When it came to raising money, the classic American symbol of patriotism simply couldn’t compare to Superman. Screenwriter Roy Schwartz spoke to Screen Rant in an interview and touched on how much more Superman’s popularity helped fundraising efforts during World War II than the classic image of Uncle Sam.
When Superman entered the comic book scene, few could have predicted how incredibly popular the hero would become. After Action Comics #1 began to be marketed as gangsters, the Man of Steel stormed the United States as a hero that all children knew and loved. Superman’s popularity was a boon for DC, and soon the hero jumped off the pages of comics and began appearing in radio programs, commercials, and then on television and in movies. Superman was one of the first superheroes to have a cultural impact on his audience, and it was hard to deny with the huge amount of money he raked in.
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As it turned out, Superman’s insane profitability made him the perfect figure to replace the more outdated character that was American Uncle Sam. Schwartz, author of the book “Is Superman Circumcised?”: “The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero,” talks about Superman and the golden age of comics and discusses a number of interesting facts about Superman, the early days of comic book creation and Jewish influence on both. Schwartz said that the popularity of the Man of Steel helped him become a better mascot for selling war bonds than the traditional image of Uncle Sam.
Yes, Superman actually surpassed Uncle Sam in war bond posters. He was so popular that the United States government, which for obvious reasons had a difficult relationship with the Japanese-American community, actually used Superman to sell war bonds in Japanese-American newspapers such as Rafu Shimpo.
Considering that Superman is breaking comic book records, the fact that the hero was such an effective mascot within the framework of military operations should not cause much surprise. What’s shocking is that the Man of Steel has surpassed America’s most visible personification when it comes to fundraising. The financial success of the hero was a sign that times were beginning to change, and Superman was an icon that resonated more with the public.
When Superman made his dramatic debut, the world was on the verge of entering World War II. When children heard whispers about the threats coming from the Axis forces, the adventures of Superman in action movies brought comfort. But life, as it often happens, is reflected in art, so it’s not surprising that even Superman eventually recognized the reality of war. But what gave Superman his real advantage over Uncle Sam was that readers knew what the Man of Steel stood for. They knew that Superman fought the bad guys to protect such valuable ideals as truth and justice. Uncle Sam’s classic mantra of “I want you” is pretty impersonal, but when fans saw Superman telling them they could help by buying bonds and stamps, they certainly jumped at the opportunity to be like their hero. Superman’s greatest strength is his ability to inspire, and nothing proves it better than his epic fundraising abilities.