How ironic that an American icon is completely un-American...an alien...an immigrant. Superman's creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster (two Jewish teenagers from Cleveland, OH) created the hero they would want protecting them in their vulnerability against life in Cleveland and against life in the world under the shadow of Adolph Hitler's rise to power. Together they create a hero in the tradition of the comic strongman, the Golem, Samson and Moses. Like Moses, who delivered his people from slavery, Superman finds himself raised among a foreign people after having been found in a vessel crashed in a field as opposed to hung up on reeds. Superman is taught to hide his alien identity under the most American of disguised, the corporate uniform of blue suit, white shirt and tie. Underneath his true identity radiates in the primary colors of his strongman costume. He will always be unfulfilled in his adopted home as the woman he loves does not respect or love his false cover identity. She loves his real identity, but Superman cannot love under his real identity and risk having it exposed. Like the 16th century Spanish mystic, Teresa of Avila, who finds the depth her identity in the investigation of the rooms making up her deep interior life as expressed in The Interior Castle Superman finds the full expression of his identity only possible in the depths of isolation...the Fortress of Solitude located deep in the Arctic landscape...where he has artifacts of his past life collected and displayed.
The most American of icons is un-American in his origin, but perhaps that makes him fundamentally American.