Superman's Ferguson metaphor insults real life police
The latest issue of Action Comics finds Superman battling a foe on the streets of Metropolis, but this time he isn’t taking on his rival Lex Luthor. Instead, he’s battling the police, which has some people outraged.But who are these younger fans, and how many of them are there? The store owner doesn't even say.
“There’s some fans that are alienated, a portion of the older fans," said Dimitrios Fragiskatos, the manager of Midtown Comics in New York City. "[But] younger fans seem to be embracing it.”
The new issue comes from the minds of Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder, who have imagined a much darker story for arguably the world's most iconic superhero. The comic has been making waves for its controversial theme as the parallels to the riots in Ferguson and St. Louis are impossible to ignore.Because it's all built on badly informed information. The darker angle also turns me off, because that's practically been the norm for years; no optimism allowed by the editors/publishers, if at all.
Patrick Colligan, president of the NJ State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, told FOX411 the comic is disgraceful.Nobody who believes in justice and honesty, that's for sure. Indeed, a lot of this thinking has been going on for years, and Marvel's Civil War may have precipitated some of this mess.
"They want to sell comics," he said. "Unfortunately it's at the expense of some very great cops out there every day protecting the public.”
Still, seeing a police officer portrayed as a villain didn’t come as a shock to Colligan.
“We are once again painted with the very broad stroke nobody wants to be painted with," he said.
The store manager, unfortunately, is defending this propaganda:
But Fragiskatos said the move is actually in line with the Superman fans know.Oh please! Not every Superman story depicted police as corrupt to the core, and millionaires as the sole antagonist. I've read some of the Golden Age Superman tales, and the 4th issue has him working to defeat a crooked football coach mixed up with organized crime who wants to keep his job at all costs. These particular characters were anything but wealthy. Earlier, Supes even taught a lesson to an arms profiteer who was supplying warmongers in south America just so they could blast each other up. Are these early tales perfect? No, but unlike today's embarrassments, the political tones back in the day weren't so overt and forced. In a modern age when the internet should make the best use for research of every perspective to see which is the most accurate, it's hard to understand why Pak and Kuder can't prove they have what it takes to do that.
“[He is] standing up for the little guy, which is what he’s always stood up for, [but] the law usually is on the side of civilians," he said.
Fragiskatos added that this issue is far from the first time Superman was inspired by a real-life situation.
“[Some of] the earliest stories involve [Superman] fighting corrupt landlords and businesses and that was to give depression era people something [to relate to]," he said. "When you look back it’s not surprising that he became popular when there was no real world hero to look up to.”
Fragriskatos defended the creative team’s decision, saying they are not doing anything many other comic book authors have done.Yes, at a time when DC's long turned stale. It's regrettable the store manager's siding with the writers when he doesn't have to, all because he supposedly wants to defend his livelihood. Not everybody will be fooled, and some will guess that it's just like a salesperson to side with the big guys in this whole affair, rather than the consumer, who represents the little guy.
“I think for (Pak and Kuder), having read their works prior, it never seems like a gimmick. It’s very much them wanting to tell a fresh new story. After 5,000 issues, it's hard to keep [stories] fresh,” Fragiskatos said.
Colligan, however, argued comic books should go back to the basics.That's one part where the guy from police may be slipping. Comics have always dealt with stuff like social issues. The question is whether the writers are being honest about the presentation and facts, and if they're taking the risk of alienating at least half the audience. It's a matter of whether they should tone down the whole pile of politicized issues they're clogging in. Which they did to some extent in the Silver Age, and that actually helped. But one thing the guy gets right is, comics, specifically superheroes, should get back to offering audiences some tasteful laughs and not be overly serious. Yet that's just what DC's been suffering from, and as a result, who can find all these messes funny? They should also stop imposing mandates that dictate Lois Lane can no longer be paired with Superman, because that's also part and parcel of the problem, and writing that she gives away Clark's secret was also poor taste.
“Comic books are taking on social issues lately and maybe they should get back to taking on superheroes and making people laugh,” he said.