The 7th Annual Smallville SuperFest took place in Plano, Illinois, on August 17, 18, and 19, 2018. It featured music, games, and attractions for Superman (and comic book) fans of all ages.
Nicole Diaz, who is the “…the event coordinator,” explained the activities of this year’s Smallville SuperFest: “This year, we [started] with the traditional National Guard, and then we had a local family that has a business…on our Main Street, U.S.A. They’ve been in business for [more than] 137 years, and we had a family member talk about what the movie had meant to them. Then, we had some music. We had…Cruise Night, our vendors opened, we had some [more] music and entertainment.”
Diaz described some of the attractions at this year’s festival, one of which was the Kids Super Inflatables: “[Yes, the Kids Super Inflatables] were on [Saturday]. That’s what [Smallville SuperFest does], traditionally, every Saturday.” The Petting Zoo & Pony Rides were a returning attraction. “We did change…the [Petting Zoo & Pony Rides] to Sunday, for…people [who] come down to the Parade…they can [visit] that [attraction]…A lot more people [showed interest] in that [attraction]. We were able to [host] the Petting Zoo…free [of charge] and the Pony Rides…for a [fee],” said Diaz. Fishing with the Mayor also took place. “[There was] a great turnout, and that worked out very well [on Saturday],” said Diaz. There was also a Phone Booth Relay. “We have our Phone Booth Relay and that was sponsored by Illinois Valley Credit Union, and we do appreciate that,” said Diaz.
This year’s Smallville SuperFest also featured the Carnival Rides. “[Smallville SuperFest] added [the] Carnival Rides [attraction] this year. Last year, we elected not to [maintain] our contract with [the company that had previously provided the carnival, as a precautionary means of protecting the safety of Smallville SuperFest and its guests, because] of [incidents] that [occurred outside of Plano],” said Diaz. There was also Family Yoga. “[Smallville SuperFest] added [numerous forms of entertainment], and I was approached by two different dance companies [that wanted to] perform [at Smallville SuperFest]. We…added yoga first, and then we [added] Simply Destiny, [which is a] youth center in Aurora [that specializes in] bullying and suicide prevention. They teach [youth] to love [themselves]. [These principles are] important for [today’s] youth,” said Diaz. Ultimate Dance on the Move, said Diaz, was another attraction. “Ultimate Dance on the Move is a local business, here in town, [that] performed [at Smallville SuperFest]. We had the Hispanic heritage dancing; they’re quite young…very impressive, [and] very serious [about the trade]. They normally perform at Cinco de Mayo, [and] they’re [interested in coming] to Plano and [having] a little…festival.” There was also Line-Dancing, said Diaz. “[Saturday is traditionally our] ‘country’ [music] day, [at Smallville SuperFest]. We have more of our ‘country’ [music] bands, so I decided to ask a line-dancing company [to] come in, and they had…performers, [but also welcomed additional participation].” Diaz also explained the Community Church. “[The Community Church] was on [Sunday], and [it’s] normally [held] in the park, but they elected to [hold the Community Church on] the stage. That was a lot of fun.” There was also the Super Hero Run, “[The] Super Hero Run…that was awesome. We had more participants than last year, so that was really fun,” said Diaz.
The “In Memory of Darik Martin Blood Drive” was another attraction. “I [inquired about the Blood Drive attendance], and [there were] 31 participants…26 [or] 27 [of which became] donors, so that [equates to] 70 [potential] lives [that can be saved],” said Diaz. “Throughout our time, [we’ve seen a lot of donors],” said Carin Martin, whose role at this year’s Smallville SuperFest is “[to] coordinate the [In Memory] of Darik Martin Heartland Blood Center Blood Drive.” Martin initially became involved with Smallville SuperFest because, “Last summer was our first blood drive, and…this is our second one.” Martin’s initial interest, in Superman, began, “…probably [by] just growing up watching [the] cartoons…then my kids being excited about the superheroes,” and her earliest memories of the character began, “…probably watching the cartoon and TV shows when I was a kid.” Martin stated that, “[There is always a] need [for] donors. Any time [one is] able to, and willing to, donate. Each donation helps at least three people. The more people that donate, the better.”
The Flea Market was also at this year’s Smallville SuperFest. “[Smallville SuperFest] started [the Flea Market] last year, and this year, [a lot of interest was expressed, and the event was repeated],” said Diaz. Smallville SuperFest also had Comic Characters. “[The Comic Characters were walking] around all day,” said Diaz. Diaz also explained the Smallville Parade. “We have our local businesses, and we have other participants, in our Parade. [The Parade was comprised of] mostly local businesses. Following [the Parade], [there is] a ‘Touch-A-Truck’, [an event in which] our emergency services stop, so [that] little boys and girls can…check out any of [the vehicles], so [that the children are not frightened by the vehicles].”
Guests at Smallville SuperFest could also visit the Smallville Museum. “This time, instead of focusing more on our [outdoor] displays, we decided to bring back the [original] ‘Man of Steel’ Henry Cavill statue, in full costume. [The statue is] a borrowed item from Millennium Motors [in] Yorkville[, Illinois]…The [Smallville] Museum [hours, this year, are] Friday night, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and then, Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., but we also had a fan film premiere, and that [took place] at 3:00 [p.m.] on Saturday afternoon, and [we also had] another showing at 7:00 [p.m.] on Saturday evening,” said Diaz.
Diaz explained some new attractions at Smallville SuperFest: “[Smallville SuperFest] did some interesting things this year. We brought in Wonder Woman’s jet, [and] that was fun. We also [created] a mapping of where the stars stood during the [filming of the ‘Man of Steel’] movie. [One] can get a map, at…[the Smallville SuperFest information booth, which states] where Henry Cavill…or [General] Zod [stood].”
“[This year, Smallville SuperFest was publicized] mostly [through] social media. [It is also publicized through] interviews on the [radio],” said Diaz, who stated that the festival cost between $22,000 and $26,000. Diaz explained that, “We just [try to] post [on social media about] what’s going on [with Smallville SuperFest], and keep [information] current.” Diaz also explained that Smallville SuperFest is always looking for volunteers, and that they are “always welcome.”
Dain Conway explained her role at Smallville SuperFest: “I was…on the Committee [that] helped put [Smallville SuperFest] together, so I worked with all of the vendors [and] all of the small businesses that came out…[as well as] some of the events.” Conway explained what was involved on the Committee: “[The Committee meets] monthly, and we did all of the planning, all of the contracts [and] everything that we had to do. We [arranged for] the Petting Zoo and the [‘Supermen: World War’] movie, and reached out [and contacted] all [of] those companies.” Conway initially became involved because, “I have been a vendor [at Smallville SuperFest] for 3 years, and…instead of just being part of [Smallville SuperFest], I wanted to kind of get involved [a bit with Smallville SuperFest].”
There were multiple people in costume at this year’s Smallville SuperFest. Charlee Soffer, who “…[volunteers] for [Smallville SuperFest] as Superboy,” explained his costume: “This year..[I did] a couple [of] different things. On Friday, I always just dress up as the casual Clark. But [on] Saturday, I was given the opportunity to wear a replica suit, made by Jason Evans, who is…very talented in Henry Cavill costumes, and [a friend] was kind enough to loan me…his costume to wear, [which] was made by Jason. So, I was able to be Henry Cavill, from ‘Batman v Superman: [Dawn of Justice]’ on Saturday. I walked around, had a great time, and the costume got a good response. It was a good opportunity to wear a good suit.”
