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Is Superman an American Character?

What makes someone American? Is it being born in the US? Knowing the words to the Pledge of Allegiance? America is a youthful nation and there are very few who can call themselves true Americans. Of these few, none can say they embody a true American more than Superman. Aspects of Americanism are incorporated into Superman’s principle mainly through themes of immigration and morals.

Superman is the quintessential American hero. Comprised of the ideas and morals that make up America, Engle perhaps describes him best as “the male, heroic match for the statue of liberty.” When Siegel and Shuster first envisioned the revolutionary superhero in 1933, they included all of aspects of stereotypical Americanism. First, in order to truly encompass the American of the era, he had to be an immigrant. Orphaned by his parents after their death on Krypton, Superman immigrated to the rural town of Smallville. Being raised in the small town, he knew he would eventually leave, ultimately doing so after deciding to venture into the city in order to fight crime and defend justice. A commonality in Americans of the era, he abandoned his small town roots to move into the bustling city of Metropolis.

Classic American morals also play a major role in the Superman saga. During his construction, Superman was built with morals and ethics the founding fathers would likely be proud of. American values and desire for higher morals was instilled in Superman’s core. A popular feeling in the era was of superior ethics compared to the uncivilized foreigners of Asia and Africa, and this was portrayed through the popular comic by Superman’s hatred for corruption, and will for justice.


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