Thursday, September 29, 2011

Race & Class in Comics: The New Superman

For those of you that don't usually read comics, you should know that there is currently a big event going on with one of the two big comic-book company's, DC Comics. They are re-numbering ALL their titles and even re-imaging some of the characters to try and bring in new readers who are not familiar with the years of story-lines and confusing continuity.

One of these books is Action Comics starring Superman, who is getting somewhat of a whole new origin story in this first issue. Almost instantly you realize that this is not your father's Superman. This new Superman is younger, brasher, and totally aware of class status! Even Entertainment Weekly noticed this in their review of the book. Below is what they had to say:

"Superman is something of a wiseguy and, dare I say it, a radical: In the first few pages, Superman seizes a super-wealthy law-breaker, holding him helplessly aloft, as the police ask him to put the guy down. 'Sure, officer, I’ll put him down, just as soon as he makes a full confession. To someone who still believes the law works the same for rich and poor alike. Because that ain’t Superman.'"

Another great scene involved a building that i s getting demolished. At the moment that a wrecking goes crashing into a building, Superman comes in to rescue the inhabitants--many squatters, including kids, dogs and whole families. However, right after he rescues them he is suddenly attacked by military tanks. (All part of the uber rich and super smart Lex Luther, who is working with the military). Superman destroys one of the tanks but is weakened, and before one of the tanks can deliver another blow, the masses of people who he just saved come to his rescue! One of the squatters, standing in front of the tank's cannon, yells at the tanks, "Enough! This guy just saved our Lives! My Kids!"

I'm not saying this new Superman is totally class-conscious or anything, but this new take, written by one of the best comic-book scribes out there, Grant Morrison, is worth checking out. There is also great art by Rage Morales who does some great work in this issue, drawing mostly people who are not in costume.

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