This year is filled with Super-anniversaries- Superman’s 80th birthday, 60th birthdays for Brainiac and Adam Strange, 40th anniversary of Superman: The Movie, 30th anniversary of the Superboy TV series, 25th anniversary of the Lois & Clark TV series, and the 40th anniversary of the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL. I’ve been going to Metropolis for the Superman Celebration since 1999, and so far have only missed one year. Some years I was an artist guest, but this year I was just there enjoying the event as a fan again. It’s a 4 day long event, but my wife Nicki and I decided to do a day trip up and back on that Saturday. It’s about a 3-3 1/2 hour drive for us.

There were many celebrity and artists guests again this year. I got to see two of them- SyFy’s Krypton TV show stars Blake Ritson and Shaun Sipos, and took a few shots of the two “men in black” in front of the giant Superman statue in town square.

I got there a few minutes early to get a good spot for my shots. Usually I end up having to try and shoot over the crowds and fight the sun. Not always an easy thing to do- especially at my height. This year there were more clouds than normal, and I got a good position. Used my iPhone and Nicki’s digital SLR. Had to go manual for the shots with the digital camera. It kept wanting to focus on the statue, and I’m not familiar enough with the settings to change anything…D’oh! Definitely need more practice.

Shaun (L) plays Adam Strange, and Blake (R) plays Brainiac. Blake is MUCH younger than I expected after seeing him in the Brainiac make-up.

The two were cracking jokes with each other and the crowd for a few minutes while posing for fan photos. This usually happens before or after each of the main Q&As. (Hint-hint!)

Following the traditional statue photo op, the two walked over to the main tent for the Krypton TV Q&A. It’s one of the first times I have seen someone doing sign-language for the hearing impaired audience members. I would love to see more events do this!

The Q&A was emceed by Comic Book Central‘s host Joe “Stuberman” Stuber. I’ve been listening to Joe’s podcast for a couple years now. I like to listen to episodes while working on comics and updating my websites in my Batcave studio. I’m listening to his latest Metropolis Superman Celebration episode right now (Ep.229). He also does The Indy Cast and has had several guest appearances on other podcasts.

The two Krypton stars gave some insights on being cast for the show, behind the scenes stories, traded quips/jokes, how they prepared, what comics they studied for their roles, and some other personal info during Joe’s interview and when they turned the mic over to the audience to ask questions.

Again I shot some with my iPhone and some with Nicki’s digital camera. Shot manual again because the camera kept wanting to focus on the tent in the background. The lighting was kind of bad under the tent, but Nicki was nice enough to help correct them some in Lightroom for me. There are several photographers I’ve gotten to know in Metropolis, and once I get my own digital camera again I want to pick their brains for some advice on shooting events like this.

I stood on the left and right sides of the tent, and used a zoom lens to get most of my shots. I didn’t want to get in the way of others or up in the faces of the panelists. Tried to be more of a fly on the tent wall. Blake mentioned wanting to play a couple of Batman villains- the Riddler or Joker..! I would totally approve of that casting.

There were thunderstorms rapidly approaching Metropolis so they went ahead and wrapped up the session before the weather got nasty. I remember the 2004 storm all too well!

It was a fun Q&A, and Joe will be posting the entire event on CBC next week. Looking forward to listening to that panel again. I missed a bit here and there just trying to focus on taking pics!

One super-fan audience member got to go home with a special prize- an official replica Superman cape that Shaun and Blake signed at the end of the Q&A. He won it for asking the best question during the Q&A when he asked Blake what types of things did he collect. Great question for Brainiac!

That question inspired a couple HGWT comic strips for me- I made sure to write/sketch those ideas down before I forgot them!

The Brainiac one is now up, and I’ll be posting the Batman one to go along with one of my future Hollywood trip blog posts. LOTS of stuff to share from that trip.

I’ve typed back and forth with Joe Stuber for a while now about his podcast, the Superman Celebration, comics, hockey, and his time living in Memphis. He lives in Ohio- the birth state of Superman. This was the first time I’ve gotten to meet up with him in person. Like most of my encounters that day it only lasted a few minutes. Hope to actually get to sit down and talk with him, instead of just saying hi/bye in passing to him and his wife. This trip we ran into them as we were leaving Fat Edd’s and they were heading there. I swear I think there was a 5min time limit on most of my conversations that day..!

Back before my heart surgery I did a special Flash/Trickster sketchcover to celebrate Comic Book Central’s 4th anniversary. Joe mentioned me and the giveaway in a teaser on CBC Ep.196, and then made the big announcement on Ep.197. Have talked with Stuberman about doing another one for Batman’s 80th birthday next year.

I’ll be back soon with more recollections, reviews, and photos from the event. Nicki and I crammed a lot of stuff into one day, so I’ll be breaking my trip up into a few different posts. You can read about my past trips to the Superman Celebration by checking out my HGWT archives page.

Stay \S/uper!



Links for this blog entry:

Superman Celebration

Metropolis, IL Tourism

Comic Book Central Podcast

The Indy Cast

SyFy’s Krypton TV show

Blake Ritson on Twitter

Shaun Sipos on Twitter

Fat Edd’s Roadhouse

HGWT comic strips

HGWT archives page

My Flash/Trickster cover how-to