If Detroit can have a Robocop statue, what's stopping Edmonton from having one of Wolverine?
So far as we know, James Howlett, aka Logan, aka Wolverine, originally hails from what was then referred to as the Northwest Territories. That means that all of Alberta was basically his backyard.
And for that fictional hometown boy, there has been some talk that, perhaps, his worldwide fame merits representation by way of a gigantic statue in Edmonton.
But it didn't start out that way. The idea was originally birthed from the mind of Brian LaBelle as a kind of satire in the face of the recent controversy over the (now-approved) arena being built in Edmonton. There had been an incredibly heated debate over where the funds would come from for the $600 million arena and LaBelle was sick of it, especially when it came to certain options. "I’m not anti-arena," says LaBelle, "But I am anti-this-current-arena-funding-model."
So how does one react as a local youth worker, NDP candidate, and comic-book geek? Why, you propose your own means to reinvigorate tourism in Edmonton -- with a 1,000-foot-tall Wolverine statue!
It is important to build this statue because in order for Edmonton to be considered a ‘world-class’ city, we NEED a statue similar to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York City. Wolverine is arguably the most famous Albertan around the world and this statue would be a major boon for tourism in the city.
It is also important because it is what is commonly referred to as a ‘catalyst project,’ meaning it will spur greater growth on the downtown of Alberta’s capital city and create numerous spinoff projects in much the same way that the X-Men comic book spun off dozens of other successful books.
As satire goes, this one deserves to be praised for being cute without losing any of its bite. But what's funniest is that many people took LaBelle's petition seriously. Some 400 people had signed the petition because, well, they actually thought it was a pretty good idea. The owner of Happy Harbor Comics, Jay Bardyla, certainly thinks so:
If we had a 20-foot statue, I think that would be cool. Of course, I’m a comic book guy, and it pushes all my buttons. But of all the superheroes, he has the most authentic ties, not just to Canada, but to Edmonton. If we could make Wolverine ours, we’d get a lot of buzz, a lot of international press.
Granted, nobody is getting out of bed for a 1,000-foot-tall Wolvie, but this 20-foot version (still pretty darn tall for Logan) has actually gotten some traction. And we say -- why not? The truth is that a Wolverine statue probably would bring in some tourist revenue. Heck, it might even get convention runners to consider hosting a comic con there. That's money in the bank. Plus, who doens't love Wolverine?
As for LaBelle, he hasn't decided whether he'll actually present the petition just yet. Says LaBelle, "My favourite superhero is actually Superman -- so that’s a little bit awkward."
What do you think?