Metropolis, Illinois, is best known for its official designation as “Hometown of Superman,” and the celebration it holds each June in honor of the Man of Steel. But as Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan writes at Gizmodo, the little city on the Ohio River once had much loftier goals — namely a theme park called the Amazing World of Superman.
The project was proposed in the early 1970s, just when the economically struggling city needed it most. Metropolis had already co-opted elements from the Superman comics — its newspaper was named The Metropolis Planet, there was free “kryptonite” available in the city hall — but an amusement park would have been a game-changer. And DC Comics endorsed the idea, declaring Metropolis “Hometown of Superman” in January 1972, a decree repeated five months later by the Illinois State Legislature.
What’s more, Neal Adams was commissioned to create the concept art for the Amazing World of Superman (above, part of a commemorative comic from DC tied to the proposed attraction), which would include a towering replica of the Fortress of Solitude, a Bizarro Playground, a hotel, and an enormous statue of Superman that stood astride the parks entrance like the Colossus of Rhodes. The price to Metropolis? A mere $50 million (or, about $270 million in today’s dollars).
But of course, the Amazing World of Superman never materialized, as the 1973 oil crisis dashed hopes for a booming tourism business in Metropolis and other cities. Unfortunately, Metropolis never got its amusement park, but it did get a Superman Museum and a smaller-scale statue. Oh, and a riverboat casino.