Superman Celebration: Part Two.
Saturday 9th Of June-Day Three.
The day had come. Today was the day I was going to meet another Superman actor and although I was very nervous I was ready to meet Brandon Routh. This moment was incredible and I have dedicated a whole article to it which I will share soon. But here’s the short version. It was perfect and it’s a memory that I will cherish forever. The setting was perfect, the signing and photograph was perfect and Brandon Routh was perfect. Some people say that you shouldn’t meet your heroes. Don’t listen to those people.
After a magical morning with Superman I rushed over to watch Brandon’s panel and that was just as perfect. He was charming, answered his questions truthfully and with so much diplomacy you could almost think he was Superman. The only noise out of the audience were cheers, laughter and applause. They respected Brandon perfectly but I wouldn’t have expected anything less, they were all Super-fans!
After these two magical moments I went back to my hotel room to freshen up. Metropolis, IL is hot and showers were the best way to cool off! On my way back to my hotel I bumped into Aaron Smolinski and had a quick chat and a photo, a very surreal but special moment.
After I had freshened up and stored my newly signed treasures away and then I was back out of the door and back to my version of Disney-World, the Superman Celebration. I wanted to experience it as much as I could and interact with all the other Superman fans that had visited from all over the world. I had a great time meeting with followers and chatting with other bloggers who I look up to. Neil Cole who runs the Superman Super Site so well was a joy to talk to and meeting Steve Younis, who came all the way from Australia, was a great moment as I have been a fan of The Superman Homepage website for many years.
I’m not sure how many times I walked up and down the main street while the Celebration was on but I know it wasn’t enough! I was enjoying meeting fellow fans and admiring all the cosplayers. Some of the costumes were magnificent and to wear them in such hot weather was awe-inspiring. I was worried about some of their health but was put at ease by seeing all of the vendors supplying affordable water and the fact that so many police officers and fire service crews were protecting the citizens. True heroes without capes. Also, the police had incredible Superman patches on their uniforms. Very cool!
On the Saturday I was looking forward to attending another event, a Superman charity auction. Many months before I attended the celebration I was put in contact with someone who had visited the Celebration many times, a wonderful soul called Crystal. We began talking on Facebook and then text messages as well. We struck up a real friendship and I began to realise how dedicated she was to the charity which would benefit from this auction. The Massac Theatre in Metropolis was once a gorgeous building which was built in 1938 and closed in 1978. Two very significant years for Superman fans! The theatre needs a lot of work to be rebuilt but it is getting there, slowly but surely. After hearing Crystal’s passion for the theatre, I wanted to help out. I went through my collection before I left for America and filled my suitcase with items to donate to the auction. It was the least I could do for all the help and advice that Crystal had given me.
I sat down at the auction and was given my number, lucky number nine! The room was filled with fans hoping to grab a special item to take home. There were toys, comics, books, clothes and some fantastic autographs signed by movie stars and comic artists. Crystal had spent most of the year collecting from various Comic-Cons and these items were the ones which raised the most money. I tried my best to win some but when the prices kept going up and up and UP, I had to lower my hand. I did however win quite a few items and my table soon started to fill up with items! I was very happy to win two customised comics. One was by Art Baltazar (Aw yeah!) and another by Sean Dulaney which had a great sketch of Jack O’Halloran who played Non in the Superman movies. Jack had also signed this comic so I was very happy to add it to my collection!
I had never been to an auction like this before and it was a lot of fun. Competing with other Superman collectors soon got the adrenalin pumping and I wanted to keep on winning! I soon remembered though that I had to bring all my items home! A lot of money was raised for The Massac Theatre that night and I got a real sense of community spirit. Crystal doesn’t even live in Metropolis but she has as much passion and commitment to saving the theatre that it transferred onto me and I want to do as much as I can to help out. Soon I will post a dedicated article about the theatre and I will share with you the progress and the hope for the future. I know that one day films will be shown their again and my heart will burst when Superman movies get shown on that cinema screen.
After I paid my bill at the auction I saw a poster being brought in. It was the poster which Brandon was standing in front of all day and he had signed it. The organisers saw the huge smile on my face and I offered a sum of money to the charity and it was mine. It was the least I could do to help out the community as after spending a whole week there and becoming an honorary citizen, I felt it was my duty to help out. I then carried my hoard back to my hotel and was asleep before my happy head hit my pillow.
Sunday 10th Of June-Day Four.
I was not looking forward today. It was the last day of the celebration and I didn’t want my time there to come to an end. I made the most of the day though. Spending lots of time meeting up with followers and handing out goodies, I will have to get more T-shirts and pins ordered! The festival was busy again, even more cosplayers were out taking photographs with fans and some of the photo shoots were fantastic. The costumes I saw could have been taken from the movie studios, they were that good! I think I saw every incarnation of Superman from 1938 to present day and I was very happy to see a Bizarro. His costume was so well made that he came second in the Cosplay Contest. At one point there was a Cosplay Parade and I was in awe of every costume I saw. People of all ages took part and it was a fantastic sight to see dozens and dozens of costumed characters all walking down Main Street together. A sight I hope I won’t ever forget.
I also spent my last day partaking in some retail therapy…I found an a Mini-Con inside and it was filled vendors selling comics, toys, clothes and so much more. I found some real bargains! Sometimes I will find a unique item online and the shipping from the States to England will be ridiculous so I was happy to find a lot of items to bring home that wouldn’t break the bank or my suitcase! I also went back to the Superman Museum. The magical place was packed all weekend and there were a few more items I wanted to pick up from their huge gift shop. Soon I will post a video and article about that wonderful family run business. It was truly a magical place and deserves its own time in the spotlight.
My backpack was full at this point and so was my heart. I saw the closing of the celebration and began to watch friends, old and new, say goodbye to each-other. It was a bittersweet moment for me. I had been planning this trip for so long and now it was all over. All I wanted to do was re-do the whole four days. I had the time of my life in Metropolis and my only regret was not visiting sooner. I have already made plans to return next year and my countdown app has been reset.
Metropolis,Illinois, you have my heart and I will miss you but The Geek Of Steel will return because I love a sequel!