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‘Illegal Superheroes’ campaign warns of undocumented crime-fighters

ArtInfo spotlights a satirical poster campaign by Oakland artist Neil Rivas that uses superhero illustrations by the likes of Jack Kirby, Alex Ross, Jae Lee and John Byrne (completed with trademarked logos) to address the hot-button political issue of illegal immigration. Titled simply “Illegal Superheroes,” the posters feature such characters as Wolverine, Superman, Black Widow, Wonder Woman and Optimus Prime, whose presence in the United States would likely violate federal law.

Purporting to be from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the posters caution, “Super heroes who enter this country without proper authorization are breaking the law, plain and simple. These ‘illegal super heroes’ are subject to deportation at any time. Their very presence is in direct violation of federal law.” The customized hotline numbers at the bottom of each flyer provides the caller with details about each of the undocumented heroes (for instance, “The ThunderCats, a family of cat-like humanoid aliens from the planet Thundera, are known to have entered the U.S. illegally when they saved the world with Superman from Mumm-Ra and his Mutants in a 2004 DC crossover”). ArtInfo has the full breakdown of the messages explaining each character’s illegal status.

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16 Comments

Someone needs to get a life.

“The ThunderCats, a family of cat-like humanoid aliens”

Nice; somebody’s done his homework.

Always bugs me when I see people call the Thundercats “humanoid cats”. They’re humans with feline characteristics, not the other way ’round.

Surely Superman could get an H-1B visa from Star Labs or something. His skill set is pretty unique even in the DC universe.

“Someone needs to get a life.”

Are you volunteering?

Seriously though, this is a great project. See kids, art can be fun AND educational!

Wonder Woman is an ambassador from a foreign country, and there is nothing illegal in her being here. Likewise, Alpha Flight are Canadian residents who live in Canada, and I thought Wild Thing was born in the US.

Namor shouldn’t be an illegal. He is Namor McKenzie, son of American Sea Captain Leonard McKenzie, which makes him a US citizen by birth.

This is the saddest of all comment threads.

Superheroes aren’t real. Illegal immigration is.

This is just as stupid as those anti-smoking and anti-drug comics featuring superheroes are.

Sad thread? No way, man, this is a thread for geekiness to reach new heights — comics and the intricacies of immigration law! All but one of these are wrong:

Black Widow: She more than just left the KGB, she defected. Defectors get permanent residence especially if they provide information to SHIELD. If she hadn’t been granted permanent residence by the time she moved with Daredevil to San Francisco, I’m sure attorney Matt Murdock would have seen to getting her status legit. And I believe strongly that she’s a naturalized American citizen now — plenty of time and plenty of smarts to take the test, and as leader of the Avengers in the 90’s, she would have been put right at the front of the line.

Elektra: Well, she probably is in the US without authorization. But she did die and was resurrected in the USA so there’s a possible argument that from that point on, she is American.

Nightcrawler: Well he’s dead in continuity. Dead persons cannot have an immigration status. (I’m inclined to the Professor X would have fixed the immigration status of all the new X-Men — using mind control if needed.)

Superman: Superman is an alien lifeform — and our legal system does not contemplate the rights of alien lifeforms. He is no more an illegal immigrant than a comet is litter. A more interesting question is what is Clark Kent? Not an illegal immigrant but it’s hard to quite say he’s a citizen of the US either. Though I think a good lawyer could win that case.

Thor: Dr. Donald Blake MD is a human, American citizen. Odin of Asgard placed Thor into the body of an American citizen, and although they have split since then, and been reunited since then, it seems likely that Blake is the part of this gestalt that establishes the legal identity. Thor did not exist on the earthly plane but for the interference of Odin, and when Thor first arrived, it was in union with Blake. Therefore, Thor carries Blake’s citizenship.

Thundercats: As with Superman, Thundercats are not human and therefore there is nothing in the law that would define their status, legal or illegal.

Optimus Prime: Same deal. Transformers are sentient beings but enforcing legal rights for them would likely be quite a bit harder than Superman or the Thundercats due to their non-organic makeup.

Wild Thing: Man, she’s not even from the main Marvel universe! As Zach noted above, there is plenty of chance that her mother Elektra gave birth in the United States. If not — well maybe on Earth-982 there are no immigration laws…

Wolverine: I’m on record as saying that I think Professor X normalized the status of all the New X-men, but Wolverine probably has two or three other defenses against deportation: (1) When Wolverine was born, there were no laws that forbade Canadians or Mexicans from wandering over the border, not Americans to those countries. (Just ask Gov. Romney’s “Mexican” grandfather”. If someone could prove that he was allowed to cross before the laws took effect, he might be grandfathered in (2) Wolverine has been part of United States and Canadian military operations, so may have permanent residence from that (3) As an agent of the Canadian government, he may have been granted permission to cross freely (4) As an Avenger, he clearly has a legal US status.

As for other Alpha Flighters, they mostly don’t stay in the US too long. Northstar has permanent residence, I’d assume, but the others, like all Canadians, are free to visit for short periods on their Canadian passports without a visa.

Wonder Woman: Zach is correct; she is legal on a diplomatic visa from Themiscryia.

mmmmmmmmmm geeky…..

Actually you could make a case for Optimus Prime based on the fact that he’s been asleep for millions of years when America was formed. He was in America at the time.

Regarding real life nutbars who like to find an excuse to harass people after ID’ng them as such–if one was right next to me knocking on people who came here for a better life, I wouldn’t hesitate: I’d punch ‘em in the face and kick them downstairs, and make them suffer for what they said.

This is a key piece of the Obama re-election campaign. Do you think it’s coincidental timing for this illegal immigration reprieve? If so, keep telling yourself that lie and stir in some more Kool-aid mix.

@Dan the man

Also, all the Autobots (the movie version, at least) are based on vehicles manufactured by American companies. This could also aid in their quest for citizenship. (Which would be the most boring Transformers movie, ever.)

someone didn’t do their research even though rena the wild thing is the child of two illegals since she was born on American soil she is a legal citizen.

I’m sure we’ve been through this before, but Superman is not only a citizen, but under the Foundling Statute, would be eligible to run for President . . .

“The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth . . . a person of unknown parentage found in the United States while under the age of five years, until shown, prior to his attaining the age of twenty-one years, not to have been born in the United States”

http://lawandthemultiverse.com/2010/12/22/superheros-and-immigration-status/

The thing I couldn’t help but notice is how out of date the images of Superman and Wonder Woman are. They look to be from the early 80’s at the most. Funny the things you notice. :) Funny enough the Martian Manhunter one looks fairly recent and the Hawkman one is hard to tell give all the stuff that’s been done with him over the years. :)

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