The Pottsville, Pa., Republican-Herald marks a peculiar anniversary: It’s been 25 years since a fictionalized version of nearby Centralia, best known for its underground mine fire, first appeared in Action Comics.
It’s an interesting article that details how writer Bob Rozakis and artist Kurt Schaffenberger traveled to the eastern Pennsylvania borough to view the fire which, at that point, had been burning for more than two decades.
The fruit of their visit was “The All-Searing Eyes,” the lead story in Action Comics #558 (cover-dated August 1984), in which Superman extinguishes the fire raging beneath Coaltown.
The fictional burg appeared again the following May in Issue 567, when the residents erected a statue to honor hero who saved their town.
Unfortunately, real-world Centralia didn’t fare as well.
A federal program to relocate residents began in 1984, and by the end of the decade only a few had chosen to remain. In 1992, Pennsylvania claimed eminent domain of all property in the borough and demolished most of the buildings. In 2002, the U.S. Postal Service revoked Centralia’s ZIP code.
Today, about eight people live in Centralia, where the fire still burns.
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