Superman’s motto gets a modern update: ‘Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow’

Superman’s iconic motto, “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” is getting an official update for the first time in decades.

“Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow” will be Superman’s new motto, a change that was announced Saturday by DC Chief Creative Office and Publisher Jim Lee, during DC’s FanDome. (CNN and DC Comics are both part of WarnerMedia.)

“To better reflect the storylines that we are telling across DC and to honor Superman’s incredible legacy of over 80 years of building a better world, Superman’s motto is evolving,” Lee said. “Superman has long been a symbol of hope who inspires people, and it is that optimism and hope that powers him forward with this new mission statement.”

This isn’t the first time recent comics have edited the “American way” part of the motto. In the first edition of “Superman: Son of Kal-El,” which features the son of Lois Lane and Clark Kent, Jon, as the new Superman and was published in July, Jon states that he stands for “Truth. Justice. And a Better World.” Saturday’s announcement establishes a more canonical change for the classic motto linked to Clark Kent’s Superman.

Even though fans may associate the “American way” catchphrase with comics, the phrase actually goes back to Superman’s transition to radio in the 1940s and TV in the 1950s.

As Erik Lundegaard wrote in the New York Times, when the radio show made its debut during World War II, “We were all fighting for the American way. Why shouldn’t Superman?”

But in the decades since, filmmakers have toyed with the phrase’s usage.

In the 2006 movie “Superman Returns,” Daily Planet editor Perry White asks about Superman, back after a long absence: “Does he still stand for truth, justice, all that stuff?”

More recently, the 2013 movie “Man of Steel” portrayed Superman as having a tense relationship with the US government, which approaches the notion of an alien visitor with extraordinary powers warily, asking how one can be certain he won’t act against the country’s interests.

“I grew up in Kansas, General,” Superman, played by Henry Cavill, says. “I’m about as American as it gets.”

The new motto isn’t the only change the Superman universe has seen in the last week. On Tuesday, it was announced that Jon Kent is bisexual. In the fifth issue of the DC comic series “Superman: Son of Kal-El,” Jon Kent will confirm his sexuality, after falling for Jay Nakamura, a male reporter, DC announced.

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