Conversation on comic books explores immigration

Kristina Thomas, Feature Writer
October 16, 2012
Filed under Wright Life

Wright State will bring an event to campus that will target immigration and assimilation into American culture. This event is unique because the focus is famous comic book characters. The event is called Superman and Wonder Woman as Immigrants, and will be held on Oct. 22, from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in 156 Student Union, Endeavor Room.

According to Craig This, Data Analyst for Institutional Research and USAC Chair, the concept of this event was determined after the Freshman Reading of 2012 was picked. The theme of the Freshman Reading, “Girl In Translation,” is immigration.

“We wanted to go with another approach towards immigration,” This said. “The idea came to us quickly because assimilation is a part of the American history. I admired the way we could use the comics to talk about immigrants today.”

This is the first year this event will be held at Wright State. This believes, depending on the outcome, there will be other conversations similar to this one that target women and other ethnicities in comics. The process for this event started over the summer. It has been promoted at the local news area outlets and public libraries.

“Marvel comics came out with comics about immigration after Sept. 11,” This said. “It raised questions about immigrants and governments. For example these comic book characters live a double life. Captain America is the hero and accepted as so because he’s white, native born and a super solider, but what if he was Mexican, would he be accepted the same?”

This further explains that this conversation will explore racism still in America.

According to the blog “What Makes Superman so Darned American?,” Superman represents immigrants because he’s physically different from the norm (colorful customs, tights and cape), and ethnically has different characteristics than the norm (superhuman strength, ability to fly and x-ray vision). Superman assimilates to American society by becoming Clark Kent.

In another blog “Arab-American Green Lantern: A Post 9/11 Immigrant Experience,” Simon Baz, in “Green Lantern #0, Irresistible,” is a man who watched the twin towers fall on 9/11. He grew up tormented because of his race and as an adult he steals cars to make ends meet. DC Comics raised the questions: What’s it like to be an immigrant living in the U.S., post 9/11, particularly one of Arab descent? According to This, these questions and topics will be addressed during the conversation.

“Students will gain a different way to look at immigration and comic books from this conversation,” This said. “For immigrants, these stories in the comics can help them feel comfortable and have a connection to someone who became an American Icon. Comic books are more serious than people think. The target market is from 18-24, not children. This conversation is welcomed to the public and especially people who are into comics and want to learn more about how immigration is shaping our society. There will be seven panelists (3 individual comic shop owners), (3 scholars of comic books). Panelists will be able to speak for the first half-hour and then there will be open discussion.”

For more information about this event visit immigrantsuperman.wordpress.com or contact Craig This at craig.this@wright.edu.

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