In old PSAs, Superman didn't save citizens from alien overlords and natural disasters. No, he was a snoopy demigod who spent his days eavesdropping on obnoxious children and teaching them heavy-handed lessons. Run, kids! Superman's a-coming!
In this installment of the "Justice For All Includes Children" series, Superman stops some purple-pantsed Al Bundy from beating his son. Turn your eyes to those middle panels. Look first at the angry father bleating "I'm his father. I have a right to hit him!" Now look at dad's expression in the next panel. One of two things has happened. Either (a) Superman has hummed an inaudible brown noise frequency at Poppa; or (b) it immediately dawned on dear old dad that he tried to justify child abuse to Superman, and he promptly soiled himself.
I think we can all agree that Snake Oil Sam is a racist. The thing is, when Superman calls you a racist, you have no choice but to be a racist. It's just the way the DC Universe works. Lex Luthor was an oncology reseacher/three-time Metropolis County Big Brother of the Year until Superman swooped by one day and said, "You're my arch-nemesis. I have your family in a warehouse. On Pluto."
SCENE: Two hours after this comic occurred; Joe's kitchen. Joe walks in, eyes bleeding.
JOE'S MOM: Joe, how was Hallowe-OH MY GOD.
JOE: (sob) Tom and I were trick-or-treating when I made some off-the-cuff comment about UNICEF. The next thing we know, Superman lifted us up shanghaied us across three continents in five minutes! Our eardrums had burst from the pressure shifts and the wind shear made our retinas bleed. I couldn't hear what Superman was saying and could barely see through the blood, but he took us to some third-world village to watch a bunch of African children pop pills and laugh at this shitty Halloween costume you picked out for me. Also, Tom caught tuberculosis in Suriname.
JOE'S MOM: But Joe, why were you saying bad things about UNICEF?
JOE: Because I'm 12, Ma. It's kind of my job to be an idiot.
First two things that popped into my head when I saw this strip:
1.) "Kids, you've committed a crime...AGAINST ART."
2.) There is way too much exposition from Harry Jones. Do we need to know his name? It does nothing to advance the narrative. At least give him an entertaining throwaway name like "Murals Maplethorpe" or "Baldy McCellulite."
It's a sweltering day and kids tend not to wear deodorant. You know what's really going on here? Superman was invited to Carol's party, and he doesn't want this coterie of stinkers to embarrass him. In front of Carol, no less!
List Of Things Wrong With This Comic
1.) The cop asks Superman if he wants to help stop a crime.
2.) Superman doesn't offer the cops his patented "transport hug" and instead forces the cops to waste fossil fuels.
3.) Superman leaves through the window like a prowler. What is this? Was he raised in barn? (If you've seen Smallville recently, the answer is "yes," as every other scene takes place in Clark's barn.)
4.) The cops arrest the burglars. Superman arrests the child.
You'd think Superman would spend his off hours from the Justice League scanning the skies for meteors or overthrowing juntas or breaking up Firestorm's under-the-table Gingold operation, but no, no, no. Superman is content going on Clubhouse Patrol.
There's not a lot out of the ordinary in this strip, other than the fact that the hitchhiker changed genders between panels 2 and 5. But then again, magical gender-swapping Oldsmobiles are commonplace in the DC Universe. Jimmy Olsen practically lived in one throughout the 1950s.
Wow, Superman. The only way you could've made your point more is if you buried these children in sarcophagi made of bicycles and gum wrappers.
This comic really encapsulates the best of these Superman PSAs. It involves an extremely hamfisted lesson, casual child kidnapping, ignorant kids, and Superman playing Mary Worth to a bunch of fifth graders. Yeah, that kid's an anti-Semite, but again, kids say dumb shit all the time. For parroting his redneck grandfather who screams for more sloe gin fizzes when F-Troop isn't on, this kid got a bone-shattering jaunt to Iwo Jima at the speed of sound.
[via Superman Homepage]