“[On] Friday, I [portrayed]…a greaser Supergirl-style outfit. It’s something that we all created back in Metropolis for a group photo, like 50s greaser-style outfits. It’s also kind of a play on the 90s Superboy style. [On] Saturday, I had my Hawkgirl Justice League and Limited Hawkgirl animated series. [On Sunday, I dressed] as Lana Lang, the high school cheerleader,” said Colleen Egan, who explained her role at Smallville SuperFest, “[On Sunday, I was] Lana Lang.” Pete Lopeno explained his role in Smallville SuperFest: “[This is] my first year visiting [Smallville SuperFest]; I just recently discovered that most of the locations from ‘Man of Steel’ were…in Illinois, so I decided to just start visiting the locations, and getting to check them out, personally. So, this [is] my first time visiting [Smallville SuperFest],” as well as the inspiration behind his costume, at Smallville SuperFest 2018, “Part of the inspiration [for my costume] was [that] I started doing cosplaying a couple [of] years ago…I kind of enjoyed [cosplay…A subsequent project] was…I just decided [to] try on the Superman costume.” Lopeno initially heard about Smallville SuperFest because, “…I was looking at the set location for ‘Smallville’, and I found out [that] it was here, in Plano, Illinois. Then, I just happened to run into a Superman fan page on Facebook that brought me [to Smallville SuperFest], and indicated [that Smallville SuperFest is] a yearly festival.” Lopeno’s initial interest in Superman began because, “I was a big fan of the Christopher Reeve movies when I was growing up; I grew up with those movies, in the early 80s. I guess, over time, interest [was generated] in more antihero kind of characters, and then ‘Man of Steel’ kind of reinvigorated my love of the character. When [‘Man of Steel’] came out, and ‘Batman v Superman[: Dawn of Justice]’ kind of sealed it for me, I’ve, once again become a huge Superman fan.” Lopeno’s earliest memory of Superman was, “…probably watching Superman III in the theater, probably [in 1983].”
Patrick Schar, whose role at Smallville SuperFest is to, “Have fun, do [a] little cosplay as Superman,” explained how he initially heard about the festival: “[Soffer told him about Smallville SuperFest]…a friend of [Smallville SuperFest that has] been coming [to the festival] for years. Soffer [told me], ‘Hey, you should come [to this festival]’, and [the festival is] only an hour from my house.” Schar explained his interest in Superman: “[I’ve] been a fan [of Superman] for years,” and said that his interest began, “Probably 50 years ago, when I was…5 or 6 [years of age].” Schar explained that multiple people helped to create his costume this year. “Many people helped [to] create this costume. It took an army of people to make this costume. I’m [wearing] my second pair of boots, I’m going to have my third ‘S’ [symbol made]. [The costume is being] constantly [upgraded]. The cape was made by my friend…the new ‘S’ [symbol are created] by…Cupp [Creations]. I just like the way it all goes together.”
Schar explained that his favorite comic book-inspired TV show is “Supergirl”. “I like the [Pilot], when [Superman] was [first] introduced into the show. With [Superman] and Kara…fighting crime together. The scene [in which] the guy shoots his bullets at [them], and [he runs out of bullets], so he throws the gun, and then he starts throwing punches, and Superman says, ‘If the bullets don’t work, why would you think the punches will?’ I never could understand that…” “Out of TV series, I would say ‘Lois & Clark[: The New Adventures of Superman]’ is probably my favorite out of them; [it’s the only one that I watched a whole lot of,” said Lopeno, because, “I was still 12 years [of age] when [‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’] came out. So, I had to watch that [show] when it came out, [because] I hadn’t gotten a new Superman fix since 1987, when [‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace’] came out.”
“I’ve always loved the Max Fleischer Superman. I think what really appealed to me, with the cartoons, was…just showing that there was a [little] bit more humanity to the character. There was always [something] new, [with regard to] what [challenges and obstacles Superman] could take on,” said Donald Callahan, who explained his role at this year’s Smallville SuperFest. “My role, [at this year’s Smallville] SuperFest, is showing off ‘Supermen: World War’. I am the director, writer, and producer of the project.” Callahan explained how he found out about Smallville SuperFest: “Soffer, who [stars] in the film, ‘Supermen: World War’, he’s had some networking connections with [Nicole Diaz], the one that runs the whole, entire show. From there, I just kind of got the [opportunity].” Callahan explained his initial interest in Superman: “As a child, I have always tried to look up to a role model, and I’ve always been [intrigued by] the cartoon Superman from the 1940s, and also Christopher Reeve, [by] my dad…he’s been a big Superman fan ever since he was a kid,” and Callahan’s earliest memory is, “I guess the first time that I watched a Christopher Reeve film, it was so unreal…just seeing that somebody as [strong as] anything [could] do so much good. It inspired me so much. Trying to find that particular role model, that has super strength, can do anything, can’t get hurt…it really [creates an inspirational] mentality for a kid to have so much confidence, to believe in [an] iconic symbol that we all can relate to.” “I’ve always been a big fan of ‘Lois & Clark: The [New] Adventures of Superman’. I really enjoyed the episode [in which] Lois finds out that Clark [is] Superman…[when they go] through the time machine, [when] they’re [trying to] go back [in] time, [while the] main antagonist [tries to] destroy the baby Superman before he ever was Superman. Just seeing the relationship between Lois and Clark, which [highlights] the [element of] humanity, but also, too, just all [of] the special effects and everything…how much [the show] went into [various aspects of Superman],” said Callahan.
“The Superman I like is…the [version from the] 1960s [and] 1970s [version],” said Gary Petty, “…a vendor for Oooh Wee Sweet Tea 818”, who stated that, “I like the Justice League…all of [them]…with The Flash…” Gary Petty initially became involved with Smallville SuperFest because, “We did an event in Waterman, Illinois, and [we were invited] here, to Smallville [SuperFest].” Gary Petty’s initial interest in Superman began, “When I was younger…[because] he was Superman. He [could] leap tall buildings in a single bound,” and his earliest memory of Superman was, “The [George Reeves] TV show [in the 1950s]. He [used to] open up his [shirt, revealing his costume underneath].” “I’m really excited…I think ‘The Flash’…’Arrow’…’Black Lightning’…’Supergirl’…all fantastic shows,” said Tom Cooper, whose role in this year’s Smallville SuperFest is, “…[to] be a vendor for the Flea Market…[to] sell my comics.” Cooper stated that, “I just love it when [Deathstroke is] on…’Arrow’. I think he’s just awesome.” Cooper initially became involved with Smallville SuperFest because, “Last year, I happened [to] find [out about Smallville SuperFest] online…’things to do in Illinois’…and I [looked at the Smallville SuperFest] website…and I said, ‘Hey, I like to…sell comics, and this would be a perfect opportunity…[Smallville Super]Fest…superheroes…’…I’m selling comics. Comics, I think, should be read, not just collected and stored, and, hopefully, they’re [going to] be worth $1,000,000. [Smallville SuperFest]…comics…[go] hand in hand.”
Schar’s favorite characters are “Jimmy Olsen, or…in Supergirl, [Winn Schott is] kind of neat, too, [because] he’s…the little gadget man. He creates all the [gadgets]…” “I really love the current interpretation of Lois Lane; I really find her [to be] an interesting character. She knows what’s going on around her, and is not oblivious to the fact that Clark and Superman are one in the same. I really appreciate [the current interpretation of Zod], being based off of Plato’s [‘The] Republic’, and the Kryptonian society [creating] him…for a specific purpose of maintaining Kryptonian society at any cost. I find that to be a really interesting and complex character,” said Lopeno. “Lois Lane is [probably] one of the most interesting characters. She is just this woman, trying to get a story, but [beyond that], she really brings this feminist attitude that any woman can do anything. She really shows that so well,” said Callahan.
