Screenshot of the cover of the graphic novel “Superman Smashes the Klan” found at Polygon.com
I know I’ve been booted out as a follower of Mike Glyer’s fanzine File 770, but he can’t block my internet access, so occasionally I pop over to see what’s up. Most of the time it’s “not much,” but I did happen upon Pixel Scroll 10/23/19 The Little Green Man Was Very Sad, One Pixel Was All He Had.
Cover art for a World War 2 era “Superman” comic book
Item 11 is titled SUPE’S AN IMMIGRANT, TOO. It links to an article where a 1946 version of Superman fights Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and befriends a Chinese immigrant family. I was all prepared for yet another reinvention of Superman who behaves like a 2019 progressive over 70 years in the past. That is to say, out of character and historically anachronistic.
And yet the Polygon article The Superman story that set the Ku Klux Klan back years is now a comic was a pleasant surprise.
A few days ago, I wrote Truth, Justice, and the American Way to illustrate how classic superheroes such as Superman and Captain America represented, not necessarily the United States as it is or historically has been, but as we want to be as a country and a people, a united people.
Hell’s Kitchen in the 1920s – This file is licensed under a free license.
I was working as a printer’s devil for old man MacPherson, me, an Irish boy of only sixteen, but it was good pay, through my hands became black as night as I sorted the cast metal type in the hellbox and put ’em back in the job case. I’d gotten used to the noise, but in order to kill the monotony, Grady Owens, the chief printer, set up a radio so we could listen to music and the news, though he had to turn the volume up pretty high.
I figured I’d do my hitch at MacPherson’s, learn my way around the trade, then move up to something more substantial. Occasionally, he’d have me move heavy reams of newsprint, but I didn’t mind. Gave me a chance to wash my hands, then have a smoke with the other boys and men on the dock before putting my back into it. Even the older Joes respected me on account of my bouts at Clancy’s on the weekends. Clancy says I’ve got potential, box like the devil, which is another reason they call me that name.
I’ve always been big for my age, which causes Ma fits because she keeps having to let the hem out of my trouser legs.
For a long while, I didn’t have a clue that what I was hearing on the radio was different than everyone else. While they were listening to “Cow Cow Blues,” “A Gay Caballero,” and “Sonny Boy,” I was hearing nothing but the news. That wouldn’t be too unusual, but I’d get all kinds of news, from different days, and weeks, and months, all in the same hour.