My wife and I attended our fourth Superman Celebration in scenic Metropolis this weekend, about which I previously wrote. Photos were taken, weather was outstanding, fun was had by all. The results of that fun were as follows:
This year’s special guests: Smallville‘s John Glover and Cassidy Freeman! The usually sinister Lionel Luthor was one of the many best things about the first seven seasons, while the ambiguously antagonistic Tess Mercer was a delight in the other three.
Their Q&A was informative, hilarious, and only frequently naughty. Highlights:
* Tess Mercer was Lionel’s only known illegitimate daughter, compared to a plethora of illegitimate sons that came and went, none possessed of her staying power. (Says Glover, “Things would…disappear a lot.”)
* Unless Tess was being thrown through something large and breakable, Freeman did her own stunts.
* Freeman was still touched that a fan earlier in the day had brought her a hand-crocheted necklace. Glover displayed overt signs of jealousy. It was proposed that a knitting event be added to the Celebration for Glover’s benefit and possible participation (Joked Freeman, “He loves knitting.”)
* Freeman now costars in A&E’s new hit series Longmire, which I find weird because I have family under that name.
* Glover recently finished a Broadway run on Death of a Salesman alongside Phillip Seymour Hoffman and rising superstar Andrew Garfield.
* Glover was all about candor. In the episode where Lionel and Clark swap bodies because, Tom Welling nailed Glover’s Lionel tics, but Glover himself struggled to imitate Clark because “He doesn’t really do anything.” In discussing Lionel’s weird relationship with Lex, Glover drolly described his motivation for subjecting his son to repeated torture and malfeasance as “tests to strengthen his character…which is why I gave him shock treatments.” Questions about the Lionel of Earth-2 who appeared in season 10 revealed Glover’s acting motivation in playing an alt-version of his now-dead character: “Confusion.”
* Before Christopher Reeve’s guest appearances on Smallville, Glover had previously worked with him pre-Superman on stage in the 1970s in Williamstown.
* Glover’s favorite scene in Gremlins 2: the New Batch was him stuffing a gremlin into a paper shredder.
* Glover praised his Scrooged costar Bill Murray as “generous”, and plugged the upcoming film Hyde Park on Hudson, in which Murray will play FDR. Also appearing in the film is a good friend of Glover’s named Elizabeth Wilson, age 91.
The dastardly duo weren’t the only actors on hand. Behold an encore presentation of Gerard Christopher, gentleman and star of The New Adventures of Superboy. Of that show’s two different stars, my wife insists he was the superior Superboy.
Legendary comics artist George Perez had the longest line of any Artists Alley guest, and understandably so. Also on hand were official models of DC Comics’ New 52 costume reboots. You could tell they were present in some official capacity because they were the only New 52 designs visible anywhere in town. Perez revealed that Power Girl’s model, Heather Kelley, was the honorable namesake for a character in his recent Superman run.
The other Artists Alley guest of note: Terry Beatty, who with longtime collaborator Max Allan Collins co-created the hard-boiled detective Ms. Tree and DC’s own one-time Iowan vigilante Wild Dog. He was gracious in autographing my copy of Wild Dog #1 (yes, I’m a fan), and I was happy to pick up a copy of their most recent work, the Road to Perdition sequel Return to Perdition.
How cool is the Superman Celebration? Here’s a sentence I could never utter in my life till now:
The mayor cooked me breakfast.
Before he was elected mayor of Metropolis, Billy McDaniel was the owner of local restaurant Bill’s BBQ for thirty years. Saturday morning he put his culinary skills to work as part of a fundraiser on behalf of the Massac Theater, the only screen in town, which has been closed for several years. Locals were working hard to collect donations to restore it and hopefully reopen in time for the premiere of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in 2013. McDaniel’s mad, brilliant contribution was to show up Saturday morning at 6 a.m. and serve breakfast sandwiches and drinks to those of us waiting in line for autograph tickets. Let it be stated for the record that His Honor’s personally grilled sandwiches didn’t skimp on either the sausage or the awesomeness. This, for me, sets a new standard for hours-long convention lines that Wizard World and ReedPOP would do well to imitate.
About the Massac Theatre: this is its current state. Hence the fundraiser. Last known donation details can be found here.
The Superman statue is no longer the only three-dimensional art in town. This was our first chance to see the new Lois Lane statue at the corner of 8th and Market, a loving tribute to Adventures of Superman costar Noel Neill, a gues of multiple Celebrations who recently picked up stakes and moved to Metropolis to enjoy retirement among friends and fans alike.
On the side of the Superman Museum is a mural saluting five generations of Superman actors: Kirk Alyn, Brandon Routh, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, and George Reeves. Time will tell if Henry Cavill’s performance in Man of Steel will inspire the town to slosh buckets of turpentine on one of them so he can be inserted into the lineup.
Also next to the museum: Kryptonian soft drinks that explode with flavor.
If only other towns were this candid about their mysterious store closings, so many unsightly rumors would never be born.
Brainiac represents for the villains. Curiously, I didn’t spot a single Lex Luthor anywhere.
Right to left: Supergirl, Mary Marvel of the classic SHAZAM! Family, and the Golden Age Green Lantern, presented with zero interest in sociopolitical commentary.
The Justice Society of America was out in full force, courtesy of Stargirl, Dr. Fate, and Black Canary.
JSA part 2: Hawkman, Hawkwoman, and recent addition Cyclone, with special guests Isis and Hawkman’s old partner the Atom.
JSA part 3: Wildcat! Complete with boxing gloves.
Live reenactment of “Flash of Two Worlds” with Jay Garrick and Barry Allen minus the falling girder.
The best Classic X-Men gathering I’ve ever seen in person. I like that li’l Beast is even barefoot. I approve of the accuracy. If only a grandparent could’ve tagged along as Professor X, but navigating the streets with two wheeled vehicles might’ve proved too difficult an imposition.
Mrs. and Mrs. Green Hornet and Kato. If only their DVD rights weren’t in limbo like some other famous 1960s super-hero TV shows we could mention.
Classic Robin, variant Superman I can’t place, and mystery costume that’s driven me nuts. I know I’ve seen it before, but I’m totally drawing a blank. This is why old age sucks.
Magog, one of the more recent DC characters on hand. If you haven’t already read Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come, don’t ask me to explain him to you. Let’s just confirm he’s with DC and not a true harbinger of endtimes.
Miss Captain America with Wonder Woman boots. Improvisation is acceptable.
One of the few costumes from neither Marvel nor DC was Neo from The Matrix, bullet-time pose and all. When the temperatures rose in the afternoon, he shifted gears and switched to a more traditional Jedi outfit. I don’t blame him.
Neo also posed with Dark Clark.
My favorite costume of the day: Otis himself, straight outta Otisburg.
In closing, please enjoy these bonus photos of the Luthor father/daughter team, who conspired to make this one of the liveliest Celebrations yet.