Lopeno explained his favorite supporting characters: “The current Perry [White is] really interesting. I’ve always found Laurence Fishburne to be an interesting actor.” “Jimmy Olsen [has] always been another favorite of mine. He’s just young and very energetic, just trying to capture that photo. [I’m] a photographer myself…so I find a fascination, where he’s trying to [capture] a good story. I like [the storylines when] Superman and Jimmy Olsen have [a] bond…almost [as if Superman is like a] father figure [to Jimmy Olsen], to look out for him. It’s just nice to see that somebody like [Jimmy Olsen] can also inspire the youth, that we’re all out, trying to capture the next story,” said Callahan.
If he could be any Smallville or Superman character, “I do like [Tyler Hoechlin’s] version in ‘Supergirl’, just because…he doesn’t let the power go to his head, and he’s trying to [convey] that to his cousin, [who is] just getting into the game. She’s trying so hard to be something that she needs to develop into. [Also], Dean Cain…[because] I grew up with Dean Cain,” said Schar.
If Schar could meet any members of the cast, “I’ve met Dean Cain…he’s awesome. [Cain is] very friendly, down to earth. [I would] really like to meet Tyler [Hoechlin], too, [because] I like the character [he portrays] and [would like] to see if he’s like the character.” “Henry Cavill would be the guy I would like to meet, out of all of them, just [because] he is the guy who got to play the main character, and he seems to really love the character, do his research, [and] seems to really enjoy playing the character. It seems like Cavill really enjoys playing this character. I always see photos of [Cavill]…he’s always buying new comics, doing the research, actually coming up with his own ideas of what stories he would like to see on film. I also saw footage of him…running around in New York, in his Superman shirt, just to see who would recognize him. [It] just seems like he really enjoys playing this character,” said Lopeno. “I would [have] loved [to] [have] talked to Christopher Reeve…especially after his injury. After the injury [Reeve] had, he kind of had a different perspective. I think, just talking more about not just [his role as Superman]; I would have loved to [learn from him]…’How do you go through your day?’ [I would love to find out how he dealt] with what he’s struggling with. [I would like to know] how [Reeve] perceived himself, as Superman, after [filming] the movies. [Reeve is] just an incredible human being, from what I [heard from talking to] some of the cast members and some of the producers. They were [inspired by] how humane [Reeve] was. It would’ve been just so awesome to talk to him,” said Callahan. “I got a chance to see a couple of [celebrity guests],” said Lopeno.
Callahan described his experiences of meeting several Superman-related celebrities: “[I have met] Kevin Caliber, who stars in ‘Supermen: World War’…he actually starred, as a silhouette of Superman, in the first episode of Supergirl, on the [CBS] series. That was really cool. I’ve met Jeffrey East, who [portrayed] Superman, [as a teenager], in ‘Superman: The Movie’, [and] Aaron [Smolinski, who portrayed] Superman, [as a baby, in ‘Superman: The Movie’]. [I would have loved to have met] Margot Kidder…[from what I’ve been told], she was like the most humane person that [one] could ever meet…down to earth…I did get to pass…by Brandon Routh, for a brief moment, and got to say, ‘Hi’, to him. [Routh] was really nice…very much of a gentleman. I only got to ask [Routh] one question…’What was it like to be Superman?’ [Routh] just thought it was very honorable, and he really [loved] being part of [‘Superman Returns’] so much. I really do admire people like [Routh], [who] wear the [Superman] suit.” “[I have met] Dean Cain and Brandon Routh of ‘Superman Returns’. They were both very nice and down to earth. They come across as the [characters] they portray. They’re very friendly, and up front, and sincere, and supportive,” said Schar.
Callahan discussed Superman-related celebrities he would like to meet: “I would love to meet Dean Cain, Superman…he’d be cool to meet…Henry Cavill…he’s like an all-around fun kind of guy, [I would love to meet] anybody else from [the Superman] universe…[Melissa Benoist, from the] ‘Supergirl’…TV show…she’d be awesome [to meet]. [I would] like to meet some of the [voice actors for] Superman…I [would] like to [learn from them, as to] how they [go about voice acting]. I would love to meet Gene Hackman…I [would] love to chat with him…Zack Snyder, [from] the ‘Man of Steel’ movie, and the cast and crew, who really [made the movie] honorably,” and discussed his favorite portrayal: “I think the best adaptation, from any media source, [including comic books]…I really love…Alex Ross’ ‘Kingdom Come’ Superman. I think the maturity of Superman himself…he’s much older…much grittier…and he’s kind of like a really unique emblem, where it’s more edgy, and a little bit more…the colors still stand out, but yet, it [is indicative of] his age. I really do admire that so much.”
If Callahan could tell an actor or actress, in the superhero universe, anything, “I would love to just tell them…’Thank you’. [Because of the idea of Superman, I was inspired to excel] this far [in my life]…to excel, to be a filmmaker, to be a writer, [to] be able to open my mind and be able to be creative with everything that they have done for me.” If Callahan could change anything, “What [I would] really like to see, that Hollywood can bring back to Superman, is [a more vibrant] Superman, [where the colors possessed more] saturation…bring [back] a [visibly] brighter Superman. [With regard to] the costume design, bring back [the style from] the Christopher Reeve [costume] colors and material. I think [that would] be just as fine; I’d love to see that happen. Bring a little bit more humanity to Superman, on a [level, on which everyone can relate, other than the fact that Superman is from a different world, but on which Superman is showing] more compassion, more [characteristics] of what every man would be.” “I would just say [that they are] doing a great job, and [I] enjoy how they [portrayed their respective character]. I was surprised to find out [that] I knew a [person who did voice acting for a Superman character because] I knew him from college,” said Schar. “If Christopher Reeve [was] still around, I would tell him, ‘Thank you so much for inspiring me with his take on the character, and I probably would have never become a Superman fan without his work in the first four films.’ His films were films that I watched religiously as a child. I watched them so many times. I remember watching them on Betamax. We also watched it [on] some kind of disk…big…giant…[it] looked like a big, giant, floppy disk thing that we rented at a…General Electric building in a little town called Milton, Wisconsin, that was renting out these giant floppy disks…that was what I remember renting and watching ‘Superman II’ on…over…and over…and over again,” said Lopeno. “[I would] probably just [say] ‘Thank you’ for all of [his or her] time, and for all [of] the inspiration [that he or she has] given people,” said Martin. “Thank you,” said Julianna Clark, a vendor who initially found out about Smallville SuperFest because, “I live here in town.”
Egan explained how Annette O’Toole inspired her costume this year: “[The costume I wore on Sunday is] actually the one that [I’ve used through] the last couple [of] years. The Lana Lang [cheerleading] outfits that I’ve used…have changed [throughout] the years. My other costumes, that are little bit more of the standard cheerleader shell outfits…those were more inspired by the Lana Lang [portrayed by] Kristin Kreuk. [The outfit I wore on Sunday] was still kind of inspired…same colors, and the logo, and everything. I [kind of] changed it up. I do have an Annette O’Toole-style costume, but I did not use that [costume at Smallville SuperFest] this year, but I did [wear] it in Metropolis.” “A friend of mine was [working with costumes] at the same time, so we kind of joined forces. His bodysuit was different, but everything else was [an] exact match. I did tweak things after I [received the costume],” said Schar. “A guy by the name of Jason Evans…he [creates] custom Superman and Wonder Woman costumes, based on the current movies,” said Lopeno.
