Fans unite in auction to save Superman's house

Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:22pm EDT
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By Andrea Hopkins

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Superman's home planet Krypton was destroyed, but his house on Earth will live on thanks to loyal fans and an online auction that raised $100,000 to restore the rotting home where the Man of Steel was created.

Everything from original artwork to a role on the hit television show "Heroes" was sold in the month-long auction, which ended on Tuesday, to save the dilapidated Cleveland, Ohio, house where Superman was dreamed up by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster more than 70 years ago.

"This was easily the most humbling spectacular project I've ever been part of, and showed just how much people care about this character and why today Superman still matters," said novelist Brad Meltzer, who organized the auction.

Meltzer said $101,744 was raised in the month-long sale of art, memorabilia and other donated goods, more than double the $50,000 goal. The extra money will allow organizers to fix up not just the outside but also the inside of the Cleveland house where an elderly couple now live.

Meltzer, who discovered the deteriorating house while researching a novel, said at first he wasn't sure people would care about restoring the red-and-blue house where the superhero who wears the red-and-blue suit was dreamed up in 1932.

But the response has been overwhelming.

"The house where Google was created is saved. The farm where Hewlett-Packard was founded is preserved. We protected the house where Dr. Seuss lived, where Elvis lived," noted Meltzer. "So the idea that Superman's house was just rotting away struck everyone as inherently wrong."

Meltzer, who offered the naming rights to a character in his next novel as part of the auction, takes no credit for saving the home, saying loyal fans of the comic book hero came to Superman's rescue.

"We're all Clark Kent. We all know what it is like to be boring and ordinary and we all want to be able to rip open our shirt and do something beyond ourselves. That's what happened here. Ordinary people made a difference."

(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)