Mark Frauenfelder at 3:00 pm Wed, Apr 27, 2011
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Superman announced today in Action Comics #900 that he is renouncing his US citizenship. (Thanks, Laura!)
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His latest book is Made by Hand: My Adventures in the World of DIY
The anxiety of unplugging and why we should disconnect to connect
Suspicionless searches at US border: the next battleground for press freedom
This just as Marvel rebrands Black Panther as “American Panther” and puts him in riot-cop armor with USA stars.
Does this mean he’s going to stop sprinkling Crack over the ghettos and assisting South American death squads?
I wish I had some context here. Is he doing it because of real life United States events, D.C. universe ones, or both? Is it permanent or just a gimmick like his “death”?
I think he’s probably been granted some special “citizen of the world” status at some time or another, for saving our backwards mudball so many times.
Wonder Woman is probably in a similar predicament, being a person crafted from clay and given life by the gods on a mythical island that doesn’t appear on any map of the world. The gods in question were Hellenic, so she might claim a Greek background, but her first foray into the outer “world of men” was to the USA, which is why she adopted the US flag into her costume. Aquaman? Go figure.
Wonder Woman *isn’t* in a similar predicament; not only does she have native citizenship of Themyscira, she’s formally an ambassador.
(She’s addressed the UN in the past in this capacity, so it’s a safe bet she has diplomatic immunity. She might need it; as “Diana Prince” she’s an illegal immigrant working under an assumed identity in a very high-security job.)
superman was made a citizian of the world
by the united nation over 50 years ago.
Because citizenship is compulsory rather than earned, it doesn’t seem to have much value. If it were based on merit: if people had to show their worthiness to become citizens, then the supposed benefits of citizenship (such as voting) might also be of a higher value, or treated as such.
As for traveling, a passport would do just fine, and there’s no reason I can think of why it needs to be tied to citizenship other than “that’s how people used to identify themselves and others”, which in itself is an underlying reason for many of the world’s problems.
The point was, that you may be able to renounce citizenship, but you you’ll probably find it hard to enter a country which adheres to this 20th century model. Virtually all do.
Is this some kind of protest against getting felt up by the TSA every time he flies?
CONTEXT FOR THE SINGLE FRAME POSTED ABOVE
(not really spoilers, just context)
I just ran across the whole of the story in issue 900 of Action Comics (where Superman first appeared). The back-story is that he flew to Tehran and stood for 24 hours amongst the demonstrators without moving or defending himself, simply to let the demonstrators and the government know that the demonstrators were not alone. In the story, he notes that he fights cosmic battles and super-bad-guys, but nothing about the “everyday degradations that humans suffer” like “dying of thirst, hunger, and being denied their basic human rights…” “So, I showed up, in solidarity.” as an “act of civil disobedience. Non violent resistance.” He narrates that the protestors’ (sic) ranks grew from an estimated 120,000 to well over one million… the demonstration began and ended peacefully.”
So, the dialogue that precedes that frame you read goes like this:
Agent: …so what purpose did your showboating serve? Your actions have created an international incident. The Iranian government is accusing you of acting on the president’s behalf. They’re calling your interference an act of war.”
Superman” I realize that. And you’re right, of course. It was foolish of me–”
(NOW you can read the panel at the top of the page)
…which leads me to wonder if DC Comics has become a part of the Globalist Movement, or if they’re just writing the character as an alien who sees things from an alien’s (seeing the forest AND the trees) perspective.
I am (only a little) surprised that the original poster didn’t bother to provide context.
RE: Lack of dual citizenship. How is ICE supposed to stop Superman from entering the country anyway? Also, Clark Kent has no official ties to Supes, so his citizenship would still be seen as legit, should Supes decide to keep that public face.
“Fact” is, Superman could renounce his symbolic citizenship at any time without anyone having the power to prevent it. Try to bind him as you might, he is not of humanity and only bends to its whims on his own cognizance. Deal with it.
Superman might renounced America and even God, but Captain Miracle, the superhero with powers given to him by God Almighty, will never turn his back on Christian America! http://CaptainMiracle.com
Well Superman came into the country at a time when immigration was a bit easier than now. And I guess there must have been a reason he couldn’t live as a resident alien. Maybe the green cards in those days used kryptonite-based dyes?
So what they’re saying is, apparently people really liked Marvel’s Civil War storyline?
Later we’ll find out that this was really nega-Superman from Earth #23, being mind controlled no less.
What I’m saying is that any significant event is reversed or retconned within 6 months (in “mainstream” comics anyway.) So you shouldn’t get worked up over whatever plot twist/publicity stunt they’re rolling out this week.
