Friday, July 10, 2009

Truth - Justice - The American Way

Peducah, Kentucky, has a pleasant downtown. Sporting a variety of business, some arts-oriented, it's the sort of revitalized downtown that some smaller cities manage to realize, others not. It would, in fact, have been a good place to spend more than the hour or so I did, but by early afternoon on June 20, I decided to push on home. The trip had reached its limit.

But there was one more thing to see, since I was nearby. This is it:

Yes, it's Superman -- strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.

Actually, it's a statue of the famed comic book hero, standing next to Massac County courthouse in Metropolis, Illinois, which is across the Ohio River from greater Peducah. The inscription on the plinth says: TRUTH - JUSTICE - THE AMERICAN WAY, as well it should. But why is there a statue of Superman in extreme southern Illinois? Roadside America doesn't exactly explain it, but it's an amusing article anyway.

It's there as a tourist attraction in a town that otherwise doesn't have much to draw travelers from I-24, except maybe Fort Massac State Park. Which no doubt is quite interesting, but even I -- known to drop in on obscure historic sites, and like them -- chose to see Superman rather than the site of a French fort, and later a U.S. fort ordered built by President Washington himself.

Lots of people had come to see Superman, despite the intense heat.

Curiously, Superman isn't the only larger-than-life statue in Metropolis, Illinois. As you drive toward downtown on US 45, you pass Big John, grocery store mascot. He's actually bigger than Superman, but presumably only has powers and abilities pretty much the same as other mortal men, or he would, if he were a real grocery-store employee.

Superman shopping was a possibility at the store across the street from the Man of Steel statue, and the building is also home to a Superman "museum."

I passed on the "museum," but I did buy Lilly a Superman snow globe, and learned that fundraising is under way to build a Lois Lane statue. Why stop there? Lex Luthor would be the obvious choice after that, and then maybe Jimmy Olsen or Krypto or Mister Mxyzptlk.

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