After nearly 80 years, Superman will no longer fight for “truth, justice and the American way.” Instead, DC Comics announced Saturday that the Man of Steel will now be fighting for “truth, justice and a better tomorrow.”
Explaining the change, which was announced during DC FanDome 2021, DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee said it is part of an effort “to better reflect the storylines that we are telling across DC and to honor Superman’s incredible legacy of over 80 years of building a better world.”
“Superman has long been a symbol of hope,” Lee said, and added that the new catchphrase is meant to fully embody that hope for everyone.
Coined in a 1942 episode of the “Superman” radio show, “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” became synonymous with the superhero thanks to its use in the opening credits of the 1950s TV series “The Adventures of Superman.” So much so that in 1978’s “Superman: The Movie,” the phrase was deliberately invoked to contrast Superman’s old fashioned optimism and community spirit with the cynicism and alienation of the 1970s.
But “Truth, justice and a better tomorrow” isn’t the first time the Man of Steel’s mantra has been switched up in the comics. In “Batman/Superman” #16, written by Gene Luen Yang and released in March of this year, the sentiment was expressed as “Truth, tolerance, and justice.” But just to head off any lazy and uninformed complaints about ‘wokeness’ (whatever the hell that is), that exact phrase is almost as old as as “The American Way,” used word for word by Superman’s human foster father in a 1948 Superman film serial.
In it, Jonathan Kent explains to Clark (you all know Superman’s secret identity now, surely) that his powers are a gift, and should be used “always in the interest of truth, tolerance, and justice.