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Is Superman Un-American?

Does the decisions Superman makes in Action Comics 900 make him less of an American?

"Truth, Justice, and the American way." It's a part of Superman and why he protects humans. He's always been a symbol of American patriotism simply because he landed in America. He's always fought for Americans in tough times, and characters within the DC Universe think of Superman as the ultimate symbol for America.

This brings us to the events of Action Comics #900. This issue is taking a lot of heat and it's not because of Superman essentially fighting God in Lex Luthor format. In fact, the story in the book taking all said heat isn't even the main story; it's a back-up one. In the story called "The Incident" written by David S. Goyer and drawn by Miguel Sepulveda, as seen below, Superman takes non-violent action in the Middle East by demonstrating against the Iranian government. He comes back to America, and says this:

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== TEASER ==

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A new wave of patriotism has hit America today as the President of the United States announced, last night, that the man responsible for the attacks of 9/11 has been killed. That being said, because of what Superman said in issue #900 of Action Comics, there's a lot of anti-Superman ranting going on. But does this act of defiance make him un-America? I say "NO" in caps, so you know I mean business.

In the comics, Superman has saved American cities, and the world, a countless number of times. He's stood up for the little guy, kept your kids off of drugs, and stopped numerous aliens from taking over. Now, that he essentially states that he's the World's Protector and not just America's, people get offended? As Superman states above, he doesn't feel like a defender as much as a tool for the American government, and he's had enough of it. He's not anti-American. He's pro-Earth. The fact that what separates us is imaginary lines on a globe and minor tweeks in culture, yet the fact we're all so "cliquey" is pretty outrageous. Superman gets that. It's not about American rights. It's about human rights and standing up for "truth, justice, and the Earth way." On the grand scale of things the world is too small, and we are all connected.

And let us all truly remember who Superman is, an illegal alien...alien. He's not human, and the only reason he's so connected to the United States of America is because he accidentally landed here. If he has an allegiance to anything, it's to the people and planet of Krypton. He came to Earth, saved Americans a countless number of times, and now that he realizes that his fight is bigger than just this country, people think he's a traitor? It's mind boggling.

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I understand that Superman isn't real. He's a fictional character, but there's still a point within all this. It's time this planet starts coming together as a species. We're all roughly the same biologically, yet so many hate each other because of their culture. It is ridiculous that we all just can't come together as a species. This short David Goyer story says that an so much more in just two panels. Maybe I'm over-analyzing a simple story of defiance and hope for fellow man, but in the same light, many people are quick to jump down the writer's throat for expressing these things. What do you guys think? Is Superman Un-American for renouncing his U.S. Citizenship?


~Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a comedian, writer, teacher, comic store employee, and proud half-American, half-Canadian.

294 Comments

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johnny_spam

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Edited By johnny_spam

I am really tired of this controversy it's not even that big a deal in the comic itself only a few pages later this pin up was included. 

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So even the comic itself ignored the story just like future writers and editors will. I can understand what David Goyer wanted to say he wanted to say Superman belonged to the world not one country but he did it in a slightly hokey way a soldier and civilian even shared a flower. And most of the people ranting over how Superman is negative probably never even read the comic.
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LordTaronji101

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Edited By LordTaronji101

unbelievable

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Dream Omen

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Edited By Dream Omen

This is reasonable from him. His smart enough to know that those lines on maps aren`t that important and he`s to powerful to protect just one country, when he`s been protecting the world for a long time :) So I say, good for Superman.  

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Doctor!!!!!

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Edited By Doctor!!!!!


He's the American Way!

But where his is Birth Certificate!!!!!!!

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MysterioMaximus

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Edited By MysterioMaximus

Superman has regularly aided the planet Earth, rendering the "America way" motto altogether nationalistically dated.  Truth and Justice is not a segregated American belief, it's a universal concept applicable to all of humanity. Superman may be an American-born creation from a different and more patriotically blinding decade, but he's never been authentic American. He himself is foreign.  He universally helps people, ignoring the arbitrary things like race, ethnicity, and nationality...so un-American? Pssh! What could be more American than wanting to help those in need with collective acceptance? Many contemporary Americas may have forgotten that moral in their jingoistic arrogance, but that is the authentic American ideal. Despite the founding fathers hypocrisy and crimes and despite how corrupt the system my have become, those were the principles America was founded upon. If anything, Superman is now truer to the original American model.

I don't understand the issue people have with this. 

