My husband and I were guests together on God and Comics to talk about Gene Luen Yang’s Superman Smashes the Klan. The book is great, and I really enjoyed talking about it with the three nerdy clergymen of God and Comics.
Yang is updating a Superman radio serial (“Clan of the Fiery Cross”), which was based on the reports of a reporter undercover in the KKK. Stetson Kennedy shared the secret practices he observed, and when they were woven into Superman’s story, they helped weaken the Klan’s recruitment efforts.
In the the original story, Superman defends a Chinese-American family from the Klan’s persecution, and Yang expands the depth of the Lee family. To preview our podcast, I’ll just mention two themes Yang weaves in well.
He tells the story of a Klan that is a mix of true, hateful believers and cynical grifters—and the second is wickeder.
He keeps front and center Superman’s particularly American story—someone who was not born here, but who became American when his parents sent him to our country for refuge.
Finally, I can’t discuss Yang without mentioning how much I love his Boxers & Saints duology. I strongly recommend it.