WARNING! This is a very long post with more than the usual amount of photos. If it’s TL;DR for you just know that I had a SUPER time and my wife is the greatest!
“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…SUPERMAN!”
Anybody who knows me well knows that, despite my advanced age, I’m just a big ol’ kid. Especially when it comes to my favorite superhero, Superman!
Last year I mentioned to Cindy that I would like to attend the Annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois (authorized by DC Comics to be known as the adopted “Home of Superman” back in January 1972) one year during our travels around the country. She immediately started reseraching where we could stay in our RV and we discussed the route we could take to get there. Before I knew it, she had us all set up to attend this year’s event. Having the best wife in the world is my great fortune!
We left Greenville, MO on Thursday, June 8, 2023 and drove a relatively short 146 miles through part of Missouri and Kentucky, then crossed the Ohio River to arrive at Metropolis, IL, just on the other side of the river at the very southern tip of the state. We got to Fort Massac State Park, which is in Metropolis and only 1.3 miles from the downtown location of the Superman Celebration, around 2 pm. We got set up and at 3 pm drove down to the city square for a visit to the Chamber of Commerce office, which sits under the watchful eye of the 15 foot tall bronze Superman Statue decked out in the blue, red and yellow of his traditional costume across the street at City Hall.
At the Chamber office I ordered my Official Metropolis Honorary Citizen certificate and scheduled to get it presented to me at the statue the next day (the official start date of the Superman Celebration) at 12:30 pm and purchased an official Superman baseball cap. We then walked over and took some photos by the statue, visited the official museum and store as well as other shops along the Main Street and watched the street vendors setting up their canopies and food trucks for the start of the celebration the next day.
Friday morning, June 9th we were up early and Cindy made a delicious breakfast, then by 9:30 am were were back at the Chamber of Commerce. Overnight, Cindy had convinced me that, even though I already have a couple of Superman shirts in our storage room, we should get matching shirts with the Metropolis, Illinois name on them as souvenirs of the visit. So we were back at the COC to get those. We went in the restrooms and changed into them immediately so we could wear them proudly on the first day of the celebration.
We walked across the square to the largest tent for a 10 am Q & A with actor Sam Jones, probably best known for portraying Flash Gordon in the 1980 movie. However we only stayed about 15 minutes and then left to go walk up and down Main Street checking out the vendors. Cindy bought me a teeny, tiny Superman figure to put on the desk next to my laptop as an early birthday gift, and we enjoyed browsing through many of the Superman and superhero wares that various vendors and stores had to offer.
About a week before this I had met a lady in the Superman Celebration Facebook group who was selling superheroine earrings and had ordered a pair of Wonder Woman danglies from her. We were scheduled to connect at the “Meet and Greet” held at nearby Fast Edd’s Restaurant at 11:30 am, so Cindy and I decided to get there early to get a seat. I’m glad we did because the place was super busy (pardon the pun) and it took a while to order and then get our food. That’s to be expected when thousands of people invade your town and businesses. I found the lady, bought the earrings, had lunch and then we left at 12:10 pm to walk back down to the statue for my swearing in as an Honorary Metropolis Citizen.
There were about a dozen other folks also getting sworn in as a group and then we each got to receive our certificate and a “Super” handshake from the city’s official Superman. Let me say a little about him. He is so awesomely and realistically portrayed by Joshua Boultinghouse and I watched him being Superman for three whole days. He has to attend all the official events during the Celebration; can’t walk two steps without someone wanting a photo, works in the heat and the rain, and constantly acts as an ambassador for the “idea” of Superman. Yet I never saw him act tired, angry, sad or put upon in any way, shape or form. He truly did personify, physically and personality-wise, what those of us who love Superman see in his actions and bearing. I swish my cape to him.
Cindy got lots of photos and some video of the swearing in ceremony and my handshake with Superman. You can probably tell from the phots that I was one happy fan of Superman.
After the swearing in I took Cindy back to Nomad and I returned to hear a Q & A with artist Trina Robbins, then a Q & A with Bonnie Siegel (granddaughter of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel) and Helene Stapinski, authors of “The American Way” a book about some unknown and little known events in Jerry Siegel’s life.
