Our Superman Celebration 2008 Experience: The Mostly Remastered Edition

Anne & Superman!

It’s virtually Metropolis town ordinance: every Superman Celebration photo gallery must include a shot of the world-famous Superman statue.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

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. 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 most important fictional resident, the great and powerful 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.

At least, that’s how it normally works. That means this year’s Celebration would be this coming weekend. Regrettably here in 2020 Anno Diaboli, the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce announced the show’s cancellation back in mid-March, when pre-planning should have commenced if not for the writing on the wall. We hadn’t yet committed to the 2020 edition, but it sucked to hear they pulled the plug. We understood and lamented…

We’ve attended the Superman Celebration six times. Previous MCC entries covered our other five experiences and meet-ups with the following special guests from the multimedia world of the Man of Steel:

  • 2001 (three chapters): Valerie Perrine and Jeff East from Superman: The Movie, and Sarah Douglas and Jack O’Halloran, two of the Phantom Zone Villains from Superman II
  • 2006 (a single, 4500-word long-read): Michael Rosenbaum and the teen Clark Kent from Superman Returns
  • 2012 (one chapter of modest size): John Glover and Cassidy Freeman from Smallville, and Gerard Christopher from The New Adventures of Superboy
  • 2016 (five chapters): a special Crisis on Infinite Jimmy Olsens starring Mehcad Brooks and Peter Facinelli from The CW’s Supergirl; Marc McClure from all four Christopher Reeve Superman films as well as Helen Slater’s Supergirl; and Michael Landes from Lois and Clark
  • 2017 (four chapters): the Margot Kidder from the Reeve Superman films, who then passed away in May 2018; an encore with Sarah Douglas; Dean Cain from Lois and Clark; and James Marsters, relevantly a.k.a. Brainiac from Smallville

And now we complete the set at long last for MCC readers, despite a couple of hiccups.

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Our Superman Celebration 2006 Experience: The Partially Remastered Edition

Rosenbaum + Superman!

Posing in front of the world-famous Superman statue are an unrecognizable Michael Rosenbaum and some lucky kid who’s 14 years older today.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

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. 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 most important fictional resident, the great and powerful 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.

At least, that’s how it normally works. That means this year’s Celebration would be this coming weekend. Regrettably here in 2020 Anno Diaboli, the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce announced the show’s cancellation back in mid-March, when pre-planning should have commenced if not for the writing on the wall. We hadn’t yet committed to the 2020 edition, but it sucked to hear they pulled the plug. We understood and lamented.

We’ve attended the Celebration six times, but only posted about it four times. MCC launched in April 2012, which allowed me to post timely reports about our experiences in 2012, in 2016, and in 2017. As it happens, our first time in Metropolis was our 2001 vacation and was shared as part of our annual road trip collection.

That leaves two Superman Celebrations as yet undocumented here on MCC. This week, I aim to complete the set despite some problems.

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Margot Kidder 1948-2018

Margot Kidder!

MCC file photo, June 9, 2017.

Anne and I were saddened today to hear of the passing of Margot Kidder, the definitive Lois Lane of our generation. Much has been said and will be said around the internet and in the media for days to come. We had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Kidder less than a year ago at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL. We always talk about the actors and other personalities we’d love to meet before it was too late. In this particular case, for this amazing woman, we had no idea we were cutting it so close.

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Superman Celebration 2017 Photos, Part 4 of 4: Super Times!

Superman + Military!

Superman posing with local military at the conclusion of a special ceremony inducting “honorary citizens” of Metropolis.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on June 9th and 10th my wife Anne and I attended the 39th annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, a grand bash in honor of the Man of Steel in particular and all the super-heroes who owe their existence and livelihoods to him in general.

Our sixth visit to the town that adopted Superman once again felt like a sort of homecoming. Illinois even extended us the courtesy of raising their interstate speed limits and clearing out nearly all their road construction projects for the occasion so we somehow managed a record-setting four-hour drive time from Indianapolis. Numerous entrepreneurs brought fine wares and skills for the occasion, including a bevy of new businesses that took over previously abandoned storefronts and boosted occupancy rates along the main straightaway. Best of all, we enjoyed several mini-reunions with fellow fans we recognized (and vice versa) from past years’ autograph lines. The Celebration is like no other convention, and Metropolis is no mere sterile convention center.

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Superman Celebration 2017 Photos, Part 2 of 4: Cosplay!

Spider-Woman!

