If Superman had a Son
If you’ve ever sat around thinking, “What if Superman was a communist?” (Who hasn’t, right?) Well, wonder no more. The answer was masterfully provided in Superman: Red Son written by famed comic book writer and member of the “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire”, Mark Millar.
The specific comic book in question was a mini-series (3 issues) published by DC Comics in 2003 and is a true gem of comic art. For this mini-series, Millar came up with a unique and brilliant concept. In his own words,
Instead of landing in Kansas as a child, I’ve decided to explore what could have happened if his rocket would have landed on a collective farm in the Soviet Union. Instead of working for the Daily Planet, he’ll be a reporter for Pravda. There’s a reversal of the current situation, this time it’s the U.S.A. that’s splitting up with Georgia and Louisiana demanding independence – tanks rolling through the streets of New Orleans. I’ll be including a whole bunch of DC characters, like Batman and Green Lantern – who you’ll see in a new light.
What inspired Millar to write such a version of Superman’s history?
Red Son is based on a thought that flitted through my head when I read Superman #300 as a six year old. It was an imaginary story where Superman’s rocket landed in neutral waters between the USA and the USSR and both sides were rushing to claim the baby. As a kid growing up in the shadow of the Cold War, the notion of what might have happened if the Soviets had reached him first just seemed fascinating to me. As I got older, I started putting everything together and I first pitched something to DC when I was thirteen, I think – although it was in a much cruder form, of course, and my drawings weren’t quite up to scratch.
With time and a lot of hard work, Millar gained significant experience, which allowed him to, after a decade in the business, finally publish Superman: Red Son.
Reading the comic book today, one can tell that Millar never varied (significantly) from his original idea for the story. In the story, Superman indeed lands in the Ukraine and not in Kansas. He was raised as a proud Soviet, who was taught to love and serve the communist principals of the Soviet Union, but he’s still the same compassionate, fair, courageous and fearless superhero who loves humanity more than anything. He still obeys his super hearing and responds to every call for help. His favorite “habit” remains saving lives.
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