Is Superman Jewish? His creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both were–but the Man of Steel himself, a Charles Atlas poster-boy with a chiseled jaw and a body of, well, steel, wearing a costume that no Jewish mother would let her son leave the house in, sets a much different image.

But in some ways, Superman was the ultimate Jewish fantasy, the true identity of the nebbish, weak Clark Kent. One early story features Superman kidnapping Hitler and Stalin, taking them both to his Fortress of Solitude, and pronouncing both guilty of “modern history’s greatest crime”–and this took place in an issue published in September 1941, two months before America entered WWII.

In his new book Supergods, comic writer Grant Morrison posits that, more than the person we wish we were, Superman is actually the protector we wish we had–a golem, parent, angel, and security blanket all in one.

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