U.S. Representative-elect Robert Garcia of California will be sworn into Congress on January 3 using a rare 1939 copy of “Action Comics” No. 1 and a copy of the Constitution.
The comic book, featuring the first appearance of Superman, holds special significance for Garcia, who learned to read and write in English by reading Superman comics. Garcia will be sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with the Constitution and comic book serving as personal tributes to his late parents and his immigrant background.
Garcia is not the only member of Congress to use a non-traditional item for their swearing-in. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York used a copy of the Constitution in 2019, and Representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin used a copy of the “Little Red Book” by Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong in 2013.
Using a non-traditional item for the ceremonial swearing-in allows members of Congress to personalize the occasion and pay tribute to their values and beliefs. It is also a way to make a statement about the issues they care about and that they plan to prioritize in their time in the office.
In a statement, Garcia emphasized the importance of the Constitution and the symbolism of Superman as a beacon of hope for immigrants. “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve my community and our nation,” he said. “I will always work to protect and defend the Constitution…the opportunity to pursue our dreams.”
Ok y’all I’m freaking out. This is the Congressional members reading room in the Library of Congress. I can pull any comic book from what is the largest public comic collection in the country and read them here. Let’s go! pic.twitter.com/SyIrCvHkfT
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) November 14, 2022
The original “Action Comics” No. 1 featuring Superman has become a collector’s item, with a copy selling for a record-breaking $5.3 million at auction in April. Garcia’s copy, on loan from the Library of Congress, will be placed alongside other sacred texts used by incoming members of Congress during the ceremony.
Garcia has expressed his excitement about having access to the Library of Congress, tweeting in November: “Ok y’all I’m freaking out. This is the Congressional members’ reading room in the Library of Congress. I can pull any comic book from what is the largest public comic collection in the country and read them here. Let’s go!”
New members of Congress were not sworn in on January 3, as the House adjourned following three rounds of votes without selecting a new speaker. A speaker must be chosen before any new members can be inaugurated or any business can be conducted.