Regular readers of comics probably already knew that J. Michael Straczynski is doing a run on Superman where the storyline will be a walkabout that Superman takes across America to try to reconnect with the people he has sworn to protect.  DC Comics just announced a contest where readers can submit essays (1,000 words max) as to why Superman should visit their hamlets.  The winners will see their hoods included in the story, which is set to feature real towns and neighborhoods.  The following is the complete AP story, which can be found here:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Man of Steel will hoof it across America to reconnect with everyday people in a story that will feature actual cities, towns and neighborhoods submitted by readers.

Superman, one of DC Comics’ flagship fictional heroes, begins his journey next month in Philadelphia, where he’ll embark on a 12-issue, cross-country walk – no flying, thank you – through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington. Not on the travel itinerary is a swing through the Deep South.

Dan DiDio, DC’s co-publisher, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the Krypton-born, Kansas-bred hero had lost touch “with the people he grew up with, his adopted home on earth” and he’ll “take a walk across America to reconnect.”

In a bid to keep the story arc fresh in the age of instant communication and social media, readers of the comic who live within 50 miles of the cities of Chicago, Des Moines, Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle can submit essays of up 1,000 words touting why their city or neighborhood should be included in the story titled “Grounded.” DC will select nine winners.

DiDio said DC is “looking to hear what people have to say, how the character affected their lives” and, he added, “more importantly, what the character means to them.”

Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, first appeared in 1938 in Action Comics No. 1.

The story, scripted by veteran film, television and comic writer J. Michael Straczynski, whose previous work includes DC’s “The Red Circle” books and Marvel’s Thor and Fantastic Four, has its roots in the current issue, No. 700.

In it, Superman asks The Flash whether he actually sees the people he’s protecting as he barrels across the country at supersonic speeds.

“When I’m running flat-out, I see what I figure you see when you’re flying up there at several bazillion times the speed of sound,” the speedster replies. “I see a blur. Unless I make an effort to see the details.”

Superman’s decidedly slower-than-a-speeding-bullet walkabout officially starts with issue 701, which goes on sale next month, and lasts through issue 712.