A Superman Homepage Retrospective by Michael J Petty

As part of our ongoing celebrations marking the Superman Homepage’s 30th year online, here is the second of a number of planned retrospectives from staff members who have been part of that journey. Contributor Michael J Petty gives his heartfelt thoughts on what the Superman Homepage has meant to him.

A Superman Homepage Retrospective by Michael J Petty

To me, the Superman Homepage has always been around. A pillar of the comic book fan community, this site has been a home to so many over the years, and no other Super-site comes close. It’s hard to think of another website that I’ve routinely visited so regularly in both my teenage and adult years that isn’t YouTube, Wikipedia, or some social media, but the Superman Homepage has got to be up there.

Long before I started writing for the site, I remember reading comic book reviews, the comments sections under news articles, and other engagements with other Superman fans from around the world. Growing up, Batman had been my superhero of choice, but in awkward middle-school years, I found myself relating more and more to a young Clark Kent on a television series called Smallville. And from there, I jumped hardcore into the Superman mythos, and I’ve been there ever since.

In many ways, the Superman Homepage was a training ground for me on my way to better understanding the Man of Steel. It was a resource, a community, and a place where I could express my own thoughts, opinions, or hot takes on the DC Universe without folks telling me that Superman was too bland, boring, or overpowered. While not everyone here has the same opinions about the character, we can all agree that those three arguments are seriously unfounded.

In 2012, Steve Younis graciously allowed me to start writing some reviews for DC Comics’ Smallville: Season 11 comic books after reviewer Marc Pritchard wanted some reprieve. Marc and I had been communicating for a while when he’d asked me to help with the parallel stories (Smallville: Season 11 Specials), and, as a fan, I was thrilled to accept. From there, I took on Batman/Superman, Justice League, and a few other titles here and there. Being a “Staff Writer” for the Superman Homepage was one of my first writing “jobs” so to speak, and it’s helped me professionally even to this day.

The following summer, I convinced my dad to drive with me down to Metropolis, Illinois from our home at the time in the Chicagoland area for the 35th anniversary of the annual Superman Celebration. It turned out to be several anniversaries though, as it was also the 35th anniversary of Superman: The Movie (which, due to legal issues involving Man of Steel, sadly wasn’t screened that year) and the 75th anniversary of Superman himself. Of course, Man of Steel was also coming out the very next week, so it was an exciting summer for Superfans everywhere. I knew that if I didn’t go that year, I never would.

Superman Homepage writer Michael J Petty

What was more thrilling – even after learning that Smallville‘s Michael Rosenbaum (my favorite Lex Luthor) and Superman legend Margot Kidder would be there – was when Steve Younis announced that he would be there as well. Despite having “worked” for him for about a year or so, I was incredibly nervous. It’s one thing to meet an actor, they’ll forget you in minutes, but to meet someone you sort-of work with, that’s a bit trickier.

The Homepage had a “Meet & Greet” going on at the local Metropolis Hardee’s that year (which was convenient since they were distributing Man of Steel related merch at the time) and on my first day in town, I was sure to attend. After recognizing Steve from the Speeding Bulletin videos, I mustered the courage to walk up and introduce myself. I was a terrified almost-18-year-old with messy hair and a bad Superman T-shirt walking up to the guy who ran the website I so poorly wrote for. I have no memory of the initial conversation, only my nervous attempts to introduce myself.

It was almost like meeting Superman.

But Steve was gracious to me from the start. I think my age may have surprised him, but despite that, he took his time getting to know me over that weekend as I tagged along with him and his sister Carolyn on every little adventure. We met Death of Superman artist Brett Breeding, watched a local theater perform a fan production of “The Perils of Superman” (based on the George Reeves’ Adventures of Superman episode of the same name), and walked around the midwestern town talking about everything from Superman to Back to the Future to the role of religion in society. We also attended Metropolis’ “Smallville Prom” that night where I danced pretty terribly with Carolyn, if I remember correctly. She too was very kind.

But it was a blast.

Sure, meeting Michael Rosenbaum (and Alessandro Juliani of Smallville and Battlestar Galactica fame) was awesome. And I did get a hug from Margot Kidder, which was more wonderful than words can say. But being around so many Superman fans in one place, well, that was the coolest part. I couldn’t thank Steve more for his willingness to entertain me that weekend, I certainly will never forget it.

I continued to write regularly for the Superman Homepage for many years. I reviewed Man of Steel that summer, covered all of SyFy’s Krypton (a show I’m still sad didn’t get another season), analyzed Tom Welling’s return as Clark Kent for the Arrowverse’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event, and jumped at the chance to review Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Even as I grew older, went to college, got married, moved to Los Angeles, had my first kid, then moved again, and released a book (yeah, it’s been a heck of a few years), I still look back fondly on my time writing regularly for the Superman Homepage, and especially for that short weekend in 2013.

Working with the Superman Homepage, even on such a minor level, has been an immensely rewarding experience. I couldn’t be more grateful to Steve and all the others who have kept me in the loop even after not contributing much in recent years. To all of you readers who have kept the site around (of which I am one of you), thank you. Thanks for all your engagement, and your support. If us fans didn’t stick together (and Steve didn’t put his heart-and-soul into it), the Superman Homepage wouldn’t exist.

Michael John Petty

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March 3, 2024 2:41 pm

All these retrospectives are getting me right in the feels! I can still remember getting a home computer finally back in 98 and finding this site for the first time. (Dial up anyone? Lol) I was like Jack skellington, ‘what’s this? What’s THIS??’ Lol I found a home. I specifically remember being in college at arizona state (what gave me away? Lol) and sneaking off to the computer lab to ‘study’ and was looking up updates for superman Returns right here haha I was always a silent observer and then started posting and commenting like maybe 14 years ago. A… Read more »