Published on September 23rd, 2014 | by Cheryl CS0
Edmontonians band together to build Wolverine statue
Canadian comic book lovers are taking a stand. They’re working to reprint Golden Age Canadian classics. They’re pushing local content and artists at conventions. And they’re signing petitions to build a majestic life-sized Wolverine statue smack dab in the middle of Edmonton.
Even the local news outlets have picked up on the Wolverine hype. Brian LaBelle is the initiator of the original Wolverine statue petition, which he wrote as a satirical commentary on the funding arrangements for the new downtown arena. A certified child and youth care counsellor and program manager of a group care program, LaBelle’s original petition for a 1000 foot Wolverine statue—which gained almost 1800 supporters—garnered so much interest that he soon realized this idea could become a reality.
“The petition was shared by Edmonton media and managed to end up in the news across the United States and even in Brazil and Japan,” says LaBelle. “There was clearly some actual interest in the concept but to build a 1000′ statue would be impossible and completely ridiculous. From there, the idea grew that a 10-15′ statue could be possible.”
Philadelphia has a Rocky Balboa statue and Detroit recently erected a Robocop statue, paid for with a crowdfunding campaign.
LaBelle isn’t the only one to see the value of the project. Not knowing the original petition existed, Jesse Seitz, helped by friend Christopher Olivier, recently began a new petition to build a Wolverine statue in Edmonton. This petition has reached over 1200 supporters as of Sunday, September 21.
Edmonton wouldn’t be the first city to celebrate the best in pop culture with a concrete monument. Philadelphia has a Rocky Balboa statue and Detroit recently erected a Robocop statue, paid for with a crowdfunding campaign. Edmonton is jumping on board with its own wish to celebrate a pop culture icon of its own: the Alberta-born member of the X-men, Wolverine.
“I just think it’s fun,” says LaBelle. “The character is from Northern Alberta, there are literally thousands of options for public art that are going to be displayed in the city, and I just think this is something that could and should be considered and others obviously do too. I’ve been working on [this] for the past year and I just recently got some great advice and direction on what would actually need to be done to get a statue like this built and displayed.”
Worldwide, Wolverine is already a symbol of Canadian perseverance and strength. Erecting a statue to celebrate this character is tantamount to claiming him as Edmonton’s own. Not just as an Albertan, but as a really awesome Albertan.
Wolverine’s connection to Edmonton is multifaceted, stemming from his connections with the Canadian government and John Byrne’s Alpha Flight, a group of Canadian superheroes who first appeared in X-men #120 when they tried to reclaim Wolverine from the X-men.
Likewise, people throughout Alberta are throwing their support behind the idea.
“With my original petition and with this latest one, there has been a lot of public support,” says LaBelle. “A lot of people think if we’re going to spend money on baseball bats and piles of balls, why not something like this?”
Of course, some people have been voicing their concerns with the fact that Wolverine is a Northern Albertan, claiming that the character isn’t really suitable as an Edmonton monument. But, as author Leslie Chivers shows in a recent blog post, Wolverine’s connection to Edmonton is multifaceted, stemming from his connections with the Canadian government and John Byrne’s Alpha Flight, a group of Canadian superheroes who first appeared in X-men #120 when they tried to reclaim Wolverine from the X-men. Several of Alpha Flight’s exploits take place in Edmonton, throughout notable spots such as West Edmonton Mall and Jasper Avenue.
In Edmonton, the likelihood of a Wolverine statue initiative actually reaching fruition has been helped along by advice from Edmonton’s new mayor, Don Iveson, who gave LaBelle the information he needed to further his cause.
“Mayor Iveson actually reached out to me through Twitter, got my information and passed it along to people on the Edmonton Arts Council so we could arrange to meet and go over the steps necessary for having a piece of art considered for public display,” says Labelle. “They gave me some perspective on potential issues I hadn’t considered but [which] they have, because that’s what they do for a living. It was productive and provided some clear direction.”
Supporters of the Wolverine statue initiative can stay tuned to the @WolverineStatue Twitter account, which will be posting information for volunteer meetings within the next month. All other updates about the project will be shared through this channel by LaBelle.
Finally, we’re going to leave you with a snippet of Twitter conversation on the topic. As LaBelle, Seitz, and their supporters move closer towards making this statue a reality, we look forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts on the intended project. As always, feel free to leave your comments below!
Should Edmonton build a Wolverine Statue? 1. Yes 2. Hells Yes
— Mark Darrah (@BioMarkDarrah) September 21, 2014
@GlobalEdmonton why is this a question. If private backer(s) want fine but no tax money and where would it be put anyway.
— Nigel Cox (@bobafettishWoW) September 21, 2014
— Todd Babiak (@babiak) September 21, 2014
— Captain Grammar (@EricRWardell) September 21, 2014
I’m okay with this. http://t.co/1qJWibXlOO
— AniViewbyDave (@AniViewbyDave) September 20, 2014
@edmontonjournal Edmonton is not ‘Northern Alberta’, where Wolverine is from. So no. In Peace River, maybe.
— R Chenard (@rchenard) September 20, 2014
— Ethan Lou (@Ethan_Lou) September 20, 2014
Well, if Robocop can get one… http://t.co/HT4fN8XyXl
— SquabbleBox.co.uk (@SquabbleBoxHQ) September 20, 2014
CC cover photo credit: steamtradingcards.wikia.com.