Superman American flag

In the 1940s, Superman Crushed the Real-Life KKK. Will He Do It Again?

We might have podcasts and think they’re super cool and groundbreaking, but people were doing the same decades ago in the form of radio serials. And how popular they were. Throughout the 1940s, one of the most popular was DC Comics’ The Adventures of Superman. Superman first appeared in print in 1938, but his adventures on the radio gave him some of his most distinguishable traits: kryptonite, for one.

 

Meanwhile, in those post-WWII years, the Ku Klux Klan was making a comeback. A young activist named Stetson Kennedy began covertly attending KKK meetings to gather intel. The problem was nobody was interested in his intel. The cops were afraid of taking on the KKK, that’s how powerful they had been at the time. So instead, Kennedy approached the team behind The Adventures of Superman, as one does. The producers were looking for a new enemy for Superman (since the Axis powers were defeated), so they teamed up with Kennedy to produce the sixteen-episode arc “Clan of the Fiery Cross.”

 

The story was such a hit that just two weeks after its release, KKK recruitment was totally obliterated. People began showing up to meetings, instead, to mock the creeps in white hoods. Superman, thus, defeated real-world villains—with the help of Kennedy and the radio show team, of course.

 

Now it seems DC may be resurrecting the arc. DC has announced two new publishing lines intended for younger audiences. DC Zoom is aimed at the “middle-grade” market of 8-12 year olds, while DC Ink is going for the “young adult” market. YA cartoonist Gene Yang is teaming with DC Zoom for a limited comic run called Superman Smashes the Klan. It seems likely Yang will be at least riffing off the legendary The Adventures of Superman arc, if not totally aping it.

 

DC Zoom promo

DC Zoom promo art. | Image Via DC Comics

 

Though they have been lagging behind their competitors in theaters, DC has been absolutely crushing the comic world lately. They’ve nabbed several talents from Marvel in recent years—Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis. DC Zoom and DC Ink have wonderfully diverse (both in terms of content and creators) comics on the pipeline. Yang’s series can’t come at a more crucial time as white nationalists have found a hotbed of breeding on the seediest corners of the internet. Hopefully his resurrection of Kennedy’s post-War Superman story can help stimy Naziism in young people’s minds. Did you know, after all, the “S” on Superman’s chest is the Kryptonian symbol for hope?

 

Feature Image Via Comic Vine