In the comics of the Golden Age, Superman had little to do with World War II, and the reason is fairly obvious: he'd have ended it in five minutes, as depicted in a Look magazine comic from the era. The publishers were also worried that having Superman clean up Nazis by the truckload would seem disrespectful to actual United States troops fighting and dying in the field.
The Superman newspaper strip took a different direction and tackled the war head on, not by having Superman win it single-handedly, but by having him offer support to the American fighting man and woman. In a nearly two year long series of Sunday strips, Superman takes mail from US troops and does what he can to answer them. Some requests involve lovesick soldiers who miss their family. Some involve a need for R & R. Sometimes soldiers are taught respect for a member of their platoon. The series even takes the time to explain just why Superman didn't join up and fight (hint: using X-ray vision while reading a vision chart could be a problem!)
This was a long forgotten bit of Superman's history until IDW began publishing the character's newspaper strip adventures.
This series features examples of:
- Alternate Continuity: the newspaper stories have a few characteristics that put them at odds with the comics of the time, though by the time this story begins they could be reconciled fairly easily.
- America Won World War II: Very much so. They don't even need Superman! (except to carry the mail and help the troops with morale)
- Asian and Nerdy and Asian Buck Teeth: Wartime propoganda is in full effect here. All Japanese soldiers are depicted as blustering cowards with huge glasses and buck teeth. Two American soldiers can defeat 100 Japanese with ease.
- Newspaper Comics
- X-Ray Vision: This is Superman, so it seems obvious. However, his X-ray vision is what keeps him from being able to join the armed forces. When he goes down to the recruiting office (as Clark Kent), his physical exam goes wonderfully. However, he fails his vision test due to looking right through the eye chart and reading the one in the next room! He is declared as blind as a bat and unfit for service. No amount of pleading will get him a second chance.