Egan described how people reacted to her costume, this year: “[On] Friday, I got quite a few people who, just, in general, liked the style of the costume I [was wearing], which was the greaser[-Lana Lang]. [The costume featured] a black vest, had Grease on the front, and, on the back, it said ”J’ Birds”, kind of, like, from ‘Grease’. It was kind of like a play off of…instead of ”T’ Birds’, the ”J’ Birds’ was ‘J’ for ‘Justice League’. [Then, there was the 19]90s Superboy style. So, [there were] a lot of those fans of that [Superboy] style…and then [the] biker-style, [because] it also had a biker look to it. So, a lot of people just commented, just that they really liked the outfit. [On Saturday], I got a lot of people who…loved the [Hawkgirl] wings, [because] they’re really beautiful; friends of ours [from Metropolis] made them. [The Justice League animated Hawkgirl wings] expand out [via] a pulley cord, so people really enjoyed [the wings].” “[The reaction to my costume this year] was very great. I haven’t been able to wear a suit [this] detailed before, so a lot of people were surprised, [because] I didn’t tell anyone; I kind of left [my costume as] a surprise. I told a few people, but it was very great. The reception [of the costume], actually, kind of inspired me a little bit. I’m going to try to make a Henry [Cavill] suit, of my own, for next year[‘s Smallville SuperFest]. I’m [going to] trying to [make it] from scratch…see how I do. [The reception to my costume] was great. I also had another costume; I just wore it for a [short period of time], late on Saturday. I dressed up as a Max Fleischer Superboy, and that was simply for the ‘Supermen: World War’ [fan] film, from the 1940s movie. I wanted to just wear a 40s Superboy, more of a retro, old school, for the sake of my director, to support him and the time frame of the movie,” said Soffer. “So far, it’s been quite positive,” said Schar. “People seem to really like the costume; they like the detailing…[the costume has] a lot of puff painting detailing to [resemble] the chain mail design of the current costume. The closer [one gets to the costume], the more details [one gets] to see on it,” said Lopeno, who also explained the details of his costume: “[My costume is] the [‘Batman v Superman:] Dawn of Justice’ version of the costume, so [the costume has] a lot of Kryptonian writing on the cuffs, and [there is] the Kryptonian writing in the Superman symbol, itself, which is actually a Joseph Campbell quote, from [the book] ‘[The] Hero with a Thousand Faces’…[the quote is] something along the lines of ‘Believing, when you’re alone in the world, we’re all together.'” Lopeno explained his costume plans for next year, “If I come [to Smallville SuperFest] next year, I’ll definitely be wearing the costume, again. We’re actually [documenting] a lot of the [processes]…I [documented] the process of getting [into] shape, to wear the costume, and I [observed] that Henry Cavill had to put on some weight for the role. [Cavill’s] dead lift [had to be increased], and [Cavill] was lifting 400 pounds by the end of the filming of ‘Man of Steel’, and [that’s] a goal that [I’ve] set for myself, by the end of this whole [process]. I’m at 385 right now, and I’m hoping to get up to 400 before everything is all said and done.”
Soffer explained the easiest, and most difficult aspects of portraying his character this year: “The most difficult aspect I probably faced was having to fix my hair, from Friday to Saturday, because I was trying to [fix my hair] before I [picked Egan up] on Friday, but, as every costumer knows, [there are] delays, things happen. So, [Egan] helped me cut my hair [on] Friday night and I dyed it in time for Saturday morning. I was glad everything looked okay. All the rest of the costumes are already made, so [this] saved me a little bit of effort this time.” “The most difficult [aspects of portraying my character], for me, probably, would have been…trying to change between costumes. Coming [to Smallville SuperFest] while I’m [trying to coordinate various schedules], I [got to Smallville SuperFest] a little bit later than [Soffer], and some of our other friends, [on Saturday]. I didn’t get [to Smallville SuperFest] until about 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon [on Saturday. The most difficult part is probably] trying to fit the different characters in and just not being able to get [them] all done. [The easiest aspect of portraying my character was participating in the] parade. It’s also easy [to stand] around…mingling with people,” said Egan. “The easiest traits [are that Superman is] honest, sincere, trustworthy…kind of a Boy Scout. [One of the most difficult aspects is] looking good in the suit,” said Schar. “[The] most difficult aspects, I suppose…[the degree to which the costume conforms to the body],” said Lopeno.
There are currently numerous TV shows about superheroes. Soffer explained some of his favorites: “I have a couple [of] favorites. I enjoy Mon-El; Mon-El did a great job on [the] Supergirl [TV show]. It was also an excuse for me to dress up with a beard and a costume, which is [a] rare [opportunity]. Aside from Mon-El, I did enjoy Superman, but I’m still [partial] to Kevin Caliber, the CBS season one Superman; I think he [should have portrayed that role] the whole time. I’m actually [interested] in [the] ‘Arrow’ [TV show] this year, because I found out that they’re [going to] bring ‘Gotham’ into…the ‘Arrow’ [universe]…and [that one is] going to introduce crime fighting in Gotham for the first time. This isn’t going to be the Smallville-style, like ‘Gotham’ or ‘Smallville’. I’m excited for ‘Supergirl’; I don’t know if Mon-El [is going to] stick around next year. I’m excited for ‘Arrow’; I want to see how they delve into the world of Gotham, as this universe has been 6 years in the making now. So, [the storyline may have been established] since year 1, and [the storyline has now become a reality].” “I actually watch all of them. [I’d probably] say [that] my favorite [show] was…I started with ‘Arrow’, ‘Supergirl’ would be [tied as my favorite show], then, probably ‘[The] Flash’, then ‘Legends [of Tomorrow]’…I am looking forward to seeing [what is] going to happen next, on ‘Supergirl’,” said Egan. “I do watch Supergirl. [One just wants] to see [which] direction [the storyline is] going in. Are they basing [the storyline on] the TV series, ‘Smallville’ [of which] there are some indications. [One wants] to see where [the storyline is going to be taken, possibly into] realism, where [the storyline might be connected to realism],” said Schar. “I hear that [a] Batwoman [TV series is in the works]. I would actually like to see [that show], and I think, out of all [of] the characters, in DC [Comics], [which] lends itself to a weekly series, I think Batman is a character that [I would] like to see,” said Lopeno. “I did like The Flash…there was an episode [in which] Mark Hamill [kind of] played [a role that was representative of] the Joker, because, that laugh…I could not help but think…that [laugh is] from [‘Batman: The Animated Series’]. I also did like [another] episode [when The] Flash meets his father. There was…the moment [when his father] did see [The] Flash, [with] his mask off…almost recognized [The Flash] a little bit. Seeing that moment [of the] father and son relationship…[there were] such deep emotions. [With regard to] the episode that Kevin Smith directed, which was the Mark Hamill episode, [in which the] The [Trickster] was [taking] hostage of all the people, and [The] Flash had to go in there and try to save everybody. There [were] just so many cool aspects to [that episode] that I really loved, and the direction that it was taken into…it was just really awesome,” said Callahan.
Lopeno described his favorite character portrayals: “I personally [enjoyed] the complexities of the modern Superman character. I like the modern [version of] him, where he’s got the duality of both the godlike character, who, from the outside, looking in, seems to be this infallible person, and then you’ve got Clark, who…has the human frailties that [each one] of us has, and has to deal with personal issues. He wants people to like him, but isn’t always going to be accepted because he is so different. I like that aspect of the character.” “I think the most recent character [of] Superman…Henry [Cavill…is] doing a fantastic job,” said Cooper.
