When I go to Metropolis, IL I always drive there. It’s around 3 1/2hrs away or less- about the same distance/time as to get to Nashville. We usually drive my “Batmobile” (not the one above- I wish!) or my wife Nicki’s “Black Widow“. There’s always some super and batastic rides in town during the Superman Celebrtation. This year’s 40th Anniversary was no exception.

 

When we got to Superman Square at Market Street there was a this blue and red super-ride parked near the¬† giant 15′ tall Superman statue. Near the statue is always a great photo op for these types of vehicles.¬†Market Street and the statue area are where the main part of the celebration takes place. There’s a main tent on one side of the square, the Metropolis Chamber Of Commerce and gift shop are other, and the Superman statue is in the middle.

  

Just up Market Street and across from the Superman statue was this great classic car parked just outside of the¬†Super-Museum. I really love the style of cars from the ’40-50s. There was just such great lines and attention to details- and lots of chrome! I miss the artistry and craftsmanship that went into designing and making cars back in that era.

One of the cars that stood out the most was an ’89 Batmobile replica car, also parked next to the Super-Museum¬†on a side street just off Market. This car is HUGE!

The car belongs to the Bluff City Batman from Memphis, TN. That’s James Fyke the current owner (Jeremy Jones was there as well, but not pictured above), and Jeff Holland (AKA cosplayer/costumer¬†Brin Londo) the former owner looking at the newly added dash and other additions . The Batmobile makes appearances all over, and many for charity including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and LeBonheur Children’s Hospital. I’ve seen it before at the Memphis Comic Expo.

This trip it was for photo-ops with Superman Celebration attendees. Many different Batman costumers and bat-fans like myself came out to have their photo made next to it. Saw a few BVS and Justice League Batflceks pose next to it while I was there.

  

One of the other Bluff City Batman team members was Chris Jowers. Chris is known for cosplaying around Memphis (especially for his Joker) and provided the voices fans heard coming from the Batmobile over the weekend.

Another fun vehicle was The Mystery Machine from the Scooby-Doo cartoons. If you haven’t watched Cartoon Network’s “The Scooby Doo Project” check it out here!

There are some super-rides that are in Metropolis 365 days a year- the Metropolis Police Department squad cars!

  

The police cars have an animated Superman flying on their sides. The police officers even have Superman on their uniform shoulder patches.

I’ve seen a few different models of police cars in Metropolis, but they all have had Superman along for the ride. I can’t find any of my pics from the Metropolis Fire Department, but they do have an awesome antique firetruck on display at the station near Superman Square.

Not all super-rides were cars. This cooler-scooter was, well- pretty cool! With the extreme Metropolis heat and the lack of good parking spots being available around town during the celebration this was a \S/uper-ingenious mode of transportation. I wish I had been quick enough to get video of it in action, because man was it quick!

  

These super-rides didn’t have any horsepower- it was all human-powered. The family on the left had stopped for snacks at one of the food vendors along Market Street. I highly recommend a footlong corndog and a lemon shake-up!

 

At previous celebrations I’ve also seen some \S/uper bikes and trikes. Didn’t see the Free Style Connection guys this year, but have been amazed at tricks like their “Superman-Seat-Grab” like above.

  

This -super-bike was in town for the 2004 Superman Celebration. That was the first year I met Joshua Boultinghouse– the current official Superman of Metropolis. Josh seemed right at home in Metropolis, and even won the costume contest that year. He’s a great guy, and stays in character as Superman all weekend. He’s always happy to stop and take a pic with attendees, and does one thing I like to see Superman do the most- smile. ūüôā

 

A really great car I saw in town in 2015 was this Nash Rambler. It was at the car show and made a couple other stops around town. I heard it had actually been driven down from New York and was headed back there after the celebration. It was actually used as Lois Lane’s car in the original Superman TV series back in the ’50s!

I didn’t get to the car show in Massac State Park this year, but had a blast the year I did get to go. It’s not too far from downtown Metropolis (nothing in Metropolis really is), and is between the large ‘Welcome To Metropolis‘ sign and the I-24 exit. The whole park seemed full of amazing cars from all eras. I highly recommend checking it out if you get to the celebration. (Soon in a future blog I’ll tell you about the car show I got to see at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank, CA.)

 

You’ll see many superman themed license plates and vanity plates around town, and there have been many¬† customized \S/uperman themed rides that have attended the Superman Celebration.

