NEW YORK—Beloved actor Christopher Reeve, whose tragic paralysis vaulted him to new heights of public adoration—including a spot atop the Washington Monument—has been unanimously selected by the editorial staff of Inspirational Cripple magazine as its Man of the Year for 1996.

<I>Inspirational Cripple</I> magazine's hotly anticipated Man of the Year issue hits newsstands next week.

"Christopher was the obvious choice this year, even in a year so filled with unusually inspirational—and unusually crippled—candidates," said Inspirational Cripple editor in chief Ted Phillips. "His appearances at the Academy Awards and the Democratic National Convention this past year were unprecedented new achievements in mass inspiration. Stephen Hawking could not have done better."

Said Phillips: "Christopher Reeve truly embodies everything our magazine is about."

In addition to a cover photo of Reeve, the magazine will feature an eight-page story on the Superman star's long, inspirational struggle with his handicap, punctuated by touching photos showing highlights of his paralysis.

The issue also features a two-page foldout mini-poster of a paralyzed Reeve smiling bravely, inspiring the reader with his fortitude in the face of personal tragedy.

Due on newsstands next week, the Christopher Reeve issue is projected to be the biggest seller in Inspirational Cripple's 15-year history, outselling even December 1982's blockbuster James Brady/Teddy Pendergrass Co-Man of the Year issue.

Phillips is excited about the possibility of a big seller, but maintains he is happy just to provide a valuable service.

"As long as our magazine is getting out there, inspiring the non-crippled to count their blessings and get out there and achieve, and inspiring the crippled to find ways to be more inspirational, then I know I've done a good job."