Back again for another Superman Celebration blog. This is one of my favorite geek-events every year, and I haven’t missed one since 1999.

Like I’ve said before- it’s not really a comic convention. It’s more of a small town festival with a Superman theme. It has contests, parades, music, rides, a midway, food vendors, along with comics and celebrity guests. (I’ll have an upcoming blog on Super-guests soon!)

In Metropolis there is a giant Superman statue, a Lois Lane/Noel Neill statue, a huge chunk of (faux) Kryptonite, Supermusem, memorabilia auctions, fan-films, dance party, cosplayers, autograph signings, celebrity Q&As, comics panels, artists alley, plus funnel cakes and corn dogs. It’s the best of a strawberry festival, carnival, and comic convention all in one unique event! There’s even an official Superman of Metropolis.

You honestly can’t walk down the sidewalk or street (or swing a dead cat if you’re Roy Harper/Arsenal) in Metropolis during the Superman Celebration without running into a costumed character- superhero, villain, sidekick, vigilante, alien, creature, robot, anime, etc. Some very familiar, others a bit obscure- but they are all represented here.

Yes, you’ll see plenty of Supermen and Supergirls in Metropolis, but you never know what else to expect while walking around the home of Superman during June. Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Modern Age. DC characters, Marvel ones, Star Wars, and more.

My favorite this year was The Phantom! Artist guest Terry Beatty got a big kick out of him, too. Terry draws the syndicated Sunday Phantom comic strips.

There are varying degrees of costume craftsmanship, different body types squeezed into spandex and other costume materials, and a variety of races and different ages of costumers- from toddlers to retirement age, costumers are everywhere.

Homemade, store-bought, or professionally made- if you’re not in a costume while in Metropolis  you’re really under-dressed!

Everywhere you looked there was a photo op with a favorite hero or villain being taken. (Here I’m one of the Joker’s minions!)

Joker/George Doerr IV and a young fan having fun in Superman Square. Happy memories were being made everywhere during the 4 day event.

Speaking of “happy memories”, it’s always great to see Margie Cox as Wonder Woman. She debuted an awesome Huntress costume this year and spent some time with her friend, artist guest of honor (and birthday boy) George Pérez in Artists Alley and Writers Way.

Many costumers could be found near the giant Superman statue. That’s Margie’s husband Michael Cox as Green Lantern. He was also a great Flash over the weekend, too.

Many supers (like Superwoman Heather Kelly on the left) seemed to have a different costume on every time I saw them and seemed to be everywhere at once.

Some cosplayers could be found just waiting in line for food on Market Street. Supers have got to eat, too. (Apparently Killer Croc and The Riddler love fried fair foods, too!)

One of my favorite costumed events is the kids costume contest. If you want to see some cute costumers, Metropolis has them! The kids are awesome, and make me jealous. When I was their age I had to run around with a towel or plastic cape around my neck to be super! One Halloween I got a plastic Spiderman costume- which the crotch ripped out of after one good spider-leap off the living room couch!

These days some store-bought cloth costumes even come with built-in muscles! But I’m really impressed with the incredible home-made costumes, and families that cosplay together you can see around Metropolis. You never would have gotten my dad to wear tights- especially out in public!

Saturday night’s After Hours Dance Party at Planet Krypton (fan-film theater) is another great time to see costumes once the sun has gone down in Metropolis. Families, couples, stag supers, civilians, and more come out for this late night social event!

But even though the temperature around town has gotten cooler, that doesn’t mean the dance floor can’t get hot!

It’s a great time to let your hair and capes down, or take off your mask and socialize. There hasn’t always been a lot to do after dark in Metropolis at previous Superman Celebrations, but now attendees can keep themselves entertained well after midnight.

Many of the vendors on Market Street now stay open late, there are picnic tables in the park and on the street, and the two statues at either end of Market are lighted. Great time to enjoy Metropolis.

I recommend a Lemon Shake-Up and foot-long corndog…or two! Mmmm..!!!

