Sunday, April 10, 2016

‘Superman: Before Truth’

Book cover, 'Superman: Before Truth.' The character of Superman stands in defensive stance. He wears the smoldering ruins of a white button-up shirt and brown slacks over his blue-and-red Superman costume.
The implications of Internet privacy versus purposeful online “branding” have made regular appearances on my blog, especially during an assignment for a course in Internet ethics, to argue that people do not need a right to privacy to discharge their rights as citizens.

With this course assignment behind me, I read Superman Vol. 1: Before Truth by Gene Luen Yang (DC Entertainment, April 2016).

It fascinated me to observe the iconic character of Superman wrestle with online privacy versus public sharing. Especially compelling were the far greater repercussions that could result from such a decision, than the average person’s lapse into over-sharing.

Superman receives anonymous text messages from someone who has discovered Superman’s secret identity as newspaper reporter Clark Kent. The sender threatens to reveal Superman’s identity if Superman doesn’t follow his instructions.

Preserving his privacy would make Superman the pawn of a sinister organization but if his identity were known, those people close to him would be placed in danger.

Yang’s graphic novel, American Born Chinese, was a featured title among my course readings for Cuesta College’s LIBT 118, “Connecting Adolescents with Literature and Libraries,” so my familiarity with his work added to the appeal of Superman: Before Truth.

My expectations were more than met: Yang’s treatment of this story really highlights the complexity of the issue, and the events it depicts are a pivotal moment in the life of Clark Kent/Superman.

The collected comic serials (Superman 40-46, and Free Comic Book Day 2015: DC Comics Divergence No. 1) are dramatically illustrated by artists John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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