Relevant in today's times.
Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru bring to life in comics form the radio play from 1946 where Superman takes on the Klu Klux Klan analog, the Klan of the Fiery Cross. A Chinese family moves from the Chinatown section of Metropolis to a more suburban area. Here they are confronted with themes all too familiar today, that they are trying to “replace” whites in myriad situations: getting a promotion at work, owning a home in the ‘burbs, becoming the lead pitcher on the baseball team. Meanwhile, the father of the family is attempting to encourage assimilation into the community at large by having his family use English and use anglicized names. This adaptation of the play doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable moments using casual racial epithets. Superman crosses paths with the family and gets involved through reporting as Clark Kent when this family experiences a cross burning in their yard.
In these tense political times, there is a sentiment among a vocal minority to keep politics out of comic books, stating that comics have never been political. Time and time again these voices have to be proven wrong—the very nature of comics comes from a political place. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It’s hard to think of anyone more political than Superman, who fights for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”
I like the digest size of this issue. It makes it very accessible to anyone who might want to pick up and read a comic. It’s much easier than a standard single issue to handle, has more pages, and is more portable. The pacing of the story is great and moves along quite quickly for something that is the equivalent of a couple of issues thick. Gurihiru’s art and colors are great. The style is playful and helps relieve some of the tension that could be present within the pages. After all, this is modeled after the 1940s radio play and it deals with a serious subject matter. The lighthearted pencils and colors give it an accessibility for all ages. This is a definite suggestion to pick up and overall not a major commitment since it will only run three issues total.