CLEVELAND, Ohio – The new Superman license plates go on sale starting Monday, kicked off by a press conference outside the Jerry Siegel house in Glenville where it all started more than 75 years ago.
Ohio State Rep. Bill Patmon and members of the board of directors of the Siegel and Shuster Society will gather outside the former home of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel at 10622 Kimberly Avenue in the Glenville section of Cleveland at 10 a.m. Monday. The new plate will be unveiled. Patmon and the society members, including relatives of Superman creators Siegel and Joe Shuster, will make remarks about the impact of the Man of Steel. The event is free and open to the public.
Siegel, along with artist and boyhood friend Shuster, created Superman around 1933 and then shopped the character around until it was purchased by what is now DC Comics. Superman’s first adventure appeared on the cover of “Action Comics” No. 1, which hit the stands in April, 1938. A near-perfect copy of that 10-cent comic book recently sold at auction for more than $2.1 million.
The license plate took more than two years to become a reality and only after Patmon attached the legislation to the Ohio budget. The plate includes the iconic Superman insignia and the phrase “Truth, Justice the American Way” and will be available to purchase by Ohio vehicle owners.
The cost of the special license plate will be $20 in addition to the normal registration fee of $34.50 plus local taxes. About half of the $20 fee will go to the Siegel and Shuster Society for future projects. Anyone wanting to replace a current Ohio plate with a Superman plate will pay $20 plus an $11.75 plate replacement fee and a $4.50 replacement sticker fee. A Bureau of Motor Vehicles representative said people from out of state will not be able to purchase a commemorative version of the plate.
Patmon said he wanted to make sure the plate would be available this year, the 75th anniversary of Superman’s debut.
“I look forward to the day I’ll be driving on the highway and see my first Superman license plate,” said Michael Olszewski, president of the Siegel and Shuster Society when the license legislation passed over the summer. “This is the kind of thing the society was created for, to tell everyone that a couple of ordinary guys from Cleveland did something extraordinary.”
Originally, the license plate was to include “Ohio: Birthplace of Superman,” but DC Comics and its parent company, Time Warner, objected to the term “birthplace,” insisting that Superman was born on Krypton. After some discussion, “Truth, Justice and the American Way” was reached as a compromise. It was also the phrase chosen by Plain Dealer and cleveland.com readers in a survey.
Superman is regarded as the archetypal American comic book superhero who inspired thousands of colorful characters and kick-started 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.”