Tag Archives: immigration

Superman, Citizen of the World. Right’s Head Explodes?

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I’m good when it comes to fighting apocalyptic threats.  But the everyday degradations that humans suffer? Dying of thirst? Hunger? People being denied their basic human rights? I’ve never been very effective at stopping things like that. And I want to be.

– Superman

I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship. I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy.

– Superman

Action Comics #900

Action Comics #900 made news this week, not because of it’s the nine hundredth issue of the series, instead it was one of the numerous stories contained within.  It wasn’t the story featuring Superman taking on God that was the problem, instead writer David Goyer’s (Batman Begins) The Incident was the one that got the right’s panties in a bunch.

The story has Superman talking to the President’s National Security Advisor about his flying to Tehran to protest with the Iranian people.  The story is impressive in that it throws out the usual fake countries and leaders DC comics sticks to, but instead names the country and leader.  It also reflects the very real unrest occurring throughout the Middle East.  This action causes an international incident as Iran sees Superman’s stance as an action by the United States.  This causes Superman to think globally and decide to renounce his US citizenship.  He’s decided there’s an entire world for him to protect.  And only DC knows how far they’ll take this pretty comic universe shaking event.

Superman Renouncing Citizenship

But, this has sent ripples through the news and internet with the right denouncing the action.  The American Spectator joked he won’t be voting in 2012 and one of his creators was Canadian.  While the comics industry took it with humor, the right were a bit more serious.  Geek Week for instance looked at what they thought were some of the better highlights.

Most comic books have been on the far left fringe for decades now. There is no surprise or shock value in it anymore when they promote extreme left wing causes like socialism/communism, nor when they attack America or western values.

But, what’s interesting is Superman isn’t actually giving up the “American way” he’s been fighting for.  If anything, he’s becoming an even bigger instrument to bring those values to the world.  Is standing up for democracy in Tehran not American?  It seems that part has been lost on people and for once it’s not Fox News which had decent and even coverage.  The blog The Mary Sue actually had to make things up (with humor) over Fox’s non-story.  Even the conservative New York Post was pretty level with their coverage.  Instead, they used their article to present the facts and took a dig at Donald Trump and birthers.  The Examiner looks at the “growing call for a boycott.”  Having read a lot of articles and comments, I don’t see it and think the Examiner is attempting to turn a match into a raging fire.  Entertainment Weekly just overlooks the controversy and focuses on the main story, which was less than stellar.  This article by the Daily Caller (and linked to by Big Hollywood) I think is an attempt at humor, claiming Superman’s action under a black President is racist.  Um, ok.

Level headiness wasn’t the case for Fox’s commentators which involved the usual lunacy.  But, in fairness that wasn’t limited to just their site.  Canada’s National Post had this one comment by Batman2010:

Screw you Superman, fly off and find freedom and integrity in some other country, try China or Syria!

The usually predictable conservative website Big Hollywood has only taken a shot with the title of their coverage “Left’s Crusade to Destroy Our Heroes Marches On: Superman Renounces God, American Citizenship.”  That article just links and copies Wired‘s article about the subject.

On NewsBusters (and reposted at numerous other websites), writer and managing editor Ken Shepard labeled it “leftist crap.”  Further into what is mostly a recap of the story he writes:

…simply saying that “truth, justice and the American way [is] not enough anymore” is a pretty startling statement from the one man who has always represented those values the most.

But, Superman isn’t saying the “American way” isn’t enough.  If folks actually read the story, he feels he’s not acting globally enough.  He’s not against the “American way,” he actually plans on spreading it globally by helping on an international level, not just being confined to Metropolis.  To do so as an American citizen has global implications.  It would look to be an extension of American foreign policy and cause further international uproar.  Instead, by acting as a non-citizen he can spread the American ideal without further implications on America’s stance and relationships.

As I pointed out in an earlier post, the right should have utter disdain for Superman to begin with.  While some bloggers and commentators touched upon it, Superman is a literal alien, not born in the United States.  He couldn’t have ever been a citizen to begin with, so there’s nothing to renounce.

John Hawkins at Right Wing News has issues with the actual plot and it’s implications, more so than the statement it makes.

Let me go full nerd on you and point this out: It would be impossible for someone like Superman to get involved in geopolitics and remain a good guy long term. There are dozens of governments across the planet abusing and murdering their people on a daily basis. If Superman is going to start getting involved when it happens, then he’s setting himself up as global judge, jury, and inevitably, an executioner — because that’s what it would take to stop some of these governments from raping, robbing, and butchering their populaces. Then, when Superman couldn’t be everywhere at once, the next step would either be giving up or building his own army to overthrow governments and enforce his moral code on other nations. By that point, every government in the world would be nervous enough to try to develop weapons powerful enough to kill Superman for their own defense.