Spider-Gal, Spider-Gal / Does whatever a spider shall / Spins a web, catches creeps / Strikes a pose, plays for keeps!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on June 9th and 10th my wife Anne and I attended the 39th annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, a grand bash in honor of the Man of Steel in particular and all the super-heroes who owe their existence and livelihoods to him in general.

And of course there were costumes! Lots of cosplayers spiffing up the town with their favorite characters from the worlds of comics, film, TV, animation, and toy stores. I’ll shut up now and let the photo gallery roll!

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Superman Celebration 2017 Photos, Part 1 of 4: All-Stars!

Dean Cain!

After this photo, Dean Cain complimented me for my “flair”. This upstanding gentleman’s generosity is just one of many reasons why he’s Superman.

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 most important fictional resident, the great and powerful 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.

We’ve previously attended in 2001, 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2016. When the 39th annual Celebration added one of the highest ranking legends on Anne’s bucket list, this weekend became a fixed point in time on our calendar.

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Superman Celebration 2016 Photos #5 of 5: Scenes from Our Super Weekend

Anne IS Supergirl!

In the land of the super, it’s the super-duper who rule.

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. Other chapters in this special miniseries:

* Part One: Supergirl‘s Mehcad Brooks and Peter Facinelli!
* Part Two: Dueling Jimmy Olsens, Marc McClure and Michael Landes! And more guests!
* Part Three: Cosplay! Cosplay! Cosplay!
* Part Four: Views from the Super Museum!

Here in the big finale: a walkthrough of other sights and scenes from our Friday and Saturday at our favorite out-of-state small-town festival — the little moments in between the stars and the costumes. The art! The food! The machines! The more!

Right this way for one last Metropolis photo gallery!

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

Doomsday!

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!

The One With “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” In It

Batman v. Superman!

Which grim-‘n’-gritty breakfast mascot’s product do you think should win: Batman Chocolate Strawberry cereal or Superman Caramel Crunch cereal? Both are real things now in stores, and they’re banking on this movie to sell them somehow.

Look, everyone else online had a turn venting about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice the past few days, so I want my turn now. The TL;DR version:

* Not the worst Zack Snyder film ever
* Definitely not the worst super-hero film ever
* It had good things in it
* The good things were outnumbered
* I don’t actively root against DC’s films to fail, but I’m not gonna mollycoddle them with blind adulation, because superheroes are not my religion
* Filmmakers still don’t get Superman
* This movie is more about superpowers than about superheroes
* I’ve been collecting comics for 37 years and I’m 98% certain I’m not this film’s target audience
* If Monday night’s Supergirl/The Flash crossover was an Earth-1 team-up, BvS is its Earth-3 doppelgänger

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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!

2001 Road Trip Photos, Part 1 of 3: The Great City of Metropolis

Us + Superman!

The two of us have attended the Superman Celebration four times. This was our first group shot with their iconic statue. Photo by some fellow tourist with no concept of how centering works.

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen wonders, constructs, architecture, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. In later years those trips took the form of cross-country drives to other states, passing by odd roadside attractions to see historically significant locales, world-famous landmarks, and/or pretty natural scenery. For our first four trips, we were all about geek-centric gatherings.

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. More than just a carnival acknowledging their local heritage and history, the Celebration invites tourists from all walks to come join in their festivities, as well as actors from various Superman movies, TV shows, and other related Super-works who come in for autographs and Q&As.

The 37th annual Celebration is coming up this weekend, June 11-14, 2015. We regret we’ll be missing this one due to other commitments, but in honor of that special occasion, we dug through our scrapbooks and photo albums to unearth our 35mm souvenirs of the very first time we visited the self-styled real-world hometown of the Man of Steel.

Right this way for classic shots of Superman’s kind of town!

2013 Road Trip Photos #30: Man of Steel, Sons of Cleveland

Day Eight of our nine-day road trip continue in Cleveland due southeast from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the kind of neighborhood that wouldn’t normally attract tourists if there weren’t some kind of major draw. As fate would have it, in 1938 a pair of young men named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster would put their heads together to create an intellectual property (years before the term became commonplace and meaningful) that would bend pop culture into new shapes and change the course of entertainment history.

Superman, Jerry Siegel House, Cleveland

This way, faster than a speeding bullet!

“Superman/Batman” vs. “Batman/Superman”: Can This Odd Couple Be Saved?

Batman, Superman

They’ve worked well together before, but never in live-action. Can two super-heroes share a tentpole film without driving each other crazy?