As a tax accountant specializing in persons giving up their US citizenship, I can safely say that Mr. Kent would face the following problems:
1) He wasn’t born in the US. Whilst he was adopted by a kindly American couple, they never went th……rough the process of confirming his citizenship. He has no birth certificate. It would be difficult for him to renounce his citizenship because it would be difficult for him to prove he was a citizen in the first place.
2) This is a good thing, because if he were a US citizen, he’d have to pay an expatriation tax under IRC Sec 877A. This tax is based on the taxable event of “deemed dissolution” of all assets as of the date of expatriation. For a capital asset, there are capital gains. For an asset like a pension, itâ€™s at current yearâ€™s tax rates as if he took out the entire pension in one swell foop. Most of his Clark Kent assets will be pretty easy to assess: the 401k from the Daily Planet (but since he’s worked there since the 1950′s, it’s likely to be a defined benefit scheme plan), the bank account where he cashes his Daily Planet pay check, and so forth. But what price tag will the licensed valuation expert put on the Fortress of Solitude? His share in the Justice League headquarters? Heck, his suit alone is worth a fortune. With a basis of close to zero on many of these assets, we’re looking at a 15% capital gains tax on an astronomical level. He would have to sell off assets to pay for the gain. Selling off the Kent family farm would not provide sufficient funds, which means heâ€™ll be selling some of his Kryptonian artefacts. Once sold, these artefacts will more than likely end up in the hands of his arch enemy Lex Luthor.
So, in closing, let us hope that Mr. Kent reconsiders his rash decision after taking some advice from his accountant.
Liz Zitzow, EA http://www.BritishAmericanTax.com
I donÂ´t understand, that mean that Superman have a green card?? O.o???
Excellent idea. Hope the follow up on it; bet they won’t.
Because if he was really serious about stepping back from being a symbol of the US, then the obvious first step would not be changing his citizenship.
It would be to stop wearing a US flag as his costume.
Actually, back in the 70s and early 80s I read the German translation of then-current US Comics (plus a year or so, of course).
Granted, I read them when I was impressionable, more naive and they were translated, but my overall impression and memory is, that Superman was for all humanity. Yes, his stories took place mostly in America or outer space (and Kandor) of course, but he also was a Kryptonian human instead of Kryptonian-American. Distant from humans and by extension from Americans, due to his goldlike powers and despite them having lost his adoptive parents, unable to save them because even Superman has has limits.
Back then I thought that Byrne’s reboot was a fresh and good thing (even though I’ll never forgive him “killing off” Supergirl), but in retrospect I came to loathe it.
He basically destroyed everything alien about Superman, made it appear as if escaping Krypton were a blessing(*) and bound him totally to the Kents. For all intents and purposes, he turned him into another mutant strongman. Or a Captain America. And this trend continued.
But with Captain America it’s clear, that it’s a local figure. Entertaining stories, even readable for foreigners sharing the same democratic values. But Marvel doesn’t present Cap as a mythic figure to all of the world, much less the galaxy. Unless DC does with Superman.
*) Just take the original Krypton and have Jor-El blast of his kid for some other reason. “My Son, I sent you to Earth so you won’t be surround by soulless pricks, living out a boring life in a stagnant society devoid of feeling.” Nearly all following storylines of the next years would not be affected at all.
Well, yes, I pretty much agree: Superman is protecting the planet, not America. Except he’s certainly doing it wearing the US flag, and while this was something that you could ignore in the past (just as you could ignore “Truth, Justice and the American Way!”) in modern times it’s looking more and more silly. Nice to see that supes agrees, but this will likely be retconned any time now.
Of course this is hardly new territory. Read the textual analysis of the impact Dr Manhattan has on US history, in Watchmen….
Great decicion the world not just america
Oh, man, this is so corny!
I bet he’s just doing it for tax reasons.
You know who else claimed to represent a race of superior beings?
Ãœbermensch is unAmerican!
Go back to Krypton!
Bonus story, guest writer, not canon.
Of course he was an illegal alien. Sure you could make the argument that he had no choice in the matter, has no memory of his own country and has repeatedly earned the right to call himself an American by risking life and limb for his adopted country, but you could have said the same about thousands of people who would have benefited from passage of the DREAM act. No fair playing favorites.
He grew up in America, and it was his home, he probably feels like he has two homes. He could always come to Europe though! x
Damn, that’s a particularly stupid, axe-grinding “Take that!” Drama for the sake of it in a centennial issue.
Supes is probably the ultimate goodwill ambassador any country could have. Don’t like what he does? What, are you going to table a UN Resolution censuring the man who just flew into your country and fixed [disaster of choice here] when you couldn’t? Good luck with that at re-election.
