Superman Celebration 2018 : Part One.
So, this adventure has been on my bucket list for a very long time and I started planning it around one year ago. All that anticipation was worth it as my time in Metropolis, IL was one of the greatest weeks of my life. I can’t really describe it as a holiday, or “vacation, as it was so much more than that. It was an experience, an adventure, a week I will never forget. In these articles I will try to tell you all about what I got up to. I will try my hardest not to go on for too long as my week was filled with excitement!
Thursday 7th of June-Day One.
I woke up bright up and early. Very early-4:00 am to be precise! It was the first day of the Superman Celebration and I had been asked to be interviewed for some local news stations. I was very nervous to do it as I had not been on live television before. It was still dark but seeing the huge Superman statue lit up gave me confidence to do a good job. I then saw a figure in the dark get out of their car. It was Superman. Technically it was Joshua Boultinghouse, the official Superman of Metropolis and I can see why he was a town favourite. Joshua not only fitted the suit perfectly but he also had the appearance of Superman and charm. I was aware of him as I had seen photos of him at previous celebrations and was a well-loved member of the crew. Then something wonderfully amazing and surreal happened as he walked across the road towards me, with his cape flowing behind him.
“Hello, Luke. I follow you on Instagram.”
WHAT!? Superman knew who I was?!? My head almost exploded as I shook hands with Superman and had a brief chat before we went off to be interviewed. In a way this calmed me down, meeting someone wearing my hero’s suit so well and the fact that he came across as Superman, even quoting lines from the films as he answered questions, it put me at ease and helped me realise why I was in Metropolis. I was there to honour my hero the best way I could. Below are the two interviews that went out on American news that magical morning. After these fun and exciting interviews were filmed I went back to my hotel to calm down and get ready for the first day of the celebration.
A few hours later, the sun was shining on Superman Square and the Celebration was officially opened. There were hundreds of fans in Superman T-Shirts and cosplayers as far as the eye could see. I felt like I was home. There were skits outside the Superman Museum with Superman himself and everyone was having a fantastic time. I am sure my smile didn’t leave my face until I got home. I spent a lot of time walking up and down Market Street where the road was literally pathed with Superman. All the logos, from 1938 to present day were carefully displayed on the road and I felt like telling people off for walking on them but that would have been impossible to do as there were so many people there having a fantastic time!
I had a great time interacting with cosplayers who were more than happy to pose for photos and looking at all the vendors which were there. Some stalls were selling food, T-Shirts, drinks (I needed constant hydration!) and all the prices were very reasonable. There was also so much Superman merchandise, as you could imagine! There was even a Mini-Con inside, the air conditioning was a treat! Also on display was a huge banner dedicated to Margot Kidder and fans were able to leave their words on it. I was touched by all the kind words that people had left and by day two both sides were already filled.
After witnessing what the outside had to offer, I went to Artist’s Alley. I always enjoy meeting artists and today was going to be a special one! I came to see everyone I could but I was really excited to meet Art Baltazar and Jon Pinto. Two very talented artists with a real passion for their craft. I talked with Jon about his art that was on display and thanked him for helping design this years celebration logo. I was also very happy that I got to purchase one of his limited edition posters. It contained all the original characters from the 1978 Superman movie and is already proudly hanging from my wall.
Conveniently located next to Jon was Art’s desk. It was covered in colourful books and comics which all featured his wonderful art style. He was busy talking with some other fans so I waited patiently and picked up a few items to purchase. Shortly before I visited Artist Alley I attended his Q&A panel and he mentioned how excited he was to be working on an upcoming Superman book. The story would be about an 12-year-old Supes (NOT Superboy as Art clearly stated) and how he described the costume was very intriguing. A Sweater with a big “S” on it, a bright yellow belt to go with his jeans and sneakers that were like Nike Air Jordan’s. I could see it in my head!
I was so ready for a new Superman story from Art as his passion for Superman is fantastic and he even explained that he makes his own sound effects when drawing Supes and sings the Williams’ theme. Hearing him talk so passionately about my hero made me like him even more!
As Art finished talking to his fans it was my turn to step up. We talked more about his passion for Superman and I asked what more he could tell me about his upcoming book which will be released soon, when I have more details I will share it. I mentioned that he probably wouldn’t be able to tell me too much information about the book but I explained how excited I was to see it. He then picked up one of his blank commission cards…I was excited to say the least! I was watching one of my favourite artists draw a brand new character for me! I was amazed at how effortlessly he brought a character to life, all while making sound effects and talking about the process. I was in a state of awe and it is a memory which will stay with me. Once it was completed, I graciously accepted the art work, shook his hand and then floated out of the room on cloud nine and all the way back to my hotel room. Day one was over and I couldnt have been more happier with how it went.
Friday 8th of June-Day Two.
After a well needed night of rest I was up and ready for the second day of the celebration. Today began at “Fat Edd’s“, a famous diner with portions big enough for a family! I was here for the annual Superman-Super Site meet and great. Neil Cole, who runs the site, put on a fantastic event and it didn’t take long for the restaurant to be filled up with Super-Fans. Everyone who attended got some free swag and also some raffle tickets! Neil had a piles of prizes to give away. There were books, DVDs, Blu-rays, toys and posters. He was like the Super-Santa of Metropolis! The place was filled with happy fans, and I discovered that the Superman Celebration wasn’t just another Con. It was a community, people have been coming here for years and continued to return. Everyone was saying hello to friends they hadn’t seen since last year and it really felt like a welcoming place. Everyone I met was so excited to be there and just enjoy the experience and meet old and new friends.
After this fun event I had an important date to keep. I was being sworn in as an honorary citizen of Metropolis. This was done in front of the Superman Statue in front of the wonderful Mayor Billy and Superman. I met the Mayor previously and his passion for the Man Of Steel, and his home town, made me feel very privileged to have met him.
Mayor Billy told me what I had to do and informed to raise my right hand and repeat his words. I took this role very seriously and it was a proud moment for me, so much so that the certificate is already hanging on my wall. I was sworn in and was now officialy a member of Metropolis. I shook Mayor Billy’s and Superman’s hand, posed for a photo and that was it, I was in! This experience was so much fun and it really made me feel welcome. It only cost $20 and for a life long memory that is a bargain!
My first official role as an honorary citizen was to visit the Metropolis Planet, the town’s local newspaper. I had been in contact with the staff while planning my trip and felt honoured to be invited to their offices for a tour. When I got there I was happy to see a large globe outside just like the actual Daily Planet. I walked inside and talked with the staff who were all so lovely and they showed me around. The walls were covered with framed photos of the Superman stars who had visited before and the ladies inside informed me who their favourite guests were. I really enjoyed taking the time to speak with them as it made me feel closer to Metropolis and it’s wonderful citizens. Whilst inside I picked up some Clark Kent and Lois Lane business cards and as I turned around to see what else was on display I saw something magical. Clark’s desk complete with typewriter!
This was a perfect photo opportunity and I jumped in his chair and had one or two photos taken…I felt as close to Clark Kent as I could be. For me this was like sitting in the President’s chair or the Queen’s throne! Something as simple as a replica desk in a newspaper office is just another reason why this trip made so many life-long memories. If I ever become a full time resident of Metropolis I will be applying for a job at the Planet!
After this I had another walk down Market Street to look at all the vendors and went back to my hotel, smiling all the way. So far each day was better than the day before and I was looking forward to what would happen next.
My next continuing article will be about my Saturday and Sunday at the event and how I met Brandon Routh… I can’t wait to tell you all about it!