When Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster created Superman, they created a quintessential American icon.
The term "Truth, Justice and The American Way" is synonymous with the character.
Rocketed to Earth as an infant by his parents, Jor-El and Lara, to escape the planet Krypton's destruction, the child's rocket landed in middle America and was raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent. The baby, Kal-El, was raised as Clark Kent with wholesome middle American values and became the champion of justice and the defender of the weak and oppressed.
When Clark Kent reached manhood, he moved to the city of Metropolis to begin his career as a Daily Planet news reporter and as Superman. Thus began an American icon, recognized throughout the world.
DC Comics, co-owner of the Superman character with the heirs of Siegel and Shuster, is publishing Action Comics #900. In this anniversary issue, the story has Superman fed up after a clash with the federal government.
Says Superman, “I am tired of having my actions construed as instruments of US policy.” He plans to make his announcement before the United Nations: "I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship."
Messing with an icon is tricky business. And this has become a controversy already. It is like having George Reeves standing in front of the United Nations flag, not the American flag, to many people.
According to Fox News:
"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. By denouncing his citizenship, Superman becomes an eerie metaphor for the current economic and power status the country holds worldwide," Hollywood publicist and GOP activist Angie Meyer told FOX411's Pop Tarts column.
In the same article, Superman's publishers defended the storyline:
"Superman is a visitor from a distant planet who has long embraced American values. As a character and an icon, he embodies the best of the American Way," DC's co-publishers, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio said in a statement to FOX411.com. "In a short story in ACTION COMICS 900, Superman announces his intention to put a global focus on his never ending battle, but he remains, as always, committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville."
Still, would Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster approve of this?
Before people get upset over this, one thing to remember: in comics, nothing is ever permanent. A character may get killed off, but quite often is brought back to life in another storyline. Sooner or later, Superman will reclaim his American citizenship.
Also, while everyone is aghast over this tampering with Superman's iconic American image, keep in mind that Clark Kent is still an American citizen.
UPDATE: A friend emailed this message (don't know if he read this blog post yet):
George Reeves never would have renounced his citizenship!
Sgt. George Reeves
U.S. Army Air Corps.1943
The email was titled, "George Reeves...Patriot!"