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Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #6!

STATUS: True

In 1998, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Superman's first appearance, the Superman titles tried an interesting idea.

Each title would depict Superman in a different "era."

Action Comics depicted Superman in the 70s.

Adventures of Superman depicted Superman in the 60s.

Superman depicted Superman in the future.

And Superman: Man of Steel depicted Superman during the 30s, in a "What If..Superman got involved in the Holocaust?" story.

The only problem was, in the two-part story, there was NO mention of the word "Jew," "Jewish," "German" or "Catholic."

Editor Joey Cavalieri said he banned the words "Jew," "Catholic" and "German" from the story because he feared they might be used derisively by young readers.

"Since this could be the first time [a reader] encounters the Jews in print, I would be heartbroken if this [story] went badly," he said.

DC's president and editor-in-chief, Jenette Kahn, told the Associated Press that Cavalieri "was worried about having Nazi characters use Jewish slurs. He was concerned that young kids would repeat the slurs, and that young Jewish kids would read it and be given a negative stereotype."

Cavalieri said it was obvious by the comic characters' names and graphic devices that they were Jewish.

The head of the Jewish Defamation League accepted DC's apology on the issue, and made the point, "the intention was OK but the execution wasn't. One can get so locked in trying not to offend, you offend."

Indeed.

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