Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett looks at reactions to the Superman citizenship story.

Believe it or not I won't be giving you my opinion on the whole "Superman renouncing his U.S. citizenship" thing.  Yeah, I know, I’m a little surprised myself but by the time this appears absolutely everyone else will have already had their say.  And having read a great number of pieces on the subject already I really don’t think there’s much I could actually add to the conversation.  But I will admit that even I, someone who is surprised by precious little anymore, was a little started by the sheer metric tonnage of hysteria the story generated.  It increasingly seems America’s default reaction to the slightest perceived threat is the kind of blind hysterical panic usually reserved for 40s cartoon housewives who’ve seen a mouse.

Mick Huckabee, on Fox & Friends, suggested that Superman is leading America to become part of a "Stewpot of Idiocy," while Glenn Beck introduced his piece on the subject by arguing that "Our kids are adrift in a sea of filth and lies."  But the prize for unrestrained abject outrage undoubtedly has to go to Cal Thomas for a piece he wrote that was posted on called, "Who Has Hijacked Superman And Turned Him Into A U.N.-Loving Anti-American?"

Comments from commentators are cheap enough to come by, far more interesting to me was how the story was viewed through the prism of perspectives as different as Psychology Today magazine ("Why Did Superman Renounce His U.S. Citizenship?") to Ringside Report, a Website that purports to be "The Heart of Boxing" ("Superman Renounces the USA: 'Superhero Destroyed!'").

If nothing else this whole affair has proved a couple of things to me: one, that a lot of people still care about a character that has been written of as hopelessly out of date; and two, there really can be such a thing as bad publicity.  With a major Superman motion picture in the works I’m guessing the suits at Time-Warner couldn’t have been too happy about their main character being declared "Un-American."

It would be easy to condemn the people who were upset by the story in Action Comics #900 as cranks and dismiss their feelings or worse, belittle them, but underneath all of the manufactured outrage there's some of the actual article.  And as the flash mobs who recently gathered in Times Square, at Ground Zero and the White House have shown there's still a wellspring of the stand up and cheer variety of patriotism in this country.  People are afraid these days of a lot of things, but chief amongst them there’s a pervasive fear that things are being taken away from them and of losing more than they already have.  So it's understandable if there are unexpected consequences from tinkering with an American icon.

Well, it's going to be a busy weekend.  Not only am I going to try and see the Friday premiere of the movie Thor (let the season of the summer movie blockbusters commence!), but as if you didn’t know this Saturday is once again Free Comic Book Day.  Not only that but it’s the tenth anniversary, which just doesn’t seem possible.  I’ve been told that 2.7 million comic books will be given away at participating comic book shops, but if there actually is a direct sales retail store that for some reason has chosen not to participate I'd like to know which one it is.  This year in Yellow Springs comic books will be distributed at three different locations, Super-Fly Comics & Games, Dark Star Books and the Greene County Public Library.

At Super-Fly Comics & Games there will be appearances by artists Rusty Shackles, Adam Hicks, Patrick Baumgardner, and Springfield-based Twilight Star Studios.  Also on hand will be the 501st Legion: Vader's Fist, a group of Star Wars cosplayers.  One of the things that I’ve learned from attending previous Free Comic Book Days at Super-Fly; you wouldn't believe how big a crowd a bunch of guys dressed as Stormtroopers can draw (or how many little kids want to have their photos taken with them).

I'll be there as well, in my professional capacity as a "stander," someone who just stands around, answering customers’ questions.  I'm looking forward to it and will be sure to let you know how it goes next week.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely  those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of