Superman: No Longer For The American Way

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DC, in its never ending battle to get people to pay $3.00 for 20 pages of printed material, has Superman renouncing his citizenship in Action Comics 900.  Superman joins non-violent protesters in Iran and is chided for this by the national security adviser to the US President who fears this has created a major diplomatic incident.  Superman renounces his US citizenship on the spot because he is tired of his actions being construed as part of US foreign policy.  Go here to see the panels of the comic book.

Putting on my lawyer hat, a few observations:

1.  Does Superman have a US citizenship to renounce?  In 1974 the UN made Superman a citizen of every nation on the globe.  Of course such action by the UN would have no impact on whether Superman is a US citizen as the UN has zilch power to grant US citizenship to anyone.

2.  Can someone functioning under an assumed identity such as Superman be granted citizenship?  I do not think so.

3.  Clark Kent is clearly an illegal alien.  His adoptive parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, never had him go through the naturalization process for obvious reasons.

4.  Even if Superman were a citizen, there are formalities to go through to renounce American citizenship.  An oral statement in the heat of the moment would be insufficient.

Lawyer hat off.  This move is interesting for a number of reasons.  Having Superman renounce his American citizenship could normally be taken as just another example of the Leftist mindset prevalent in most comics today.  Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.  Offspring of immigrant Jewish families, they were intensely patriotic and hence Superman was also.  Today patriotism is not at the top of the list, to put it mildly, for most comic book writers and artists.  However, the fact that this occurs under Obama and can be seen as a critique of his policy regarding Iran, is an indication that the political message being sent is more complicated.  In any event, it will flog more comics for DC which is the main purpose for anyone selling comics.

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  1. Is Clark Kent still a U.S. citizen? If not, does he have to get a green card to work at the Daily Planet?

    But now that I think about it, did baby Kal-El actually go through the proper channels to immigrate to this country in the first place? Not only is Superman an alien from another planet, he’s an illegal alien.

    So, how can your renounce a citizenship to which you weren’t entitled in the first place?

  2. (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) Perhaps, since Krypton is no longer in existence (and thus he can’t be deported there by the INS), Kal-El could apply for refugee status, or at least go for one of those amnesty programs our government occasionally offers for regularizing the status of illegal aliens?

  3. “I should have expected as much from a lawyer.”

    Law school left its stamp on both of us Jay, yet another good reason not to go to law school! 🙂

    “Kal-El could apply for refugee status”

    Since he faces no fear of persecution I doubt if that would be granted to him. Clark Kent could have qualified for amnesty back in the Eighties, but I assume he took no steps to participate in it.

  4. Depending on continuity, Clark wasn’t born on Krypton- the space-pod was an artificial womb and he was “born” in Kansas. (Which explains how a baby survived without major issues, as well as how they’d be able to pass him off as their own. Claiming home birth with a newborn, easy; claiming home birth and bringing in an older child, you’ll have issues….)

    Story-wise, this is not in the Superman comic series, and it’s by a guest writer among many other guest writers– true, this guest writer wrote a batman movie and I think he’s writing the next Superman movie, but it’s still downgraded from epic WTF to more “oy, wish they’d bring back the expressly sandbox issues for this stuff” level.

    (Like the ones where Clark and Lois get married and one kid gets his powers, the other doesn’t?)

  5. Schachner Chanen, Jill, Opening Statements: Comic-Con – The Legal Edition, ABA Journal, Vol. 96, Pgs. 10-11, Nov. 2010 has in it the cover of an Action Comic showing a little girl point at Superman stating “That’s him! He’s the man who killed my Daddy!” And much more law related comic book connections.

  6. Clark, since he was claimed by the Kents, would have a birth certificate. Ditto US citizenship. (No matter where he was born– joys of the “claimed as their own” detail. Isn’t paperwork fun?)

  7. “Depending on continuity, Clark wasn’t born on Krypton- the space-pod was an artificial womb and he was “born” in Kansas.”

    That is a bold piece of ret-conning Foxfier considering the hundreds of stories showing Kal-el as a toddler on Krypton! When I was reading Superboy comics in the Sixties, one story explained that the Kents brought Kal-El to an orphanage so that they could then come and adopt him legally. The story revolved around the frantic efforts of the Kents to conceal from the orphanage staff the super feats of super toddler.

    Unless some such procedure was done, I don’t see how legally, without subterfuge, the Kents could have raised Kal-El as their own child. I think actually Martha Kent originally claimed that Kal-El was a child of a relative who had died. Of course this would have been back in circa 1919, long before social security numbers, and if someone was raising a child as their own, unless the “parent” was a kidnapper, the State was not going to be involved.

  8. On the other hand, Don, maybe they worked out a joint custody agreement with visitation rights and child support.

  9. They sort of had to ret-con it, for the very reasons you point out in your second paragraph– the way that it “works” these days is different than when it was started. (Although I have to wonder if there was an original story beyond “baby put in a ship who was taken in by the Farmer Kent and his wife.”) I seem to remember there are a LOT that have Clark “abandoned” on their farm, too, as a work-around. (Well, it’s true… they found him on the farm, and his parents aren’t showing….)

    Re-telling Supes’ origins is a very popular pastime! (And changing it to match whatever story you feel like telling this time is, likewise, very popular.)

    These days, the idea of someone managing to out of the blue adopt a kid from an orphanage before that “toddler” is nearing junior high is rather unbelievable.

  10. Heh, realized: the point would still stand that folks would assume he’s an American citizen, just one who was abandoned, and he’d get his citizenship. No way in heck would a court case claiming all anonymous abandoned babies are barred from being president ever go through!

    I can’t find any details on what an abandoned child would do for a birth certificate, though.

  11. This is just a set up for another Crisis on Infinite Earths and other weak plot-clean-up tactics used when Leftists are given too much ‘poetic license.”

    In any event I suspect red Kryptonite is involved. Well at least something red anyway.

    I always thought that Kal-El was a refugee not an illegal alien. Anyway, if he renounces his citizenship can’t Batman just kick his behind again for being a traitor? I’m sure he could leave the Justice League (clearly an imperialist American CIA front) and join U.N. (used to be G.I.) Joe.

    And, yes, I used to collect comic books. . .thank God for Penance.

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