Superman/Batman Alternate Histories
General lessons:This lesson works well when teaching the students how to write a cause and effect paper. It is important to go over this type of writing identifying the elements that make up this particular body of work.
With any of these stories, teachers can have their students read a particular tale. Have the students note what things have been changed from the history that we know and accept. As the story progresses have students what effects those changes had on our history.
Next take an important moment in our history and help the students identify key components that have shaped the way we live now. Now take one of those moments and change it (a what if scenario like what if the south had won the civil war). Have students brainstorm possible outcomes and changes to the way we live.
Finally, you can have the students break into small groups and assign each group an event in history. Using the skills from the previous exercises have them create a what if scenario. Have the students write a paper illustrating the Cause and Effects (following guidelines provided by the teacher). Another possibility would be to have the students present their Elseworld with a presentation, play, drawings, or a comic.
Another interesting side lesson to this particular comic is addressing the issue of who writes our history? Have the students explore the idea of “the winners right the story”.
Two particular stories in this Alternate history comic deals with Superman inserted into colonial times and an off shoot of Superman called Steel who is placed in the time frame of slavery. Steel is made to look like a John Henry figure.
Content areas: Reading, Writing, Critical Thinking, Understanding the writing process, and History.* Other titles that serve a similar purpose are from Marvel publishing: Marvel 1602 and Marvels What If… series.