DC Comics, the longtime publisher of Superman comics, now says the iconic character now stands for "truth, justice … and a better tomorrow," rather than for "truth, justice and the American way." The iconic comic company is a division of Warner Brothers.
Jim Lee, DC’s chief creative officer and publisher, said Saturday during the company’s virtual DC FanDome event said, "To better reflect the storylines that we are telling across DC and to honor Superman’s incredible legacy over 80 years of building a better world, Superman’s motto is evolving."
"Superman has long been a symbol of hope who inspires people, and it is that optimism and hope that powers him forward with this new mission statement."
Lee did not expand on why "the American way" was being discarded. The tagline has been part of the character since the 1940s radio program "Adventures of Superman."
This is not the first time the franchise has hinted at changing the famous motto. In Superman Returns (2006), editor of the Daily Planet Perry White asked, "Does he still stand for truth, justice, all that other stuff?" At the time the film’s co-screenwriter Dan Harris told The Hollywood Reporter, "He’s an international superhero."
In the 900th issue of Action Comics in 2011, Superman renounced his US citizenship and said, "I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of US policy. 'Truth, Justice and the American Way,' it’s not enough anymore. The world’s too small. Too connected."
Comic book writer Mark Waid told USA Today in 2013, "He’s always been the ultimate immigrant story. What is the hope of the immigrant than at core a promise that it would be better in America? That no matter what your situation is, it will be better here."
Julian Chambliss, a history professor at Rollins College told the outlet that "The core narrative in Superman has been and continues to be the values and belief about the US experience being strong enough and good enough to address the troubles facing the generation engaged with the character."
Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were the children of Jewish immigrants fleeing to America to escape the anti-Semitism of Europe and seek a better life. The Siegels, came from Lithuania and settled in Cleveland, Ohio, while the Shusters, were from Kiev and Rotterdam. In 1931, the two young men met while attending Glenville High School and began a friendship centered around a mutual love of science fiction, fantasy, and comics.
The Superman franchise has been the focus of a tremendous amount of media attention this month. Last week, it was revealed that an upcoming Superman comic book will feature Jonathan Kent, son of Superman’s alter-ego Clark Kent and Lois Lane, as a bisexual.