There are important Superman stories to be told in response to Ferguson, however, precisely because where the Man of Steel might fail, a mild mannered reporter can succeed. When some of our superheroes are billionaires and playboys, the 1% so to speak, we can realize the significance of secret identities with journalistic day jobs (in Ferguson, Lois Lane, Vicki Vale and Iris West might be more useful than their respective heroes). Superman is unique in this respect because as a bulletproof journalist from a small town, Clark Kent is able to report the events, critique injustice and expose the untruths of a complex situation like Ferguson. If comics are to consider the militarization of police, systemic racism and growing inequality in America (and they bloody well should), then perhaps we don’t just need superheroes as much as we need journalists. Perhaps we need stories of small town USA torn apart, writ large enough in mythic metaphor so that our favorite ubermensch can fight for justice, yet also real enough that a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper can tell us the tragic truths we so often need to know. This isn’t just a job for Superman.
This looks like a job for Clark Kent.