19 February 2009

Superman Keeps Us Out of War

Thirteen months ago, I wrote about Ultra-Man as one superhero of the early 1940s who appeared to promote two-fisted isolationism rather than early defense against the Nazis and imperial Japan.

Here's another, more familiar superhero staying neutral in the fight.

These panels are from "How Superman Would End the War," commissioned by Look magazine and published on 27 Feb 1940. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster wrote and drew it themselves. It's reprinted in Superman in the Forties.

This was when the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was in effect (Aug 1939-June 1941), thus handily putting the world's worst dictators on the same side of the war. Shuster and Siegel had nothing to say about Nazi Germany's war against the democratic powers of France and Britain, which at that point was in the "Phoney War" quiescence. Nor about what Germany's allies were doing in China, Ethiopia, and Spain.

By the time the US actually entered World War 2, of course, Germany had invaded the Soviet Union, making Stalin leader of one of the Allies. Then things wouldn't have been so clear-cut for Superman.

No comments: