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Blog: Forget Krypton. Cleveland is 'America's Super City'

10:09 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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Forget the planet Krypton. Superman was born right here in Cleveland. It's "America's Super City," for real.

Forget "New York may be the Big Apple but Cleveland's a Plum" slogan. We are truly "America's Super City" because the Man of Steel Superman was born here.

Joe Siegel and Jerry Shuster created Superman together while teenagers in Cleveland's Glenville neighborhood in the early 1930s. His first appearance was in "Action Comics" No. 1 in April 1938.

Here's more proof. A lifesize statue of Superman has stood guard over Cleveland Hopkins Airport for the last three months.

On Oct. 11 this year, a permanent exhibit paying tribute to Superman opened at the airport. Relatives of Siegel and Shuster were at the airport for the opening of the exhibit.

The Superman exhibit was put together by the Siegel and Shuster Society, a Cleveland-based group formed to honor the boys who created a worldwide cultural icon in the midst of the Great Depression.

Superman fans contributed about $50,000 for the exhibit.

This coming summer marks 75 years since Superman first appeared in "Action Comics" No. 1, heralding a worldwide comic book industry. A near perfect copy of that 10 cent comic sold in 2010 for $2.1 million.

When I wrote about this before, WGCL radio's former Cleveland deejay "Dancin' Danny Wright" contacted me and said he tried to get the slogan "America's Super City" to catch on in Cleveland when he was here but it didn't.

Back in October, 2008, the Siegel and Shuster Society raised enough money to renovate the Glenville home where Siegel lived.

By the way, the house just happens to be painted Superman blue, red and yellow and is on Kimberly Avenue.( Hence, my added interest.) It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here's another factoid.

The $412 check that DC Comics wrote to acquire Superman from Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster sold for $160,000 last year. Stephen Fishler, CEO of and Metropolis Collectibles, said the check was auctioned online to an unnamed buyer.

The check is made out to Siegel and Shuster. It includes a line item for $130 showing DC paid for full ownership and rights to Superman.

The canceled check was saved by a DC Comics staffer in the 1970s and sat undisturbed in a desk drawer for 38 years.

What brought this all back to the forefront -- I wrote a May 2012 blog about Superman being "born" in Cleveland -- is Thursday's ruling that Warner Bros. has won another significant victory in its epic legal struggle over the commercial rights to the Superman comic franchise.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the heirs of Superman's co-creator Siegel must abide by a 2001 agreement they made with the studio.

The ruling overturns a trial judge's decision in 2008 siding with the Siegel heirs in their attempts to expand their commercial control.

It's the second significant victory for the studio in its yearslong battle for control of Superman. Three months ago, heirs for the other co-creator, Joseph Shuster, also lost their legal bid to regain a share of Superman's copyright.

This clears the way for Warner Bros. to move forward with their long-anticipated movie "Man of Steel" starring Henry Cavill slated to open in theaters this summer. 

But that battle is not ours to fight.

But maybe we can let all of the country know that we are "America's Super City."

Two weeks ago, State Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) reintroduced a bill in the Ohio House for a specialty Superman license plate.

(It passed the House last year but died before it reached the Senate.)

The license plates will be designed to commemorate Shuster and Siegel. The humble beginnings of Superman began with two young Jewish-American gentlemen in the years shortly before World War II.

Since then, the young men and their creation have been recognized throughout the world for the birth of the world's most famous super hero and the only one with roots in Ohio.

The license plates will be inscribed with the words "Ohio, Birthplace of Superman" and will be marked with a design selected by the entity that owns Superman's name. The license plates will also bear county identification stickers.

Now all we need is Patmon to convince Cleveland's leaders to adopt the slogan "America's Super City." What do you think? 


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