Everybody has a great time at the dance party and even the organizers and volunteers put on their boogie shoes and dance on Saturday night! (That’s co-chair Lisa Gower and Fan-Film/Planet Krypton A/V coordinator Tim Brown.) Many folks stop by after attending other events in town or after heading across the river to Paducah for dinner.

The big costume day is Sunday, but it wasn’t always. The celebration’s big event- the $1000 Superman Celebration Costume Contest, was on Saturday, but after years of growth and a crowded schedule the event was moved back a day. At first this was met with some concern. Many people usually left out early on Sunday. Would they stay an extra day, or even a few extra hours..?

The answer was “YES!” as the event organizers found out the first year of extended Sunday activities.

What was once a day of tearing down and packing up has become just as important to many attendees and vendors as Saturday. Sunday is now just as busy as the other days of the celebration, and many attendees extend their visit to Monday or later.

The annual costume contest is nowhere as big as Dragon Con’s or San Diego’s, but I think it’s just as much fun. There are several categories- Best Superman or Clark Kent, Best Supergirl or Lois Lane, Best Hero, Best Villain, Best Duo/Group, and Crowd Favorite.

I won Crowd Favorite last year as Jor-Elvis– “Thank yuh, thank yuh veruh much!

The contest starts off with a parade up Market Street to the Noel Neill statue and back down to the Superman statue. People line the street to watch the parade and cheer on their favorite costumes. It’s a great time for contestants to gain support for “Fan Favorite” during the costume contest.

After a group photo the contestants and audience move over to the main “Metro” tent.

This year I had a great seat for the contest- I was one of the three judges along with Supermuseum owner Jim Hambrick and voice actor Jeffrey Breslauer.

This was the third time I’ve been asked to be a judge (once with writer Marv Wolfman and a Paducah costume shop owner, another year with artist Murphy Anderson and my Bushi Tales partner Dave Beaty.) It’s a lot of fun and you have one of the best views of the main stage during the costume contest, but I’ve also found out it’s a great way to make enemies in Metropolis! If you’ve ever been a judge for any contests you know what I mean… 😉 (Can’t remember who took this pic from the 2008 stage, but it kind of gives you an idea of the crowd size at the contest! That’s Helen and Murphy Anderson, Dave, and me in the center.)

Steve “The Boy-Wonder” Kirk had his bat-gauntlets full again this year as Emcee Robin. Steve’s been the emcee for the past few years, and has done a great job with co-host Josh. Lots of ad-libbing can happen during the contests. Some of my favorites were when Steve and Josh kicked a piece of Kryptonite around stage, or when Josh hugged his father Jor-Elvis. Too funny!

With it being a Superman Celebration, there were a lot of Superman and Clark entries as usual.

Not so many Supergirls or Lois Lane entries this year, though.

There was one Lois entry (Stephanie Perrin) in the group category as a B/W “Adventures of Superman” Lois- along with Stephen Fisher/Clark Kent and Trevor Hawkins/Jimmy Olsen (see my artists alley blog post).

Like this Hawkgirl costume (Trina Rice), a lot of the entries really kicked ass…

…or were really “Kick-Ass“.

This Lizard entry needed a bit of assistance…

…and Dark Superman needed to be restrained.

Some like Uncle Dudley (Brian K. Morris) knew how to work the crowd by striking a pose…

…or throwing out bead bribes to the audience…

…and some like B’wana Beast just turned on the charm and tried to get up close and personal with the audience.

Some like these zombies were scary…

…and some like Joker and Lex were hilarious!

In the end “Superman III” Dark Superman, Charlee Chartrand was the big winner!

After the contest all the winners posed for photos next to the Supermuseum with Superman, Josh Boltinghouse. It’s kinda become a tradition, and a chance for everyone to get a group shot.

Then they headed across the street back to the Superman statue for more pics for the fans who were swarming around Superman Square. I always look forward to seeing costumers in Metropolis.

If you love superhero comic characters and want to join in on some super-fun, pack your cape, red underwear, and/or mask and head to the Metropolis Superman Celebration next June!

“Have cape, will travel!”


Related links:

Metropolis Superman Celebration

Metropolis Tourism

Metropolis, IL Chamber of Commerce


Superfriends of Metropolis

Villains Day Off