When people hear “Superman,” the words “truth, justice, and the American way” usually leap to mind. That phrase has not only been a key part of the hero’s lore since it was used as the intro for the immensely popular 1940s radio show The Adventures of Superman, but it also captures the look of Superman. He may be an all-powerful alien from the doomed planet Krypton, but he visually resembles what has long been posited as the archetypal American: a commanding white male.
In the new, three-issue miniseries Superman Smashes the Klan, from writer Gene Luen Yang and Japanese art collective Gurihiru, everyone assumes that Superman is an (above) average white American—even Superman himself. Set early in his career, Superman Smashes the Klan features a slightly less super Superman, one who doesn’t fly or use heat-vision.