The city of Cleveland declared the childhood home of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel to be a landmark in 1986, but the place is falling apart 22 years later. An online auction that ended Tuesday has raised more than $100,000, double the amount needed to fix up the Man of Steel’s birthplace.
Siegel and artist Joe Shuster created the character together more than 70 years ago in the Glenville neighborhood house, which is now owned by Jefferson Gray, who wasn’t aware of its significance when he bought it.
“This was easily the most humbling spectacular project I’ve ever been part of, and showed just how much people care about this character and why today Superman still matters,” said novelist Brad Meltzer, who organized the auction.
Meltzer said $101,744 was raised in the month-long sale of art, memorabilia and other donated goods, more than double the $50,000 goal. The extra money will allow organizers to fix up not just the outside but also the inside of the Cleveland house where an elderly couple now live.
Meltzer, who discovered the deteriorating house while researching a novel, said at first he wasn’t sure people would care about restoring the red-and-blue house where the superhero who wears the red-and-blue suit was dreamed up in 1932.
But the response has been overwhelming.
“The house where Google was created is saved. The farm where Hewlett-Packard was founded is preserved. We protected the house where Dr. Seuss lived, where Elvis lived,” noted Meltzer. “So the idea that Superman’s house was just rotting away struck everyone as inherently wrong.”
Meltzer, who offered the naming rights to a character in his next novel as part of the auction, takes no credit for saving the home, saying loyal fans of the comic book hero came to Superman’s rescue.
“We’re all Clark Kent. We all know what it is like to be boring and ordinary and we all want to be able to rip open our shirt and do something beyond ourselves. That’s what happened here. Ordinary people made a difference.” (Reuters)