When I decided to take a trip to the Superman Celebration in Metropolis I needed answers to questions. I am someone who likes to prepare, a lot! I figured the best people to ask where the people who lived in the fine city of Metropolis, so that’s what I did.
One particular person was a man called Chad Lewis. Chad works for Harrah’s Hotel And Casino and this particular hotel helps to sponsor the event and this was why this became my home while I stayed in Superman’s hometown. The hotel was perfect. I had a bed as big as my bedroom back home and staff that were truly magical. I don’t think I had the same meal or breakfast twice while I was there!
Chad and I built up a relationship over the last few months while I bombarded him with questions, he has the patience of a Saint! And now, even after the celebration is over we still talk regularly and I consider him to be a great friend and proof that Metropolis is a place where community spirit is one of its greatest accomplishments. I can see why Chad is so passionate about Metropolis. He took me on a few tours and it’s a place I would be proud to call “home”. Who knows, maybe one day I will become an actual citizen and not just an honoray one!
As well as working for the hotel, Chad is also a member of the local Rotary Club and a respected member of the community. Everybody knew him! A few weeks before I was due to fly out Chad asked me if I would like to give a speech at the weekly Rotary meeting. I owe so much thanks to Chad that standing up and talking in front of strangers (who soon became friends) was the least I could do to repay so many favours.
I planned a speech out and wrote it down and practised and practised and practised. I had to keep reminding myself to speak clearly and slowly! I was nervous but ready, I soon realised that when talking about something I love I could talk for a while so I actually had to edit the speech so it wasn’t too long!
Now, the speech wasn’t filmed but below is the actual speech that was used on the day. I managed to memorise most of it and only went rogue a few times and improvised when I lost my place. It’s long so you might want to make yourself a drink before you start!
I’d like to take a quick moment to thank you all for the lovely words of encouragement you gave me while I prepared this speech. Your support really meant a lot and I am proud to have such a positive influence in my life.
Well, here it is. I hope you like it…
“Hello., I’m Luke and as you can probably tell from my accent, I’m from England.
I am whats classed as Superman Super-fan and blogger and when I am not reporting from events such as this, I work in an Opticians. If you need your glasses cleaned this week, let me know!
I have travelled 4201 miles from my home town of Portsmouth to visit your fine city of Metropolis to attend the Superman Celebration which kicks off later on today.
I have wanted to visit the event for many years and seeing that this year is the 40th anniversary of the Superman and also 80 years since superman first appeared in comics, I thought that this year would be the perfect time to plan an adventure. So, that’s what I did. I have been planning this trip for around a year. I like to be organised!
I have only been here since Monday and I already know I’ll be coming come back sooner rather than later. Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. In fact, the person who asked me to speak today, is one of the reasons why this trip has been such a success so far. Chad Lewis has helped me tremendously with the planning of this trip, I have been asking questions about my trip when we first started talking a few months ago. He has the patience of a saint and is a credit to the town and his employer.
A few weeks ago Chad asked me if I would like to speak for you today, I said yes immediately as it was he least I could do to repay my thanks.
So, why did I come to Metropolis? Well as your sign says. “It’s the home of Superman” and has been for many years. You have the museum, the iconic statue in Superman Square (I am considering taking him back to England! And of course, The Superman Celebration. A time where fans from all over the world can come together for a few days, meet old friends and make new ones all while celebrating the worlds greatest Superhero…I am a little bit biased!
Now, as I said before my name is Luke but like Superman has his alias “Clark Kent” I also go by another name, “The Geek Of Steel. A nickname that came from my love of the Man Of Steel and the fact that I am a self confessed geek.
About ten years ago a friend told me about the phone app Instagram, where you could post photos and share them with others. At the time I didn’t know that others could see my photos, I was just happily taking photos of my collection and posting them so I had a way of storing what I have and what I need.
I am always on the lookout for new pieces for my growing collection so I might have to visit your post office by the end of the week and ship my items home!
I began gaining like-minded followers through the app and the more I shared my passion for Superman the more enjoyment I got from being introduced to like-minded fans all around the world. It evolved from me just sharing my collection and I began creating edits, and artwork, reviewing films and more recently, being approached by companies to help promote events and products.
