There’s one word to describe Saturday.
Not hot as in the new hotness or that it was hot as in many attractive women wearing Supergirl costumes filled the streets of Metropolis.
I’m talking temperature.
I would like to sit down and talk to the city planner’s that decided that June would be the best month to have a celebration that ninety percent of which takes place outdoors. I realize that this might be my own prejudice because I’m on the heavy side of heavy and that most people absolutely love to be outdoors during the summer. At the same time though when it is ninety some odd degrees and there is very little shade and there are all of these carts selling hot, greasy foods it can get to be a bit much.
So Saturday was hot. It seemed to be the hottest day we were there, which it probably wasn’t because Thursday night was pretty damn warm.
Once again we all had breakfast and that was fun. Steve and Neal had to leave early to get to the press conference while Rachel and I lazily got ready. We decided to drive in that day because it was easier on Rachel’s bad leg. Our first destination was Artists’ Alley, where I had Michael Eury and Brian K. Morris sign my copy of the Krypton Companion. I had a nice chat with Josh Elder, writer of the Batman Strikes comic and Mail Order Ninja. It was a talk that I wish I had recorded because we discussed DC’s inability to promote the books that might interest kids and the state of Tokyo Pop as a publisher. Then I was fortunate enough to get Murphy Anderson to sign my copies of Superman: From the ‘30s to the ‘70s and the original Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told hardcover, which I will now treasure more than ever. Murphy’s companion (it was probably his wife but I never asked) complimented Rachel, which was very sweet because usually older women give my wife the stink eye because of how she dresses.
We left the beautiful, wonderful, how did we ever live without it air conditioning to the heat of the day. On the way back up the main drag we took some pictures of people in costume and had our pictures taken with Josh Boultinghouse, which was neat. Josh was very distracted and frankly I don’t blame him all that much because his attention and presence was in constant demand all weekend long. The picture he took with Rachel was kind of amusing mainly because at the last second something caught his eye off camera and that is where he is looking as you can see above. I don’t know why I find this amusing but I do.
At this point Rachel was rather hungry as she had not eaten all day and we stopped for a brief repast. Thankfully a picnic table under a shady spot was available and we ate there. In the middle of the meal I spotted a guy dressed as Captain Avenger from the John Ritter movie Hero at Large, a film that I watched a bunch of times as a kid. I was impressed with the costume and the guy seemed surprised when I knew what movie he was cos-playing from.
(In case you wanted to know Hero at Large is a movie about an actor, played by Ritter, that earns extra money by dressing as a comic book character named Captain Avenger as part of the build up to the big budget Captain Avenger movie. One night as he was coming home he manages to stop a hold up in costume and word of this gets back to the studio, which starts setting up crimes for Ritter to foil. It’s a cheesy film but a fun one and has a feel good ending.
Man, I really need to buy that movie. I think it’s on DVD. I hope it’s on DVD.)
Rachel was still feeling a bit under the weather and I drove her back to the hotel room so she could get some rest. I left her the car in case she wanted to join me later and headed back into town where I joined up with Steve, Neal, Carol, Rob and Mike in one of the shadier areas of the park near the statue. We hung out for a bit and I talked with Jamie Kelly for a bit. Jamie was one of the runners up for the Official Superman Contest thingie and is a heck of a nice guy. Then Steve, Carol, Rob, Mike, Neal and I made our way to Artists’ Alley to check out the Boys of Steel panel hosted by Boys of Steel author Marc Tyler Noblemen.
This was one of the experiences from the six days we were in Metropolis that I remember with vivid clarity. Most of the group was wearing Superman Homepage apparel. Wait. I take that back. Most of the group was wearing Superfan Homepage apparel because Steve can’t use Superman in any of the off site merchandise. In any case, I felt like I was part of a posse. No. Posse is the wrong word. A group. I was a staff member from the Superman Homepage and here we were, not all of us but some, walking down the street together. People called out to us. Ok, they called out to Steve and Neal, but still, they’re we were. I wonder what it looked like.
I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this before but I am very proud to be a writer for the Superman Homepage. Yeah I have this blog and am trying to kind of do my own thing as far as Superman fandom but the Superman Homepage is the best damn Superman site on the web. Steve and Neal and Barry and Jeffrey and Scotty and Adam and James and everyone else who I am forgetting at the moment work so hard to make the site something special, especially Steve, Neal, Barry and Jeffrey. These are four men who rise above and beyond in their love for Superman. Barry writes some bang up reviews and has some neat videos on his YouTube account. Jeffrey produces about five hundred podcasts a month, including a Superman and Supergirl radio drama. Neal writes so much for the Homepage that I am beginning to think that he isn’t one man but a team of men surgically altered to look alike and then dispersed into the world to fight the good fight of commentary and analysis. He also travels across this great continent to pimp the Homepage, as does Barry.
