Comic books are no longer the silly bundle of stapled pages once dismissed as children's entertainment. The core of stories with these larger-than-life characters is powerful: fighting injustice. Modern superhero films usually shy away from that aspect of the medium in favor of great spectacle and heart-pounding explosions. But the fact remains that the goal of superheroes is to bring people together.
Superman perfectly represents those ideals. Sometimes seen as an outdated character, Superman is the quintessential role model for how we can aspire to be better. That ambition may finally be returning to the big screen.
Deadline is reporting that a #SupermanVsTheKKK film is in development from Lotus Entertainment and and PaperChase, written by Katherine Lindberg.
Don't picture the DCEU's Henry Cavill talking sense into a group of racist individuals, though. This movie is based on Rick Bower's 2012 novel, Superman Versus The Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled The Men Of Hate. With that mouthful of a title, you might have some questions.
What's The Book About?
The book tells the real-life story of Stetson Kennedy, a human rights activist, who infiltrated the KKK and other intolerant groups in order to gather data to figure out how to dismantle them. Fearing the racist group had ties with the government, however, Kennedy came up with a very clever way to slowly dismantle them without risking his operation: Through entertainment.
At the time, Superman was popular on the radio thanks to a serial in which he was voiced by Bud Collyer. So the activist contacted the people responsible for bringing the show to the airwaves, and pitched them a new story: Superman vs. the KKK.
The show, in need of villains, took on the premise. Thanks to Kennedy's extensive Klan knowledge, he provided the writers with pivotal aspects like real codenames and in-depth explanations of what happened during their rituals. That resulted in the 'Clan of the Fiery Cross' storyline, which aired in 1946.
The accurate exploration of the hate group's inner workings was a big blow to the organization, as it took away its mystery and had a negative impact on recruitment procedures. The series even prompted the KKK to denounce the material and called for a boycott of the Kellogg's brand, a supporter of the show at the time.
Now that you're all caught up, let's move on. Producer Marc Rosen highlights the potential of the story to be even more compelling than fiction:
“Fighting the forces of evil with brain over brawn, artists taking down bullies and the power of a good piece of content, it’s a real case of truth being cooler than fiction.”
Another one of the movie's producers, Marco Vicini, added that Superman vs. The KKK was a great, non-violent approach to tackling today's cases of oppression and intolerance:
“The story behind 'Superman vs. the KKK' really struck a chord with me. Right away I knew I wanted to re-live it by being a part of the nonviolent resistance against oppression. It is a great honor to be able to embark on such a relevant and meaningful project with such a devoted and highly experienced team of like-minded individuals.”
That comment poses an interesting question:
Does This Story Apply To Modern Times?
While exploring a real-life story from 70 years ago, can the story be relevant to us? Yes, it can! It all comes down to the main theme of the novel: acceptance. We've come a long way as a society in terms of acceptance, but those advancements are often best-case scenarios. There are still barriers we need to break down; people still fail to see others as equals.
This will be the story of a man who saw a need for change in our society and took it upon himself to fight intolerance. Furthermore, he used the image of a superhero to achieve it. So the movie has the chance to resonate with audiences from various points of view.
For starters, it's a lesson in how we can all contribute to make the world a better place if we set our minds to it. Like I mention above, it's all about acceptance, about showing people that no matter your race, the color of your skin, religion or sexual orientation, we are all equal. No one is above anyone.
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When superheroes being ubiquitous right now, we need to remember what the value behind these characters actually is. By using Superman as a vehicle to fight real-life injustice, audiences will be able to see just how impactful superheroes can be. With all of that potential, I am beyond excited to see what the movie brings to the table not only for superheroes, but for our society.
Are you excited to see Superman vs The KKK? Let me know in the comments!