Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru’s Superman Smashes the Klan begins as Roberta Lee, her brother Tommy, and her parents Mrs. and Dr. Lee move into a new house so that Dr. Lee can start a job as the Chief Bacteriologist of the Metropolis Health Department. The Lees had previously lived in Chinatown, and now that they are moving into Metropolis proper, Dr. Lee urges Mrs. Lee and the rest of the family to speak in English, even when they’re alone. Just as they begin to meet some of the people in the neighborhood (including Jimmy Olsen, who lives across the street), they see a bright streak of color zooming over the telephone wires. It’s Superman.
Superman Smashes the Klan is a complex story, dealing with themes of racism and identity on many different levels. The book follows Roberta as she manages the complicated process of being herself in a new environment that’s not very welcoming to those who are different. However, Roberta is not alone in this struggle. As Clark Kent spends more time with the Lees, we see that he’s fighting a similar battle, as memories of his past come back to make him question the parts of himself that he has hidden to blend in. [Read more…] about Superman Smashes the Klan and the Complicated Art of Belonging