And the tin-pot autocracies aren’t going to be immune in this day-and-age. It’s difficult to shout “Marg-bar Amreek!” with conviction when the networks are carrying footage of women and children being saved, crying in gratitude and calling down blessings on the name of a big spit-curled American.
Even if they follow this through Superman probably has the sheer clout that the UN could seriously consider declaring the FoS a sovereign state, thereby granting Big Blue himself diplomatic immunity/extraterritoriality in his person. Weren’t Atlantis and New Oa granted UN representation in DC continuity?
Deport him to his Fortress of Solitude. This guy snuck in, and subsequently has brought his bimbo cousin, jerk fellow Kryptonians Zod, Bluto and Matrix chick, and even DOG into our country. What other members of his “Super-Family” are waiting to arrive? Super-Dole-Scrounger Nephew? Super-Alcoholic Uncle Carl? Super-OctoMom? What’s going to happen when he figures out how unshrink an entire CITY of his people he has stashed away in a bottle?! What will we do if this uncorked lot turned out to be Krypton’s Jersey shore?
It’s about time.
1) It’s comix. I love comix. I don’t necessarily believe comix. Bother.
2) As mentioned, who is going to stop an invulnerable superbeing? You?
3) To avoid checkpoint embarrassments, avoid checkpoints. Jump borders.
4) Do SM comix translated into world languages always ID him as USAnian?
5) Superman was invented by two Jewish kids from Cleveland. No Canucks.
6) Larry Niven long-ago pointed out the dangers of sex with SM. Abstain.
7) SM didn’t stop terror attacks in NYC, Madrid, London, et al. Why?
8) For that matter, SM hasn’t dealt with Cthulhu yet. This is creepy.
9) I’m still awaiting the face-off between SM and Scooby-Doo. Any bets?
He’s the wrong sex for Themyscira to extend citizenship to him. Maybe Atlantis? He’s buddies with their king.
At least Supes doesn’t need to care about getting put on the No Fly List.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong! This completely destroys the character. I have a new son on the way, and the thought that he will be growing up in a world where Superman has said the words “The American way isn’t enough anymore” is so disheartening. Kids need dreams and heroes, and David Goyer is taking the biggest in America (that you can run around pretending to be–face it, only Sociopaths actually believe they are God) away from them. He has no right. He didn’t create that character, he is a custodian of it. The character is bigger than anyone, and it is an AMERICAN icon. Period.
My first three sons all had “S” t-shirts and watched the movies. They read the comics. My new son–well, I will encourage him, but the comics he will read will certainly be the old ones.
But “and the American way” wasn’t part of what Superman originally was.
He was fighting for Truth and Justice and happened to live in America. Because he was created to live there.
He beat up slumlords, who acted in accordance with the law. (Well, mostly).
The “… and the American way” came later.
Like many icons of world renown, he is bound to the country assigned to his origin. Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan are British, Superman and Donald Duck are American, Captain Nemo is Indian – but their appeal far transcends nationalistic idea, which makes them greater than lesser action heroes like James Bond or Captain America.
To those claiming he wears the American flag, he’s actually closer to wearing the color wheel. Red, blue, and yellow. Since America doesn’t have a trademark on red and blue and I don’t see the stars and stripes anywhere in appearance, I’d like to hear where this claim is coming from.
You took the words out of my mouth. I think it’s quite clear that Superman wears simple, bright colours, easy to reproduce in cheap print. The white’s totally missing from it and in all my 40+ years I never noticed that “yellow/gold” as a colour was of special importantance to Americans.
Wonder Woman, now this is another matter – Perez took great care to create a plausible explanation for her costume, which can’t be dropped easily.
Ah, that’s were you fell into his nefarious trap. Superman is not
wearing the U.S. colors, he’s actually a terror baby who sneakily came
in long before we (USians) were wetting our pants at the thought of
babies sneaking in, growing up, and becoming President, Muhahaha!
(and, at least we are brave enough to only wet our pants over brown
babies sneaking in, but that’s how sneaky Superman is, he chose to be
He really wears the red, white, and blue colors of one of these
countries: Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech
Republic, Dominican Republic, Faroe Islands, France, Iceland, North
Korea, Laos, Luxembourg, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay,
Philippines, Puerto Rico, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States.
My personal guess is those evil Luxembourgonanians….
I demand to see Kal-El’s birth certificate.
You’re not the only one looking for his birth certificate!
I knew he was an alien from Krypton, but it never occurred to me that he’s an illegal alien. Boy could he steal jobs if he wanted to!
