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  • The full schedule of events
  • This month’s discussion questions


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.

Keep reading this topic to uncover a full schedule of events and lively discussion!

Remember: You can read SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE for FREE as a registered member the entire month of May 2021, no paid subscription required! :superman:



You may answer as few or as many questions as you wish, at any time that is convenient for you in your reading! Do note that potential spoilers in the questions have been blurred, but the conversation in the comments will include spoilers - proceed with caution! :shushing_face:

Periodical #1

  • As always, we want to see your favorite art and moments! There were plenty of times our eyes welled up…We would love to see your screenshots, or even just a description, of your “Best Of” panels in the comments below!

  • There are many references to characters’ jackets, coats, and capes. What ties the symbolism of all their clothes together? How do characters use their clothing to convey their personal story?

  • Do you think this story would be received differently if it was set in modern times, rather than in the 1940s?

Periodical #2

  • In what ways does Clark Kent’s exploration of his origin reflect each member of the Lee family’s experiences?

  • “Uncover enough secrets, and you make a home”, is repeated throughout this periodical. Aren’t secrets normally supposed to be kept? How does this message change our understanding of secrets, and the way we understand other cultures?

  • “Why only be half of what you are?” How have you related to this question in your own life?

Periodical #3

  • What are some other comics that have depicted the origin story of Superman’s costume? How are they different, and how are they the same?

  • Within the world of SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN, what does it mean to be a hero?

  • The Klan believes that “you cannot unite a nation that shares neither blood nor history.” What do you think bonds/unites people other than history?

  • Do you think the lion’s okay?

Bonus Discussion! “Superman & Me” Back Pages by Gene Luen Yang

  • In both the comic and in these back pages, there are themes that the beliefs the Klan hold are not based on hate. Even Denny, the fellow student who liked Gene’s G.I. Joe story, was kind to him, until certain circumstances occurred. How do we reconcile opposing beliefs within ourselves or in others when confronted with them?

  • Like "Clan of the Fiery Cross", the 1940’s radio show SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN was based on, the writing aimed to avoid being too preachy for adults, but also not too scary for kids. Do you think the story succeeded in this goal?

  • What are some specific actions we everyday citizens can take to unite for a better tomorrow?

Thank you for joining the DC Book Club discussion & events- we can’t wait to spend the rest of May diving in with you!

Looking for more free comics for registered members on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE in May?

Check out all the selected titles that are free for registered users in honor of Asian America Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

And while you’re at it, be sure to check out this week’s installment of the Justice League Book Club, as they dive into NEW-SUPERMAN: THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF CHINA, paired with a discussion between Gene Luen Yang and Jim Lee about Asian Superheroes.

If you think our Book Club is fun, get a load of all the great conversations happening around the entire DC Community, all day err’day!


I can’t put into words how excited I am!!!





The front cover of periodical #1 is an image I love, and not just because it’s an absolute goldmine for jokes. (Superman Yeets a Car & Superman Wears a Car as a Hat were 2 of my personal favorites. I’m 5 years old apparently.)

It’s a powerful image for me, mainly because Roberta is standing in front of Superman, facing the Klan. She’s one tiny person vs. a gang of bigots armed with torches and bats and yet she stands defiant. She knows what’s right and what’s wrong and she’s willing to stand up and fight for that when no one else (other than Superman) will. This spirit shines throughout all 3 issues of the series.

It’s also worth noting that her clothing colors all match Superman’s Red/Yellow/Blue, which I feel is symbolizing that she is also a hero in her own right. I think anyone that stands up for what’s right is a hero.

The one difference is that Roberta’s legs are White, whilst Superman’s chest is Black. I’m not 100% of the symbolism here, but I thought it was worth noting :slight_smile:

Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s more relatable in modern times, but the concept of a modern day, very public Klan is fairly alien these days. I think that it’s less jarring and uncomfortable (as much as I don’t like to admit this) to use the Klan in the setting of the 1940s.


