I started the day by having breakfast at the hotel with Neal Bailey, Steve Younis and Steve’s sister Carol. Nothing fancy, just the “continental breakfast” that the Baymont offers. Rachel stayed in bed as she had been up late setting up the room. During breakfast ScottyV from the Homepage came by with his wife and daughter and the conversation was all kinds of fun. As breakfast was wrapping up Josh Boultinghouse, the town’s new official Superman came by, and holy crap on a stick did this guy look like Superman. He wasn’t even in costume and I thought the guy looked like Superman. His build had something to do with it but he also looks like Brandon Routh and Christopher Reeve had a kid. He seemed like a nice guy and apparently he did audition for Superman Returns at one point.
After that I headed back to the room where Rachel was awake. As the lengthy process of getting ready went on (my wife takes a while to get showered and dressed) I watched the Incredible Hulk marathon that Sci-Fi Channel has been running all week. I kind of felt bad about this because I’m here for a Superman celebration and I end up watching the Hulk. It was like I was cheating or something.
Rachel and I walked to the main strip where all the activities were and the first place we went to was the Superman Museum. I can’t tell you how completely and utterly awesome this museum is. I really can’t. It’s such a hard feeling to describe. It wasn’t a religious experience by any stretch of the imagination but it was close. Rachel and I have been to a number of museums over the years but more often than not it was something she was interested in and I’m cool with that because I like to make her happy. But this time it was all me and I found I had to slow down because I was going too fast. There is just so much to take in. All eras are covered. All of the movies and animated series and television series and trading cards and EVERYTHING. I have never before felt that a place was designed just for me and I know that in reality it’s not just for me but considering we were one of the few people in the joint it was easy to lie to myself about it.
I’ll have a gallery of the pictures I took set up soon. I took seventy-five or so pictures and we are planning to go again in the next two days so there will probably being more. I would like to post them all here, but frankly posting seventy-five pictures to this page wouldn’t be good for either of us so I will link to the gallery as soon as I get back to the Fortress proper.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of the collection. I mean there was some really neat things in there and it was one of those situations where the more recent items (say in the past twenty years) were just as fascinating as the items from the thirties, forties and fifties. There was also a lot of, “I remember that,” and “I had/have/really freaking want that!” going on. I really liked the section devoted to the Death of Superman, which had the Superman/Doomsday bookends that I have slobbered over kind of wanted since they came out. They also had a nice set up of the various versions of SupermanVol. 2 #75 and even a frame devoted to the rise of Electro-Supes from 1997.
So I was envious because most of these items would be freaking awesome to have albeit somewhat impractical to store. The only area that I looked at and thought, “Wow, I actually have 98% of these,” was the glass case containing the various trading cards put out based on or featuring Superman. They had the sealed boxes, which was neat to see because I long ago opened the boxes I purchased off of eBay and from comic stores and conventions and just kept the set. The ones I didn’t have included the hologram trading card set from the mid-nineties (which I should have purchased when they were cheap at Wal-Mart back in the mid-’90s), the Famous Comic Book Creators set, this set called DC Stars that was, I believe, put out exclusively through Wal-Marts back in 1994 or 1995 and I think there were a few sets from the forties and sixties which are a little beyond my price range.
After the museum we hit the main street where we enjoyed some of the fine food that the street vendors had to offer. It was the usual mix of pizza, funnel cake, snow cones and such along with the screened T-shirt stands, arts and crafts booths and other fair and festival vendors. The difference, and this is where you know you’re at a celebration dedicated to a comic book character, was that there were stand selling trades, action figures and other such items.
The official ribbon cutting took place at five. A whole bunch of us gathered around The Statue and they did this little skit to introduce the new Superman. A guy calling himself the Red Mullet tried to assume the role as Metropolis’ premiere defender but failed to even open a pickle jar given to him by Lois Lane. Then Bizarro showed up (the guy playing him did an excellent job with the Bizarro speak) and threw his hat into the ring but then the new Superman showed up, talked Bizarro into going home and even opened the jar of pickles. It was a bit corny but fun nonetheless and Josh nailed his role as Superman.
He cut the ribbon with a giant pair of scissors. I would have preferred heat vision, but that would have been hard to pull off.
A little while later we all went to this place called Willy Jack’s, which is a burger and wings place (along with peel and eat shrimp) that had some excellent food. I had this mushroom Swiss burger with grilled onions that was freaking amazing. Even the fries were good.
After that the group from the Homepage and a group of people from the Celebration message boards went bowling. Now here’s the thing; I haven’t bowled in about nine years and I was awful then, so my game was about like Dresden a few days after the bombing. I had fun though, which was the important thing.
And that pretty much ended the day. Rachel and I drove ScottyV and family to the bowling alley and on the way back to the hotel I found out that Scotty lives not to far from where I grew up in Pennsylvania, which seemed to surprise both of us for some reason. Soon it was back to the room where Rachel and I collapsed in short order.
Coming soon: DAY TWO (FRIDAY)
More to follow…