Ah, I see the Earthers have already turned out…
This was posted in the open at 2.58pm PDT on Wednesday, well before I could leave my workplace and make it to my comic shop.
So, please feel free to read the next sentence in River Song’s voice.
That’s not a sentence. A sentence requires a verb.
So I am going to read that exclamation in River Song’s voice.
Can’t wait for the teabagger freak out.
Well he WAS invented by a Canadian.
Two jews none the less!
Kal-El is hebrew for “that of god” (or something like that)
Yeah, he had two fathers! Something needs to be protested to make me feel normal.
Hmmm. Considering how much trouble he must attract, I bet Superman is going to have a hard time getting citizenship elsewhere. Plus, the law doesn’t allow anyone to be truly stateless. He can’t renounce his citizenship without simultaneously getting new citizenship …and I doubt he’s got any citizenship papers from Krypton.
I think there was an old issue where he was granted citizenship to every member nation of the UN. Airspace issues and all that.
I wondered about that. I guess at some point, after collecting his umpteenth Key to the City from a grateful populace, someone must have said, “Hey, Superman… how’dja like some citizenship to go along with the plaques of gratitude?”
I mean sheesh, why would he bother with citizenship? Does he vote and pay taxes, too? Certainly Clark Kent does, but if we start down the rabbit hole of inquiring after Superman, LLC’s federal ID number (I gotta assume the Man of Steel is incorporated), things have to fall apart pretty soon. What’s he tell the census taker?
And did he register for the Selective Service on his 18th birthday, like most of us male citizens of a certain age did?
Citizenship, schmitizenship. Papers-wise, he might as well be Godzilla. I’m not buying this storyline.
He can’t renounce his citizenship without simultaneously getting new citizenship
Sure he can. Citizenship is determined by states, and none that I know of will prevent you from renouncing it without having a fallback citizenship. (There are some that won’t allow you to renounce in the first place, but the US isn’t one.)
Superman is a fugitive anyway considering he’s living in the U.S. under an alias. I assume Clark Kent won’t be renouncing his citizenship.
Wow, In the second grade the song “God Bless America” was my favorite anthem and I even memorized the opening to TV show Superman with George Reeves; (“…Truth, Justice, the American Way”), who I also thought was the coolest metrosexual on earth.
Then, post George Bush I thought I must be completely alone in thinking that we have suddenly became the “bad guys.” the fact that a pop culture icon maybe “down with me” is hyper refreshing!
God Bless Superman!
No comment until the time limit is up.
Sounds shady to me, considering he’s still claiming citizenship as this Clark Kent fellow.
Could D.C. Comics lay it on more thick?
It’s already been brought up by a commenter in the linked article, but this doesn’t seem very practical for Clark Kent. Sure, Superman can live quite nicely as a stateless resident of the Fortress of Solitude, but where does that leave his nebbish reporter identity?
Well actually given the treaties for the north and south poles. Superman actually wouldn’t be allowed to keep his fortress at either of the poles anymore. So being stateless I’m not exactly sure where he thinks he is going to live unless he plans to fight some or all the countries who’s rules/laws he is suppose to follow. Remember the UN supports those treaties about settling the poles, and ownership/settling of the moon as well. Sounds like Superman just made himself an international scoff-law. Time to round him up and put him in a kryptonite jail I guess.
Forget Clark Kent. Kal-el doesn’t need his identity secret anymore, every villain is the DC Universe knows Lois Lane is Superman’s lady. He should just stop with the Clark Kent thing and be Superman all the time.
Plus, he doesn’t need to be a reporter, he makes billions off of merchandise and endorsements! He donates most of the it but still keeps enough to make an honest living.
This decision is only going to affect his life because now Supes has to fly an extra millisecond to get places.
What if Superman had landed in Germany?
Citizenship is soooo twentieth century.
From Wikipedia’s Renunciation of Citizenship page:
“Although many countries require citizenship of another nation before allowing renunciation, the United States does not and an individual may legally renounce U.S. citizenship and become stateless. Nonetheless, the United States Department of State warns renunciants that, unless they already possess a foreign nationality or are assured of acquiring another nationality shortly after completing their renunciation, they would become stateless without protection of any government.”
Us mere mortals are supposed to pay our protection fees, but Superman needs none of that crap, and I can’t think of any other practical reason for being a citizen of ANY country.
How about getting into another country?
And voting, is voting okay for you?
Countries are conglomerates of people, wielding combined power. This is not only useful for silly world wars, but also to make smaller conglomerates of people with lots of money – companies – answer to you.
