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Superman Celebration: 80th Anniversary

July 11, 2018


Superman Celebration is every year in Metropolis, IL. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of this celebration.


The small town of Metropolis, IL was officially recognized by DC Comics (the company that owns Superman) as the hometown of Superman back in 1972. This is a free convention, sponsored by the city of Metropolis that attracts people from across the country every year. It has a plethora of celebrity actors and events for four days. The town of Metropolis is pretty small, so this con is probably what brings in most of the revenue. That must be why the city sponsors it.


My husband and I drove up for the second year in a row and braved the heat of June. We only got to see two days of the four-day con, but there was still plenty to do. Many of the events were outdoors, including tents with a stage and chairs for celebrity Q&A's, other programming, street vendors selling whatnots and food glorious food. And before you ask, no, the celebrity autographs were not free. Celebrities gotta make a livin'.



The first thing we did when we got there,was see Brandon Routh at the town's 15-foot Superman statue. Brandon Routh, played Superman/Clark Kent in Superman Returns, (a 2006 Superman movie that did not do exceedingly well with movie-goers or critics). I for one liked him in the movie, even if the movie left my wanting. Brandon also currently plays Ray Palmer on Legends of Tomorrow, a hit TV series on CW. Brandon posed for pictures in front of the statue and said a few words like "thank you for coming."  Then he asked his parent to stand up there with him, and he let us take pics of him with his parents. It was a very lovely gesture showing us he is still close to them. Afterwards we went to the main tent with a stage and rows and rows of chairs for Brandon's Q&A session. He was very friendly and seemed to enjoy being there. He said he had always been a fan of Christopher Reeve and Superman and tried to emulate Reeve somewhat on the big screen as Superman.


 From the new SyFy Channel series Krypton, Blake Ritson who plays Brainiac and Shaun Sipos who plays Adam Strange also posed for pics under with the statue and did a Q&A session together. They were very entertaining, especially Blake with his British accent. They said they were both given comic books that had stories featuring their respective characters in order to study for their parts. And they both expressed that working on the show was a lot of fun for both of them.


Other guests were Ilya Salkind (producer of Superman: The Movie, Superman II, and Superman III), Jack O'Halloran (Non in Superman II), Jeff East (teenage Clark Kent is Superman: The Movie), Aaron Smolinski (infant Clark Kent in Superman: The Movie), and John Haymes Newton (Superboy/Clark Kent in the TV series Superboy). They were signing autographs in a small government building that was used by the con just for these four days. There were also comic book artists and fan artists there. We got Jeff East to sign our program book, which he did for free. We were told he was the only guest doing that. This was definitely the mecca of Superman cons for celebrity guests! 


Another actor was Kevin Caliber who played Superman on the TV series Supergirl in 2015. No, not the Superman who was prominently featured in a few episodes, but the Superman viewers only got a glimpse of because there was a shadow over his face. Kevin said it was during a time on the show when they hadn't decided to feature Superman. The actor who played Superman later on the series was someone who was already under contract with CW, the series' owner. But Kevin didn't fret. No, he went on to other things. He starred in a Superman fan film called Supermen: World War. (That's "Supermen", plural.) The film was shown at the con, and I must say, even though it was low-budget, it was very cleverly done and well-written.


The area of the con included not just the Superman statue, but also a Superman museum, little mom-and-pop stores, and a statue of Noel Neill as Lois Lane from The Adventures of Superman. The Superman museum takes you through the history of our man of steel in comics, TV, movies, stage, and merchandising. Some of the old dolls were very nostalgic, and the life-size mannequins were awesome to look at. I bought a Wonder Woman wallet at the museum gift store. There was a large poster for everyone to sign in memory of Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve. She was a guest at last year's Superman Celebration, and just passed away a month before this year's. We also noticed that when driving through the town, you will see other references to Superman and "super" things. A few blocks from the con, there was the town newspaper building. The newspaper titled, not the Daily Planet, but the Metropolis Planet.



Adding to the excitement, the con had a Superdog contest. Many people had their dogs dressed as Krypto, the Superdog. Others threw a cape or other stylistic material on their pet canines. There were many events that we didn't get to attend. So much to do, so little time. There was a Superman Jeopardy, puppet making workshop, Supergirl and Superboy pageant for kids, Superman Trivia, viewing of Superman: The Movie, Parade of Characters, Superman scavenger hunt, and even some live music concerts on Thursday and Friday nights.



There was also a vendors room set up inside a comic book store. The vendors had all kinds of comics, Superman memorabilia, and other superhero and geeky things to taunt anyone who passed by. Superhero lunchboxes are always cool. It was a very kid-friendly, and even kid-welcoming, con. We saw a few vehicles such as a Superman-blue Daily Planet car and a Batmobile and a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine. Cosplayers were everywhere from half a dozen Supermen to Supergirl, Batman, Joker, little girls dressed as Wonder Woman, and even a Wolverine. Hey, Wolverine fits in at any con...I suppose. Superman is a cultural icon of, well, super proportions. For this year, Superman's 80th anniversary, this was surely the go-to con of the year!

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