Superman Celebration 2016 Photos #4 of 5: Return to the Super Museum


Superman. Batman. Life-size DOOMSDAY.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: June 10th and 11th, my wife Anne and I attended the 38th annual Superman Celebration in the city of Metropolis, Illinois. In Part One you met Supergirl‘s Mehcad Brooks and Peter Facinelli; in Part Two you met the dueling Jimmy Olsens, Marc McClure and Michael Landes; in Part Three, so very much cosplay.

On our first visit to Metropolis in 2001, we made a point of visiting Jim Hambrick’s Super Museum, their premier tourist attraction and the heart of every Superman Celebration. One of America’s foremost collectors of all things Superman has amassed enough Hollywood souvenirs, props, artifacts, and other prized obscurities to merit a public display space for fellow fans to enjoy. (We’ve even visited other museums that have items of his on loan.) We opted out on our last few visits, but this time we thought it might be nice to check back, see any new pieces he’s acquired in the past fifteen years, and retake some of the photos we took last time that seem to be hiding from us now. For five bucks a fan it’s worth a look-see and guaranteed to show you something you’ve never seen up close before.

Right this way for another peek inside this fortress of gratitude!

2001 Road Trip Photos, Part 2 of 3: Super-Villains vs. the Super Museum

Super Museum!

Look, up on the bucket list! It’s a bird sanctuary! It’s a plane hangar! It’s the SUPER MUSEUM!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Once upon a time in 2001, my best friend and I chose a summertime destination different from the conventions we’d attended the two previous years. At the southern tip of Illinois and across the Ohio River from Paducah, KY, the small town of Metropolis devotes the second weekend of every June to their world-famous Superman Celebration.

Much of the Superman Celebration is like any small-town carnival party: a mix of great local foods and pro concession stands; traveling amusement park rides; amateur sports competitions; a parade or two; a group community yard sale; and things like that. But every small-town carnival party committee in America wishes it had a tourist attractor as heroic as the Super Museum.

Right this way for more about the Museum, and photos of the 2001 Superman Celebration special guests!

Superman Celebration 2012 to Feature Superboy, Tess Mercer, Satan

At the southern tip of Illinois and across the Ohio River from Paducah, the small town of Metropolis devotes the second weekend of every June to their world-famous Superman Celebration. More than just a carnival acknowledging their local heritage and history, the Celebration invites tourists from all walks to come join in their festivities. Their Main Street’s center of attention is the also-world-famous Superman Museum, dedicated to their greatest fictional resident, the recently rebooted Superman. Also major draws: the special guests from various Superman movies, TV shows, and other related Super-works who drop by for autographs and Q&As.

This coming June 8th and 9th, my wife and I will be attending our fourth Celebration after previous enjoyable experiences in 2001, 2006, and 2008. The 300-mile drive from Indianapolis to Metropolis against 65-MPH speed limits is not quite my favorite road trip, and we’re not a fan of their casino in any way, but when the Celebration aligns with our schedule, we consider it a weekend well spent.

This year’s guest list as of this writing, subject to change without notice, includes:

John Glover! Normal people know him best as the great and powerful Lionel Luthor, but my favorite Glover role remains that of the Devil himself on the short-lived Fox horror series Brimstone. Peter Horton was necessarily glum and stoic as a resurrected widower charged with returning escaped souls to damnation, while Glover stole all the fun as the sly, charming, yet no less fiendish Prince of Darkness who called the shots and had all the best lines. In addition to voicing the Riddler on Batman: the Animated Series, Glover also earned extra Lionel practice when he played a less-than-commendable one-percenter with a fancy high-rise in the overlooked epic Gremlins 2: the New Batch, recently released on Blu-ray. Glover, more than anyone else, is why my wife and I are pinning this year’s Celebration on our calendar.

Cassidy Freeman! The ambiguously antagonistic Tess Mercer was one of the highlights of Smallville‘s later seasons, much of which we avoided. In those few latter-day episodes I did catch, Freeman was a welcome addition who never disappointed.

Gerard Christopher! I never watched The Adventures of Superboy, but my wife seems eager to meet him, so I’ll assume she did. I bought the first several issues of DC’s accompanying comic series because of spiffy Kevin Maguire covers, but that’s as far as my attention went.

George Perez! I met this legendary comics artist at Wizard World Chicago 1999, but it’ll be great to see what he’s up to these days up close, even if it’s part of DC’s New 52.

Terry Beatty! Co-creator/co-owner of the ’80s hard-boiled detective comic Ms. Tree, and co-creator of DC’s own Iowa vigilante Wild Dog. The costume looks odd today, but I still have my copies and fond memories of the original Wild Dog miniseries and his serial in Action Comics Weekly.

And more! The “Artists and Writers” section on the official site has a couple of names and will surely expand in the weeks ahead. For your small-town festival entertainment, scheduled at various points are strong-man displays, bicycle stunts performed by locals, and a Southern gospel quartet. Of paramount importance is the wonder of deep-fried carnival food, steeped in rich, creamery butter. (Fun trivia: the Superman Celebration is where I first met sweet potato fries. I remember a time when those weren’t a common steakhouse side dish.)

If you prefer to stick to convention-shaped events, your options are a Saturday fan film contest, a dance party, and a Sunday costume contest. Usually I’m a sucker for costume contests (and for posting photo parades online after the fact), but Sunday won’t be doable for us. Dances are no-go as a general rule. As for the fan films…we’ll check our exhaustion levels and plan from there.

I highly recommend keeping tabs on the official Superman Celebration site or their official Facebook page for updates, calamities, and hints about their autograph procedures, which aren’t as simple as “Show up, line up, walk up, win!” In fact, I’ll need to go review those myself…

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