Archive for Monday, June 17, 2013

Location of Superman’s hometown sparks geographic divide

June 17, 2013


A Kansas community is staking its claim as the hometown of one of the world’s most recognizable superheroes with a temporary name change, but it hasn’t ended the debate over where the Man of Steel grew up.

The Hutchinson City Council has agreed to rename the city “Smallville” on Friday, the same day the fictional Clark Kent will be inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame.

In 75 years of Superman appearances in comics, television, movies and radio shows, “Smallville” has often been depicted as being in Kansas, but it also has showed up in Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania and a few other places. DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio said it’s clear Smallville is in the Sunflower State — but exactly where remains a mystery, The Kansas City Star reported.

“Smallville is always in Kansas,” DiDio said “I always say it’s in the heart of Kansas. Wherever you find the biggest field, the biggest open ground, the best area for farming, that’s always where Smallville is, right in the center of that. That flag has been planted.”

But there’s no consensus where that is. Some fans put the fictional town location west of Salina, while others are pretty sure it’s southwest of Lawrence.

Ever since Clark Kent’s hometown was first named in the second issue of the “Superboy” comic book in 1948, fans have tried to place the fictional town on real maps. Kansas didn’t enter into the picture until 1978 in “Superman: The Movie.”

Then came the question of where in Kansas. In Action Comics No. 822 from 2005, Smallville is about 55 miles west of Salina and directly in line with Junction City. That would put it somewhere near Dorrance, population 184.

In response to the TV show, “Smallville,” speculation ramped up on websites including after the show’s 2001 debut and fans watched for clues, such as on highway signs and ZIP codes on mail.

Some fans noted the coordinates of a dam outside Smallville are, in real life, in the northeast corner of Osage near Richland, a ghost town 25 southwest of Lawrence. Another episode shows a map that puts Metropolis in southwest Kansas, near Dodge City, and Smallville about 200 miles to the east, near Wichita — or roughly where Hutchinson is located.

Laura Siegel Larson, daughter of writer Jerry Siegel, who created the superhero with comic book artist Joe Shuster in 1938, will attend the Hall of Fame induction on Friday in Topeka as Superman’s guest.

“I believe a real Smallville could exist, and no matter what it’s called it would become known as that place that produces truly exceptional individuals,’” Larson said.

Regardless, the new Superman movie opening Friday, “Man of Steel,” leaves no doubt that the superhero’s boyhood home is in Kansas. Clark Kent, played by Henry Cavill, wears a Royals T-shirt, watches a Kansas University football game on TV and is quizzed as a boy by his teacher about Sunflower State history.


Patricia Davis 4 years, 11 months ago

I think the mild mannered reporter could tell the difference between Kansas and Brownbackistan and would intervene in the evil forces that have turned this state into a lab for the mad scientists of Kochville.

Phoghorn 4 years, 11 months ago

Good grief, Charlie Brown, does everything have to be political on here?

number3of5 4 years, 11 months ago

As long as I can remember Smallville was in Iowa and I have been around for 68 years.

Joe Berns 4 years, 11 months ago

I've never heard of Smallville being in Iowa. It's always been in Kansas afaik.

Hal Larsen 4 years, 11 months ago

In the new movie he is also wearing a KU shirt.

jonas_opines 4 years, 11 months ago

KU really missed the boat on getting Clark under an athletic scholarship. We'd be champions in everything!

Robert Wells 4 years, 11 months ago

Some fans noted the coordinates of a dam outside Smallville are, in real life, in the northeast corner of Osage near Richland, a ghost town 25 southwest of Lawrence.

My GR,GR,GR, Grandfather was the first settler of that area. There is a historical marker with his name where the town of Richland use to be. He even donated land for the first school house and helped build it. Not sure if he knew any of the Kents or not.

I know, always a funny guy in the crowd.

pieceoflawrence 4 years, 11 months ago

Clark Kent was ruled ineligible by the N.C.A.A. for all divisions coming out of Smallville, KS. The N.C.A.A. does not disclose specifics due to privacy concerns. Interestingly, a death bed confession by one of Mr. Kent's academic advisors alluded to concerns of the young pupils' validity of claims for excessive absences due to a couple long visits to the planet "Krypton" (which was not on any of the school planet maps) and occasional jaunts to neighboring towns for "amateur crimefighting" which could not be verified due to the crimefighter being described as "sans glasses" and " extroidinarily athletic" . Clark Kent did not participate in sports in high school and "surely could not have fought such crimes without his glasses" according to some who chose to speak off the record. After young Clark received his General Equivalence Degree, he applied for and received academic aid (due to family income) on a probationary basis to Seward Co. Community college where he hit his stride in journalism courses, shed his probationary status and made the Deans List his sophomore year. His prowess earned a partial scholarship from the Jayhawk J.U.C.O. Conference writing contest to attend the William Allen White school of Journalism in Lawrence. A strapping Clark then received an internship offer to the large city newspaper in Metropolis where he began his career.Thankfully, the University of Kansas did not need Clark in sports at the time because they had Philadelphia, PA. native, Wilt Chamberlain. The high school advisor wanted his troubling issue "off my chest" due to feeling "rather sheepish" and somewhat "ashamed" for not recognizing Clark Kent's crimefighting and athletic potential and for "potentially derailing a lucrative pro sports career". He said he could easily have tweaked attendence records for the budding young star "but just screwed up royally". Mr. Kent noted he did attend the advisors funeral, though no one recognized him because he "had his glasses on". Mr. Kent shared the two spoke over the phone before his old advisors death and reconciled. Kent did regret, though, that he "never got to teach the old guy to text like I promised" due to a swift passing.

pieceoflawrence 4 years, 11 months ago

Note* No one recognized Clark Kent as "Superman" both because he looks so different in glasses and some in Smallville just haven't put it all together yet. When this happens, Smallville will SURELY get "touristy" !

Dale Stringer 4 years, 11 months ago

I always thought Clark was from somewhere in NE Kansas and Dorothy was from the SW corner. At least we know Mary Ann lived on a farm between Winfield and Oxford.

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