Comparative Economic Systems in the Graphic Novel “Superman:RedSon”: A Literary Victory of Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism

Superman: Red Son is a three-issue prestige format comic book mini-series published by DC Comics that was released under their Elseworlds imprint in 2003. Author Mark Millar created the comic with the premise “what if Superman had been raised in the Soviet Union?” It received critical acclaim and was nominated for the 2004 Eisner Award for best limited series. (From Wikipedia)

Spoiler Alert

Within the graphic novel, after the death of Stalin, Superman becomes more involved in the planning of the Soviet economy. Living standards and economic development in the Soviet Union rapidly surpassed the United States. Eventually, all but two countries (USA and Chile) decided to join Superman’s Soviet Union.

There are various interesting aspects here. First, the graphic novel implies the Soviet economy’s problems were not structural in nature. It was simply a technical problem that Superman resolved by crunching the numbers. Also, the reference to Chile is clearly a nudge towards Milton Friedman’s role in Pinochet’s regime. In other words, the novel is still framing this hypothetical alternate world in terms of capitalism vs communism.

The downfall of Superman’s Soviet Union was more of a personal choice. Lex Luthor tricked Superman into reading a note that read “Why don’t you just put the whole world in a bottle, Superman?” Superman realized he had become the Omniscient Social Planner. Even if Superman’s world was better off, he had ethical problems with what he had become. It was not his place to decide. In other words, throughout the novel it is clear Superman’s planned economy was superior than capitalism. Similarly, the Soviet economy’s “fall” ends with a scene showing Luthor (in this incarnation as a sort of anti-hero that ultimately helped humanity)  impressed with Superman’s notes on economic planning. The glimpse of Luthorism that followed gives the reader the suggestion that Luthor’s utopia was definitely not capitalist. On the contrary, it continued with its planned nature, apparently incorporating a higher emphasis on the participation of scientists.

In sum, the graphic novel “Superman: RedSon” is simply a beautiful literary victory for Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism.

 

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