Sunday, April 14, 2013
Superman's Kryptonite is in Cleveland
I hate to say it, but my hometown, Cleveland, Ohio sometimes lives up to its unflattering nickname, "The Mistake on the Lake." It's a town where corrupt or simply incompetent politicians make decisions that benefit their bank accounts while an indifferent public let’s them get away with it.
Cleveland successfully lobbied to get the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum built there, but failed to secure the all important induction ceremony which is held in Cleveland only on an occasional basis. Nothing says more about Cleveland’s loser status than its inability or refusal to honor its most famous native son. It’s not Paul Newman. He came from Shaker Heights. It certainly isn’t LeBron James who hails from Akron and whose honors are way out of proportion to his accomplishments and who abandoned Cleveland for Miami.
Who is Cleveland’s most illustrious native son?
It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s Superman!
Born 75 years ago in the Glenville neighborhood, an area of town now associated with gangs and criminal activity, the visitor from the planet Krypton is known and loved around the globe and his secret identity of Clark Kent is equally famous. He may very well be the most recognizable figure in fiction, and he was created by two Cleveland boys, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Other than Elvis Presley, he may be the most recognizable figure in all of pop culture.
Superman should be prominent all over the city, but once visitors leave Cleveland Hopkins Airport where his image is plastered on posters, they will see no reminders of the Man of Steel’s origins right here in Cleveland, Ohio. The statue that should be standing prominently in Public Square was never erected, and there’s no museum. Since Superman turned the comic book into an industry, a Superman museum could honor all the superheroes that followed in his wake: Batman, Spiderman, Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, X-Men, and on and on and on.
It never happened, and Cleveland’s unimaginative track record suggests it never will.
Thank God that Elvis didn’t come from Cleveland. If he had, there would be no Graceland today. In Cleveland, the second most visited house in the United States (after the White House) would have been demolished and replaced with a parking lot.
© 2013 Brian W. Fairbanks
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