CloserWeekly.com writer Ed Gross, who I’ve known for years and met for the first time in Metropolis, Illinois last month, has written an excellent piece looking back at the 2018 Superman Celebration. With quotes from Brandon Routh, Jim Hambrick, Kevin Caliber, Donald Callahan and myself, Ed examines just what makes the annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois so special. Here’s an excerpt from the article…
There is a point on the map that, during the second weekend of June each year, is transformed into what must truly be the safest place on Earth. How could it not be when you see Superman standing on a street corner, and all it takes is a turn of the head to see a second, a third, and a whole lot more blue and red? This is Metropolis, IL, official hometown of the Man of Steel and location for the annual Superman Celebration.
“I felt so safe just walking the street and said to myself, ‘There’s no trouble going to be made here,'” laughs former Marine turned actor Kevin Caliber, who played the Man of Steel (in silhouette) on Season 1 of the CW’s Supergirl and stars in the independent film Supermen: World War, which he was promoting at the celebration, in costume. “Where I come from, in Los Angeles, you go to any street fair or anything like that, and you’re constantly checking yourself to make sure you haven’t been robbed. But today, you walk out here in the middle of the day with all the Supermen walking around, and it’s amazing how safe I feel.”
Last month, the 40th Superman Celebration was held, bringing fans from around the world – Japan, Australia and the UK among the countries represented – to this town of under 7,000. Economically challenged on a number of levels – dilapidated buildings litter many of the streets, Uber drivers only work weekends, the airport feels like a warehouse with a runway, and finding a cab is about as miraculous as seeing a man fly – people nonetheless come. Year after year ever since Warner Bros officially decreed this to be the home of the Man of Steel in 1972. And unlike mega-events like San Diego Comic-Con, this is a gathering of a different kind.
Steve Younis, from Australia and the webmaster behind the Superman Homepage, the biggest and most popular website devoted to the character anywhere, observes, “The Superman Celebration is like no other convention or pop culture event. Being an outdoor, four-day event, it feels more like a festival or fair. While Superman is the reason people attend, it’s the people attending that make the event worthwhile and far more enjoyable. It has a real community feel to it that has people coming back again and again.”