Thursday, October 08, 2009

Superman Saves The Barrio For the United Farmworkers Union: Cesar Chavez's Buddy in Tights!

original posting: 9/26/07

Growing up in Laredo, ensconced in my room with Snoopy posters and UT Longhorn banners, I always thrilled to the wonders of Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson's Superman stories for DC comics. Little did I know that one of these wonders--January 1972, issue 247--featured the Man of Steel as a defender of Mexican Farm Workers. Small World.

A former student of mine and regular Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog contributor, Professor Marc García-Martinez, of Hancock College, writes in with this comic book, blast-from-the-past, skinny:

At the end of the tumultuous 60’s decade TIME magazine featured Cesar Chavez on its famous cover and a timely story on “The Grapes of Wrath, 1969: Mexican-Americans on the March.”

At the beginning of 1980 National Geographic, that distinguished magazine devoted to all things natural and cultural, featured an honest piece on “Mexican-Americans: A People on the Move.”

Somewhere in between, circa 1972, DC comics contributed its own unique brand of homage to La Raza by presenting an peculiar tale in its Superman No. 247 that could have justly been called “Mexican-Americans: Idle Farm Workers on Attack.”

Featuring in the relative climax of the story an assortment of Mexican-[ergo geographically-laborious-American] farm workers in California’s central valley, the story is an ironic and curious little portrait of the Mexican, that seems to cut too close to the spineless, indolent, leech-off-the-government for aid portrayals we’ve seen all too often lately.

This is some strange verbal-visual caca here, carnal…perhaps inadvertent. Let’s chat about this some more!

En la lucha,


García-Martinez also forwarded cool scans from the story; I would appreciate it if anyone has issue 272, as it is, oddly, missing from my collection. I'll offer a free copy of Tex[t]-Mex to the first person to email me at to let me know you are willing to loan or give me this prized issue!


Professor García-Martinez just gave me the headsup on a Mexico City, Spanish-language edition of this story! I just bought it off ebay. Abrazos a mi amigo en Hancock College.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post, Nericcio. I clicked the Marc Garcia-Martinez link and read the article about his work.
    The Bobby Kennedy phenomenon was intriguing. Is there an article? I'd really like to read it.

    Take care, MPL

    PS: Mandie and I are living in S.D. now.