Then there’s Steve. I say this without any hint of hyperbole but I swear to God if anyone ever gives this man crap or complains about him in my presence I’ll probably punch them, as my friend Shag would say, dead in the face. I don’t know of any man on this planet that has done more to promote Superman and give fans a safe place to come and commune over the Man of Steel. He puts in so much time, energy, blood, sweat and tears making the site what it is. I’m sure there are any number of people who would love to produce a Superman site but how many are actually willing to devote their lives to it? I can barely keep up this blog on a daily basis. The fact that Steve liked my writing enough to give me two monthly assignments means more to me than I can really articulate.
And there I was, with Steve and Neal and Carol and Rob and Mike and I felt this sense of belonging that I hadn’t felt in a long time if ever.
Upon reaching Artists’ Alley we hung out in area outside the room where the panel was to be held for a while enjoying the awesome air conditioning the place had. I walked over and chatted with Michael Eury again and then bought a copy of Superman on Film, Television, Radio and Broadway from author Michael Scivally (pronounced “civil-ly”), which was an excellent book. I devoured it soon after getting home. Steve asked me to interview Michael Eury for the site, which you can see, through the miracle of YouTube, just below this paragraph.
The panel with Marc Tyler Noblemen was interesting. The Superman historian in me is always interested in learning new facts about the character and especially his creators. Two things about this panel surprised me the first being the fact that Boy of Steel is set up like an illustrated children’s book. It is by no means a detailed biography, but it tells the story in a straight forward manner that allows the reader to really appreciate the character’s creation and the art is phenomenal. After reading the book to the audience Noblemen displayed some slides that showed some of his research and the Easter eggs hidden in the art. It was during that second part that Noblemen revealed an interesting fact about Jerry Siegel’s father.
One of the major revelations from Gerard Jones’ Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book was that Jerry Siegel’s father was killed during the commission of a robbery when Jerry was a teenager. Noblemen told the room that his research turned up the fact that Mitchell Siegel died of a heart attack soon after the robbery. The loss is still there, but having new information come to the surface is fascinating, at least to me.
After the panel the group headed to the main square for the Superman Homepage meet and greet. A month or so before the Celebration the call was put out by Steve that at 4:30 on Saturday afternoon anyone who was a member of the site could gather behind the Superman statue and finally put faces to screen names, so to speak. The gathering went well. Steve entertained one of the kids and people were genuinely appreciative of Steve and Neal’s hard work. We all took a group photo in front of the statue and afterwards I hung around a bit before deciding to head back to the room for a spell.
In all honesty I had a terrible headache. The heat and the sun finally got to me and I needed to sit down for a bit. I sat in the hotel room as Rachel slept beside me and swore silently as the Internet access continued to suck hard. I watched some TV, drank some water, got changed and headed back into town about a half hour before the Tribute to Christopher Reeve began.
I walked around town for a bit, just soaking in the atmosphere. Despite the dinner and auction going on the town was still lively. I bought some tea from a vendor and just watched the humanity walk by. People seemed to be having a good time. There was a block party going on with free food, which is a good way to get people to come. Standing there, in the shade of course, seeing people gather and commune gave me this weird sense of happiness and contentment.
I grabbed a quick bite to eat and chatted with some people, including Scotty and family as they tried to get Chloe to eat. I even sat down and watched Batman: Dead End, a fantastic fan film made all the more awesome by the fact that it was on the big screen. Before the tribute began the people in charge brought out a cake for Chloe as she was turning two I believe and I held Scotty’s camera so he could be on stage with his wife and daughter.
Right before the Tribute began I spotted Neal and a few other people and quickly moved to sit with them. This is what I was hoping for actually. Two things happened that night that had never happened before. One, I got to see Superman: The Movie on a big screen. I was two years old when the movie first came out and the Special Edition has never made it to Atlanta. So this was a big deal for me. The other first of the night is that I finally got to see the film with other Superman fans. Before that night I had only seen the movie with family growing up, with my wife now or by myself all my life. To be there with other like minded individuals was awesome and the fact that I was sitting next to Neal, who shared many of my opinions of the film, was the icing on the cake.
I wrote up a complete report for the Homepage. You can read that HERE.
(Note to self about my report; some people get a little bent out of shape when you suggest that puppets may not be the best medium to express tribute to an actor. Must keep this in mind for the next time something like this happens.)
Afterwards we all headed into the night. The street was almost completely deserted as we made our way back to Rob’s rented vehicle. Plans were made for Carol, Neal, a very nice woman named Jennifer (who had been cos-playing as Lois Lane earlier in the day), my wife and I to head to Harrah’s to do a little gambling.
I’ve never been to a casino and in all honesty despite the loud noises and bright lights they are a rather depressing place to be. Rachel and I played a few hands of Black Jack and lost, which came as no surprise. Neal was playing Craps with this scheme that seemed to be working for him so I joined him at the table. Incredibly I managed to win some money. I started out with forty and ended up with sixty. More than anything it was fun to sit there with Neal, Rachel, Carl and Jennifer and joke around with each other and the person running the table/
We left the casino an hour or so later. Rachel and I went back to the room because we were both exhausted. It was a nice ending to a busy but all around great day and night.
Coming Soon: Day Four: The Quest for a World’s Record
More to follow…