Thursday, December 18, 2014

Time has come for Kansas town to claim Clark Kent as its hometown superhero


Why not Smallville? Why not Hutchinson?

That’s what three Hutch natives who are Superman aficionados thought. And now that Christopher Wietrick, Ben Eisminger and Casey McNeely have gotten the Hutchinson City Council to agree, the city’s name officially is Smallville, same as the fictional hometown of the superhero.

Well, for one day anyway. The council earlier this month passed a proclamation making the city, for Friday, June 21, known as “Smallville, Kansas, the home of Clark Kent.”

The official city action was the culmination of a year’s efforts by the Smallville promoters in Hutch, which included the creation of a Facebook page and various Superman activities at last month’s Third Thursday event in downtown Hutchinson.

Kansas, too, officially claims Clark Kent as its own on this Friday — in a big way. The mild-mannered alter ego of Superman will be inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame in Topeka.

Maybe some people think this is all just silliness, and who would want their city to be named “Smallville” anyway. It’s not exactly a flattering name for a city — at least by the majority of folks who think bigger is better.

Smallville, Kansas, probably had a good ring to it for the comic book creators. But it was no small place considering it was where Clark Kent was raised and learned his good values, which later would be coupled with his superhuman physical abilities to conquer evil in the world.

And as it turns out, the Clark Kent story left enough hints to suggest that Hutchinson was exactly the inspiration for Smallville. The fictional place is said to have a population about the same as Hutchinson, is situated on the Arkansas River and is close to Wichita. Coincidentally perhaps, Hutchinson has the only space museum in Kansas and also is known for its salt production — references, they say, to Clark Kent’s outer space origins on the planet Krypton.

So with all due respect to some other locations in Kansas theorized to be Smallville, the Hutchinson connections are too good. And now we have the official proclamation to prove it.

“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,” said Laura Siegel Larson, daughter of writer Jerry Siegel, who created the superhero with comic book artist Joe Shuster in 1938.

Yes, sounds like Hutchinson, er Smallville, Kansas, indeed.

— The Hutchinson News

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