As the protector of Truth, Justice and the American Way for nearly 80 years, it would makes sense that if there were a group of people being victimized, unarmed against a well-armed force, that the Man of Steel would step in to help. But what if the victims were people protesting the police, and the people doing violence against them were the actual Metropolis Police force? That’s the very real world inspired story line in a recent edition of Action Comics, and one in which Superman comes out on the side of the people. Naturally, Fox News has a problem with this.
One of the channel’s lesser known entities, Brian Henry, recently discussed the topic after he must have accidentally walked into a comic book store and picked up the issue. In the aforementioned story, several people in Clark Kent’s neighborhood were peacefully protesting when they are met with extreme force by the police. Or, as Henry explained it in a piece originally entitled “Superman Literally Bashes Police In New Comic”:
The downtrodden hero returns to a town that is fearful of him. Although a group of his supporters decide to celebrate his return, the police department soon arrives to break up the party. One of his supporters gets unruly, the police get angry, and before long, a full blown riot breaks out. The comic ends with Superman punching a police officer in the face.
Henry disregards the fact that the commanding officer is being manipulated by some off-panel agitator, and he also ignores the fact that perhaps well-armed and well-trained cops shouldn’t react to someone being “unruly” with pepper spray and batons, but don’t take his word for it.
“They want to sell comics,” said Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association,. “Unfortunately it’s at the expense of some very great cops out there every day protecting the public.”
“Comic books are taking on social issues lately and maybe they should get back to taking on superheroes and making people laugh,” he added.
Uh, what? I take it he’s never heard of The Punisher, or Watchmen. Like Henry, if Colligan had ever been in a comic book store until a couple of days ago, he would realize that comics have a lengthy and accomplished history of tackling social issues. The X-Men were partially inspired by the civil rights struggle of the 1960s with the dichotomy between mutant leaders Professor X and Magneto frequently being compared to real life African American leaders Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. The Amazing Spider-Man departed from the Comics Code Authority in order to tackle the issue of drug abuse, and at the height of Vietnam, Green Arrow protested the war and called for social reforms at home in the U.S.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Superman’s been in dutch with Fox News. When the Man of Steel renounced his American citizenship in Action Comics #900, feeling that he should stand for something more than being the accidental embodiment of U.S. government policy, Fox News had an equally strong negative reaction.
“Besides being riddled with a blatant lack of patriotism, and respect for our country, Superman’s current creators are belittling the United States as a whole,” said Republican activist activist Angie Meyer. “By denouncing his citizenship, Superman becomes an eerie metaphor for the current economic and power status the country holds worldwide.”
Somehow, we all survived. Maybe the lesson of the day is that Fox News hosts and writers should either stay out of the comic book store, or do some research into a story before blasting it across the internet. I’ll let you decide which option is more likely.