What if Superman had been raised in the Soviet Union?
In Red Son, Superman’s an idealistic young farm-boy from the Ukraine who believes in the goodness of communism.
Because of a few hours difference from the original timeline, Superman’s ship lands on a Ukrainian collective farm.
Instead of fighting for “… truth, justice, and the American Way”, Soviet Superman is “the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.”
Instead of working for the Daily Planet, he’s a reporter for Pravda.
His “secret identity” (i.e. the name his adoptive parents gave him) is a state secret!
The idea first came to writer Mark Millar when he was six years old:
Red Son is based on a thought that flitted through my head when I read Superman #300 as a six-year-old. It was an imaginary story where Superman’s rocket landed in neutral waters between the USA and the USSR and both sides were rushing to claim the baby. As a kid growing up in the shadow of the Cold War, the notion of what might have happened if the Soviets had reached him first just seemed fascinating to me.
He pitched it to DC Comics when he was 13:
As I got older, I started putting everything together and I first pitched something to DC when I was thirteen, I think — although it was in a much cruder form, of course, and my drawings weren’t quite up to scratch.
In Red Son, Superman reluctantly takes control of the USSR when the people beg him to and makes communism an international success.
As the story progresses, super-communism is embraced by most of the planet and capitalism has completely fragmented.
A reversal of what happened in the real world.
Happy Superman Day, Comrades!
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Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.