The “Wonder Woman” movie premiered in 2017. Callahan discussed his thoughts about the movie, “[Referring back to] the feminist movement, she really brought out the power into [the ‘Wonder Woman’] movie. Gal Gadot…she did an excellent job. I like how [the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie storyline took] the [Amazonian] route. [The movie explores] into the Amazonians…how they fought…[Wonder Woman]…being the outsider, going through [World War I]…it was just so awesome, seeing all [of] the action scenes, [and] the music score was well done. I thought [Patty Jenkins] really [directed ‘Wonder Woman’] well.” “[I thought the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie was] absolutely fantastic. It was everything I ever wanted out of a Wonder Woman movie, and Gal Gadot exceeded any [expectations] I had. I did see [Gal Gadot] in ‘Batman v Superman[: Dawn of Justice]’, and I thought she did [well] in [the character that] she was asked [to portray] in that film. Still, as kind of a blank slate, [with regard to the] acting roles [she had] previously [done], I didn’t know what to expect, and she did an amazing job. They did an amazing job adapting the movie around her skill set, specifically having a very thick…accent, and giving the [Amazonians] a [comparable] accent to accentuate her voice, and make it an asset instead of a [liability]…I thought was a very smart move. I liked how they filmed [the movie]…they [created] a lot of practical [settings, partially] augmented [by] CGI so it looked amazing. The [storyline] was [very] straightforward…it was very well done,” said Lopeno. “[My favorite part was] when [Wonder Woman fought] all [throughout World War I],” said Gary Petty. “I loved [the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie]…Gal Gadot [portrayed] that [perfectly]. The [actor] that [portrayed] Steve Trevor…Chris Pine…was fantastic. [Gal Gadot] really put her heart into that film. The script was fantastic. Just seeing [Gal Gadot fight during] World War I…that scene [when] she’s [going into] the trenches…fantastic scene…so, I’m looking forward to more of that in the next film, too,” said Cooper. “Yes, I loved [the Wonder Woman movie],” said Gary Petty. “Yes, I did. It was good…it was very good,” said Clark.
Soffer discussed his thoughts about the “Justice League” movie: “‘Justice League’ was [a] very, very, very great movie. I really, really hope that they release the [version of the ‘Justice League’ movie, as envisioned by Zack Snyder. There was a] similar…debate, many years ago, when people, 20 [or] 30 years ago…were [having a similar discussion] with the Donner cut.” “I loved it. I actually didn’t even know anything about the Snyder cut. I’ve probably watched [‘Justice League’] like ten times, now, at home, [in addition to] the times we saw it in the [theaters]. I just loved seeing how [the movie] brought everybody together…just seeing [them] all [in] live action, because we’ve all seen [them] animated for so long, and we’ve seen them in the TV [universe]. So, to see [them] all together, on the big screen…because we’ve seen Batman and Robin together [in] Batman movies, and, of course, we saw Superman and Batman together several years ago, but, to get everyone [there]…[to] get [them] all there, together. It was definitely a fun movie, and I think that they selected the actors, for each role, so perfectly, too, because…The Flash…it’s just like they matched how [the characters] really are in the comic world. Especially with [The] Flash…he’s kind of got that silly behavior that I’ve seen in the animated [TV] show,” said Egan. “I thought it was kind of funny when Clark came back to life, and was a little angry,” said Schar. “I think [the movie] sped up the process to get to [a] more classic Superman…In ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman v Superman[: Dawn of Justice]’, Superman is going through a lot of personal struggles and in this interpretation of the character, not necessarily being widely accepted by the entire population, there [was a considerable] minority that still didn’t trust him [when] he was going through those kind of emotions…Hopefully…[sequels will further explain how the storyline of Superman evolved from ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ to ‘Justice League’],” said Lopeno, who has seen the movie five times, not including viewing the movie at home. Lopeno also discussed some themes in the “Justice League” movie, “Working together, I think, is a common theme… Every character [seemed] to have their own personal struggles…trying to overcome those personal struggles. Every character, in the film, [seemed] to have [his or her] own personal battles [that] they were dealing with…Batman dealing with his personal grief, kind of feeling somewhat responsible [for] the death of Superman…Wonder Woman still trying to reintegrate herself into society…Cyborg dealing with the new technology, and not knowing whether he, personally, might be a threat…[The] Flash dealing with his father being in prison [following] the death of his mother, and still trying to do the right thing…[having] worked many jobs to try to fund his project…Aquaman still kind of getting into his story, but, being a guy of the land and of the sea, and not knowing which one he really belongs to, or not feeling like he belongs to either.” “…[They are] bringing everything together in [the] DC [universe]…I [liked] it,” said Gary Petty.
Callahan explained themes of the “Justice League” movie: “The best moment [of the ‘Justice League’ movie that]…stood out, for me, [is] when [one sees] the team…coming together. When Superman finally flies in…When they all started [to come] together, and Superman…flies in and starts [to take] charge, that’s [when] I really saw the moment that they all…even after the fighting and the battle…they all stood there, and the sunset view…it was just such a beautiful moment.”
Soffer explained how “Justice League” continues the storyline from “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” to the next Superman movie: “I don’t know when [‘Man of Steel 2’ will premiere], but I [think] it will be a story of Superman redefining himself, after coming back to life. The one thing I did like with the Whedon cut…I like how he [established the storyline so that] Lois [was] the ‘big gun’, because, just in case [things went awry when Superman]…came back, [it became necessary to] use the ‘big gun’. Obviously, up until [this] happened, I thought [the ‘big gun’] was Kryptonite. [The ‘big gun’] wasn’t Kryptonite; it was Lois, and that was…genius. Zack Snyder [used a similar mechanism]; I don’t know if my research, and what I’ve [heard] from other fans and superfans in the community that know other things…I don’t know if my sources have been [correct] or not, but [it] was extremely close, and using Lois was a very good angle for that. I believe that’s [going to] tie into the future Superman [movies] because she helped him calm down, and…said, ‘Hey, there are reasons that you are back; there are people who love to see you, and that want you back.’ He’s going to find himself all over again. I believe that [that] would be the most direct way [to bridge the gap into the next Superman movie], and it would be true to the character. Superman has a lot of obstacles, and it’s not just supervillains or powers. He has personal obstacles. [Demonstrating this] in [the] movie would be a lot better than just 2 hours and nothing but [fight scenes. There has to be] a little bit of a struggle, [of a] complicated story. I would really look forward to seeing that, and even so, if they could name the titles in sequence…Superman is known [by] three or four…nicknames…so I think [it would be] very appropriate to tie [that fact] in. [This could begin] with ‘Man of Steel’, moving on [to ‘Men] of Tomorrow’, and, if they did a threequel, which I think they should, ‘The Last Son of Krypton’. Using the [sequential] names would be a very good way to title off the series, and they could match [up] villains that would be appropriate [for] that. For example, obviously Darkseid [is going to] be [paired] with the Justice League; we already have Lex Luther…maybe we can bring in some Toyman, maybe we could bring in some Metallo…some Parasite…some Bizarro…even some Brainiac. That would be a great threequel movie.” “I like what [Soffer] had to say; I had not thought about that. What [Soffer] talked about, as far as [Superman] finding himself. I’m thinking, possibly, also, because, in ‘Man of Steel’ and in ‘Batman v Superman[: Dawn of Justice]’, we didn’t see a whole lot of Lois and Clark’s [life at the Daily Planet]. There were scenes in [the movie; there] didn’t seem to be a lot of Lois and Clark, in their life at the Daily Planet. There [was a scene of] Clark, there, when he was trying to do a story on the evil Batman…[of] Gotham. There [was a scene of] Lois, there, at the Daily Planet, when she was trying to get…permission to head out to D.C. I’m thinking [that there is going to] be more of the two of them together, on stories…[such as] Toyman…[doing what] he’s [going to] do, and it’s going to be about Metropolis and the Daily Planet investigating it,” said Egan. “I’ve heard a lot of things…[one doesn’t] know what’s rumor and what’s not…but I do think that they do [want to] go with a more bright and optimistic Superman…From what I’ve heard, the original premise of ‘Man of Steel’ [was] how do we create a modern interpretation of the Superman character? [One viewpoint] would be, not necessarily just [focusing] on Superman the character, but focus on how the world, at large, would react to somebody with such power showing up in the real world. I think they’re [going to] go less in that direction, and more in a classic Superman-style [storyline],” said Lopeno. “[‘Justice League’] did bridge [the gap between ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ and the next Superman movie] a little bit. I [was] sad [that] they killed Superman, though…I’m glad they brought [Superman] back,” said Gary Petty.
