By Omar Kasrawi, CNN
Superman, the world’s most iconic superhero, has announced his plans to renounce his American citizenship. The Man of Steel has apparently had enough of the world seeing him as a pawn of American foreign policy.
“I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship. I am tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy,” said Superman in a story written by David S. Goyer.
Superman, the last survivor of the planet Krypton, first appeared in Action Comics #1 in 1938 and crash landed as an infant in Kansas. From there he grew up to fight for “truth, justice and the American way.” But after this story, which appeared in issue no. 900 of Action Comics, he might have to alter his catchphrase.
The tale features Superman peacefully standing by in support of protestors in Tehran. That leads the Iranian regime to declare this an act of war by the Americans.
DC Comics, the publisher of Action Comics, normally tends to shy away from using real life figures and places in its comics. Instead of New York they use cities like Metropolis (home to Superman) and Gotham City (Batman’s hometown). Rather than using the actual President of the United States they had Lex Luthor, the villainous arch-nemesis of Superman, as the Commander-in-Chief back in 2000.
“It’s an interesting choice by DC [Comics] to choose real world figures and locations for this story rather than their usual fictional ones,” said Samad Rizvi, an assistant manager at Midtown Comics, one of N.Y.’s largest comic retail outlets. “It happens sometimes in comics. Back in the ‘40s [Marvel Comic’s] Captain America used to battle Hitler and the Nazis.”
However this isn’t the first time that DC Comics has used the Iranian regime in one of their more controversial stories. Back in 1988, after the Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker, murdered Batman’s sidekick Robin, the clowned prince of crime gets rewarded for his deeds by becoming the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations. An offer extended to him in person by the Ayatollah Khomeini, as depicted in the comic.
While Iran hasn’t yet responded to this latest story, it appears to have rubbed blogger Jonathan Last of the conservative Weekly Standard the wrong way. “Does he believe in liberté, égalité, fraternité, or sharia? Does he believe in British interventionism or Swiss neutrality? You see where I’m going with this: If Superman doesn’t believe in America, then he doesn’t believe in anything.” says Last in a recent blog post.
Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee called the storyline “disturbing” and said “It's part of a bigger trend of Americans almost apologizing for being Americans.”
The media jumped all over this story a couple of weeks ago but perhaps some perspective is in order. This is a comic book story for a character that is over 70 years old, and who has repeatedly fought to save people across the entire earth.
“Superman has been positioned as a global citizen going wherever his special kind of help is needed most,” said Devon Sanders, who reviews comic books for Chud.com.
“What we need to do here is realize there's a huge difference between the words, ‘denounce’ vs. ‘renounce.’ Don't worry, Clark Kent, the boy who grew up on a Kansas farm is still very much a U.S. citizen. Trust and believe this will always inform the Superman side of his life,” added Sanders.
While Superman may be giving up his American nationality, The Guardian points out that he still holds citizenship to every other country in the United Nations. But perhaps more interesting than waiting to see if Superman will renounce all his other citizenships, or whether Donald Trump will try to somehow jump on board the “earther” movement, is what does all this say about Superman’s foreign policy views?
Is Superman a neoliberal ready to fly in and bring you democracy whether you like it or not? Does he believe in balance of power? Is global interconnectedness his bag? Is realism his real Kryptonite. Let us know in the comments section below.