Love the artwork, it look something out of a anime movie! Wonder if this Superman is based on Max Fletcher Superman cartoon short? :thinking:
When reading this I can hear Bud Collyer’s voice as Superman.:slightly_smiling_face:


Not gonna lie, I teared up during the first issue when Roberta was expressing her feelings of not feeling like she belonged.

Too long have I also felt this same way, so reading about someone else - albeit a fictional character - experiencing this just hit me right in the feels.

Just like Roberta & Tommy Lee, I was born and raised in the US but my parents are immigrants. Because of this, I have unfortunately been treated like an outsider all my life, and so the Lees’ struggles are my struggles. I live in a pretty big city, one of the biggest in the US (just like Metropolis, actually), however, my own family member was pelted with stones during our High School years (after 9/11)… so I say again, I know the Lees’ struggles all too well.

A quote from when Inspector Henderson and his friends came by to help the Lees in the first issue comes to mind when I reflect back to that: one of them said “Good Lord! A cross burning?! Here in Metropolis?!”

Sometimes we get lucky, however, like when Tommy was welcomed to the baseball team by just about everyone, save for Chuck. We meet some stunning people who make all the bad stuff just melt away. Another great example of this is when Lois & Clark sit down beside Roberta and actually listen to her problems. They feel for her struggles, and want to fight for her peace. It’s very heartwarming when others reach out in solidarity.

Although even now, things may seem like they aren’t much better than they used to be, more people and superheroes have risen up out of the fray to voice their opinions against hatred. This is why each and every one of us has to take it into our own hands to spread peace and love in this world. As Superman learns at the end of the series, it’s okay to be different! We should embrace our differences and love ourselves as well as others even more for them.

Reading this series makes me happy and sad - happy because others can begin to scratch the surface concerning how we "foreigners” feel on a daily basis, but also sad because this hatred and alienation exist in the first place.

The Klan believes that “you cannot unite a nation that shares neither blood nor history.” What do you think bonds/unites people other than history?

In my opinion, all you really need to unite people is love and compassion. When you let love guide you, as most superheroes do, fear and hatred don’t blind you on your journey. We just have to open ourselves to other people, as Superman opens himself up to his “alien” parents at the end of the series, realizing they actually were just like him. The differences he imagined were all his mind playing tricks on him, as I believe ours sometimes do, too.


I know what being an Other is like

I was born in the South Bronx in the 1950s and it was unconfortable being a fat shy ‘sissy’ kid with glasses. At 6 feet tall and later 180 pounds of muscle through exercise, I was really only taunted. The anger you can have, once had me throw a taunter down a flight of stairs. It was just between him and me so nothing happened later

I retreated into comics

If I was fat, so was Bouncing Boy, and Triplicate Girl liked him, all three of her.

If I was ugly, so was the Thing, but he was a true hero beneath his rocky exterior.

If I was shy, so was Peter Parker and Scott Summers, true heroes
both. Both eventually got the girl.

If I wore glasses, so did Clark Kent and Diana Prince, the two greatest heroes, 2/3 of the Trinity.

If I did not go outdoor and play with other children. neither did Matt Murdocks’s father allow him to do so, so he decided to exercise inside.

So l survived until another day.

The movie
I identify most
Is from a Bronx
That no longer exists
I am a few blocks
From where
The movie is set

Too bad I never met my Clara


**Warning: This post potentially contains spoilers for the entire three-part series.

Overall, I thought this was really enjoyable. The first thing that struck me was the artstyle. There’s something extremely accessible about it. I can easily see this miniseries being a great gateway comic to get people into the medium as a whole, due to the easy-to-follow panel progression and wholesome content.

Speaking of the wholesome content, you can tell this is primarily directed at children. The moments where this most stood out were whenever the Unity House kids were interacting with Roberta and Tommy. They were a bit too nice, ESPECIALLY Jimmy. He was like the paragon of friendship in this series, but it was okay, because it was balanced by not all the kids being as ultra-nice as Jimmy was. There were plenty of microaggressions going on here, which felt pretty true-to-form. And the Klan conflict was handled pretty well. The greatest children’s stories are the ones in which adults can find plenty of value, and there’s plenty to find here in SStK.

