Friday, April 2, 2010

Racial Sensitivity via Superman Comics?

What you see there is one of the most insane covers from Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane. Granted, Lois Lane covers were never known for making sense, but this one, with its ham-fisted approach to topical issues, stands out.

Others have written about the story within Lois Lane #106 (by the way, the number one related search on for Lois Lane #106 is "Lois Lane tied to a chair") but the thing that really gets me about this cover is the fact that Superman has a device that can turn white people into black people, or vice versa. One asssumes that it's either one of the many pieces of assorted Kryptonian bric-a-brac that has made it's way to Earth over the years or it's something that Superman built when he could've been preventing earthquakes or curing world hunger. Either way, why on Earth would you have a machine like that?

If it's something that Superman built, then it makes no sense. One might argue that it's so he can disguise himself, which is ridiculous. Superman's cunning Clark Kent persona consists of glasses and nothing else, AND IT WORKS CONSTANTLY. Also, it's not like he'd ever need to go undercover. There's few things he could learn incognito that he couldn't learn via a judicious application of x-ray vision and super-hearing.

That leaves it being a device from Krypton, most likely invented for the same reason that it's used in this story, to promote racial sensitivity. When thinking about that, however, I came to realize that this didn't make sense either, because there are no black Kryptonians. I mean, when was the last time you saw a flashback to Krypton that didn't look like a science-fiction version of the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog? Never, that's when!

Then it dawned on me- the white populace on Krypton used this on everyone else in a bid for Kryptonian racial supremacy. No doubt bands of Ku Klux Kryptonians were riding out, rounding up everyone who didn't fit Jor-El's insane vision of a model society. It's scary stuff when you think about it. It makes the destruction of Krypton seem less a freak accident than the just act of an angry and vengeful god. In fact, go to Hell, Krypton!

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