Don’t forget to hit your nearest comic book store or library on May 7 to pick up your free comic book. There will be lots of titles for all ages to choose from.
All this talk about comic books started me thinking about the recent controversy over Superman, which Matt Price addressed on his excellent Nerdage blog. In Action Comics #900, seems the Man of Steel is ready to renounce his U.S. citizenship because he’s “tired of having (his) actions construed as instruments of U.S. Policy.”
Well, for starters, he was raised as an American. He arrived as a child and was nurtured by Ma and Pa Kent in smalltown Kansas, where he was taught all those Red, White and Blue values.
But what if he had arrived elsewhere on Earth? I dug out my copy of Mark Millar’s spectacular Superman: Red Son—because that’s the exact premise of this work. Little Kal-El lands in Soviet Russia, and Millar uses this idea to create one of the most fascinating reimaginings of the beloved DC universe. Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Lex Luther, Braniac, Bizarro Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern Corp are all here, and all reinvented; for if Superman really did work for the Soviets, nothing would be the same.
Superman as Big Brother is chilling enough, but Millar doesn’t simply play this one-note theme; he’s smarter than that. Instead he creates a new world where the reader is challenged to reconsider the ideas of communism, socialism, capitalism and American Exceptionalism. It’s a provocative ride, and it’s not always comfortable.
From the opening panels—where President Eisenhower announces to the American People that the Soviets have “an alien superman committed to communist ideals whose very existence threatens to alter our position as a world superpower forever”—to a surprising twist at the end, Millar has created an unforgettable saga.
I didn’t forget it. That’s why all of this talk about Superman renouncing his U.S. citizenship sent me digging down into a bedroom drawer to pull out and rediscover this comic gem.