Over the weekend, Don Lemon commented upon the strangely quiet overall response of Hollywood to the George Floyd protests. Many organizations spoke out in the aftermath of Lemon’s comments, but DC Comics and Warner Bros. have moved beyond offering mere words of support to sprinkle in iconic quotes. In the case of the comic-book publisher, it recruited a quote from one of its most beloved superheroes, whose chest insignia was long presumed to simply be an “S” for Superman, but who declared fairly recently (within the past two decades) that the “letter” is actually a Kryptonian symbol of hope.
As a precursor to that declaration, a 2001 Action Comics issue (written by Joe Kelly), titled itself, “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, & the American Way?” A Superman quote from that issue — “Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear… until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share — I’ll never stop fighting. Ever.” — has continued to resonate.
Even though Henry Cavill’s Superman has been, well, tweaked by Zack Snyder in recent movies (we’ll leave the specifics of that discussion for another time), the spirit of Superman is still intact. That spirit remains so powerful, in fact, that DC Comics’ Twitter account saw fit to highlight the 2001 quote to stand against the racial injustices that persist today.
Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear… until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share — I'll never stop fighting. Ever.
– Action Comics #775
— DC (@DCComics) May 31, 2020
On the Warner Bros.’ side of things, their Twitter account pointed towards the importance of standing up “when others are sitting” (and speaking up “when others are quiet”) with a quote from Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
“Somebody has to stand when others are sitting. Somebody has to speak when others are quiet.” – Bryan Stevenson
We stand with our Black colleagues, talent, storytellers and fans – and all affected by senseless violence. Your voices matter, your messages matter. #BlackLivesMatter
— Warner Bros. (@warnerbros) May 31, 2020
And in response to DC Comics’ tweet, fans swiftly noted that Superman has indeed stood up on behalf of protesters in the comics, and he’s done so in opposition to police brutality. This went down in a 2015 Action Comics issue (penned by Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder) titled “Hard Truth, Part Two,” in which Superman intervened between police and peaceful protesters. It’s an incredible sight to revisit in light of certain parties’ fretting over whether Superman is viewed as relatable.
I was reminded today that this image is 5 years old.
— Aaron Kuder (@AaronKuder) May 31, 2020
Superman making a stand against police brutality. Action Comics #42. pic.twitter.com/SBcZpqtJGd
— Watchtower Database (@dcauwatchtower) May 31, 2020
Wouldn’t it be something to see Cavill’s return as Superman (in a future project) take on this type of theme? That’s pure speculation on my part, but it would be a welcome sight to see this Superman arc in cinemas, even as a breakaway in a larger project. That’d certainly be a bold way to stand up and speak out when others choose not to do so.