If someone had told a ten-year old Luke that one day D.C Comics would be sending him Superman Comics to review, he would have never have believed you. I still have to pinch myself!
I have been invited to art exhibitions, comic cons, and movie premieres. This year I have been working with an exhibition in London where several suits from D.C Comics movies are on display to the public. I have been back several times as I am not sure how many times in my life am going to be able to stand directly in front of costumes that I have seen hundreds of times when I watch them on my television screen.
Standing in front of Christopher Reeve’s costumes was a very emotional moment for me and each time I have gone back the feeling has been there same. I am hoping the exhibit travels the world and eventually tours America as I wish everyone could see all the wonderful art and costumes which are displayed.
This trip to metropolis however, this is the event that I have wanted and needed to do for so long. It has kept me awake in excitement for months on ending I am so happy that it will be ticked off my bucket list. I truly feel that this event, and this city, is the home of the man of steel so for me to come here it is a way or me to show my love and appreciation for the hero.
As you may be able to tell, I like Superman quite a bit! Some people have even gone as far as to call me “obsessed” but as the quote goes “Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.” And I am dedicated to being the best Super-fan that I can be.
Now, I don’t hold the record for having the largest collection of Superman items and I’m not confident enough to say that I know every fact about hero. The stories out there that I still have to read and adventures that I am looking forward to find out about. What I pride myself on is being a good Superman fan. A positive Superman fan.
I don’t like to moan about life too much or let the small things bother me, and I like to do the same with my online pages. No bad language, negativity or posts which may hurt someone’s feelings. I think the saddest thing I have ever posted about was the recent news about Margot Kidder’s passing. It seems that she was many people’s favourite Lois, as when I shared the news the only comments were positive memories and all of the good times that she gave her to her fans. I am not only proud of the positivity I share but also the positivity of my followers and I am looking forward to meeting some here this week.
“Why Superman?” Is something that I get asked a lot. “Why not someone cool like Batman or Ironman?”. I don’t want cool. I want a hero I can look up to and aspire to be like. Anyway, I don’t think you can learn to be cool. You’ve either got it or you haven’t. And with my clumsiness I am much more like Clark than Superman and I feel you can learn to be good. And to me, that is what Superman is. A good hero. Someone who always chooses the right way to do things. Of all the heroes who choose between right or wrong and do it so well, it has always been Superman.
He jumped off the pages in 1938 and has been with us ever since. Some might not know the stories he has been a part or the films he has been in but I am pretty sure that he is the most recognisable hero, ever. Those bright colours and that S on that chest. Combine that with the beaming smile and you’ll have trouble finding someone of any age who doesn’t know who he is. In a world that seems to be filled with heroes these days, Superman will always be the original and that’s partly why I have chosen him to be mine.
For me he’s always been there. I can’t remember a time when Superman wasn’t in my life. Try to think when you first saw Superman. Not the movie, but the character. I don’t think many of us can recall when we first laid our eyes on him yet he has always been there. I remember watching the Christopher Reeve films as a child in the 80s and being amazed at how just like Superman he was.
That first moment when we see him in “THE” suit and saving Lois Lane from falling from a rooftop. It’s a scene that still gives me chills.
“Easy miss, I’ve got you”. Superman announces, as he saves a screaming Lois.
“You’ve got me? Who’s got you?’ She screams back.
That scene is easily my most loved moment in Superman history and one that will always make me smile. When Margot Kidder passed away in May I was very upset and I watched that scene a few times and smiled as I always will. That’s how many will remember Margot. As their Lois.
Now, if I keep talking about Margot Kidder I’m more than likely going to get emotional so let’s get back to the main man.
He’s been in movies, T.V shows, cartoons, adverts and even musicals! Many actors have played Superman over the years and I have managed so far to shake hands with two of them. Last year I attended a Comic Con in London and got to shake hands with Dean Cain. We had a brief chat about his time playing Superman on The Adventures Of Lois and Clark and what was really nice was that he recognised me the next day when we had our photograph taken. I hope to meet him again one day as he was an absolute gentleman.
