« Home | Rob Kirkman compares Rob Liefeld to Kirby? Please. » | These are the Freedom Fighters? » | I've made my decision » | Zatanna: without a real purpose » | Blogging tip: A way to locate pictures uploaded ev... » | A babbling buffoon » | Diversity = exploitation » | Jack London gets told in graphic novel format » | Having error in comments » | Has DC already crossed the line? » 

Monday, October 30, 2006 

When Superman was made to shill for Saddam

An important reminder of one of DC's earlier anti-war propagations. Back in 2003, as Media Reseach Center's Brent Bozell discussed in one of his Town Hall columns, in JLA #83, they put out an absurd story turning Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman into puppets of the UN:
It was only a matter of time, I suppose. Comic-book superheroes have gone into the liberal political indoctrination business.

The September issue of the DC Comics book "Justice League of America," or "JLA," presents Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as U.N.-promoting paper dolls for a thinly disguised propaganda play against President Bush's war on Saddam Hussein.

The story begins with a "napalmetto" attack on home soil. President Lex Luthor -- how nice, a supervillain standing in for President Bush -- connects the terror attack to "Qurac" and says the "Joint Chiefs are recommending military pressure." Wonder Woman protests: "International law and the U.N. Charter forbid unprovoked action against a sovereign nation." She then lectures, "We cannot simply disregard international ethics to depose him ... what message does that send to the world?"

(Ten-year-old Johnny must be on the edge of his seat reading this, don't you think?)
Well not just 10-year-old Johnny. Even college age Johnny could be indoctrinated by this madness. By now, that's what I've been worrying, that adults are just as vulnerable as children. But that aside, they really took WW's role as an ambassador for Themyscira way too far. They make her sound like a UN-worshiping android who doesn't think for herself, and lets "diplomacy" get in the way of crimefighting. And by doing so, that's how they make her seem devoid of a personality.
The scene then changes to people mobbing a supermarket for olive oil because the "Department of Defense" insists it will help in a napalmetto attack. Clark Kent tries to reason with Lois Lane that "the connection to Qurac still isn't clear," but Lois replies, "Every White House official is talking about prevention." Then, Gotham police use a false alarm to shut down the subway system and obstruct peace marchers, and a cop clubs a protester in the face as he says, "It's not safe for ya to risk gettin' badly hurt to attend a lousy cowardice rally!"
Now that's certainly a one-dimensional attack on law enforcement. And Clark is made out to look ridiculous, by thinking that the connections between the local napalmetto attack and Qurac aren't clear, while Lois is presumably supposed to be wrong by buying into whatever the government alone says, because, in the POV of the writer at the time, Joe Kelly, the government isn't being honest. Is that it?
Superman then tells President Luthor that millions of people are protesting worldwide. "No one supports what you're doing," says Super Pollster.

"I hear them," says the evil president, "but I can't listen to them." When Superman says perhaps an attack could be delayed for more proof, the president retorts, "Where do you get off questioning me? ... It's unbecoming to question your president during times of international unrest." He says Batman and Wonder Woman were removed from the room because "they were confusing you with unpatriotic talk."
I think what really annoys me here is that Lex Luthor, if that's how they were going to use him at the time, simply didn't belong in the role of USA premier.
A subsequent picture has an enormous video image of a wide-mouthed president appearing ready to eat a shadowed Superman as he bellows, "America will bear the burden alone, if necessary."
And it's meant to sound wrong, that's the sad thing.
Superman vows, "I will know the truth, and I will not feel ashamed or be called un-American for demanding it."
But what about fighting against dictatorial regimes? Is it un-American to combat terrorist-supporting tyrants? That's something the writer apprarently didn't think of.
The storyline ends with the reader discovering it's all been a nightmare Superman's been having through a Martian therapeutic device. He recalls the dream with horror: "Luthor took the U.S. to war, despite our protests ... he killed everything we stand for." Superman laments being "paralyzed with indecision ... and the world paid the price." Superman shouldn't be so hard on himself. Being paralyzed by indecision is how the United Nations usually responds.
Indeed. And lest we forget, this is the same UN that was exposed as the crooks they were in the oil-for-food scandal a few years ago.

The thing that's really ironic about this is that earlier, Kelly wrote a story in which he seemed to be attacking Iraq, and Iran, in JLA #78-79, in a story in which he featured an alien warlord called the Peacemaker, and the villain's very "war is peace, slavery is freedom, ignorance is strength" personality was impressive. So why in the later story did he go the opposite route? My guess is that he wanted to please both ends of the spectrum, but which really is a very clumsy way to go, because it only confuses people as to where he stands.

Here's an old interview with Kelly from the old Slush Factory website in which he talks about the politics of the stories he'd written at the time. The part that really appalls me is his response to the following question:
Elder: If we find WMDS in Iraq – and after we've already found the mass graves filled with dead children -- aren't you afraid that Superman may end up on the wrong side of history?
Kelly responds with this:
Kelly: (Again, the “if we find...” question...) No. I don't worry about that. The story was a reflection of what many people were thinking at the time, and I stand by it. If you look at the dialog, he says he'd support action, and he'd even fight, he just wants the truth...
But what for? To prove that there weren't any WMDs?!? I find Kelly's reply here very confusing, and it seems more like he's just trying to avoid the harder questions surrounding the Iraq war.

Labels: , , ,

About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
My profile



  • avigreen2002@yahoo.com
  • Fansites I Created

  • Hawkfan
  • The Greatest Thing on Earth!
  • The Outer Observatory
  • Earth's Mightiest Heroines
  • The Co-Stars Primer
  • Realtime Website Traffic

    Comic book websites (open menu)

    Comic book weblogs (open menu)

    Writers and Artists (open menu)

    Video commentators (open menu)

    Miscellanous links (open menu)

  • W3 Counter stats
  • Bio Link page
  • blog directory Bloggeries Blog Directory View My Stats Blog Directory & Search engine eXTReMe Tracker Locations of visitors to this page  
    Flag Counter

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    make money online blogger templates

Older Posts Newer Posts

The Four Color Media Monitor is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Join the Google Adsense program and learn how to make money online.