Afterward, I went to he first half of a Superman Jeopardy game, then walked down to the Artists Alley/Writers Way building to buy a copy of “The American Way” and have it autographed by Ms. Siegel and Ms. Stapinski. It turns out that Ms. Siegel’s husband is also named Jeff and he and I are the same age. Both ladies were a delight to talk with and I am looking forward to reading their book.
I went back to Nomad for dinner with Cindy and then returned to Metropolis for a wrestling show put on by Tennessee Championship Wrestling, which I thought was odd since it is at least one state away until I realized later that several of the wrestlers were also cosplaying in superhero costumes throughout the Superman Celebration and one was even moderating some of the Q & A’s. Between 7 and 8 pm there were 4 matches in a ring set up in an alley between two buildings in Metropolis. There weren’t enough chairs so I was standing for the entire hour with a crowd of about 300. Mean Mike Fury almost, ALMOST broke out and jumped in the ring to show those jabronis how it’s done, but I was able to hold him back. If you know, you know lol!
Needless to say, I slept like a log Friday night.
Saturday morning we were back at the big tent at 10 am for a Q & A with Edward Gross, author of “Voices From Krypton”, an oral history of Superman and his history in every iteration (comic books, radio, TV, books and movies) that exists. He compiled interviews with creators, writers, artists, directors, actors and people who worked on the Last Son of Krypton’s creations, character and adventures over the past 85 years. Mr. Gross spoke for a little more than an hour about his own work and the process of compiling this massive (700 plus pages) tome. Afterward, Cindy and I walked down to the Artists Alley/Writers Way building and Cindy bought me a copy of “Voices From Krypton” as an early birthday gift. Mr. Gross was kind enough to autograph it for me. She also bought me a Superman signet ring from one of the street vendors as we walked back to the main tent.
See what I mean about having the greatest wife in the world?
At the main tent we enjoyed an hour-long Q & A with Nicole Maines and Jesse Rath who started as Dreamer and Brainiac, respectively, on the CW Network TV show “Supergirl” which ended in 2021 after six seasons. Both Maines and Rath were very entertaining and provided interesting background stories about their work on the series. Next up was Tyler Hoechlin who currently portrays Superman in the CW Network TV series “Superman and Lois”, but we only stayed long enough for me to snap a couple of photos of him on stage before heading back to Nomad for lunch.
We came back later in the afternoon to the big tent in time to catch the last part of the Q & A on the history of the Superman Museum in Metropolis, walked back to the statue to witness a couple who held their wedding in the shadow of Superman, then returned to the big tent for another round of Superman Jeopardy where we both got free T-shirts (just for attending) and went back to Nomad for dinner. This was the first year that they were having fireworks for the celebration down by the river and we had planned to go see them, but we were so tired that we completely forgot about them until we heard the boom, Boom, BOOM around 9:15 pm.
On Sunday we got to sleep in a bit because we only planned to attend the Heroes and Villains parade down the Main Street to the Superman Statue at 1:30 pm, but the weather forecast said rain and thunderstorms all morning and early afternoon. We drove down anyway at 1 pm and it started raining so we sat in the truck, but then it stopped at 1:15 so we took a chance and walked down to the starting point of the parade at the far end of the street. A lot of the vendors along each side had already packed up and left. At 1:25 it started raining again, but not hard. Organizers made the decision to go ahead and have the parade, but participation was very light. I videotaped about 60 seconds of it as they marched past me. We then went to lunch and back to Nomad; the 2023 Superman Celebration was over for us.
This was just an awesome weekend for me. I’ve been wanting to attend the Superman Celebration for years and I was so elated to be able to attend this event for the first time. A swish of the cape to my SuperWIfe Cindy for putting up with all my fanboy reactions over those three days (just like she does every other day of the year) and making sure we could stay somewhere nearby.
And a swish of the cape to you in thanks for following the Wandering Wetheringtons!
Next up: Our stay at Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis, Illinois.