This only came on to my radar the past week, and I am a bit embarrassed to say it had never crossed my mind before.
The story goes that in 1932, in the boyhood bedroom of Jerry Siegel, a Canadian-born artist named Joe Shuster was visiting. Two boys thought how amazing it would be if there was a bulletproof man, and they set about creating what would be Superman. In 1938 they sold the idea to Detective Comics, later known as DC Comics, and it was published in Action Comics #1.
The rest, as they say, is history.
While I personally have never done back flips over the character (I find him too powerful), I can’t deny the influence he had on the industry and the country. He is truly an icon of the American way, and has come to stand for everything our country is about.
Earlier this week I learned of a movement that is trying to save the Jerry Siegel house. An author named Brad Meltzer visited the house as part of a project and was horrified at the condition it is in. Exposed slats, crumbling plaster, light switches held on by tape… it’s a disaster.
Mr. Meltzer decided to start OrdinaryPeopleChangeTheWorld.com to raise funds to save the house. When places like the house where Google was founded is protected, and the garage where HP got their start are protected properties, there seems to be something horribly wrong with the idea that the Siegel home is in the state it is in.
Now, I know there are people asking why the families don’t save the house, or why DC doesn’t save the house, and while I don’t have hard facts, I have a good hunch why. The families and DC have been in a legal fight over revenues for Superman for years. When Siegel and Shuster got to the end of their 10 year contract with DC, they ended up with a $94,000 payout after they lost in court to the rights of the characters, and DC dropped their names from the byline. So the families don’t have the money, and DC probably wants to steer clear of the whole thing.
Superman is an American icon, and as much as I would like to see this saved by DC, I know in my heart it’s not going to happen. I also undertand that the economy is tight right now, but I would hope people could spare a few dollars to preserving this home. You can go to the website to donate any amount you want, or you can go to the OrdinaryPeopleChangeTheWorld eBay Store and bid on some of the incredible items being put up for auction to benefit this cause. You can also buy tshirts with funding going to the foundation, or, at the very least, pass on the below video to help spread the word of this cause.
This is honestly an issue I could write an entire essay on, but I will let everyone’s personal memories of the quintessential American hero tell them why this is an important cause. Please, do what you can no matter if it’s a blog post, a Twitter, a share on Facebook, pass it on in Google Reader, donating a $1, just do what you can.