Day Two started very much like Day One. I had breakfast with Steve, Neal and Mike K, who is a member of the Homepage and a great guy I first met at DragonCon back in 2006. Carol was there as well and Rachel even made an appearance. Steve and Neal popped out early because they had a baseball game to get to and everyone else dispersed leaving Mike and me alone to have a long and very enjoyable conversation. I can honestly say that Mike changed the way I look at Superman as a character, which is something I thought would never happen. I won’t go into it now mainly because it would take too long. Suffice to say there is a post in there somewhere which I will hopefully make sometime in the future.
Rachel and I took a quick dip in the pool before getting ready for the day. We were running a little behind, which was totally my fault, and I ended up heading into town by myself so I could make the one o’clock Superman Jeopardy. I rushed to get there, which turned out to be much ado about nothing because I didn’t get on stage as a contestant. Nine guys walked up to the stage, including Steve and I, and instead of narrowing us down based upon our knowledge of Superman lore we all chose numbers and the three slots from the Friday and Saturday Jeopardys were snapped up. I hung around waiting for Rachel as the contest went on and even managed to win a coffee mug by answering one of the audience questions. Towards the end they announced some bad weather was coming through and that we should all prepare for a coming storm.
(Admittedly it was an easy question. When is Superman’s birthday? I kind of felt bad because that’s my birthday, so it wasn’t all that hard. Then again all I won was a coffee mug that says Boxing News so I guess it all balances out.)
Afterwards a group of us went over to Hardee’s for lunch. I haven’t eaten at a Hardee’s for years, mostly because the one here in my neck of the woods was terrible and eventually closed down. Surprisingly it was good. Sure the food stuck with me all freaking day, but it was good at the time. It was another chance for some lively conversation. Soon we were heading back to the tent for the Murphy Anderson panel only to discover that the panel had been moved because of the incoming weather. So off we went for the building containing Artists’ Alley as the clouds grew dark and threatening overhead.
Artists’ Alley was a cramped space when you first walked in. They crowded a bunch of the talent together but everyone seemed to be dealing with it just fine. It was more spacious in the side room, which serves as a church when not sheltering comic fans and artists. Over in the corner was Michael Eury, former editor at DC Comics and current editor of the always entertaining Back Issue. I chatted with him for a minute and arranged for an interview after the panel.
The panel was a lot of fun. There were three other artists at the table, but most of the questions were directed right at Murphy. After a technical glitch was corrected and we could hear what Murphy had to say the questions began. It was interesting hearing about his history as a comic book artist and to find out that he briefly worked for the company that Jerry Siegel was serving as editor for after the 1948 lawsuit. Murphy also revealed that he always thought of Superman as science-fiction character, which I found fascinating for some reason. The questions continued for about an hour and finally the panel wound down.
Rachel informed me she was stepping outside to call home and make sure all was well before I headed over to Michael Eury’s table. Michael turned out to be a really nice guy and a lot of fun to talk to. We started the interview next to his table, but the next presentation began and the area we were in proved to be too loud. So we found a spot in the art gallery and continued our conversation by an air conditioner and considering the fact that not only had it had been hot for the previous two days we were in Metropolis but that we had left a heat wave here in Fayetteville, GA and our air conditioning had gone out right before we left I was happy to be near the sweet, sweet air vent.
Played hell with the audio I’m sure, but hey, that’s the give and take of life.
(Shameless plug: You can hear the interview in the forty-fourth episode of my podcast, Views From The Longbox. Get to the episode by clicking HERE.)
After the interview I followed Michael back to his table, got his business card, felt like an idiot because I forgot my copy of the Krypton Companion back at the hotel room and noticed that some time during our chat the heavens opened up and a Noah worthy rain was pouring down. It was coming down in buckets, as they say, and this wouldn’t have been too much of a problem if not for the fact that Rachel had left to call her mother and when she returned I was not where I had been previously. I felt really bad because apparently she walked up and down the street looking for me and it was during that walk that she discovered there was a hole in her umbrella. She tried calling me but Artist’s Alley isn’t so much a dead zone for cell phone signal strength as a black hole where nothing can escape and eventually she found me during the interview, which made for a nice bit of audio as she was pissed.
She forgave me.