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Avenging-X-Bolt

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Edited By Avenging-X-Bolt

I dont blame Supes one bit.

 

   

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Lvenger

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Edited By Lvenger

Since I'm not American but British, one of the aspects that appeal to me about Superman is firstly th fact he is in a way the most human of us all, embodying all that's good about humanity despite his Kryptonian origin. Then there's the other fact in this article: the fact he is the world's protector not just America's. He belongs to the whole world not just America. His powers mean he should protect the entire world as well as America. Franky I welcome this news. Superman is a citizen of the Earth not just one country

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deactivated-5a4e0e8ea3dfb

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Sick of this debate as well but because of one major point that nobody on the "this is a bad call" side seems to answer

.

.

.

.

WHEN DID SUPERMAN EVEN BECOME AN AMERICAN CITIZEN?????

 

I mean, I know Clark Kent is an American citizen but since when has Superman been one. He's definitely worked with the government (and sometimes against it) in the past and been shown to be on friendly terms with the President but I don't think there has ever been a storyline in which Superman was actually granted citizenship. So if he was never a citizen to begin with how can he renounce it. He could modify the "Truth, Justice and the American Way" slogan to just "Truth and Justice" but can he even renounce something he isn't?

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ThanosIsMad

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Edited By ThanosIsMad
@Avenging-X-Bolt said:
"

I dont blame Supes one bit.

 

   

"
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Wattup

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Edited By Wattup

The only "Real American" is Hulk Hogan.

When it comes crashin' down and it hurts inside...

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PrinceIMC

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Edited By PrinceIMC

I don't think its such a big deal. When you're as powerful as him you can't just represent one country, sure he still lives there and Clark Kent is American but Superman has to be bigger than that.

Even Captain America has said he represents the American ideal but doesn't represent the American government. Sure he works with them a lot but sometimes he disagrees with them and does whatever he feels is right. And he's got America in his name.

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Gambit1024

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Edited By Gambit1024
Why dies he look... Evil in this pic? 
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TDK_1997

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Edited By TDK_1997

Superman isn't un-american

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Outside_85

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Edited By Outside_85

Think the only thing that would make anyone un-(country) is if they take up a litteral opposition to said country no matter what it did. Captain America didnt even come across me as being unpatriotic when he chose to not be a part of the Superhuman Registration Act, because he believed in the foundation of America, not the wave of fear that got the Act passed, if he had to become un-american, he would have to throw that principle out as well.

The story is actually quite good at getting Superman's point across, as Matt points out; Superman makes a note that he can see the germs living in the eyebrows of the man adressing him, that he possibly has a dangerous type of cancer. This is really no different to Superman if he was to sit down on the moon and look down on the Earth, lots of little things doing alot of things, good and bad, but from afar they arent much different to the germs.

 

Also this reminds me of something Batman once said of Superman; "Its a remarkable dichotomy. In many ways Clark is the most human of us all. Then...he shoots fire from the skies and it is difficult not to think of him as a god. And how fortunate we are that it does not occur to him."

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ArtisticNeedham

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Edited By ArtisticNeedham
Superman Flying
Superman Flying
Superman should be for the whole world, he came from another world to save ours (not just America), Captain America is a hero for America but Superman should be a hero for the whole world.  It makes sense that, as a character, he would come out and say I am a hero for everyone on Earth, not just America.  This would make sense for almost no other character I can think of at the moment, except maybe Wonder Woman, oh and GL, and maybe many others I am not thinking of.
This might lead to him having adventures around the world, not just Metropolis, maybe interacting with presidents and leaders from around the world, getting more types of stories into his comic.  So from a comic writer stand point this could lead to more stories and not limit him to America.  Plus it could boost sales around the world.

Clerk is still American, and in a way so is Superman, he is just taking his American ideals (ideals that raised him in Kansas) with him as he helps people around the world.  You can't just shut off the ideals your parents implanted on you, like the Kents did in Superman.  I don't see what the big hub bub is really.
As times change characters have to change somewhat.  Not saying its the same as this, but I heard it wasn't until the 70s that Batman became a expert in martial arts, and now its a big part of his comic character.  Maybe in a few years Superman will be looked at as a hero of Earth and not just America, and people wont be able to see him any other way.
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YoungFrey

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Edited By YoungFrey


If Superman has an American Citizenship to renounce, it means he can no longer enter the US at all.  Ever.  I'd love to see that storyline.  With the government decrying or attacking Superman for illegally trying to help them. 

