ANAHEIM (CBS/AP) — As the biggest names in the comic book universe are set to descend on Orange County this weekend, the industry’s most famous superhero may have already upstaged the event: “The Man of Steel” says he’s no longer an American citizen.
In the new issue of “Action Comics”, Superman declares his intention to renounce his U.S. citizenship over apparent sympathy for growing anti-American sentiment in the Middle East and around the world.
The iconic DC Comics character, who emigrated to earth as a child from Krypton and was adopted by the Kents in Smallville, Kan., comes to the conclusion that he’s better off serving the world at large after he’s accused of causing an international incident by flying to Tehran amid a large protest.
Noting the huge police presence and warnings from the army there about harsh repercussions, he wanted the demonstrators to know “that they weren’t alone.”
Visitors of this weekend’s Anaheim Comic Con can expect to meet with more than 200 comic creators, but the convention is likely to be abuzz with the first American defection in comic books in almost 40 years.
In the 1970s, Marvel Comics’ Captain America — aka Steve Rogers — gave up his famed suit and shield and adopted the identity Nomad around the time the Watergate scandal began heating up.
The nine-page story, written by David S. Goyer and was drawn by Miguel Sepulveda, depicts Superman standing silently amid angry protests in the Mideast, bearing the brunt of gasoline bombs, taunts and threats but also receiving cheers and roses from supporters.
“I stayed in Azadi Square for 24 hours. I didn’t move. I didn’t speak. I just stayed there,” Superman tells the U.S. national security adviser, who has feared the all-powerful hero has gone rogue.
But Iran’s government refers to it as an act of war and accuses him of acting on behalf of the U.S. president.
And that, Superman explains, is why he is going to give up his citizenship.
“`Truth, justice and the American way’ — it’s not enough anymore,” he says. “The world’s too small, too connected.”
News of the Superman decision has drawn critical comments in blogs and online forums, but DC Comics says it not about criticizing the U.S. In fact, the publisher says, the Man of Steel remains as American as apple pie, baseball and small-town life.
“Superman is a visitor from a distant planet who has long embraced American values,” DC’s co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio said Thursday in a statement. “As a character and an icon, he embodies the best of the American Way.”
And, they added, Superman, like his U.S. citizen alter-ego, Clark Kent, remains, “as always, committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville.”
In addition to the newly non-American Superman, Anaheim Comic Con will feature Adam West and Burt Ward from the 1966-68 ABC series “Batman”, along with Harry Hamlin, Alaina Huffman, Tricia Helfer, Richard Roundtree, and actors from the “Power Rangers” TV shows.
The convention is set to continue through Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. State College Blvd.
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