Fox News Upset About Action Comics #987
On September 13, 2017, Fox News host Todd Starnes, wrote a piece,
Superman defends illegals against angry American expressing his disgust for recent Action Comics #987, which shows Superman defending illegal immigrants.
In Action Comics #987, Mr. Oz takes advantage of the ignorance and anger of lower-class humans. The story begins with an officer doing his job, which mistakenly causes a truck carrying vaccines to veer off of a bridge into the water. The onlooking citizens (tagged with an Oz tattoo on their arms) begin attacking the officer, blaming him for seemingly causing the loss of vaccines. Per usual, Superman arrives to save the vaccine before it is contaminated by the water.
As the issue continues we see people that are in a distressed state feeding into preconceptions that illegal immigrants are taking their jobs, or their one percent boss doesn’t care about their employees.
As we can see, Superman attempts to help everyone. We see him assisting police to return convicts to prison. He puts out a fire set by a disgruntled employee who believes his one percent boss deserves to suffer.
Todd Starnes only discusses one page of the twenty-two page book, which shows Superman protecting illegal immigrants being shot at by a patriotic American, arguing the illegals stole his job. Starnes writes, “The Man of Steel has now become a propaganda tool for the defenders of illegal aliens.” Superman did not choose to protect illegal immigrants, but protect people being shot at. The writer Dan Jurgens, is commenting on recent social and political events, but Superman is not directly standing up for illegal aliens, even if, as Starnes puts it, “Clark Kent is technically an illegal alien – a native of Krypton,” there is no dialogue to suggest that Superman defends illegal immigrants outside of them being shot at.
The recent issue of Action Comics is a comment on the recent divide in America and the downtrodden led by fear, seeking scapegoats for their shortcomings. The comic also illustrates how people give into violence in a misguided sense of justice. Each person causing destruction in this issue believes they are in the right.
The article ends with a final statement by Starnes, that is all too familiar, “It’s unfortunate that DC Comics is turning its stable of iconic heroes into political pawns – hell-bent on indoctrinating our kids.” In 2015, another Fox News article quoted Patrick Colligan, president of the NJ State Policemen’s Benevolent Association saying, “Comic books are taking on social issues lately and maybe they should get back to taking on superheroes and making people laugh.” Comics should return to their basics and stay away from politics is an ignorant statement made by individuals that don’t know comics intimately enough to understand that comics have deep roots in politics.
Comics have always been political. Especially Superman, even if you don’t see it because of the multi-colored spandex and supernatural powers. The creators of Superman were both Jewish, whose parents came to America when anti-Semitism was on the rise in Europe. Superman is a combination of Moses and Samson and a direct response to the Depression Era. He is an outsider that hides in plain sight. He is the unrealistic ideal created as something to strive for.
During WWII Superman was seen delivering supplies to the men overseas and his comics were used to promote the sale of War Bonds and Stamps. After WWII, the Government created the Comic Book Code Authority (CCA) to regulate the material in comics. Superman became American propaganda, telling kids to stay in school, eat their vegetables, and get library cards.
Superman has always addressed racial divide and stood up for everyone. In the 80s, Superman became a tool used by Ronald Regan (The Dark Knight Returns) to stop any nuclear weapons coming America’s way. After 9/11 Superman can be seen as a small figure in Alex Ross’s “Superman, and the Heroes of September 11, 2001” looking up at firefighters and other members of the workforce that helped assist after the devastation. In July 2017, Superman and his son took a road trip around America honoring the heroes that helped make this country what it is. Comics and Superman have and always will be tools of escapism, but will also deliver commentary on social and political events.
When Starnes asks, “Remember when Superman stood for truth, justice, and the American way,” he is invoking blind patriotism, not understanding why Superman said those words. You can read the history of “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” in this excellent post by Comic Book Resources’s writer, Brian Conin here: Comic Book Legends Revealed #276.
Story: Action Comics
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Cover Art: Nicholas Bradshaw
Art: Viktor Bogdanovic
Publisher: DC Comics