— Superman may remain an American after all.
Only days before chants of “USA! USA! USA!’’ began ringing out across the nation following the demise of Osama bin Laden, the quintessential homegrown superhero was saying that truth, justice and the American way are “not enough anymore.’’
The timing could not have been worse, and now less than a week later, in the wake of a wave of patriotism and outcry over the storyline in which he makes the controversial renouncement, Superman may be reversing his stance faster than a speeding bullet.
In the upcoming DC Comics’ “Action Comics #900,’’ the legendary Man of Steel from Krypton reportedly renounces his citizenship, and not because he was forced to produce his birth certificate. He does it after being reprimanded by a U.S. government official for attending a non-violent protest in Iran, announcing that he has grown weary of his actions “being construed as instruments of U.S. policy.’’
However, criticism from bloggers and blaring headlines from the likes of The New York Post and Fox News appears to have been more powerful than a locomotive. A report by The Blaze on Wednesday suggests that DC Comics is “seriously considering a major change’’ for the upcoming Superman issue #900 and Superman may not be renouncing his citizenship after all, thus reversing his reversal before the comic even goes on sale.
The controversy stems from a nine-page story titled “The Incident” written by David S. Goyer and drawn by Miguel Sepulveda, in which Superman takes a more global approach to saving lives and fighting crime by shedding his American citizenship.
“"'Truth, justice and the American way' — it's not enough anymore," Superman says. "The world's too small, too connected."
"Besides being riddled with a blatant lack of patriotism, and respect for our country, Superman's current creators are belittling the United States as a whole,’’ GOP activist Angie Meyer told Fox News. “By denouncing his citizenship, Superman becomes an eerie metaphor for the current economic and power status the country holds worldwide."
The reaction was more tempered from other corners of the blogosphere.
"Superman has always been bigger than the United States,’’ Wired blogger Scott Thill wrote. “In an age rife with immigration paranoia, it’s refreshing to see an alien refugee tell the United States that it’s as important to him as any other country on Earth — which, in turn, is as important to Superman as any other planet in the multiverse."
The publishers of DC Comics explained that Superman’s decision was not meant to be an affront to the United States, but an embrace of the world. They feel that Superman still retains his place alongside hot dogs, baseball and apple pie.
"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," DC's co-publishers, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio told the New York Post.
"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,’’ Lee and DiDio added.
Not only did Superman’s decision to renounce his citizenship possibly not make it through the week, neither did his house. On Tuesday, Radio Iowa reported that the birth place of George Reeves, television’s first Superman, was bulldozed despite the efforts of some local residents to raise money to restore the home.
The vacant and dilapidated home in Woolstock, Iowa, was torn down for safety reasons. Reeves played Superman in a popular television series in the late 1950s before dying at 45 years old in 1959.
Just over a decade before Reeves rose to prominence playing the character on television, Superman was a patriotic icon during World War II in the fight against the Nazis. The iconic Superman logo still adorns everything from popular T-shirts to Shaquille O’Neal’s biceps.
As for the comic book hero that Reeves once portrayed, it appears that some bad timing followed by a potential change of storyline may now have wide-eyed children pointing and saying, “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a…U.S. citizen!’’