Superman has finally soared into the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Legendary comic book artist Al Plastino thought he donated the 10 hand-drawn comic strips of Superman teaming up with John F. Kennedy decades ago, but the artwork somehow fell in the hands of a private owner.
In December, comic book publisher DC Entertainment bought the black-and-white artwork and donated it to the library.
Plastino died in November at the age of 91. His four children, grandchildren and wife attended the exhibit opening on Thursday.
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“We are just thrilled that these came home to where they belong,” said his daughter MaryAnn Plastino Charles, who made the trek from Alabama.
“This has been a long-time coming,” she said. “My father thought for so many years that it was here.”
The 1964 story called “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy,” was part of a White House initiative to promote the president’s national physical fitness program.
The comic book was in production when Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963 and set aside until his successor, Lyndon Johnson, pressed for its publication. The published version said the story’s original artwork would be donated to the library, but that apparently never happened.
Plastino was upset when he discovered that the original copies were not in the library, said his son Fred, who was with him at a New York Comic Con event in October when he heard the news.
Fred Plastino said he wished his father could have seen the exhibit.
“Kennedy meant a lot to him,” he said. “He would have been blown away by this.”
Tom Putnam, the library’s director, said Kennedy wanted to make sure kids were staying fit and eating healthy.
“Comic books were the social media of its time,” Putnam said. It was the one of the best ways to reach this age group back then, he said.
Although Plastino drew Superman for 20 years, his children say the Kennedy story was his pride and joy.
“He would talk about it all the time,” MaryAnn said. “This is the story he told at Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays.”
The artwork will be on display until May 31.