Superman has tweaked his trademark motto, in an announcement made at DC FanDome by his publisher’s creative chief.
Jim Lee told the high-profile event that instead of fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, he’d be altering his agenda for future adventures.
What does the Man of Steel stand for in 2021?
The reworked version reads “Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow.” Lee referred to Clark Kent’s caped crusader as a beacon of inspiration, stating “it is that optimism and hope that powers him forward with this new mission statement.”
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Lee “declined to comment further as to why ‘American Way’ was dropped.” It’s been in use since the Son of Krypton flew onto the airwaves in 1940.
This news follows revelations that the character will become bisexual in his latest incarnation. Jonathan Kent – son of Clark and the Daily Planet’s finest Lois Lane – is to date a male “refugee ‘hacktivist’ reporter” writes the Daily Mail.
It’s a far cry from the “classic” version of Superman, who has forever been tied to Lois Lane. A TV series focusing on the pair, Clark and Lois, has been airing on The CW since earlier this year. Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch play the title characters.
This follows on from, well, Lois and Clark, the 1990s show with Dean Cain as Superman and Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane.
An evolving character and enduring legend of DC Comics
Superman is DC Comics’ oldest superhero, first appearing in a 1938 issue of Action Comics. He’s also seen as a traditional figure by many, who’ve enjoyed his exploits in print for decades.
Launched to safety from the dying planet Krypton by father Jor-El, young Kal-El famously crash-landed on Earth, where his Kryptonian powers made him extraordinary. Adopted by Jonathan Kent Sr. and his wife Martha, he was an all-American boy turned defender of the Earth.
Over the years, he’s been compared to Moses, reinforcing his mythical reputation. At the same time, however, writers and artists have needed to move him on to keep him relevant.
So, what has the response been to this latest development for the Man of Steel…?
Certain reactions are far from Super
While some commentators have supported the move, others are voting with their feet. Former Superman Cain proudly displays “Truth, Justice and the American Way” on his Twitter profile.
“I say they’re jumping on the bandwagon,” he writes in an opinion piece for Real Clear Politics. Accusing creators of “fighting the wrong issues,” Cain highlights what he sees as a “woke” agenda. The actor adds the move is “globalist, it’s anti-America, but it’s not bold and it’s not brave.”
Cain is also critical of the bisexual storyline, suggesting (perhaps light-heartedly) that by loving a hacktivist, Superman could be endorsing criminality.
The shift in content has led to DC Comics’ colorist Gabe Eltaeb leaving the company. Eltaeb, who previously worked on Superman books, announced the news during a podcast with Ethan Van Sciver.
“My Grandpa almost died in World War II; we don’t have a right to destroy sh*t that people died for to give us,” he remarked, in reference to the new slogan.
“Changing the slogan for this cartoon has made a lot of people angry” quipped talk show host Stephen Colbert, “which, of course, is the American way.”
It isn’t the first time he’s questioned his famous motto
Superman failing to drape himself in the flag isn’t the fork in the road some might think.
CBR recalled other changes made to the character back in 2017. For example, to begin with, he couldn’t fly. Mentioning the famous declaration of “able to leap tall buildings in a single bound,” they note that “writers said that it would look silly on the pages and avoided it as much as possible.”
Several major franchises have attracted controversy over what some see as the imposition of “woke” values. Star Wars and Doctor Who are two of the long-running properties which have riled sections of the fanbase by going in different directions.
Will this backlash damage the Man of Steel, or simply bounce off him like a hail of bullets?