 

Technically it also means he has to prove he doesn't own money to the IRS (the US tax service).  People used to use it as a tax dodge is why that rule is there.

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deactivated-5a98cd905fc97

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If he simply wishes to make sure that he's not a puppet of one Earth government or always associated with them when they occasionally mess up, I can entirely understand.  As long as Superman is there to defend the innocent, ensure freedom for mankind, and all that, he doesn't need to be any nationality.  I'm glad that Superman is going pro-earth, as Mat describes.  If he wants to help the Earth better, he should be more impartial anyways.

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IrishX

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Edited By IrishX

What bothers me more than anything is that people are taking this opportunity to spew out more hate for Americans. Maybe it doesn't bother you but it clearly bothers some people and everyone should be sensitive to that. I see things like "he's the world's protector, not America's" and think..... did he ever just protect America?

 

In the end we know this won't mean anything. It's a backup story in an anniversary issue. Life will go on.... and more than likely Superman will still be an American citizen.

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Jonny_Anonymous

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Edited By Jonny_Anonymous
@Wattup said:
" The only "Real American" is Hulk Hogan.When it comes crashin' down and it hurts inside... "
You are so right
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PrinceIMC

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Edited By PrinceIMC
@YoungFrey said:
"


If Superman has an American Citizenship to renounce, it means he can no longer enter the US at all.  Ever.  I'd love to see that storyline.  With the government decrying or attacking Superman for illegally trying to help them. 

 

Technically it also means he has to prove he doesn't own money to the IRS (the US tax service).  People used to use it as a tax dodge is why that rule is there.

"
I'm not an American citizen, I'm Canadian. But I can go there. I just can't live or work there.
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alphamale73

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Edited By alphamale73

Superman always leads by example. He's a boy scout. I have no problem with Superman as a role model.

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deactivated-5ffc7df6492da

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I have now lost that little shred of respect I had for Superman. Not because he's no longer american but because the stupid writers are getting way too political! Seriously the only person I respect less than Sups is Aquama-hahahahahahahah what a joke.

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PrinceIMC

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Edited By PrinceIMC
@reaper2923: Aquaman is awesome.
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the_stegman

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Edited By the_stegman  Moderator

pfft that's like saying Captain America or "Bed,Bath, & Beyond" is un American 

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-Vigil-

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Edited By -Vigil-

One of the things that I love about America is that it cares about other countries, and not just itself. I think this event actually makes Superman MORE American.

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alphamale73

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Edited By alphamale73
@Gambit1024:  I know right. He looks sinister. Great article Mat.
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A_O_N

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Edited By A_O_N

This might lead to that rumored Superman's World Tour.

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inferiorego

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Edited By inferiorego  Staff
@alphamale73 said:
" @Gambit1024:  I know right. He looks sinister. Great article Mat. "
why thank you!
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PrinceIMC

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Edited By PrinceIMC
@-Vigil- said:
" One of the things that I love about America is that it cares about other countries, and not just itself. I think this event actually makes Superman MORE American. "
I don't mean to start an argument but there are many countries that care about other countries and not just themselves.
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Roninidas

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Edited By Roninidas

I am 100% against this.   I think the Editors and Writers of the DC Universe are pushing their agenda onto us. I am not sure why they are choosing to distance themselves from America or why they are choosing to utilize Superman a Well Known Patriotic character for this.   Superman has always supported the United States Country and was always proud to be an American.   How many photos have there been with him holding the American Flag or an Eagle or other form of American Symbol?   I understand that Superman may want to help the entire world.   I am for that.   If he wants to be made available to all those in need. That is a good thing and by all means go for it.   However, why does his status as an American effect this?   Why can he not be a World Hero and a American?   Furthermore, if he does not wish to be an American anymore.   Why must he make a big spectacle about it.   Why must he call a conference with the United Nations to publicly renounce his U. S. Citizenship?   I find it to be an offensive gesture.   A crudely offensive gesture.   One that is really unnecessary.   I also raise the question will Clark Kent retain his U. S. citizenship?   If so, well that's pretty damn hypocritical. America needs heroes and she needs symbols now more than ever.   For Superman to come out and publicly denounce his citizenship is a low blow.   One that I never could have ever fathomed him taking. I wonder what Ma Kent has to say about this.   After all, a young Clark Kent/ Superman was raised with the American Ideals and fundamentals as his foundation. Truth, Justice and the American Way.  