The “Aquaman” movie will also be premiering on December 21. Soffer explained what he anticipates in the movie: “I’m excited for [the] ‘Aquaman’ [movie]; honestly…I don’t know much about it, but I look forward to seeing what [Aquaman] does. I find it [to be] ironic [that] Jason Momoa was on ‘Stargate: Atlantis’…that was kind of cool. I wish his hair was a little blonder, but maybe [that’s] something [that will happen over time]. The more time he spends underwater, maybe his hair will [become bleached]…some water does actually [bleach]…hair.” “The only thing I can think of, that I know that we’ll see…is [Aquaman] and Mera getting together. How can you have the King of Atlantis [and] not his Queen Mera?” said Egan. “[It] should be interesting to see how [the] ‘Aquaman’ movie [is done],” said Schar. “With James Wan directing, I anticipate a lot of fun. [Wan] seems to be very inspired [by] the Indiana Jones films, with the premise of the movie. I think it’s going to be more of [an] action-adventure film, in the vein of the old ‘Indiana Jones’ movies, and should be a lot of fun,” said Lopeno. “I’d like to see the culture of Atlantis itself. Where does [Aquaman] come from? [I hope to see] some cool action scenes, [within] the sea, and [outside of the] sea. [I would like to see] some cameos as well,” said Callahan. “I’m looking forward to [the] ‘Aquaman’ [movie]…[Jason Momoa is] really [excited] to [portray] this character,” said Cooper.
Callahan explained what he hopes to see in “Justice League Part Two”: “I would love to see Darkseid. [I’ve] seen Superman [have the opportunity to] fight off Darkseid himself. [I’ve] seen [the threat of the world being taken over] by Darkseid. I would love to see [a love triangle] between Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. [I would love it if the movie showed] a little bit of Aquaman…after his solo movie. [I would like to see the movie] introduce some of the other characters, too…Hawkgirl would be cool to see…expand the universe a little bit. At some point, [I’d like to] see Suicide Squad…as a cameo.” “With all [of] the reshoots, I think what they want to do is…with the scene at the end [of the movie] of the [film] credits, with the Legion of Doom starting to form together…I think that’s where they’re going to go. I would [have preferred to see] Darkseid or the Darkseid War, since that’s why Steppenwolf showed up in the first place. That whole thing [has] gotten postponed, so maybe we’ll see that somewhere down the road,” said Lopeno.
Callahan explained why he thinks Superman appeals to so many people, “I think, with the [Superman] symbol itself, it’s like the second most well-known symbol in the world, [aside from] the Christianity symbol. I think, more [than] anything, [there is] a little [of the spirit of Superman] in [each of] us. When I [created] this feature film, ‘Supermen: World War’, what we tried to show is not just Superman himself, but what [are] the characteristics of [the] Superman himself, which, I think, [digging] deep down back to my childhood, and I think anybody else can relate, is that we all can bring the good out of bad…doing [something as simple] as holding the door for somebody or just saving somebody’s life [like policemen or firemen do]. When [there is] nobody around, how [does one] show the [characteristics] of what a Superman can do…which is to show the good of [humankind], that there’s still hope in the world.” “I think it’s [because] he’s kind of a Boy Scout, but [he also possesses the characteristics of a hero]. He doesn’t let his power go to his head,” said Schar. “[The reason Superman appeals to so many people is] probably [because he is] the symbol of hope and [the triumph of] good…over evil,” said Martin. “I guess [Superman appeals to so many people because of] his strength and ability to save people. When you think about somebody being strong, you automatically think [of] Superman,” said Gary Petty. “I think, as a symbol of absolute virtue is [why Superman] appeals so much to people. [At] a time [when] there seems to be so much corruption and negativity in the world, [Superman] seems to be one of those figures that’s incorruptible,” said Lopeno.
2018 is the 80th anniversary of Superman. Soffer explained Superman’s influence: “Superman’s influence after 80 years…I did a little [research] into how Superman came about…the [influence] behind it, and I think it still [remains] the same. Jerry [Siegel] and Joe [Shuster] were two Jewish boys in the Midwest, seeing their world fall apart and seeing people lose hope in everything. So, Superman was [a means of trying to fix] the Depression…Superman [was a representation of] everyone [being] at their best, and wanting to be at their best, for the sake of their neighbors and their community. So, everyone can survive together. Christopher Reeve [stated] it very well, in ‘Superman IV[: The Quest for Peace]’, ‘I wish you could see this planet the way I see it, [because] it’s just one world’…and that was the [influence] behind Jerry [Siegel] and Joe [Shuster] creating Superman.  to 80 years later, I think [Superman] needs to [have] the same [values], he needs to incorporate the same beliefs, and people should look up to him [in the] same way. He is the example of what a Good Samaritan should be, in every form, and I really hope that this planet can see that, over time. I think [it has], and I want [this belief] to continue to grow…” “Everything since World War II…during World War II, in the middle of the war, [the character of] Superman was born…Everything that [Soffer] said, about, not just [Superman’s] powers…but about who [Superman] is, and how he sees the world…[Superman] not being from [Earth]…sometimes, if [one is] from [a certain place, one has a tendency to] take it for granted that…whatever city [one lives] in…other people, from outside [of the city] will come [into the city], and [those people will] see some kind of beauty [in that city…the people will] have some sort of appreciation for something that [one sees], every day, that [one] may take for granted. In Superman’s case…being from Krypton, and coming [to Earth…Superman] was a baby when he came [to Earth], so Earth was always still his home, too…the person [Superman] is…the character…integrity…seeing the world as one world…[possessing] the ability to truly see people…and not everybody has that ability, to really connect with everyone, on an individual level, like that. So…whether it’s [Superman] coming [about] during the time of World War II, or existing from the Golden Age to the Silver Age to the Modern Age…into whether it’s war time or peace time…Writers, of course, also gave way to the storylines, [which tied into what was currently occurring in the world], whether it’s young readers or adult readers…[Superman is] someone to look up to…” said Egan.
“I think Superman has really affected us, a lot, [throughout] the majority of our timespan. I think, from [the] Civil War, up [until] now…I think [Superman has] really given us hope. I think, with [Superman’s] symbol…[that has] been with us for this long…[it has] really shown us the moral values of ‘what is hope?’…is to never give up, is to stand [one’s] ground…there is good in this world,” said Callahan. “I think, being [interpreted], at least in modern times, as the symbol of hope…it’s helped inspire me, as far as trying to be somebody who looks outside of [himself], and tries to help other people, and not just focus on my own problems. I think that’s a huge part of this character,” said Lopeno. “I think…just that symbol of hope and justice…[the triumph of] good…over evil,” said Martin. “If [one watches] the NFL now, every time somebody scores [a] touchdown, they make [a] motion [as though to imitate Superman opening his shirt to reveal his costume underneath]. When [a person does something], and [that person feels] good [about his or her accomplishment, that person makes a motion to imitate Superman opening up his shirt to reveal his costume. That’s] the Superman sign,” said Gary Petty. “A lot of people are entertained by the character [of Superman]; they love how [he has] evolved and changed [throughout] the years. [He has] died, come back to life, been re-created. Then, [there is] Superboy; they’re not sure if he was a clone,” said Schar. “I think people [hope to be]…somewhat like [Superman]. We’re also hoping for the leaders to be somewhat like him…someone [who is] just honest…does good for the common man. [Superman is] still an icon…everyone [all over the world] knows who he…is. The icon is continuing…” said Cooper.
