Who was that mysterious stranger that saved the day in Metropolis?
We may never know, but we do know that the second half of the heroic rescue was performed by a Cleveland area man.
Jamie Reigle, who runs the Superman website CMOS Collectibles (www.SuperCollectibles.com) and is a fellow member of the Summer of Superman committee, went to Metropolis, Ill., mid-June for the annual Superman celebration.
He was selling his Superman stuff, getting ready to pack it in but wanted to hang around for the grand finale: Metropolis planned to set the Guinness Book of World Records record for the most people in a Superman uniform .
Even though there was no existing record, there were a ton of rules established for setting the first one.
The minimum necessary was 100 people and they had to wear authorized Superman costumes. No red towels for a cape with a hand-drawn “S” was permitted. The Guinness folks are a might fussy. And it had to be a SuperMAN costume, no SuperGIRL costumes were allowed.
The registration started at 3 p.m. with the final event scheduled for 5 p.m. At 3 the folks showed up and had their costumes scrutinized. Like some Superman story from the mid-1950s, the town was populated with fat Supermen, skinny Supermen, Supermen old, young, men and women, boys and girls.
But there were not enough of them. By Sunday, a lot of people had left already. Around 4 p.m. Jamie was told that only 68 people had signed up.
“We wanted to break the record, but we were coming up short and there were no more costumes for sale anywhere,” he said. “Then, about 10 minutes later, this guy walks up to my stand, just popped up out of nowhere.
“He says, ‘Hey, you want to buy some Superman costumes,’ “ Jamie said. “He said he had two cases of Halloween Superman costumes, still with original price tags on them.”
Jamie said he thought about it, and about the chances of saving the day, but wondered how much it would cost him.
“Then the guy said I could have them for five bucks each,” he said. “I said I absolutely wanted them.”
Jamie took the boxes over to the center of town, where the Supermen Armada was gathered in front of the giant Superman statue and said he had Superman costumes for five bucks each.
With the minutes ticking down, Jamie handed out the costumes as fast as he could. The clock hit 5 p.m., and 122 people wore Superman suits.
Jamie sold 24 of them.
“Metropolis set the record,” he said. “Of course without my 24 suits, they would have been short by two, so I‘ve got to take some credit for it.”
There you go, the guy from Superman’s real birthplace in Cleveland did a super good deed for the other American city that claims some kind of Superman kinship.
And in just a couple weeks (hey it ain’t my fault, trust me) we’ll announce some exciting Superman related stuff for Cleveland and the opportunity for everyone out there to get a tiny piece of it.
SAN DIEGO BOUND
As I type these words, I’m getting ready to make the pilgrimage to the comic Mecca of San Diego.
I’ll be hanging out in the Image Comics area hawking copies of Tales of the Starlight Drive-In and Phantom Jack. I’ll spend a couple hours Saturday night at the very cool South Bay Drive-in, appealing to the people who didn’t go to the convention.
Before the dreaded San Diego news onslaught begins, I thought I’d open the floor to readers with their favorite convention stories.
At Philadelphia’s WizardWorld, before I got sick as a dog and deserted my post, a guy walked up to an artist sitting next to me. I’ll respect the artist’s anonymity, but he is someone most people would know.
Anyway, this huge guy comes up and asks the artist if he does commission pieces. He said yes.
Without a smidgen of shame or self-reproach, the guy asks the artist if he would draw a detailed piece of him, um, having sexual relations with Kristen Bell.
Seriously, that’s what he wanted. He said he would pose and everything, though Kristen Bell would not be available. Thank God.
The artist politely refused.
The guy just stood there.
“Why not?” the fat guy asked. “You’re an artist, right? You get paid to draw?”
Now if it were me, I would have said something smart ass like, “Dude, there’s not enough money in the world that could make me look at you naked.”
But the artist just politely insisted he does not draw that kind of thing and ignored the fat guy.
It took him a long time to finally get the hint and walk away.
I gotta wonder if he ever got someone to draw what he wanted. And if he did, please don’t show it to me.
Or Kristen Bell.
That’s my convention story. Top it.