That moment in issue #3, when Superman appears in flight for the first time at the baseball stadium… I swear, I was hearing Williams’ score in my head. Yang is able to perfectly capture the essence of Superman as the quintessential hero, the kind of guy who you can’t help but like and cheer for. Yang gives Clark an inherent likability that just makes the reader want him to succeed. This is the kind of feeling I think people should have when reading a Superman story, rather than “This is boring, he’s too strong.”

The choice to put Clark at only “half” of his capability for most of the series was an interesting one, and it probably helped fight against the “He’s too strong” detractors. You can see what Yang is going for early on with Superman eventually unlocking his full powers later on, but that doesn’t make the moment any less satisfying when it happens in issue #3. Superman’s arrival at the baseball field was reminiscent of Thor’s arrival in Wakanda. :slight_smile:

And the final sequence, with Roberta becoming a cub reporter and that final page of her running with Jimmy and Lois while Superman flies above… That moment was really sweet, maybe even a little saccharine, but hey, it worked. It left me feeling with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside thanks to the happiest of endings. Until the final final pages, AKA the essay by Yang.

In reading that, it took me from feeling warm and fuzzy to feeling way more grounded and melancholy, and at first I was like “Why spoil a perfectly sweet ending with real-world gloom?” But the more I think about it, the more perfect a choice I think it was to have Yang’s essay be the last thing the reader reads. His analysis of the Klan and the modern-day implications felt since then are more important than experiencing a sweet and happy ending. Yang is writing from a place of authority when it comes to the Asian experience, and there were times I felt his recountings in the back pages of each issue more interesting than the comic book portions themselves. And man, that anecdote about Yang’s dad and Dave… :’)

I’m really, really glad SStK turned out to be the Book Club’s selection for this month. This was such a great story, and I’m going to be thinking about this one for a while.


I read this story when it came out as periodicals and absolutely loved it. In my opinion it’s one of the best Superman stories in recent years. Loved to do much that during Superhero Day I went and did a thing:

While it’s great to have the books available here, this is definitely one I wanted on my shelf.

(That day I also ordered Dark Knight: The Golden Child, which while seemingly completely different, actually shares some similar themes, IMO)

Looking forward to talking about this series with you guys. :grinning:


I’d been looking forward to reading this for a long while, and I loved it as much as I expected to. I think it worked as a very good Superman story, and a powerful story about racism and acceptance. It highlighted some of my favorite things about Superman stories. The first is how he inspires those around him to be heroic too, and how despite being literally from another planet, he’s not really that different from humans. I liked how in this story so many other characters were heroic and helped make things better, like Roberta, Jimmy, Lois, Inspector Henderson, and even Chuck. I also really liked how he believes everyone can change and be better, even the Grand Scorpion.


There is a documemtary on DC Comics, available to all on YouTube by Warner Bros that discusses the immigrant experience in early comic books, in the new Americans of the time, the creators and the characters thenselves, like Superman.

New DC Readers will learn the History of DC Comics, up to 2009, in this hour and half Documentary


Can’t wait to watch this, thanks @TurokSonOfStone1950 for posting it!


I agree, and am currently in the 2nd “periodical.”

The initial Listen Along of the first six radio episodes should be fun too later this month.


It’d definitely be received differently if set in 2021. As Alec mentioned above, the idea of a Klan-like organization is foreign to most modern readers.

What I especially love about the series is Gene’s anecdotes and history at the end of each volume. What it tells us is that, while we don’t have a Klan out burning crosses on lawns, we still have a long way to go in fighting prejudice and exclusion. Just because prejudice isn’t as in-your-face as it once was doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I think that’s a powerful message, whereas trying to set the comic in the modern era would be difficult. It would likely either seem absurd or offend many of the readers by making political assumptions (or perceived ones).


Periodical #1 Questions

  • As always, we want to see your favorite art and moments! There were plenty of times our eyes welled up…We would love to see your screenshots, or even just a description, of your “Best Of” panels in the comments below!

I liked the irony of Chuck accidentally striking Superman with a baseball bat while wearing a Superman t-shirt. Superman has always stood against oppression which the Klan of the Fiery Kross is infamous for.