“I think [the character of Superman will] still be going strong. [Superman storylines will increase] even more. He might have a family,” said Schar. “I think…[Superman] movies [will continue to be made],” said Clark. “[Superman will] still be around,” said Cooper. “I’d like to see [Superman’s legacy] continue, though,” said Martin. “I think [Superman will] always be the big blue Boy Scout, when other characters are adapted to fit modern times. There’s always going to be the classic and the original…that’s Superman,” said Lopeno. Lopeno described his thoughts about future Superman movies: “[The] ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Shazam!’ [films] seem to be going [into] a lighter direction…especially ‘Shazam!’…[it] seems [that ‘Shazam!’ is going to] be more family-friendly. I think [that] if the tone of these [movies] is more widely accepted, I think we’re going to see Superman move in that same direction…more traditional Superman…bright, optimistic character.”
Callahan described what he would like to teach others about Superman, “[I would] like to teach [them] the history [of Superman]…the history…all about [the] different [Superman] costumes. [I would also like to teach them]…how did [Superman] change throughout the course of [his existence]? What else has changed in [Superman], as a human being?” Callahan added, “I would teach [future generations] that [one doesn’t] have to have a cape, [one doesn’t] have to have [a] blue unitard, to prove that [one is] a Superman; it’s the goodness of [one’s] heart…show that [one] can be a hero, just [by] being [oneself]. [One can do this by] using Superman’s [morality to help] the world…[do something] good, [for] more [than] just [oneself]…but for others, too.” “Use [Superman] as a role model. He respects…” said Schar, “He’s a good character to emulate. [He] teaches [one to] be honest, sincere…have fun.” “[Superman] can be an example of what we should strive to be, [on an individual basis]…not focus so much on the negative. In ‘Man of Steel’, [there are] a lot of negative things going on around [Superman] in his life, but he still manages to do the right thing. I think that’s something that everyone should strive [for],” said Lopeno. “[I would teach future generations] that [Superman] tried to instill goodness and peace,” said Clark, “[I would like to teach others] that [Superman used his] powers for good.” “[I would teach future generations] to save people,” said Gary Petty. “Do the right thing. Be good,” said Cooper. “[I would teach future generations about] how [Superman] sticks up for everybody, and to do the right thing,” said Martin.
The fan film “Supermen: World War” was screened at this year’s Smallville SuperFest. Callahan explained the premise of the movie: “‘Supermen: World War’ takes place after D-Day, of World War II. Lois Lane and Clark Kent go overseas, to cover the war effort, and go into the press corps, to work with my grandfather…who did serve [with] the 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division. [According to the storyline of ‘Supermen: World War’, my grandfather] joins… Lois and Clark, to cover the war effort…and Lois and my grandfather get captured, so it’s up to Superman to [save them]. To elaborate…a little bit more…’Supermen: World War’…we’re trying to focus [on] more than just ‘Who Is Superman?’…but ‘What Is a Superman, himself’? We try to highlight [the fact] that anybody can be a Superman as much as a military man, who has the same [capabilities that] Superman has…bravery…who would do anything for his country…just to [do what is required] to save…humanity. It’s really exciting. We [had] a showing at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. [on Saturday]. It’s a really amazing story, too, because, with my grandfather attached to this [story], it really brings some really cool [realism] to it. We [kind of] show him, not just as a real-life war photographer, but we also kind of show some [glimpses into] what my grandfather was like. He was a boxer when he grew up, when he was 14 [years of age], swam across [the Iowa rivers] when he was 8 [years of age. ‘Supermen: World War’ shows] a little bit of grandpa, and [shows] a little bit of Superman. We’ve [shown ‘Supermen: World War’] here and there, from Metropolis, to St. Louis-Wizard World…we had nothing but great reactions [to ‘Supermen: World War’].”
Callahan also explained themes in the movie: “I [want to convey to] the [‘Supermen: World War’] audience…to focus on [real-life] superheroes. I want them to focus on the police force…I want them to look at the firefighters. I want them to look at doctors, nurses…people that are doing good…and especially our men and women, who fight…do good, and be good to those around [one].”
Egan discussed of the screenings of the movie: “[The audience was] actually really taken [by ‘Supermen: World War’]. [One of the members of the audience] was blown away by [‘Supermen: World War’]. [It] seems like everybody in the [audience] had something [to say], or a question [to ask] for [Soffer] or [Callahan], [regarding] his experience with…directing [the film]. [The screening was] my fifth time [viewing the film]; it was nice, while [viewing the film], I was sitting [during the film screening], looking around the crowd, watching [the reaction of people watching the movie], [because] they [were there], watching the movie, and [Soffer’s] sitting there in the audience. [During] certain [scenes in the movie], when [Soffer] was [on-screen]…I’d see some of our friends look over at [Soffer], and they’d be kind of like giggling about something that may have been funny…a funny part [of the movie]. Just the way [Soffer] played the role, sometimes, [some members of the audience made]…funny faces, or [reacted comedically to] things [Soffer] said and did. I’d see a lot of people [looking] over [at Soffer]. It was neat; it was good.”
There was also a Q&A after the movie. “The movie reception [for ‘Supermen: World War’] was very, very great. Everyone who came to attend absolutely loved the film. There were actually plenty of questions; we were fielding questions for at least an hour. It was a lot of fun,” said Soffer.
Conway described what she saw at Smallville SuperFest this year, “[The costumes] really [looked] the part…they were very friendly. There was one [person dressed as] Poison Ivy, then, she would go [into a building] and change, and she came back out…as…Supergirl. It was really fun, [because] then the little kids got to see another hero. [It] was fun.” “[We’ve seen] superheroes…and bands,” said Deanne Henle, whose role at Smallville SuperFest is, “I have my Paparazzi [Jewelry] stand open.” Henle initially found out about Smallville SuperFest because, “I’m a resident of Plano[, Illinois], and this is my second year [at the festival]. I was emailed by the coordinator, who [is] running the vendor events.” “[We’ve] seen all [of] the characters, a lot [of] activities for the kids, the live bands…” said Latasha Petty, “…a vendor for Oooh Wee Sweet Tea 818”, who initially became involved with Smallville SuperFest because, “We did an event in Waterman, Illinois, and [we were invited] here, to Smallville [SuperFest].”
