Saturday, April 30, 2011
SUPERMAN # 900, or The Day The Comics Died
You see, writer David S. Goyer (whose made his name in Hollywood as a screenwriter for superhero and sci-fi flicks) is having Superman announce he is renouncing his American citizenship, saying that "Truth, justice, and the AMERICAN WAY" just isn't big enough in the world of today. ISN'T BIG ENOUGH. Let that sink in for a second while I show you some examples of this teeny, tiny American Way of ours.
" We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."- the Declaration of Independence
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."- A. Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
"Let every nation know... that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty... Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." JF Kennedy
"Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum [I am a Roman citizen]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'... All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner' " JF Kennedy
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character...I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.... This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day." ML King
"Some people see things as they are and say, why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?" - RF Kennedy
"A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. "Give me a place to stand," said Archimedes, "and I will move the world." These men moved the world, and so can we all. "- RF Kennedy
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Emma Lazarus, on the Statue of Liberty
The right to live and be happy. Liberty. Devotion. Freedom. Resolve. Assurance. Character. Togetherness. Dreaming, Yearning, MOVING THE WORLD. Whether you believe that our nation is doing these things now, or did them anytime in the past, it doesn't matter. THIS is the AMERICAN WAY.
Tell me, Dan Didio, David Goyer, what part of this is TOO SMALL for today's world?
This has been coming, just like in the rest of our society, for a long time. Alan Moore's Watchmen "taught" us that dictatorship in America was just a wink and a nod away. In Marvel's Civil War, we read as a Scotsman, Mark Millar, told us what was wrong with the way we do things in America. A Scotsman, a people that have rode someone else's coattails for 800 years. Brad Meltzer in Identity Crisis took comics from a fantasy land where we could escape from the everyday and look at justice and nobility, and turned it into a world where "heroes" commonly "adjusted" the minds of the villains they fought- and the friends that objected. Is it any wonder that all of these people have Hollywood connections?
This is their vision, a vision they've been hyping since Hanoi Jane sat on a NVA artillery piece. America sucks, America is evil. They've infected our schools with this "philosophy". And our government. And our tvs and theaters. And now, they've sickened even the Man of Steel.
Can I tell you something about Superman? The thing that made him great, that made him an icon of some seventy years standing, is that he came to this planet an alien and EMBRACED THESE CONCEPTS. He doesn't fight for the American Way because he is a nationalist. He does it because the American Way is more than just a nation. It is a wide ranging, powerful ideal of freedom and liberty and simple human respect and kindness.
Do you think that Goyer et al just don't understand this? That their lost concept of the American Way has driven them to this extreme, and that they just need to be reminded of it, and everything will go back to normal? I don't. I think they have a VERY CLEAR idea of the American Way as I laid it out above- AND THEY JUST DON"T BELIEVE IN IT. We know these people and their concept of truth (which is fluid so it can be changed to fit "the needs of an evolving society") and justice (which involves the seating of judges and electing of officials that will tailor the rules to fit their needs, and woe to those who believe otherwise). Why should we be surprised that the American Way is also anathema to them? Mark Millar showed us in Civil War what there conception of the American way is- first Iron Man, representing a government that will enact any law and repress any freedom in the name of a false security and order. Second, a patriotism, symbolised by Captain America that will fight stubbornly for an ideal no matter what it does to a people who really don't want it. And finally, a populace, represented by Miriam Sharpe, who will listen to any sound byte fed them by the media and smilingly throw away all their freedoms if CNN tells them they ought to.
And, truth be told, that is the world these creators want, because this is a world where they wield POWER. They can overrule any law, set themselves above any moral dictate, and get everyone to go along with them.
A nation that elects a Barack Obama will eventually end up with a David Goyer Superman. "Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite"- Joseph de Maistre- "Every country has the government it deserves".
Superman, the iconic concept, dies the real death today. Oh, not the death that sells comics, like the Doomsday thing; and it's not like his comics will now sit unread in comic novelty stores around the nation. But the Superman that came to really exist, as Santa Claus and Uncle Sam once did, has now been disconnected from our reality. Now he stands among the shopping mall Santas with their fake beards and charity bells, and the Uncle Sams that hawk used cars and tax preparation services. But the Man of Steel who came from Krypton, was raised by Jonathon and Martha Kent, joined the boy scouts and flew hundreds of miles to bring an old lady's kitten down out of a tree, that Superman was laid to rest in Superman 900.
God rest you, Kal-el. I for one shall miss you.