Many predicted the “rage” including Nerdage, The Portland Mercury, Bleeding Cool and Comics Alliance.  Not all the coverage was bad, in fact the reaction was very subdued from what I expected it to be.  The Associated Press, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Herald Sun, News and Sentinel and many more covered the event without opinion.  I’m sure that coverage has spurred sales for the anniversary issue of which I expect numerous printings.

In the end though, it doesn’t matter as Superman is already a citizen of the world.  In 1974 a Superman comic depicted just that.  He’s always been global, he’s now just acting upon it.

Updated: Writer David Hine Responds To Batman Outrage

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Batman and Robin on MuslimsI feel like today is Islam controversy day here at Graphic Policy.  Our friend Andrew Belonsky over at Death and Taxes has an article looking at writer David Hine‘s insight into the character surrounding the controversy of making an Algerian Muslim immigrant the French Batman franchisee.  He also gives some thoughts on the right-wing’s attacks as Hine’s comments put things in a better perspective.

In responding to leaked concept art, Hine felt going with the existing character, The Musketeer, for the latest Batman Inc. franchisee would be too cliche and bland.  Instead he, and his team wanted to create a character who tapped into France’s zeitgeist and current events.  Over at Emma Houxbois, Hine had this to say:

Rather than use the obvious choice of The Musketeer as the new French Batman, I wanted to come up with the kind of hero I would want to see in a comic book if I were French. The process of developing a story is complex and there are all kinds of things I looked at. The urban unrest and problems of the ethnic minorities under Sarkozy’s government dominate the news from France and it became inevitable that the hero should come from a French Algerian background. The Parkour element was maybe a little obvious, but it fitted very well with the concept of a hero from the streets. Clichy-Sous-Bois, as you point out, is the flashpoint for rioting in Paris, so again was the obvious location for Bilal.

The location chosen for the French Nightrunner to be based wasn’t a coincidence.  The Clichy-Sous-Bois, a neighborhood known for it’s riots, was an “obvious location.”

While Alvin Green at The Astute Blogger argued that a Muslim can’t be a hero Belonsky feels different.

Had these critics bothered to read Hine’s story, told in ‘Detective Comics Annual #12′ and ‘Batman Annual #28′ they would see that Nightrunner’s fits quite nicely into the archetypal “hero” format.

He goes on to dissect Nightrunner’s origin and his “hero cred.”  Belonsky further points out that:

Right-wing anger over Nightrunner’s introduction isn’t based solely in anti-Islam attitudes, nor is it only about how DC eschewed a native—read: white Frenchmen—Frenchman. It’s based in an increasingly firm belief that only natives know what’s best for their country. Outsiders, real or imagined, can’t uphold a nation’s particular ideals.

This idea that one must be “native” to defend one’s country is absurd.  But it’s manifested in the real world by the right’s opposition to the DREAM Act which would provide a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants by either enlisting in the military or enrolling in college.

As we’ve pointed out, this outrage is ludicrous.  Applying this same reasoning, the right should be getting the pitch forks out over Superman.  An illegal immigrant who defends his adopted nation and world.  The lack of outrage there shows this for what it really is, hatred towards the Islamic religion.

Why Do Conservatives Hate Superman?

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On Saturday I dove in for the second time and commented on the conservative outcry over an Algerian Muslim being recruited for the Batman franchise in France.  But this feigned anger from the right got me thinking about all the other immigrant super heroes defending their adopted country.  It made me ask, why do conservatives hate Superman?

You see, Superman is an immigrant.  On top of that, he’s an illegal immigrant from the planet Krypton.  He’s raised the “American way” by a simple family and defends his adoptive country (and world).  Superman might have been raised Methodist, but really he’s Kryptonian and was born into that religion.  Do conservatives hate Superman?  If not, isn’t that hypocrisy or does it show their bigotry towards Muslims?

On top of Superman what other immigrant characters defend their adopted nation?