Despite my previously expressed skepticism, I wouldn’t say the announced Superman sequel with Batman in it — or vice versa — is guaranteed to fail. I’m sure much deliberation and debate will occur behind the scenes as the filmmakers work together for the common goal of creating the best possible superhero moneymaking machine. If it’s bearable to watch more than once, then hey, bonus points.

What could possibly happen? I can imagine several outcomes, not all of them great.

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San Diego Comic Con 2013: the Best and Least-Best News as Seen from the Cheap Seats

Godzilla movie teaser poster, America, 2014Anyone who followed the entertainment news as it flooded out of 2013’s San Diego Comic Con found themselves shocked and surprised by two or more bombshells dropped from above, as the movie and comic book companies kept trying to top each other with the Greatest Announcement of All.

My general impressions follow of what stood out to me most, whether good, bad, or both.

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“Man of Steel”: a Farewell to Role Modeling

Henry Cavill, Superman, Man of SteelIn Part One of this two-part non-epic, I covered what I liked best about Man of Steel, the new Superman treatment from director Zack Snyder, producer Christopher Nolan, and screenwriter David S. Goyer. As I mentioned there, despite the team’s successes on numerous fronts, I thought the film had room for improvement.

Those examples require a courtesy spoiler alert because a few of my complaints happen toward the film’s back end and involve major plot points. If you plan to see it pristine and unspoiled for yourself, abandon the reading trail here, and I look forward to seeing you next time.

Onward, then, to what I liked least:

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“Man of Steel”: the Greatest Zack Snyder Film of All Time

Henry Cavill, Superman, Man of SteelAfter seeing Man of Steel today, that sweeping statement occurred to me and required two minutes’ worth of thought to confirm. It helps that I’ve seen all six of director Zack Snyder’s feature films to date, even the animated ones.

Of the other five: Dawn of the Dead was not bad for what it was — arguably his second-best, but not quite essential. 300 broke visual ground and set new standards for faithfulness in graphic-novel-to-movie adaptations, but makes me snicker in a few extraordinarily hammy spots. I’m glad someone finally adapted Watchmen so we could all say it’s been done and move on with our lives, but its brazen attempt to do for super-hero movies what the original miniseries did for super-hero comics didn’t have nearly the same intellectual impact or coherence. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole admirably demonstrated the visual techniques of 300 for an all-ages audience, but was incomprehensible unless you’d read the entire book series beforehand and could spot the dozens of pages’ worth of vital backstory that was excised for the big screen. (Thankfully my son was a fan and explained the crucial omissions.) And Sucker Punch was a skeevy, disjointed orphanage for outlandish sci-fi skirmishes that had apparently wandered away from the nonexistent movies that spawned them.

In comparison to the rest of the Snyder oeuvre, Man of Steel stands tall as his boldest achievement yet.

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Minimal Notes from Inside Our Spoiler-Free Bunker

Superman, Jason Todd, Dave Gibbons, DC Comics

Superman doesn’t like it when someone ruins his story. (Art by Dave Gibbons from 1985’s Superman Annual #11.)

If the lively debates on my social-media feeds are any indication, our family may well be the last people in America to see Man of Steel. I’m glad that’ll be rectified within the next eighteen hours. Unfortunately, in order for the film’s surprises to retain as much of their intended impact as possible, I’ve shifted myself into selective internet blindness this evening.

I’ve shunned Twitter’s outbreak of Man of Steel discussion groups. I’ve refused to read any reviews, whether they carry a courtesy spoiler alert or not. I’m even temporarily resisting the urge to read what I understand from several sources (while held at arm’s length, mind you) is a fascinating dissection of the movie by Superman: Birthright writer Mark Waid, a generally awesome comics creator who’s also one of the universe’s most devout Superman fans. Someday I’d love to read his thoughts, but it won’t be this moment.

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2012 Road Trip Photos #33: Underground Salt Museum, Part 3 of 3: Hollywood Under Glass

The curators of the Underground Salt Museum realize that visitors want their money’s worth for the experience. Staring at shelves filled with real film canisters and acid-free storage boxes isn’t the most stimulating visual aid to the average tourist. Either to drive home their mission statement or to dazzle and delight us, the tour ends with a collection of sample movie props that have been forwarded to Underground Vaults & Storage for permanent preservation. If American civilization ends and the next wave of settlers happens to be searching for clues as to the leisure-time predilections of their predecessors, the contents of this fortified entertainment bunker will tell them all they need to know about the movies and characters that meant the most to all of us, that transcended commerce and became High Art worth saving from oblivion.

They’ll also see the Mr. Freeze suit from Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin.

Mr. Freeze suit, Batman and Robin

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