Ethan Van Sciver Speculates As To The Real Reason Superman Now Stands For “A Better Tomorrow”

Source: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Cannon Films

Cyberfrog creator and AllCAPS Comics proprietor Ethan Van Sciver recently shared his thoughts on why DC ditched “The American Way” from the Man of Steel’s classic motto in favor of “for a better tomorrow.”

Source: DC Comics Presents #61

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In a recent YouTube live stream, Van Sciver asserted that the change was because DC wants to make Superman a more global character who stands and fights for all sorts of causes.

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Furthermore, he also calls the stunt a political statement and believes that DC is doing it because it belongs in the conversation the publisher wants people to have.

“He doesn’t just belong to America. What even is the American way?” EVS said speaking from their perspective in a fey sarcastic impression.

Addressing an elephant in the room, Van Sciver then speculated that DC may be creating a diversion to distract from their constant legal battle to hold onto the Superman IP, which they first acquired for a pittance but now takes in hundreds of millions in licensing.

Source: The Adventures of Superman (1952)

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As noted by Van Sciver, the surviving Siegel family, who own a percentage of the Superman IP, are currently suing for full ownership of the character’s rights, even though they contractually receive a share of the profits made from his numerous appearances.

The longtime publisher of the comics, however, wants to hold onto whatever trademarks they can that haven’t lapsed into the public domain, as aspects of Superman and other heroes are routinely want to do over time.

Source: Adventures of Superman: George Perez

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However, the former DC Comics artist also pointed out that trademarks lapse differently than copyrights do, as a  company holds onto a trademark legally until it’s proven generic.

Van Sciver next questioned point-blank if DC had actually lost the trademark to “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” to which he received an answer from Ann Ellis on Twitter who – with proof in the form of pertinent screenshots – said that the trademarks slipped from DC’s grasp in 2006.

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Van Sciver had a little fun pointing out this was at the same time the classic motto was truncated and ignored by Bryan Singer’s film Superman Returns – a fun movie to revisit that doesn’t look so bad given where the comics are now.

The point is, based on the above findings, that Van Sciver believes this is all happening because DC lost exclusive ownership to the “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” line and now considers it a dead trademark.

According to the artist, DC has filed the “For a Better Tomorrow” alternative under a USPTO patent which nobody other than them can use.

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Shortly after making his report on the livestream, Van Sciver was on Twitter toying with the idea of using ‘The American Way’, or at least a reworking of it, for Cyberfrog. In doing so, he was inspired to come up with “Truth, Justice, and the Amphibian Way,” which you may see on a Cyberfrog comic at some point.

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The “Truth, Justice, American Way” first appeared in the Superman radio dramas of the 1940s and was later a hallmark of the George Reeves TV series before it was accepted as canon in the comics and movies.

What do you make of Van Sciver’s speculation surrounding Superman’s distancing from ‘The American Way’? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

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