  • Superman – see above as to why he’s the poster boy for immigration and defending your adoptive country.
  • Wolverine – James Howlett was born a Canadian.  That didn’t stop the man called Logan and Wolverine to work for the C.I.A. or fight side by side with Captain America.  On numerous times he’s defended and saved the United States, his adopted country.
  • Martian Manhunter – Another illegal alien (an actual alien, the guy is from Mars) who laid low and hid in his adoptive world.  On numerous occasions he’s saved the United States and the world.
  • Dust – Sooraya Qadir was born in Afghanistan and legally immigrated to the United States.  As part of the X-Men, she’s saved the world and United States on so many occasions.  Oh yeah, she’s Muslim.  Just taking up a slot meant for a good read blooded American I guess.
  • Blue Agave – He’s an immigrant from Mexico and lives in the US, no idea his religion.
  • Colossus – He’s Russian, he currently lives in the United States, has for a while.  He was a commie, and foreign, guess he’s not qualified to protect us.
  • Banshee – An Irish mutant was living in Tennessee when he was recruited to be a part of the international team of X-Men.
  • Blade – Did you know Blade was British?  Yeah, I didn’t either, Wesley Snipes didn’t do the accent well at all.  He’s the only thing protecting us from being overrun by Vampires.  Guess he can only do that for the UK according to conservatives.
  • Deadpool – Another Canadian (they look just like us!) was recruited to be part of a joint US/Canadian program.  What no Americans good enough!?
  • Doc Voodoo – He’s from Haiti.  He lives in the United States.  He was the Sorcerer Supreme.  He’s saved the world.  No go back to Haiti!
  • Thor – Recently in the news for a whole other protest, in his newest comic series volume we see the Odinson and the rest of the Asgardians set up Asgard in Broxton, Oklahoma.  Not only is he an original Avenger and saved the world and United States numerous times but he’s a god, not exactly an American.  But, more importantly, where’s the outrage for the land grab by a foreign nation?  Would conservatives be so quiet if Doctor Doom did the same?

There’s so many more examples of characters who are immigrants (some are even Muslims!) defending nations of which they were not born.  Where’s the outrage been?

Choice Quotes

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Blue Agave and Worm

Bud – A Mexican superhero?  What, did you leave your sombrero at the cockfight?

Blue Agave – Oh-ho-ho!  How unusual, a condescending American making fun of a culture they don’t understand.

Bud – Yeah, all I just head was “blah, blah, blah” with an accent that made me want a aco.

Blue Agave – What the hell’s your problem, Bud?

Bud – My problem is people like you coming to this country and taking fame and glory that should go to an American superhero.

Deadpool Pulp #2

Deadpool – Most of these guys are ex-soldiers.  They came back from the war and found themselves lost.  We taught them to kill.  But we didn’t teach them what to do afterwards.  They didn’t fit in this new America anymore.

Liberty Annual 2010

Hughie – Well, on the one hand, it’s got no redeemin’ features whatsoever… but on the other, who am I to deny it’s creators their right to self-expression?  I mean fuck censorship, am I right?

Secret Six #26

Spy Smasher – We have the obligation above all others to make sure our government survives.


Deadshot – Not a member of PETA, I take it?


Alice – It colonization.  Imperialism.  We learned about it in school.  When a superior force subjugates an entire civilization.  There’s always murder.  And theft.  And rape.  And the destruction of culture.  The strong always pick on the weak.

Unknown Soldier #24

Narrator – War is a bridge with many tolls, and you can only hope there’s peace on the other side…

The Magnificent Migrants

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Foreign Policy magazine has a photo essay by Dulce Pinzón concerning immigrants the the dual lives they live.  The subject of her photo essay was sparked after seeing a Spider-Man costume in a store.

I saw a Spiderman costume in a store in November 2001, and that’s when everything came together in my head. Comic-book superheroes have an alter ego, and so do immigrants in the United States. They may be insignificant or even invisible to much of society, but they are heroes in their homelands.

Many of these subjects not only contribute to society here in the United States through their hard work, but they also support their families back in their native country by sending remittances home.

It’s a great connection of the duality of super heroes and the lives many Americans experience today.  Check it out today.

Choice Quotes

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Fantastic Four #579

Narrator – Unnaturally enhanced by nanotech, superhuman growth hormones, and regenerative cosmic energy, Natalie X gains control of the entire population of Nu-World, thereby achieving for the first time in human history the thought-to-be fictional socialist state.