  • Do you think this story would be received differently if it was set in modern times, rather than in the 1940s? I don’t think the story would be received any different if it were set during modern times. A more modern villain would be racist neighbors taking their frustrations out on a Chinese family and blaming them for the COVID-19 pandemic just because of their nationality. I would like to see DC create stories in the near future tackling AAPI hate and violence.

You’re not far off, RF! The artist(s), Gurihiru, are an artist duo (Chifuyu Sasaki & Naoko Kawano) well known for their work on the very popular comic series adaptation of the animation Avatar: The Last Airbender. The comic adaptation is also written by Gene Luen Yang! There were many panels where I lovingly exclaimed “Ooh, this looks like anime or manga!” :blush:


Yeees, thanks for getting that up and running @Don-El! For anyone who wants to bookmark the Radio Show Listen-Along event, you can find it here:

I’m just getting through the Mondays over here, but I can’t wait to dive into the discussion with everyone soon :superman_fan_club:


You know, I would like to think that too. And the anti-Asian violence is horrific and needs people of ethics and dignity to speak out for human rights. But the worst offense is the endless pattern of normalized violence and gang violence. That is the root of our problem with hate, the idea that violence against people is normal and natural to too many. We are more like the 1930s in terms of that. In first four months of 2021, 1,600 children and teenagers were shot. And there is not a weekend I can recall, not reading about a child shot in Chicago. Two children murdered there in the past two days. This normalization of beating and shooting people in the street (especially targeting children) is the root of our societal problems, in my opinion.


Hear hear, jeffrey- it is truly an issue in our modern world when events like what you’re describing don’t make huge headlines anymore, but are treated as normal events.

Reading the “fictional” periodical story of SSTK, joined with the historical summaries at the back of the books, published in the modern era, made this story resonate very deeply. Yang very thoughtfully identified some of the key patterns in our history, then wove a story to demonstrate how those patterns influence everyday society; whether we’re a person of color, or someone asking an insensitive question or making a remark, or are the person being brought up in an environment where that violence is normalized. And even though this story takes place in the 1940’s, reading it in 2019 soberly reminds us that these are issues we still have to face and speak out against.

Spoiler for periodical #3:

This is part of why using Superman, Lois, Jimmy, and Perry in their full stature as reporters gave me chills. When Lois gave Roberta (Lan-Shin) the gift of a pen and said “In the hands of the right person, a pen can become the most powerful instrument in the world” - It felt like Gene Luen Yang was specifically speaking to the reader, asking them to be that ethical voice of dignity.

I think in a way, comics have given us those symbols since the very beginning. The story of what was accomplished with the Superman Radio Show to take down the Klan with media/the pen - that’s no small potatoes. I guess the trick now is finding a way to cut through the noise of the Internet Age.


Finding out that Roberta was secretly one of those all important "L.L."s in Superman’s life all along was such a powerful moment for me at the end. That really brought it all home.

One of Gene Luen Yang’s greatest strengths is taking loose threads from comic book history and weaving them into a greater untold story. It’s something he did throughout his prior Superman work in The New 52 and on the great New Super-Man, and is even currently working into his ongoing Superman/Batman run, but here, it’s the growth of Superman’s powers in this age where they were still being defined. In the comics, on the radio, and on screen, Superman’s abilities were growing by leaps and bounds with no explanation. Heat vision, X-Ray vision, flight – all of these powers were demonstrated as if Superman had simply had them this whole time. With Superman Smashes the Klan, Gene takes the most “alien” parts of Superman’s abilities, the ones which developed later in his early career, and uses them here as a powerful parallel to hide the parts of your heritage that make you unique in order to keep yourself from standing out. It’s beautiful, and it’s perfect.

Also, as you’ll all hear soon if you listen in, the events here are SHOCKINGLY close to the ones in the radio serial, if dialed up a bit for visual interest! Like, even particularly small, quiet scenes are reflected here in the final text. It’s truly a loving and dedicated rendition of an important storyline in Superman’s history which has never been committed to page before.