Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Superman vs Taxman

Back in 1961 a Superman comic story (#148) was based around how the IRS (US Internal Revenue Service) pursued the Man of Steel for unpaid taxes.

A junior investigator noted that there was no record of Superman ever paying tax. And what with all the reward money he earned for capturing criminals plus all the diamonds he made from coal...

Evidently there was a lot of tax at stake. $1 billion (remember this was 1961). Superman's first defence was that he gave away all his 'earnings'. But the IRS noted that many millionaires give substantial sums to charity. This does not absolve them from a a liability to tax.

Superman spends the rest of the story frantically scrambling for extra cash, only to lose his instant riches through a series of endearingly goofy Silver Age plot twists, such as Bizarro showing up and transforming a collection of priceless ivory into Ivory Soap! At one point, Superman even hits up Aquaman to find him a giant clam containing an equally giant pearl.

Despite the setbacks, Superman managed to collect an impressive cache of rare treasures, only to see them devoured by a matter-eating space monster! This lead to a rare display of temper from the normally even-keeled the pressure to meet his taxation deadline caused him to hurl the source of his anxiety into outer space.

Happily, after returning to the IRS, Superman is informed that he's off the hook for the billion-dollar tax bill...though the reasoning behind the clever last-minute reprieve is a bit of a stretch... (Only in America!)

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