We waited a bit to see if the rain would let up and when it became apparent that it showed no signs of doing so we ventured outside eventually taking refuge at the Chamber of Commerce down the street. I made my way next store to this impromptu store that was selling action figures, comics and other collectibles. The Metropolis trip is the first time in years that I haven’t tracked down a comic shop to visit so this and the vendor selling trades and action figures outside were the closest I got to one. I didn’t buy any comics nor did I pick up any action figures for two reasons, the first being that I can pick up the comics and action figures they had for sale at the shops around where I live. If that would have been all this makeshift shop had to offer I would have purchased something as a memento of the trip, but that stems from the second reason I didn’t buy any of the dollar books and such and that is they had all this other, obscure stuff that was just freaking awesome.
Give me the choice between cheap comics that sit in every single comic shop’s fifty cent box and something you just don’t see everyday I’ll go with something you don’t see everyday all week long and twice on Sunday. There was a lot of neat stuff there and it wasn’t all Superman related either. There were Batman items as well as the odd Hulk item no doubt there to tie into the new film. It was kind of hard to choose what I wanted to buy because there was so much to choose from. There was a press packet from the first Superman film, photos, books and even a set of super hero planters just in case you enjoy both comic books and growing small plants.
I finally settled on a few items and for the thirty-bucks I spent I think I made out quite well. First up was a three pack that was put out for Christmas sometime in the eighties mostly likely by Tor, a sci-fi publisher now owned by MacMillian. If you grew up during the eighties then you probably saw Tor’s Story of Superman in the grocery store. It was a paperback sized reprinting of Action Comics #500 and I must have seen that thing a thousand times while shopping with my mother. Steve Younis kindly gave me a copy of one of the current printings of the book that popped up around 2006 but here was a three pack that included an earlier printing as well as The World’s Greatest Superheroes Presenting Superman (a collection of the World’s Greatest Superheroes comic strip) and a book that contained both The Superman Puzzle Book/The Superman Game Book. These were shrink-wrapped together on a piece of cardboard that had a stocking on the other side with the Superman logo on it. It was twenty bucks for all three, but considering I had never seen the comic strip and game book I thought it was worth it.
Besides, they look good on the shelf next to The Official Superman Quiz Book and other paperbacks from that era.
Next was a set of four postcards put out in 1972 that featured the cover to Action Comics #1, Superman being hit in the shoulder and calf by lightning, the Amazing World of Superman logo and an “old school” shot of the route the various Pre-Crisis Kryptonians took to get to the Earth. I don’t know if they are actually from 1972, but that’s what the copyright says and considering there were plans to build a Superman theme park in Metropolis and 1972 was when it became the official home of the character it is believable that they come from that time.
Finally I picked up three magazines that I was very happy to find. Two of them I had seen the previous day in the Super Museum in a display of magazines released around the time of the 1978 film and I even took out my little digital recorder to get the names and issue numbers so I could find them later. Starlog #10 and Newsweek cover date January 1, 1979 both had Christopher Reeve on the cover and both were magazines I thought would be hard to find. The Newsweek has a subscription tag on the front, which let me know that the magazine had originally belonged to Randolph Voldish of Woodbury Heights, New Jersey and while I would have preferred to not have the tag I will take what I can get. The third and finally magazine was the first issue of a fanzine published in the early eighties called Comics Collector, which was put out by Krause Publications. Krause also publishes or at least used to publish it they don’t anymore the Comics Buyers Guide.
I like old fanzines in general because they serve as time capsules to the eras they were published in, but this first issue was dedicated to Superman so it was lock. I probably would have bought it anyway. I have a bunch of issues of the magazine already and this would have fit nicely into that collection.
After looking at one of the vendors that sold wooden statues and such we took a spin around the local Hallmark store, which was also the town’s drugstore, to check out the Superman display they had in their window. They had some neat things but I had already spent some money so I wasn’t in the mood to get any more. They did have a giant stuffed bear that was decked out in a Superman T-shit and sunglasses, which suggested to me that he was there for a good time and thus you have the picture on top of this post.
With that the day ended early. Rachel wasn’t feeling well and needed to get some rest so we retired to the hotel where she promptly fell asleep. I puttered around on the computer and tried to find something on television but Friday is a dead zone for TV so I ended up crashing early myself. The only big event that night was the forties style ball that we didn’t have tickets to because I just wasn’t thinking far enough ahead to get them but from what I hear it was a lot of fun. I needed the rest anyway. This was the first vacation where Rachel and I got to actually relax, so ending the day early wasn’t such a bad thing.
Comic Soon: Day Three (Saturday)
More to follow…