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It's a bird, a plane -- it's Superman's citizenship!

by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) May 3, 2011
Superman the ultimate American? Perhaps not any more.

The superhero is embroiled in battle with prominent Republicans and others furious at his decision in a new issue of Action Comics to renounce his US citizenship.

The red-caped avenger, long mythologized as the embodiment of American strength and values, shocks readers in the comic's 900th issue by telling a White House official that he's changing allegiance.

"Which is why I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my US citizenship," he says. "'Truth, justice and the American way' -- it's not enough anymore."

The super spat -- sparked in the comic by Superman's disillusionment at reactions to his support for democracy protestors in Iran -- has spilled far beyond the pages and speech bubbles.

Republican potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee weighed in over the weekend, saying Superman's threat is no laughing matter.

"It is a comic book, but you know it's disturbing that Superman who has always been an American icon is now saying, 'I'm not going to be an American citizen,'" Huckabee said in a Fox News television interview.

"It's part of a bigger trend of Americans almost apologizing for being Americans."

Conservative media personality Bill O'Reilly raised the issue on Fox television's The O'Reilly Factor, slamming the "unbelievably dumb" plot.

"You don't tug on Superman's cape," O'Reilly warned.

And among the flood of newspaper editorials and blog entries, the blog saw nothing less than the hand of President Barack Obama.

"Superman now says he denounces his citizenship of America and is only a citizen of the World. This is very socialistic of Superman wanting a Socialistic world with people like Obama at the helm of this movement," thundered the blog.

Publishers DC Comics say readers shouldn't get their blue tights in a twist.

"As a character and an icon, he embodies the best of the American Way. 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," a statement declares.

Superman's identity has always been mixed. His civilian alter ego is the mild-mannered newspaper reporter Clark Kent. But Superman himself is an adopted immigrant to Kansas from planet Krypton.

Comic books blogger Laura Hudson said there had been a "tsunami-like wave of response to it from the mainstream media."

But those critics are twisting one scene from his adventures in the same way that the Man of Steel can bend iron bars, Hudson says.

"Unfortunately, this is all too often how both news and politics function: repeating emotionally loaded phrases without any context and then responding to the uproar that it creates," she wrote.

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