The other Superman I got to shake hands with was Henry Cavill and this was a little bit more special. When Batman V Superman was released I went to the red carpet event and queued up with hundreds of fans who were there to get a glimpse of the stars as they walked the red carpet.
I had never been to an event like this before so I didn’t know what to do at all! All the members of the public were places behind barriers and we were all rather crammed in. We were in here for quite some time and then eventually the stars started to walk down the carpet. All you could hear were screams of people and flashes from cameras. I was there to just see the stars but many other people had brought along things for the celebrities to sign. Some were clearly professional signature hunters as they were very good at pushing items in the starts faces and shouting at them. Something I was not willing to do! After smiling at stars and waving at them I suddenly realised I had something for stars to sign! I had a Superman cap on. Ben Afleck who played Batman in the film approached out cattle type cage and I gave him my hat and asked as loudly and politely as possible for him to sign it and he did. I was over the moon and now I wanted more! ?
I managed to get quite a few and I was waiting on one more. Henry’s. I heard lots of screaming and I looked down and I saw Henry walking towards us. I was nervous and excited. I was surrounded by ladies who were there to pass on their admiration and many were swooning! As he approached me I tried to talk a selfie but I was shaking and I had trouble holding my camera. I decided to just enjoy the moment. I handed him my cap to sign and he took it. He carefully signed it and gave it back to me and in that instant I knew I had to say something. I can’t remember exactly what I said but I know it was something like “Henry, thank you for all you have done”. He nodded back, smiled and said “thank you”.
I was flying as high as Superman! I had met an actor who had played Superman,, shaken his hand and was able to pass on my thanks al in the space of about 5 seconds but it’s a memory that will stay with me forever.
Now, when something like this happens this first thing you want to do is to tell everybody who wants to listen and even those who don’t!
Soon after this spectacular interaction was finished the red carpet even ended as the stars went inside to watch the movie and I got the train home, clutching my freshly signed cap as so I didn’t lose it!
On the train home I began to look through the photos to see if any were good enough to share online and I could tell my followers that I had met Superman and that he shook my hand. I was sure people would not believe my story but I knew the moment was real so I was happy.
Then I started to get some messages from people online. The premier was being live streamed across the internet and being broadcasted to fans all over the world. “I think I just saw you on YouTube? And “are you wearing a red hoodie and a Superman shirt?”. I was!
I quickly went to YouTube to watch back the video that everyone was walking about and hoped that maybe I would see me. I knew the chances were slim as there were 100s of people there and lots of cameras focussed on different actors. And then, as I watched I saw a face that I recognised. It was mine.
At the exact moment Henry took my cap to sign, and I summoned up all my courage to say thank you and shake his hand, the camera was directly on us. I was on on film with Superman and I had proof that the special moment did actually happen and it wasn’t a dream! I sometimes joke that I have been in a Superman film and acted alongside the main man but joking aside it was a truly special moment for me and I feel that particular moment was meant to be. Somehow my admiration for Superman, and the passion I have for sharing my hero, increased that night.
I wanted to go on more trips like this and share my adventures more with the people who feel the same way as I do. So I did just that. I began contacting companies more and asking to go to events to help promote comics, tv shows and movies and eventually I began making more contacts, going to more events and enjoying life more. All while sharing the love for my favourite hero and the values he stands for.
I feel I have a responsibility to Superman. If I am in a Superman T-shirt (which is a lot!) I feel as though I should be on my best behaviour I as am acting as an ambassador! If I see someone who needs help, wether it be helping someone cross the road or giving up a seat for someone, I feel it is my duty. Sadly I have seen some people in the past not act as accordingly when wearing the S so whenever I wear the colours I make sure I am being the best me. I don’t think Superman is a bad role model!
So, I will wrap this up now as when I get talking about my hero I sometimes have trouble stopping! I’d like to thank you all for letting me speak with you today and I hope I see some of you at the event the week.
Thank you for having me and thank you for making Metropolis the home of Superman for so many wonderful years.”