February 11, 2012

The new Super-Chief

Here's a new comic-book character I learned about from the Jacque La Grange interview:

Saganowahna of WisconsinAt the beginning of Superman #709, a new young Super-Chief is seen thanking Superman for an assist on capturing runaway supervillains in the Colorado desert. Superman refers to him as "Saganowahna," and the young man claims that he gains his powers from a "manitou stone" he wears around his wrist; he claims that some believe the stone to be Kryptonian in origin, though Superman is skeptical of the idea. Evidently, the powers have a set time limit for daily use.

Saganowahna wears a uniform consisting of a red jacket with a yellow symbol on the back, a white shirt, black tights, and red boots. He is a Native American man who wears a mohawk. It is insinuated that Saganowahna is a Wisconsin native, because he invites Superman to visit Green Bay the next time the Metropolis Meteors play against the Green Bay Packers.

This new Super-Chief later accepts membership in Superman's new team, the Supermen of America.

Comment:  This Super-Chief seems less stereotypical than the previous one. But a couple problems:

1) The name "Saganowahna" sounds like it comes from one of the Algonquian languages in the New York area. Of course, one Oneida tribe did move to Wisconsin. And a New Yorker could move to Wisconsin as well, or enroll in a Wisconsin school.

Or the creators could be continuing their mix-and-match stereotyping. You know, the idea that all Indian cultures are the same. That you can take a name from one culture and apply it to someone from another culture.

2) I'm not sure I've ever seen a modern Indian wear a Mohawk. If it's supposed to be a reference to Saganowahna's Iroquois heritage, it doesn't quite work. Again, he's in Wisconsin while the Mohawks and other Haudenosaunee tribes are in upstate New York.

But overall, it looks like an improvement over the angry young military vet in the buffalo headdress. Good!

For more on the subject, see Super-Chief Lives.

No comments: