Great Caesar’s Ghost, Superman license plate available in October


11plate-large.jpgThe Superman license plate will be available in October.

Look! Over there! On the back of that car. It’s Superman.

At long last, the Ohio license plate with the iconic Superman “S” insignia and the words, “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” will be available in early October to honor Superman, who was created in Cleveland.

State Rep. Bill Patmon inserted the license plate legislation into the Ohio budget that was passed last week. He previously attempted to have the legislation passed but was thwarted.

 “The last time, there was a problem with another plate someone wanted,” he said. “Because of that, the whole thing got delayed. I did not want to take a chance of that happening again, so I put it in the budget. Now, Clark Kent is out of his phone booth.”

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Patmon said he wanted to make sure the plate would be available this year, the 75th anniversary of the debut of “Action Comics No. 1,” the first appearance of Superman, who was created by Clevelanders Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

The young men dreamed up the character while attending Glenville High School during the Great Depression, but it took more than five years to get it published.

The cost of the special plate will be $20 in addition to the typical registration fee of $34.50 plus local taxes. A portion of the $20 will go to the Siegel and Shuster Society. If you already have an Ohio plate and want to replace it with a Superman plate, it will cost $20 plus an $11.75 plate replacement fee and a $4.50 replacement sticker fee.

A Bureau of Motor Vehicles spokesperson said people from out of state will not be able to purchase a commemorative version of the plate.

Michael Olszewski, president of the Siegel and Shuster Society, said can’t wait for the day the plates will be available.

“I look forward to the day I’ll be driving on the highway and see my first Superman license plate,” he said. “This is the kind of thing the Siegel and Shuster Society was created for, to tell everyone that a couple of ordinary guys from Cleveland did something extraordinary.”

 In 1938, Superman kicked off a multibillion-dollar industry, including comics, films, television, toys and souvenirs. More recently, the “Man of Steel” movie has earned $520 million as of this weekend.

Originally, the license plate would have contained the legend, “Ohio: Birthplace of Superman,” but DC Comics and its parent company, Time-Warner, objected to the term insisting that Superman was born on Krypton.

After some discussion, “Truth, Justice and the American Way” was reached as a compromise.

Superman is regarded as the archetypal American comic book superhero who inspired thousands of colorful characters and kickstarted the entire superhero genre.

 Irving Fine, cousin of Jerry Siegel, loves the design of the plate.

 “The plate was designed by Hutch Stoller, a Cleveland advertising executive, when we first came up with the idea,” he said. “I now think that ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way’ is appropriate because it’s what Superman is all about. And it was Jerry’s quote.”


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