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Comic Books, Film
Metropolis, Illinois, is best known for its official designation as “Hometown of Superman,” and the celebration it holds each June in honor of the Man of Steel. But as Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan writes at Gizmodo, the little city on the Ohio River once had much loftier goals — namely a theme park called the Amazing World of Superman.
The project was proposed in the early 1970s, just when the economically struggling city needed it most. Metropolis had already co-opted elements from the Superman comics — its newspaper was named The Metropolis Planet, there was free “kryptonite” available in the city hall — but an amusement park would have been a game-changer. And DC Comics endorsed the idea, declaring Metropolis “Hometown of Superman” in January 1972, a decree repeated five months later by the Illinois State Legislature.
What’s more, Neal Adams was commissioned to create the concept art for the Amazing World of Superman (above, part of a commemorative comic from DC tied to the proposed attraction), which would include a towering replica of the Fortress of Solitude, a Bizarro Playground, a hotel, and an enormous statue of Superman that stood astride the parks entrance like the Colossus of Rhodes. The price to Metropolis? A mere $50 million (or, about $270 million in today’s dollars).
But of course, the Amazing World of Superman never materialized, as the 1973 oil crisis dashed hopes for a booming tourism business in Metropolis and other cities. Unfortunately, Metropolis never got its amusement park, but it did get a Superman Museum and a smaller-scale statue. Oh, and a riverboat casino.