I don’t really want to go the There Is No Alternative route here, but I have yet to see a better working model than democratic nation states that allows people to curb the worst excesses which arise with feudalism and other authoritarian systems. Libertarianism always sound nice, but in its true form requires the same people who would make communism work. So, for the time being, I stick with citizenship and try to extend accountability beyond borders by installing supranational democratic institutions, like we a trying with the EU, faulty as the execution may be.
He has a greencard?
Although Chaplin had his major successes in the United States and was a resident from 1914 to 1953, he always maintained a neutral nationalistic stance. During the era of McCarthyism, Chaplin was accused of “un-American activities” as a suspected communist and J. Edgar Hoover, who had instructed the FBI to keep extensive secret files on him, tried to end his United States residency. FBI pressure on Chaplin grew after his 1942 campaign for a second European front in the war and reached a critical level in the late 1940s, when Congressional figures threatened to call him as a witness in hearings. This was never done, probably from fear of Chaplin’s ability to lampoon the investigators.
In 1952, Chaplin left the US for what was intended as a brief trip home to the United Kingdom for the London premiere of Limelight. Hoover learned of the trip and negotiated with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to revoke Chaplin’s re-entry permit, exiling Chaplin so he could not return for his alleged political leanings. Chaplin decided not to re-enter the United States, writing:
“Since the end of the last world war, I have been the object of lies and propaganda by powerful reactionary groups who, by their influence and by the aid of America’s yellow press, have created an unhealthy atmosphere in which liberal-minded individuals can be singled out and persecuted. Under these conditions I find it virtually impossible to continue my motion-picture work, and I have therefore given up my residence in the United States.” – Wikipedia!
Re the comments about renouncing US citizenship not being possible without going to another. Well, it’s been done before, by an American. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garry_Davis . I always thought it odd Superman could be an American citizen anyway. How did he get a birth certificate?
riiiight Davis renounced his citizenship and then no one cared. The US still considered him a US citizen.
Thing is, who would stop Superman for this?
Of all the powerhouses, only Captain Marvel is totally American.
Manhunter – Martian
Wonder Woman – Amazon
Green Lantern *is* American, but currently in the employ of Oa. He can quit, I guess, but he’d have to give up his ring.
Him resigning his citizenship is a totally symbolic act – like him accepting citizenship.
Okay, he can’t vote, but I’m quite sure that he would, for example, an election far, far more by endorsing a given candidate.
Are you really starting a Batman vs. Superman argument? Because…Batman. Totally.
One Word: heat vision. :-)
Okay, I concede: Batman might have a “Deliver sub-poena-to-Kryptonians-spray” in his utility belt, next to his inflatable pony.
In an earlier thread today, someone listed all the ways you could be a natural born citizen. One of them was being found in the US before the age of five, then not having anyone prove you weren’t born in the US before the age of 21.
Sounds like Superman to me.
“One of them was being found in the US before the age of five, then not having anyone prove you weren’t born in the US before the age of 21.”
Except no one knows he’s Clark Kent, so how could he prove this? Like mutantraccoon asked above, how did Superman ever get U.S. citizenship anyway if he can’t even say where he was born or anything about his past? Was he granted honorary citizenship?
(answer: a wizard did it.)
here it is from earlier, superman meets condition “f” (or at least clark kent does).
What was done in 1948, 60+ years ago, is often not do-able today. Even Superman would struggle to cut through the red tape.
Well, for one thing, he has a claim to Kryptonian citizenship and Kandor does still exit.
And how’s handing him a subpoena? Batman?
He could use his laser vision ;-)
I grew up watching the ’50s TV superman, George Reeves. The introduction was lasered into my brain every day: “Truth, Justice and the AMERICAN WAY.” I never thought much about it.
Then years later, when I was middle-aged, I saw the Fleischer Brothers animated Superman from 1940… there was no mention of “American Way.”
It seems it was added in the 1950s to ward off the commie hunters.
Finally, the appropriate forum for this announcement er renouncement.
I wish Superman good luck getting a passport to legally re-enter the country after making a quick stop off at the Fortress Of Solitude. Wonder if information on Kal-el’s parents’ previous places of residence and employment still exists . . .
Who exactly would STOP HIM?!
Ballsy move by DC. Hopefully they won’t chicken out and cave. Can’t say I’d blame him, or anyone these days. Outside our carefully crafted media bubble here, the US looks pretty shameful.
Ballsy move by DC. Hopefully they won’t chicken out and cave.
Faster than Superman on laundry day.
See all the right-wing nutjobs in the comment section over there. It’s sad how deluded people can be.
It seems that Zod is a better exemplar of the American Way these days anyway.
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