“ Superheroes are also about immigrants. Superman, the prototype of all superheroes, is a prototypical immigrant. His homeland was in crisis, so his parents sent him to America in search of a better life. He has two names, one American, Clark Kent, and the other foreign, Kal-El. He wears two sets of clothes and lives in between two cultures. He loves his new country, but a part of him still longs for his old one.
Superman’s negotiation of identities reflects a daily reality for immigrants and their children. It’s no coincidence that Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane — the creators behind the world’s most famous superheroes — were all children of immigrants.
And maybe that’s why I loved superheroes so much when I was a kid. My parents are immigrants. Like Superman, I had two names, one American and the other foreign. I, too, lived in between two cultures. When he travelled from America to the bottle city of Kandor, one of the few remnants of his home culture, I felt a kinship with him. It was a bit like the shift from public school to Chinese language school that I had to go through every Saturday.”