In Remember to Forget, we spotlight comic book stories that I wish we could just forget.
Reader Kyle D. suggested this one from 1950’s “Action Comics” #148 by Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino.
The issue opens with a strange man suddenly announcing that he actually owns Metropolis!
Beecher is soon causing chaos in the city, leading to Superman re-locating some buildings to a new island he built as a temporary solution…
Now, there are a number of ways Superman could handle this situation, but he figured that the most prudent was to travel back in time to force the Native Americans to properly get screwed over on the sale of their land.
Note that Superman is hear to force them to sell their land for pennies, but he has the gall to sass them over breaking a treaty. Can you even imagine going back to give a Native American tribe guff over breaking treaties? The only thing that’d be ballsier is if Superman had stopped off in time and brought President Jackson with him to let HIM tell the tribes about the importance of holding to their treaties.
So Gray Wolf keeps trying to get the tribe to go to war and Superman keeps foiling his plans (admittedly in very clever ways), so Gray Wolf breaks from the tribe and sells the island for some guns despite not being the chief…
Again, Superman is going out of his way to “help” this tribe just so that he can enforce Gray Wolf’s illegal deal!! So he stops them from going to war, but then figures that there’s nothing more that he can do now (which is so weird – why not just try to get the sale through if you’ve come this far already?) and he heads back to his time, where he discovers that they actually then sold the land anyways, just as a favor to the chief they elected in absentia, Flying Eagle!
They don’t say what they sold the land for, but I presume it was small pox-infused blankets. As a favor to Superman (they wanted to make sure that there were no other survivors making it awkward for the white people who founded Metropolis). And then the headdress at the end? Seriously, Clark?
All things considered, this is more just a case of institutional racism than anything over-the-top bad for its time, but it’s still a rough story, even in the context of the time.
Thanks for the suggestion, Kyle! If anyone else has a suggestion for a future installment, drop me a line at email@example.com!
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