Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved considerably stricter screening procedures for refugees from Syria and Iraq seeking resettlement in the United States, despite a veto threat from the White House. It’s a controversial and highly criticized move that has further sparked the current debate on whether or not the United States should allow Syrian refugees to enter the country, but it looks like Superman has already made his stance clear — 55 years ago.
In a one-page public service announcement comic by Jack Schiff and Curt Swan, appearing in 1960’s “World’s Finest Comics” #111 — these PSAs were commonplace at DC Comics at the time — and titled “Lend a Friendly Hand,” Superman (himself, of course, a refugee from Krypton) teaches two young boys a powerful lesson about understanding the plight of refugees, by showing them first-hand some of the harsh conditions that exist around the world, with the conclusion that being friendly is a better response than a cold shoulder.
Though modern audiences may find it a bit odd to see Superman abscond two random kids to a faraway (and likely deliberately vague and unnamed) country for the purpose of education, the message rings clear decades later: Compassion towards refugees, some who “have never known what a real home is like,” is needed.
In light of today’s 289-137 House vote, “Lend a Friendly Hand” has surfaced online in social media, thanks in large part due to a heavily shared tweet by Oliver Willis, a research fellow at Media Matters for America. The comic was produced in tandem with the National Social Welfare Assembly during the United Nation’s World Refugee Year, which took place 1959-1960. The full strip follows below.
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