentally silly (not to mention illogical) plot point as a political soapbox, it would make more sense to pillory DC for employing such cheap-ass tactics to stir up controversy and publicity.

This is a cynical marketing move...it has far and away less to do with "the personal views of the writer" than management saying to editorial, "Hey, we need more attention drawn to Superman since Marvel kicked our asses sales-wise with the death of the Human Torch."

Good God, why else would DC have sent press releases about this story to all the major media news outlets so even Chris Matthews on Hardball talked about it? Do you think DC does this as a matter of course when one their characters changes costumes?

By waving the flag in a knee-jerk reaction (figuratively speaking), you're dong exactly what they want you to do. Don't be their pawn.

This post has been edited by Mark Ellis: May 1 2011, 07:11 AM


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Gonzogoose
post May 1 2011, 09:12 AM
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Cary, it's not that I don't understand... I am American after all, always have been. It's funny, anytime I disagree with you, you think I just don't understand or get it. I get it. But my point is it's a marketing ploy and therefore means nothing. You really think DC is going to alienate American fans of Superman for a long period of time? Well, any more than they already have that is...

Listen to Zone 4 next week. One important fact I overlooked is that David S. Goyer, the writer for this story, is also the writer of next year's Man of Steel film. Obviously it's either something noted in the film, or he's preparing audiences for the fact that Superman is the world's and not just America's. Regardless, it's still a marketing ploy (something I played down at first, but clearly see now), and as Mark said, you're being sucked in by it. I'm choosing to side step it. wink.gif


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