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‘Superman vs. the KKK’: A Real-Life Radio Drama Pitting Good Against Evil Gets the Movie Treatment

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

In Marvel’s comics, Captain America is a Nazi now. Rather, he’s a Hydra operative in the Secret Empire series, which means he’s a member of a group that has had ties to Nazism in the history of the comics, but which the writers are trying to distance from its more unsavory historical connotations. But a DC hero is taking the opposite route: Lotus Entertainment and Paperchase Films have optioned the film rights to nonfiction book Superman vs. the Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate. 

Rick Bowers published the book in 2012 to tell the story of the real radio drama that involved the Man of Steel himself taking on a thinly-veiled version of the Klan. The twist: the radio drama was put on by a former Klan member. Deadline quotes the producers behind the movie describing the plot as “chronicling a former Klan member who goes undercover in 1946 Atlanta and works with the Anti-Defamation League and the producer of the Superman radio show.”

Here’s the synopsis of the book:

This book tells a group of intertwining stories that culminate in the historic 1947 collision of the Superman Radio Show and the Ku Klux Klan. It is the story of the two Cleveland teenagers who invented Superman as a defender of the little guy and the New York wheeler-dealers who made him a major media force. It is the story Ku Klux Klan’s development from a club to a huge money-making machine powered by the powers of fear and hate and of the folklorist who–along with many other activists– took on the Klan by wielding the power of words. Above all, it tells the story of Superman himself–a modern mythical hero and an embodiment of the cultural reality of his times–from the Great Depression to the present.

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