Martin described what she thought were the most popular attractions at Smallville SuperFest 2018, “It [looked] like there [were] quite a bit of people…for the music, and [it] looks like there will be [quite a bit of people] for the parade [on Sunday].” “The superheroes, probably,” said Henle. “Definitely the…Carnival…everybody loves the Carnival,” said Clark. “The characters,” said Gary Petty. “The parade,” said Cooper. “[Guests at Smallville SuperFest enjoyed looking at additional attractions such as] Wonder Woman’s jet,” said Diaz. “I think some of the cosplayers [at Smallville SuperFest will be the biggest attractions. The cosplayers] put time and effort [into their respective] costumes, and they really try to represent [the characters] very well. I know [there were] like, three gentlemen wearing Superman [costumes]. I think all of [them] had been made by [a gentleman], who [made] the costumes, which…was so well done. I think, the overall highlight…the [Smallville] Museum, [at Smallville SuperFest], is just outstanding. The history [of the Smallville Museum], even though [the Smallville Museum was recently created]…it’s just cool to see all [of the] movie props, and [what was done], and [the anticipation of what props will be in the Smallville Museum, in the future]. Even the street, itself, I think this Main Street is the highlight of [Smallville SuperFest], because [one] still [sees] some of the stickers and [items with a ‘Smallville’ theme]. It’s really, really awesome to see,” said Callahan. “I [think] its just the gathering of the people, enjoying the get-together of a common [interest, and to] celebrate ‘Smallville SuperFest’…the bands, the food, the people. The costumes are just an added little bonus,” said Schar. “I was enjoying [Crowe’s Auto Car Show. Smallville SuperFest had] the fan film, [which is] going to be [screened] a couple [of] times [at Smallville SuperFest] today. I think people…getting together, to celebrate the ‘Man of Steel’ film, [getting] dressed up to show their appreciation for the characters, and their influence in their lives…I think that’s a big draw for [Smallville SuperFest],” said Lopeno. “[One of the most popular attractions has] got to be that parade,” said Cooper. “I’d say, for [the] little kids…I’d say [the] Carnival. For adults and/or the local friends that we’ve made [at Smallville SuperFest], having [Soffer’s ‘Supermen: World War’] movie premiere…[hosted] here…everybody really appreciated [the] director [Donald Callahan] coming out [to Smallville SuperFest] and being able to share that with everyone. [As Soffer stated], just the camaraderie of everybody that [one has] met [at Smallville SuperFest]. Everybody that [one has] met [at Smallville SuperFest], along the way, regardless of whether [one is sitting] under the [Information Booth], folding T-shirts at the beginning of the festival on a Friday…to Sunday, being in the parade, throwing candy out to the kids on the street,” said Egan. “I think the biggest attraction from this year [of Smallville SuperFest will be] the [80th] anniversary of Superman. I do know that [the anniversary] brought a lot of people out this year. I think the [‘Supermen: World War’] fan film also helped, [giving] everyone a glimpse [of] Superman [and his] roots. The highlight is the community…Plano…the Museum…the entity of a small town, coming together. I think that is what attracts people the most…a lot of people will come [to Plano], just to find a very relaxing environment [in which] to enjoy themselves…it could be the attraction [of the other people at Smallville SuperFest]. Plano [has] a presence; the presence of [Plano] brings me here every year, and, aside from the [Zipline] or the [Carnival] and everything that [Smallville SuperFest does], I think that is also a big help,” said Soffer.
Egan described what she’d like to see in the future of Smallville SuperFest, “I…remember, in [past years of Smallville SuperFest], and it worked out well, [Smallville SuperFest] had the bungee jump area for the kids…[Smallville SuperFest should have some] more little [attractions] like that. I know [Smallville SuperFest does] have the carnival [at the festival]…If [Plano has empty] storefronts that are…open and available for use during [Smallville SuperFest], if [Smallville SuperFest advertised] that they have indoor space, and [got] some of the comic-con-type vendors [to use that indoor space]. If [comic-con-type vendors] had a place that was just a big indoor open area, [like they did in previous years of Smallville SuperFest, or] if [they hosted it in one of the hotel] ballrooms, and had it [arranged so that] the main part of [Smallville SuperFest] was [located where it currently is] and then [Smallville SuperFest] could advertise that [there is] the ‘Super-Con’, or [that] the comic [vendors] is…at [the advertised] hotel, [and] spread the entire festival out. That would draw in a lot of the comic fans, who are…out shopping for that kind of art [and] comic-related material.” “In future years [of Smallville SuperFest], I would love to see…Henry Cavill or one of the [cast] members from ‘Man of Steel’. [Smallville SuperFest could] bring some other Superman-related celebrities. I [would] also like to…see…a fan film festival…maybe get some filmmakers [that make] fan films [to Smallville SuperFest],” said Callahan. “I’ll be the first one lined up [for any celebrity actors],” said Lopeno. “…Bring some of the old [superhero actors and actresses to Smallville SuperFest]…like Dean Cain…Marc McClure,” said Cooper. “[I’d] just like to see [Smallville SuperFest] continue, and [bring] more attractions, and [have] more people [at the festival],” said Martin. “I would love to see more community involvement. I would love to see more local businesses coming out [to Smallville SuperFest],” said Conway. “[We would like to see] more advertisement [of Smallville SuperFest],” said Henle. “[Those involved with Smallville SuperFest have] done a lot of outreach to the community, and to the city, here, in Plano…I would also like to see, maybe, some more outreach into Chicago, because, even though Plano is indeed its own community, and it is a part of [the] Smallville SuperFest [festival], if not the main core of the Smallville SuperFest [festival] because of the people in the community building it, and making it…I think they also need to reach out to Chicagoland more. [There are] a lot of people in Chicago, the surrounding suburbs…just the metropolitan area of the city, and I really think if they [reached out to] all [of] the people who didn’t know about [Smallville SuperFest, those people] would be just as excited to come [to Smallville SuperFest]. All [of] these new fans, that don’t know about [Smallville SuperFest]. There have been so many different [channels through which to get] the word [about Smallville SuperFest] to people, and they have done such a wonderful job. I think they can step it up and do even more, and reach out to the entire community of Chicago,” said Soffer. “Maybe [a celebrity]…at least one,” said Schar. “I’d like to see [Smallville SuperFest] grow and [be a] stronger [entity] in our community,” said Diaz, “We do have [a] community that cares, and that [Smallville SuperFest, as an entity,] could get stronger [with greater community participation in] the festival.”
“Oh, we’d love to [have celebrity guests],” said Diaz, who stated that this would require “a big [sponsorship].” “[I would personally love to see] Henry Cavill,” said Diaz. “[I’d] love to…always [have] phone booths on our corners. I would love to have that all the time. I would…love to have sponsorship [to do that], and have our community involved with it, [especially for] advertising,” said Diaz.
Soffer described what he thought he would most be remembered for, at Smallville SuperFest 2018: “I think [the thing that] was the most memorable was the costume ‘surprise’. I think that was a lot of fun; I’ve got to try to mix it up every year. The Henry [Cavill] suit…that caught some great attention, and I try to just stay true to the character every year. People need to have someone [at Smallville SuperFest] to take pictures with. Some people can make it [to Smallville SuperFest] every year; some people can’t. I try to be the guy that can make it every year…’I try to [portray] the example of a man to his city…because, I may not be a man to this city, but I’m a boy to my town…'” “Hopefully, [I will most be remembered for] honoring the character, and showing my appreciation for the Superman character, [and] being in, hopefully, one of the most detailed costumes that are [at Smallville SuperFest],” said Lopeno. “Hopefully, [I will be remembered for] the [In Memory of Darik Martin] Blood Drive, and helping other people, through blood donations,” said Martin. “Just selling good comics…” said Cooper. “[I think I will most be remembered for] the [Hawkgirl] wings,” said Egan.
“I think [it’s an] overall treat to be [at Smallville SuperFest], just to see every little aspect [of the filming of ‘Man of Steel’]. If you want to [visit] a movie set, in real life, [Smallville SuperFest] is the place. I really hope [that Smallville SuperFest keeps] growing; it’s exciting, and I love how [Smallville SuperFest features a] little bit of everything,” said Callahan. “I think anybody [who is a] Superman fan should look forward to the future of the character. I really like where it’s going, and hopefully [Superman] continues to be a symbol of hope for all of us,” said Lopeno. “[Thank you] for supporting Heartland Blood Center and…Smallville SuperFest, [in Plano, Illinois],” said Martin. “Come on out [and] support [Smallville SuperFest]. I’d love to see everybody come out,” said Conway. “We [would] to thank Plano[, Illinois] for inviting us out [to Smallville SuperFest], and this was a great [festival],” said Gary Petty. “Whoever sees this [article], whoever is reading the article, and is on the Superman Super Site, reading what I’m saying right now, keep in mind that Smallville SuperFest is a town with [a] dream. They want to bring the community together; they want to celebrate their opportunity [provided by] a magnificent project brought to their downtown street. Embodying that, I think it’s a duty for Superman fans, Chicagoans and [Plano residents] everywhere to come, hang out, and support a local weekend,” said Soffer. “[These have] been a great past few years; [I’ve] been involved since [Smallville SuperFest] started, [from] day 1, and I hope [that Smallville SuperFest] continues and grows,” said Diaz.