Outside the story.   I think the writer's and editor's of DC Comics are doing two things.   I think they are possibly trying to appeal to a foreign market.   I also think they are following the trend of being Anti-American.   I think they are fusing the two together.   I hate the direction the politicians are driving this country in.   I really do.   The American System of Government is great system. Democracy is a beautiful thing.   The politicians and Government officials have taken this beautiful system and twisted it and turned into a very dimly lit shadow of its former stuff.   I still believe in my country. I still believe America can and one day will reclaim the ideals of Morality and Freedom and Liberty and Justice for all.   With every person that turns their back on this country... on America they turn their back on the ideals our Forefather's held dear.    Not the Government.   I believe our Government has lost its way.   The system works, but the men and women charged with facilitating the system have led it astray and people are confusing the actions of the Government for America and everything she represents. DC Comics is obviously jumping on that same bandwagon.   The gesture of having Superman Renounce his American Citizenship may be because of the Government's Current Actions and not against America herself.   Or maybe they don't like the American Way of Life anymore?   Maybe they are a part of the same source that is tearing our Government to shreds from the inside out.   Regardless of their intentions or beliefs.   The gesture alone of Superman renouncing his America Citizenship because "Truth, Justice and the American Way isn't enough anymore" is at the very core a representation of them turning their back on America and what she stands for.    That is the message received by me and apparently lots of others.   It’s a very sad day.    

 

I do not wish DC Comics to back track. I believe in freedom of speech. If this is the direction they choose to go.  If this is what they believe to be right then so be it.  I will commend them for taking a stand for their beliefs.  However, I feel I must as well and as a result I no longer wish to read DC Comics. 

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Marshal Victory

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Edited By Marshal Victory


Mat 'Inferiorego' Elfring err we been hasing this one for a bit here

 

http://www.comicvine.com/superman/29-1807/superman-renounces-us-citizenship/92-610247/?

 

an um when one renouces their american citizen ship their not wanting to be american any more right?whatever the lame reson week sause story.So from that point on their not american in real life their refered to as expatriots or xpats for short.

 

The whole cant be american because he was born some where else is so much a straw dog with out merit.In real life tho many a american citizen was born some where else but became a citizen.

a few examples would be ..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamela_anderson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Ferguson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_McDermott

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Mayhew 

 

 

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Psychotime

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Edited By Psychotime

I never saw Superman as a patriotic hero. Superman's job is to protect HUMANITY, not represent one country. He's always thought larger than that.

Even in Red Son his aims were the same. He wasn't thinking just Soviet Russia, he wanted to do what he believed was right for all humanity. Sure, his methods were pretty repulsive, but he was still attempting the same thing the canon one does, and it's what made Red Son such a good story.

I think Goyer's got the right idea with a scene like that. I might read it.

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Dedpool

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Edited By Dedpool

Kal-El is an immigrant first and foremost. A super alien immigrant, but an immigrant no les. And like Prince IMC stated he, like Captain America stands for the American ideals ofr Freedom and equality, not the country itself. Hell if anything he's making a case for the fact that his actions could have a negative outlook toward our country because of his actions and he doesn't want that.
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Chaos Burn

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Edited By Chaos Burn

He's an alien from another planet, but many people would say he is more american than people born in america, but with parents from a different country

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redmanta

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Edited By redmanta

 i always think of superman as an international figure

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DKing_CiCADA

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Edited By DKing_CiCADA

I never cared for superman, but I got to respect him for this. I think that he is American in the sense that he doesn't want to be a puppet or control he wants his own sense of freedom and isn't that what america is all about?

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weaponxx

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Edited By weaponxx
@Doctor!!!!! said:
"


He's the American Way!

But where his is Birth Certificate!!!!!!!

"
LOL!
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PrinceIMC

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Edited By PrinceIMC

Yes he can save the world and still be an American citizen but I think his point is the only way he can show the world he doesn't answer to the government and that people within the government can't use him to further their own agendas he has to renounce it. Otherwise people would still think he's doing America's dirty work.

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DoctorTrips

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Edited By DoctorTrips

The thing about Superman is that he's the ultimate immigrant. He came to this country an orphan, was raised by great parents and taught to use his powers for right and never for wrong. Taught to use his powers to help everyone not just the United States. If there is any character in comics who has the most balanced view in terms of what is good or bad it's Superman. An he's doing what he feels is right, you can't fault him for that. There are more than enough America themed heroes in DC comics (some of them work for the government) so Superman fighting for truth and justice for the entire world is credible and very right.

