Who would have ever imagined that when two teenagers named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created a character by the name of Superman, seventy years ago, that he would become such a part of our cultural landscape? Superman is perhaps the most recognizable character not just in the United States but around the world as well.
This is evident by the number of shows, films, radio and television serials, comics, books and daily strips all based around The Man of Steel. Not to mention all the different kinds of merchandising, from clothing, jewelry and other apparel to backpacks, coffee mugs, toys, video games and even mouse pads. Apparently, he's even a close friend of Jerry Seinfeld.
Superman has been portrayed on TV by such actors as George Reeves in the 1950's Adventures of Superman to Dean Cain in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Of course when most of people think of Superman on the big screen, they probably think about Christopher Reeve from the Superman Movies.
But I believe that it is Clark Kent, Superman's alter-ego, that many can identify with. Clark is your everyman. The regular guy who has the heart of a hero. Which brings me to the purpose of this post.
When author Brad Meltzer(who penned several Justice League of America graphic novels), whose latest work The Book of Lies, visited Ohio doing research, he saw something that was considered a shame. The birthplace of Superman, not the Planet Krypton, but the house in which Jerry Siegel had lived, had fallen into disrepair.
It is truly sad when any home falls into disrepair, but especially if it's the home of someone who gave the world such an enduring character. This is where we all can try and bring out the hero in us. When several Cleveland residents and comic book creators learned about the condition of the house, they founded the Siegel and Shuster Society, whose aim is to save the Supeman House. So what do you say? Are you ready to rip open that shirt, reveal that 'S' and become a hero?
As an interesting note, Meltzer's The Book of Lies also touches on the 1932 murder of Jerry Siegel's father, Mitchell. Interestingly enough, in all the interviews that Jerry Siegel has given, is none of them does he mention that his father was killed in an armed robbery.
"But think about it," Meltzer says, in a USA TODAY on-line article. "Your father dies in a robbery, and you invent a bulletproof man who becomes the world's greatest hero. I'm sorry, but there's a story there."