Superman: War of the Supermen #4

Lois Lane – One Kryptonian came to Earth and helped make it a better place.  We made hm our greatest hero.  100,000 Kryptonians came and they were seen as a threat.  They were met with suspicion, hatred, and eventually, death.  We — humanity — were incapable of accepting what they had to offer, accepting that change, so we lashed out at them.  Destroyed them.  Someday I hope humankind will be more receptive to change, to living as a “melting pot” of people and cultures.  To set aside suspicions and live together peacefully.  Sometimes that seems like an impossible goal.  For now, though, all we can do is hold to that hope… and let the dream for a better world sustain us.

First 2011 Convention in Arizona, Will a Protest Follow?

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The well known California comic dealer Jimmy Jay has announced  the first comic book convention of 2011, scheduled for January 8 and 9 in Mesda, Arizona.  Guests so far include Rob Liefeld, Jeph Loeb, Robert Kirkman, Jon Layman, Mike Choi, Sonia Oback, Cory Walker and  Ryan Otterly.

Arizona is at the center of a firestorm over a recent piece of legislation that requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop and suspect is in the country illegally. It also makes it a state crime to lack proper immigration papers.  The legislation has already been modified since it was signed into legislation.  The law now requires scrutiny only of people who police stop, detain or arrest. They also changed a section of the bill that barred officers from “solely” using race as grounds for suspecting someone is in the country illegally

Some have called this law racist and is nothing but racial profiling.  Opponents feel the changes made won’t make any difference and have filed at least three federal lawsuits, with more to follow.  The legislation has led to numerous protests and calls for boycotts of the state.

Crime has been cited as a reason for the legislation, but crime is actually down along the border, negating this argument.  Some police enforcement have stated that the legislation will lead to more crime as immigrants will be afraid to report crime committed against them or be less willing to cooperate.

The Justice Department has drafted a legal challenge to the law citing that it impinges on the Federal Government’s authority to police the national borders.  L.A. County officials have called for a boycott.

Will this controversy come to the comics industry with calls for industry talent and companies to not attend and boycott?

We’ve reached out to the convention for an interview and comment and will update this article when and if one is received.

What We Can Learn From Batman About Immigration

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Bryan Young of the comics blog Big Shiny Robot has a piece up at the Huffington Post about lessons we (though he says Conservatives) can learn from Batman concerning illegal immigration.

Citing a line by the villain Clayface in the Neil Gaiman written Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

He died saving the city. No, that’s not true. He saved the city, he died saving me. I said, ‘I’m not worth it.” And he said, ‘Everyone’s worth it.

Young makes his argument that “as long as you’re a person, you’re worth saving, worth protecting, worth welcoming with open arms.”  The biggest issue with this line of thinking is, that even though Batman may defend the city, he still beats the crap out of the people who break the law.  Sure he protects the weak, but he also jails those that break the rules.

I think the better argument to make is to focus on Superman and taking his example.  The ultimate illegal alien, he defends humanity when he could enslave it.  He steps up and defends the his adopted land no matter what.  And for this he’s loved.  Show the love for your adopted nation like Superman, and it’ll defend you in return, like Batman.

Journalist to Take on Immigration Through Comics

Malta Today has an article about Maltese-born US journalist Joe Sacco.  Sacco is best known for his take on such issues and the Middle East Peace Process and the Bosnian war using the comic book format.  He has turned his attention towards immigration as the topic for an upcoming publication.

In an interview with The Observer (UK), Sacco revealed that he is currently working on “a 48-page comic for the Virginia Quarterly Review about African migrants who attempt to get into Europe via Malta.”

Sacco was born in Hal Kirkop in 1960, but emigrated to Australia as a child and later to the United States.  He is the author of a number of critically acclaimed political comic-books.

Palestine, which was published in 1996, is arguably the most successful of his career. It has been described by leading orientalist Edward Said as:

A political and aesthetic work of extraordinary originality.

Sacco depicted his travels and encounters with Palestinians and several Israelis in Gaza and the West Bank during the mid-1990s.  These interactions make up the strips that is Palestine.  The publication won an American Book Award in 1996 and was serialised as a comic book from 1993 to 2001 and then published in several collections.

Sacco has also won international critical acclaim with his Safe Area Goražde, a similarly pictorial account his experiences in the troubled Balkans during the Bosnian conflict. Safe Area Goražde won the Eisner Award for Best Original Graphic Novel in 2001.

Joe Sacco earned a Guggenheim fellowship for his work, which has helped him finance future projects – including his ongoing work on immigration through Malta, as well as a simultaneous project depicting life in Camden, New Jersey – America’s poorest town.

Comic Journalism has become an increasingly popular form of story telling spanning such topics as travels of the authors, personal biographies and recent events such as the 2008 Presidential election.

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