Some are more super than others…like this¬†\S/UPERMAG..!

 

This super¬†ride had embroidered seats, the hood signed by “Superman Returns” star Brandon Routh, and even had a mini version of itself in the back.

Some cars around town are not only super on the outside, but carry some very super passengers inside.

This classic red and white Studebaker gave \S/uper-star Noel Neill a ride to her Lois Lane statue unveiling.

Once at 8th and Market street, Superman (Josh) was there to meet Noel and give her a hand getting out of the car owned by Cliff Helm– father of Lisa Gower and Karla Ogle, the co-chairs of the Superman Celebration. ‘Papa Cliff’ and ‘Mama Wanda’ can usually be seen helping out in the Artists Alley each year. The first time I saw Margot Kidder in person in Metropolis she was dropped off at the main tent in a white classic ’57 Corvette convertible– not too shabby!

Most, but not all rides are Superman related. This year there was a Spider-Man Van, with a couple of Spidermen and a great Kraven The Hunter cosplayers.

One custom car I usually see while in Metropolis is this Ecto-1X from Florida.

 

It belongs to my friends Jason Rawley and his wife Dawn. They both cosplay as Ghostbusters, and Jason has recently started appearing as a great Spider-Man, too. Got to run into them both at the Artists Alley this year.

A few years back one of my favorite car and celeb encounters was getting to see Butch Patrick‘s Munsters Koach– and getting to meet Eddie Munster himself!

Butch and his now wife Leila were set up near the Noel Neill/Lois Lane statue at 8th and Market Street. I got a signed Munsters photo from Butch.

Butch also brought along one of my other favorite TV show cars- Grampa Munster‘s The DRAGULA car!

I’ve got a few different toy versions of these two cars in my collection and I got a real kick out of finally getting to see these cars full sized in person.

You probably have guessed by now that I’m also a huge Batmobile fan (that’s my friend and comic artist Dave Beaty (L) with me).

The ’60s Batmobile is my favorite. There hasn’t been a Batmobile on TV or in the movies I haven’t liked, but this one I immediately fell in love with as a kid. It was originally a Ford Futura concept car, but was customized by George Barris for the Batman TV show starring Adam West.¬† They made a few for the show, and the original #1 car sold for a few million dollars a couple years ago at auction. Fiberglass Freaks make officially licensed replica Batmobiles.

Jerry Lawler has a replica one in Memphis (that’s his Batmobile above when he was a guest in Metropolis in 2015), and I’ve seen a couple other replica “Bat-Cars” like the TV one, as well as a great Batboat in Metropolis.

I saw this Batboat on Superman Square, and then out in front of the Americana Hollywood Museum in down on Ferry Street a year or two later. With it being out in the open the elements had really taken a toll on it.

It was missing a canopy, had some interior damage, sun fading, and more. Broke my heart to see it so unprotected and worse for wear sitting outside like that. I didn’t go by there this year, but hope the museum decides to restore it and move it indoors with a proper ’60s Batman display to go with it…if it’s not already too late. ūüôĀ

I’m also a big fan of “The Dukes Of Hazard“and the star of that show- The General Lee. It’s a ’69 Dodge Charger and they apparently became very rare not only because of fans of the show wanting one, but because they used somewhere around 300 or so ’68 and ’69 Chargers for the show. Many after the large jumps had to be retired, and later when the cars were getting too expensive to use they would reuse old jump footage and/or use radio controlled miniatures. A couple dozen or so more were used for the feature film, and I heard one even was repainted blue for the “SMALLVILLE” show episode with guest star Tom Wopat. Have seen one at other conventions and at Cooter’s Place in Nashville. The General Lee above was owned by Scott Romaine and was in Metropolis back in 2005 when I was a guest artist for the first time.

 

One of the celebrity guests that year was Bo Duke himself- John Schneider. My friend Dave Beaty’s mom Jane Shenks got these pics as John changed shirts for an interview with Mo Rocca for the Tonight Show. Yep, John can still hop in through the window!

I could go on and on about all the super rides I’ve seen while visiting Metropolis, but maybe you should come check them out for yourself in person. The Superman Celebration happens the second weekend in June each year. It’s a great (and mostly free) outing for the family, and if you’re a Superman fan or even just a car fanatic you really should think about making a road trip out to it.

Hope you have a \S/uper Sunday, and I hope to see you in Metropolis someday!
Lin