"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
The late writer Harvey Pekar, often called Cleveland’s unofficial poet laureate, was celebrated Saturday in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, with the dedication of a park in his name.
Located at the northwest corner Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, Harvey Pekar Park was welcomed with a comic festival, jazz music, storytelling and an outdoor screening of American Splendor, featuring an introduction by the writer’s widow Joyce Brabner.
Long recognized as the birthplace of Superman, Cleveland may at long last get a statue commemorating the creation of the Man of Steel.
According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, plans are under way to erect a 12-foot burnished-steel statue of Superman near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, about five miles from the house where teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster dreamed up the superhero in the early 1930s.
Sculpted by David Deming, who’s been working on the project for nearly seven years, Superman will be mounted atop a 30- to 35-foot pedestal, with smaller, life-size statues of Siegel, Shuster and Lois Lane model Joanne Siegel looking up at him.
Crime | Police in St. Charles, Missouri, are looking for a man who accosted an employee of the Fantasy Shop outside the comic store Monday morning and demanded she hand over a bank bag. The suspect, who indicated he had a gun, then fled with an undisclosed amount of money, leading to five local schools being put on lockdown for about 90 minutes. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Creators | Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato discuss taking over as the creative team of Detective Comics with Issue 30. “We just want to carve out a small space in the Bat-world and craft stories that resonate with the legions of fans out there,” Buccalleto says. “It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of this legacy.” [USA Today]
Creators | Editorial cartoonist Matt Bors talks about his life in a tough field, comics journalism and people who want him to work for free: “No one would hold a ‘contest’ for chefs to all prepare food and then only offer pay to the ‘winner’ whose meal they like best … If you want to draw your friend’s wedding invitation for free, I say go for it. If someone is making money from your work, they can afford to pay you.” [Truthout]
Creators | Brian K. Vaughan is crowned “king of the creator-owned comics” by Alex Hern, who acknowledges that may be an “artificially constrained” compliment before laying out the writer’s claim to the title. [New Statesman]
Two years after a car drove through a fence surrounding the site of Joe Shuster’s former home in Cleveland, it’s happened again.
The Plain Dealer reports that a 41-year-old Cleveland man has been charged with drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license after he allegedly drove off the street late Wednesday afternoon and plowed through the wooden fence. While a portion of the fence and seven large metal plates reprinting the first Superman story are missing, it’s unknown whether those plates are destroyed or were merely removed until repairs can be made.
Someone, somewhere determined that on April 18, 1938 — it was a Monday, if you’re interested — Action Comics #1 arrived on newsstands, delivering riveting tales of Tex Thompson, Zatara the Master Magician and Scooby the Five-Star Reporter, and oh, yeah, introducing the world to Superman, Lois Lane and Krypton. It’s an issue that essentially gave birth to the superhero genre, and set the course of the fledgling comic-book industry.
Although DC Comics doesn’t appear to be marking the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel, the city where teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the character is, beginning in about an hour. At 1 p.m. ET, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson will present the Siegel and Shuster Society with a proclamation on the steps of City Hall declaring today “Superman Day.”
To commemorate the event, a Superman flag will be raised, and the lights on City Hall and the Terminal Tower (familiar to anyone how watched The Avengers) will be turned blue, red and yellow. In addition, Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport will have cupcakes for travelers, and a birthday card for the Last Son of Krypton at its recently installed Superman Welcoming Center.
Following the video on Friday, The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of Superman kicked into high gear Sunday with seven more stories, including a front-page feature.
Superman was, of course, created in 1933 by teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who lived in the city’s Glenville neighborhood (spotlighted in that Friday video), and then sold in 1938 to Detective Comics. The newspaper’s anniversary coverage includes:
• A timeline (of sorts, although it’s more like a game board) of Superman’s 75-year history, from his arrival on Earth to his first encounter with Beppo to his relaunch in DC Comics’ New 52
• An interview with Brad Ricca, author of the upcoming Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster — the Creators of Superman
In addition to all of that, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has proclaimed Thursday “Superman Day.”
Hundreds gathered Thursday at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport for the dedication of the Superman Welcoming Center, a permanent exhibit honoring the Man of Steel and his creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who dreamed up the superhero as teenagers living in the city’s Glenville neighborhood.
Spearheaded by the Siegel & Shuster Society, which raised nearly $50,000, the display features a Superman statue, a replica of a telephone booth, trivia, an old-fashioned television that shows images of the superhero from comics, television and film, all beneath the greeting, “Welcome to Cleveland — Where the Legend Began.”
The Plain Dealer reports that among the speakers were Mayor Frank Jackson and Siegel’s daughter Laura Siegel Larson. “My dad, my mother and Joe would have been delighted, honored and humbled at this honor,” she said. “They would love to know that millions of people going through this airport would get to see the display and know that Superman was created right here in Cleveland.”
Watch video from the event below.
A permanent exhibit will open Oct. 11 at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport honoring Superman and his creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who dreamed up the superhero as teenagers living in the city’s Glenville neighborhood.
The project was spearheaded by the Siegel & Shuster Society, which raised about $50,000 through donations by fans to allow the idea to take flight. Cleveland City Council approved the proposal in January.
Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland was probably the perfect last comic from the legendary writer. Published in April, a little less than two years after the writer’s death, it treated the setting of almost all of his works as the subject, and, intertwining biography with city history, it synthesized the the story of the man and the story of Cleveland into one. With beautiful art by Joseph Remnant, which evoked the best qualities of some of Pekar’s best contributors, it was a pretty perfect punctuation at the end of Pekar’s writing career.
And now here’s another comic.
Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, written by Pekar with Philadelphia-based artist JT Waldman (Megillat Esther), is seemingly on a subject far less associated with Pekar than Cleveland, one that can be incredibly controversial, as Israel’s history embodies a sort of perfect blend of serious life-and-death issues that almost everyone is extremely passionate about. It’s also, incidentally, not a a subject Pekar owns the way he owns, say, Cleveland; I don’t necessarily seek out graphic novels about Israel and its relations with its neighbors, but in the past few years the following have come across my desk: Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Joe Sacco’s Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza, Marv Wolfman and company’s Homeland, Rutu Modan’s Exit Wounds and Jamilti and Other Stories and Guy Delisle’s Jerusalem: Chronicles From the Holy City.
As suggested by the cover image, a drawing of Pekar regarding the reader, standing in a field of empty space filled only with the title and credits, this is actually another book about Pekar, Pekar’s life, and Pekar’s city; the “Me” and “My Parents” in the title are almost as — if not just as — important as the “Israel” in the title.
Comic-Con | The dust hasn’t even settled on Comic-Con International, and already the hand-wringing has begun anew over whether organizers will keep the event in San Diego past their 2015 contract. A proposed $550 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center would have to break ground by the end of the year to meet a 2016 deadline. [Fox 5]
Conventions | To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the first San Diego Comic-Con, some of the founders are organizing San Diego Comic Fest, a small-scale event — it’s described as “an old-school comic con” — to be held Oct. 19-21. [UT-San Diego]
Crime | Michael Lewis, owner of Rocket Comics in Pensacola, Florida, is being held on a $11,000 bond after his store was raided by police for allegedly selling “Spice,” a synthetic form of cannabis. [WEAR ABC]
Publishing | The Economist’s Babbage blog takes a look at R. Stevens’ successful Kickstarter for his webcomic Diesel Sweeties, which raised $60,000, far overshooting his initial goal of $3,000. [The Economist]
Creators | Gary Groth previews his interview with renowned children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who passed away last week at age 83. The interview, conducted in October, is scheduled to appear in the next issue of The Comics Journal. [TCJ.com]
Cleveland is the city where Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman (and thus the very concept of the comic book superhero). It’s the city where Harvey Pekar spent his life and wrote his comics, including the recently, posthumously published valentine to his hometown, Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland. It gave the world writers Brian Michael Bendis and Brian K. Vaughn (we’re sorry and/or you’re welcome, depending on how you feel about those guys), and they even filmed the climax of a recently released and rather popular superhero summer movie there.
And here’s something else the city has going for it at the moment. It’s also home to Jake Kelly, John G and their self-published quarterly local horror anthology, The Lake Erie Monster.
Like most lakes of a certain size, Lake Erie has hosted reports of marine monsters over the decades, although sightings of lake serpents are much fewer, farther between and less credible than reports from, say, Lake Champlain (That didn’t stop Cleveland’s American Hockey League team from taking the name The Lake Erie Monsters, or The Great Lakes Brewing Company from naming a seasonal ale after one of ‘em, though).
The comic takes its name from the first of its stories, which features a smaller, less serpentine monster that dwells in the lake, however.
After an introduction by a punning, Cryptkeeper-like horror host character who calls himself The Commodore, and who resembles a red-eyed, rotting corpse version of Commodore Oliver Hazard “Don’t Give Up The Ship” Perry, Kelly and G. present the first part of the “The Lake Erie Monster,” a story created to go along with one of the ten imaginary movie posters they had previously created.
If everything goes as planned, by this summer visitors arriving in Cleveland by plane will be greeted by a display marking the city as the birthplace of Superman.
The Plain Dealer reports Cleveland City Council was expected last night to approve a proposal by the Siegel and Shuster Society to install a permanent display in Cleveland Hopkins International Airport honoring the Man of Steel and his creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who dreamed up the superhero as teenagers living in the city’s Glenville neighborhood.
The display, which is expected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000, would include a larger-than-life statue of Superman, facts about his creation and related sightseeing information, all under the familiar logo and the words “Greater Cleveland’s Greatest Hero” and “Did You Know Superman Was Born in Cleveland?”
An anonymous donor has already given $5,000 toward the project, and organizers hope to raise more from Superman fans. Donations can be sent to: The Siegel and Shuster Society, 7100 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio, 44103.
A month after thieves stole a historical marker near the Cleveland house where Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the Man of Steel, a man drove through the fence surrounding the site of Shuster’s former home on Tuesday night, damaging large metal plates that reprint the first Superman story.
According to The Plain Dealer, the driver is believed to be a neighbor, who’s offering to pay the estimated $2,600 to replace the seven plates he destroyed. The panels, which reprint pages from Action Comics #1, were installed two years ago by the Glenville Development Corporation and the Siegel and Shuster Society.
There is good news, though, at least regarding the historical marker: The newspaper reports that the plaque, stolen in April from the intersection of St. Clair Avenue and East 105th Street, was left at the Glenville neighborhood fire station, presumably because of the intense publicity surrounding the theft. It’s thought that the aluminum sign was taken by scrap-metal thieves who mistook it for bronze because of its coloring.