SUPERMAN EXCLUSIVE: Mark Waid, Marc Guggenheim and Al Gough Weigh in on the American Citizenship "Controversy"
The biggest story last week in the world of the Man of Steel was the character's denouncing of his American citizenship. Lots of points of view have been expressed, and we've got those of Marc Guggenheim, Al Gough and Mark Waid.
Based purely on a character front, the fact that this story has generated the kind of "controversy" that it has does seem a little bit surprising as Superman has long seen himself as a servant to humanity rather than a tool of the U.S. government (Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns not withstanding). That's the important thing to bear in mind: in the Action Comics #900 story by David Goyer, Superman was NOT somehow denouncing this country as so many people have construed, but, instead, is emphasizing that his role as hero is global.
In some ways, the character said it best himself in the one highlight from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, when he addressed the United Nations.
Rather than focus on what they're saying on various news organizations, we turned to a few people immersed in the world of superheroes and/or the Man of Steel to get their feeling about the announcement.
Mark Waid, whose comic credits are far too extensive to list here, but who does count among them the maxi-series Superman Birthright, muses, "I thought it was a well-intentioned but, through no one's fault, badly timed message. I see what the writer was going for, but our country is so angirly divided right now as it's been in my lifetime, and I fear that the message will get -- has gotten -- buried in all the rage."
Al Gough, the co-creator of Smallville, sees the move considerably more negatively. "This sounds like a callous marketing ploy by a large entertainment conglomerate to make a classic American character more appealing to a world wide audience," he opines. "The international box office on most superhero films is equal to, or below the domestic gross (see Spidey, Iron Man,even Dark Knight). Compare that to the grosses of other blockbusters (Harry Potter, Transformers) where the international BO is twice as big as domestic grosses. Btw, The international gross on the last Superman film was $50 million below the domestic. There is nothing 'creative' about this big announcement or additive to the cannon, its all about business."
Marc Guggenheim, who, besides his comics credits has co-written this summer's feature film version of Green Lantern, wryly notes, "It was news to me that he had American citizenship to announce. I doubt that Jonathan and Martha legally adopted him -- and even if they tried, it would be fraudulent since I doubt they disclosed his birthplace -- so Superman has always been an illegal alien --literally."
Let the debate continue!
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