However, something like this just feels like a publicity stunt on DC's part. A good way shake the pot and get the news, conservatives, and comic book fans up in arms to talk about and sell Superman books. Personal politics aside, it's not the 1950s anymore he doesn't need to be an American citizen to be a good hero; he's Superman for crying out loud.

It's all irrelevant though, it's not going to last.

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DoctorTrips

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Edited By DoctorTrips

And another thing, just to be smarmy; everyone does realize Superman is an alter ego right? Clark isn't Superman all the time. Superman doesn't even pay taxes, Clark pays taxes, Superman is a dude in a costume. Why do they do this in comics, pretend secret identities or alter egos don't exist anymore? That's the real issue here.

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IrishX

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Edited By IrishX

Actually Clark Kent is Superman's alter ego.

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PrinceIMC

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Edited By PrinceIMC
@IrishX: Deep down yes but like Doctor Trips pointed out Clark is the one with the social security number, driver's license, ability to vote and such.
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Psychotime

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Edited By Psychotime
@PrinceIMC:  How? Did the Kents know someone that could forge him a birth certificate and social security number once they picked him up from the spaceship?

Lol, I love talking about this kind of silly stuff.
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AfternoonWalker

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Edited By AfternoonWalker

Yes, renouncing his citizenship does make him un-american by definition.  The reason rantings go on is the place that comics tend to hold in our social structure.  They have traditional been viewed as undermining and liberal leaning.  It's a sensationalist story about an over-the-top character.  let's be serious, the amount of emotion poured over this story is what always happens in the comic community.  First some writer wants to shock and awe everybody enough to break into more mainstream media, then for a short span of time these changes stick, then the mainstream media finds something else shiny to look at, then comic fans get bored with the new status quo, then everything goes back to normal.
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PowerHerc

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Edited By PowerHerc


The writers are un-American. 

Superman will always be American. 

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hrodvitnir

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Edited By hrodvitnir
@Roninidas: The Point wasn't so much that Truth, Justice and the American way is bad or obsolete, or that Superman has a problem with America or being an American, the point that was trying to be made is that Superman would like to be able to fly around the world, and put out a burning building in Africa, save a sinking ship in the Dead Sea, stop a meteor from striking Germany, and not have to worry that what he does is mistaken as a political agenda by America. That he's being sent in by policy makers in Washington to force some point of view on a foreign nation when the simple reason is he's a decent guy and when he sees people in trouble he wants to help.  So if he has to renounce his ties to America to get the message across that he does what he does of his own free will and because its the right thing to do.  Well I have to agree with him on that. 
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PrinceIMC

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@Psychotime said:
" @PrinceIMC:  How? Did the Kents know someone that could forge him a birth certificate and social security number once they picked him up from the spaceship?Lol, I love talking about this kind of silly stuff. "
I'm thinking yes. Otherwise how could he have a job? I don't know if its been addressed in the comics but in Smallville they had Lionel Luthor do it for them. They must have at some point or when Clark got old enough he used his powers to sneak the paperwork into the Smallville records or something.
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Psychotime

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@hrodvitnir:  Yes. I agree 100%.
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Herx

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wait a darn-tooting seond here, as far as most comic-world-people are concerened Superman lives in his fortress of solitude in the Arctic, so sure he dose all of his super-heroing in america and other parts of the world, but as far as their concerned he then goes back home to the arctic to put his feet up..... So he's actualy a ciztizen of the North pole!!!!!! with santa.

 http://www.the-gutters.com/
i found this to be quite amusing.

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CasimirAngel

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What upsets me is the sheer amount of negative attention this issue is getting in the media.  Are people so narrow-minded that they are missing the reasons for Superman to do this?  America is the land of the free, but Superman felt that his actions were too constricted by politics and that he wasn't free to help in the ways he saw fit.  If anything, Superman is now more free to help people without having to worry about the political reactions it may bring. 

 

One of my favorite reactions was from the New York Post: "When did our flag- waving, crime-fighting superheroes become a bunch of Muslim-friendly, politically correct, US-bashing weasels?"    

 

Wow.  There so much going on in that statement that are wrong. 

 

I'm kinda ashamed of being American by the way a lot of people are reacting over this in the name of America.