Why Isn't There a Permanent Superman Statue in Downtown Cleveland?

Steve DiMatteo Culture History

Superman Statue at Cleveland Public Library

You might already know that Cleveland is the birthplace of Superman, conceived by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933.

Since then, Superman has become one of the most beloved and recognizable characters in the world, a beacon of inspiration and hope for many, and, of course, a generator of billions of dollars of revenue.

Superman is supposed to represent the best qualities we aspire to as people, and he was created right here in Cleveland, Ohio. 

So why isn't there a truly permanent statue for Superman downtown?

Sure, there's a little Superman exhibit at the airport near the baggage claim. And yes, there is a Superman display at the Cleveland Public Library (which is occasionally much bigger). And in Glenville, there is a plaque and "S" sign in front of Siegel's childhood home.

But it sure doesn't seem like the city does nearly enough to truly embrace the fact that it is Superman's original hometown. So why don't we have a statue of Superman along the lakefront, or perhaps in Public Square?

The History of a Superman Statue in Cleveland

There has been a movement to build a Superman statue in the past. Back in 1988, a group called Neverending Battle Inc. planned to erect a 40-foot Superman statue along Cleveland's lakefront, which would have included a museum to go with it. But by the end of the year, the company was $200,000 in debt and mismanagement torpedoed the project.

And in recent years, the Siegel Shuster Society has begun to lobby Cleveland City Hall to consider building a monument to the greatest superhero of all.

Though there hasn't been a ton of movement on it, something tells me the statue - a permanent one - will eventually get done.

At Least Cleveland Is Getting a Superman Conference

An upcoming two-month Superman festival is a great start to celebrating the hero's heritage. From September 6th to November 2nd, Superman will be celebrated at a wide variety of locations all over Cleveland, highlighting his connection to the region and the influence the character has had on pop culture for so many decades. It's considered the first major Superman festival to take place in Cleveland in the past 35 years.

With the Superman celebration and a renewed interest in the character within the region, there's a real chance we could see a Superman statue in downtown Cleveland in the next few years, especially as Cleveland looks to reimagine its lakefront. If Philadelphia can have a Rocky Balboa statue, and Detroit can have a RoboCop statue (even if they can't figure out where to put it), then Cleveland can certainly work together to get a Superman statue done.

(Image source: Tim Evanson)

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