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Superman smashes the Klan : the graphic novel
2020
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When her family is targeted by the KKK after moving from Chinatown to 1946 Downtown Metropolis, misfit Roberta Lee uses her keen skills of observation to help Superman thwart a string of terrorist attacks. Original. Illustrations. - (Baker & Taylor)

When Dr. Lee moves his family to Metropolis, his son Tommy adjusts to the new neighborhood while daugher Roberta feels out of place, so when the evil Klan of the Fiery Cross begins a string of terrorist attacks on the city, Superman fights them, and Roberta and Superman soon learn to embrace their own unique features that set them apart. - (Baker & Taylor)

The year is 1946. Teenagers Roberta and Tommy Lee just moved with their parents from Chinatown to the center of Metropolis, home to the famous hero, Superman. Tommy makes friends quickly, while Roberta pines for home. Then one night, the family awakens to find their house surrounded by the Klan of the Fiery Kross! Superman leaps into action, but his exposure to a mysterious green rock has left him weak. Can Roberta and Tommy help him smash the Klan?

Inspired by the 1940s Superman radio serial "Clan of the Fiery Cross," New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints, The Terrifics, New Super-Man) and artist Gurihiru (Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Unstoppable Wasp) bring us a personal retelling of two different immigrants finding ways to belong. - (Random House, Inc.)

Author Biography

Gene Luen Yang began making comics and graphic novels more than 15 years ago. In 2006 his book American Born Chinese was published by First Second Books. It became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association's Printz Award. It also won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album - New. In 2013, First Second Books released Boxers & Saints, his two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion. It was nominated for a National Book Award and won the L.A. Times Book Prize. He made his mainstream comics debut on Superman, with artists John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson.

His other works include the comics continuation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender. Currently he writes New Super-Man for DC Comics. - (Random House, Inc.)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Though inspired by a 74-year-old radio serial, this old-fashioned tale of derring-do still packs a hefty punch of contemporary social commentary. It's 1946, and when the Lee family moves from Chinatown into central Metropolis, they soon run afoul of the cross-burning Klan of the Fiery Kross. Luckily, the ever-intrepid siblings Roberta and Tommy Lee cross paths with none other than Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, which means Superman isn't far behind. This, however, is a Superman at the beginning of his career, still learning about his powers and, crucially, discovering that he himself is the quintessential American immigrant. Moving at the breakneck pace of a movie serial and filled with spunky kid protagonists and blistering punch-'em-ups, Yang's story feels like a slice of rollicking, old-time adventure. The layered handling of characters—particularly the quick-witted but uncertain Roberta Lee and the righteous-but-searching Superman—is as sophisticated as any of Yang's award-winning work. Likewise, his handling of racism is sharp with nuance, showing how it works on many levels, in many forms, and how it gets into the head of everyone, regardless of where they come from or what they look like. Gurihiru envisions the work in bold lines and striking angles that capture the energy and look of manga as much as classic Fleischer Superman cartoons. Grades 7-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—In 1946, Superman and Metropolis face bigotry and self-doubt. As this Golden Age–era Superman questions his identity, the Chinese American Lee family encounters both microaggressions ("I've never met a Chinese before!") and outright hostility when they move to the Metropolis suburbs from nearby Chinatown. When the Ku Klux Klan burns a cross on the Lees' lawn, Superman (and alter ego Clark Kent) befriends the Lee children, Tommy and Roberta, and goes up against the KKK. This story explores cruelty, how children often inherit prejudiced beliefs from those they trust, and the profit motives behind organized hate groups. Yang draws startlingly perceptive parallels between the racism the Lees confront and Superman's fears that others will see him as an outsider if they learn he is really an extraterrestrial. Whether the Lee children and their friends are bickering and playing or standing up for one another and foiling KKK schemes, Gurihiru's bold cartoons are utterly expressive. Although the buff Superman fills the page testing his powers and knocking out a high-tech Nazi, his best moments are found in quieter interactions, such as when he (as Clark) gives his jacket to Roberta, or seeks his biological and adopted parents for support. Appended are historical photos and informative essays about the KKK; "The Clan of the Fiery Cross," a series of episodes from the 1940s Adventures of Superman radio show that inspired this tale; attitudes toward Chinese and Japanese immigrants; and African American enlistment. VERDICT Rarely does a rollicking superhero tale honor small-scale acts of heroism as much as this Superman story of community, conscience, and consequence. A must-have for all collections.—Thomas Maluck, Richland Library, SC

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

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