Cleveland Public Library Presents New Exhibit on History of Superman

Cleveland Public Library Presents New Exhibit on History of Superman
Photo courtesy of Cleveland Public Library

It's no secret that Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have a rich history of comics and cartoons. The most popular and successful of these creations is certainly Superman, created by high school classmates Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel in Glenville in 1933 (first comics appearance in 1938).

In celebration of the Man of Steel and his connection to Cleveland, the Cleveland Public Library is presenting an exhibit of art, artifacts and memorabilia spread throughout three floors of CPL's main branch. Exhibition highlights include Brandon Routh's Superman outfit from Superman Returns (2006) and David Deming's larger-than-life Superman statue, as well as memorabilia from CPL's Mike Curtis Collection of Superman Memorabilia, donated to the library in 2016. In total, the exhibit includes memorabilia from more than a dozen private collections.

"The Cleveland Public Library's exhibit Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton celebrates the creation of Superman by hometown Clevelanders Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster," says Pamela Eyerdam, fine arts and special collections manager at the library. "The exhibit features a generous library donation of Superman memorabilia by writer and comic collector, Mike Curtis. The collection includes thousands of items, some dating back to 1939, and encompassescomics, posters, toys, packaging, clothing, photographs and other miscellaneous memorabilia."

In conjunction with the exhibit, the library is hosting Superman: Heroes and Illustration, a special panel discussion about illustrating super heroes with members of the Great Lakes Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society this weekend. Panelists include Ed Black, Craig Boldman, Ron Hill, Polly Keener, Terri Libenson, Chip Sansom and Mark Szorady.

"I see it more of an appreciation of Superman's legacy, perhaps as inspiration for our careers," says panelist and editorial cartoonist Ron Hill. "I've always taken great pride to have grown up in the shadow of the city where Superman was created. I've visited the home, and drawn caricatures of the Grays, who own the house in Glenville, in the very same room where Siegel and Shuster created Superman. I will be talking briefly about Clark Kent, Superman's alter ego, as I am a freelance stringer journalist myself. I'll be showing samples of how I have used the Superman icon as an image in my cartoons, which always seek to shed some light on truth, justice and the American way."

Superman: Heroes and Illustration takes place this Saturday, Aug. 19, at 1 p.m. in the main library's Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium. Following the panel discussion, guests are invited to attend a guided tour of the exhibit. Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton remains on view at the library through the end of the year. Superman returns to the theaters in Justice League, opening everywhere on Nov. 17.

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