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Today marks the start of the 13th annual Wriphe.com Superman Month!

Is this the year I finally make it to the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois? Probably not. It's next weekend, and I already have other plans.

Their guests of honor will include original Supergirl, Helen Slater, and Erica Durance, Smallville's Lois Lane. Their lists of guest artists, however, leaves something to be desired compared to past years. I guess they do have to save something for next year.

Out of curiosity, I took a look at the Greater Metropolis Convention & Visitors Bureau website to see what else there might be to do in town between autograph sessions underneath the Superman Statue. Metropolis isn't a big town, and the Visitors Bureau only lists 15 total "sights and attractions." Of course the big draw is the Harrah's Casino (which I haven't visited) and the Super Museum & Gift Shop (which I have and highly recommend). They also have a bowling alley, gym, state park, and microbrewery. I guess the town isn't big enough to support a full sized brewery.

Their most unusual non-Superman offering might be the Mermet Springs "full service dive site" inside an abandoned stone quarry that includes "the jet airplane from the movie U.S. Marshals." That short sells what they offer, as the Mermet Springs website lists 2 additional planes and 10 other man made objects to swim around. Not counting Jimmy Olsen.

I find it easier to believe that Jimmy Olsen can hold his breath for three hours than that he can win at checkers

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The annual Superman Celebration returns to Metropolis, Illinois this weekend. Scheduled guests include three Jimmy Olsens: Marc McClure from Superman: The Movie, Michael Landis from Superman: Lois and Clark, and Mehcad Brooks from the current Supergirl show on CBS The CW. That's a lot of Jimmies! Too bad the real Jimmy Olsen didn't live to see this. (Rest in Peace Jack Larson.)

Also dropping by is Peter Facinelli (just $20 for a photo op!). He plays Justice League founder Max Lord on Supergirl, but he's no doubt best known for his participation in the Twilight movies. It might be interesting to see how the Twilight and Superman fan bases overlap. Sparkle, sparkle!

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We interrupt this blog for a word in support of Supergirl: I saw the pilot episode last week, and I liked it.

I liked the premise. The show invents a background for the character that combines the histories of various comic book incarnations of Supergirl, so whichever Supergirl is "your" Supergirl, you'll find something familiar. Personally, I missed Argo City, but I suspect the show will get around to that sooner than later.

I also liked the cast. Melissa Benoist is a cheerful yet powerful Kara Zor-El, and Calista Flockhart makes a passable J. Jonah Jameson analog. (Yes, I know Superman's boss is Perry White, but Calista's Cat Grant character is channeling The Devil Wears Prada's Meryl Streep. At his worst, Perry White just isn't that callous.) I especially enjoyed Mehcad Brooks playing the buff, black re-imagining of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. I hope that the inclusion of Hank Henshaw (Cyborg Superman!) and the Department of Extranormal Operations (D.E.O) means that we will soon see its director, Mr. Bones. (For those who don't read comics, Mr. Bones looks like a chain-smoking skeleton because all of his soft tissue organs are invisible. Because mad scientists!)

But my favorite part of the show is Superman himself. He's never fully seen on screen, but his presence drives almost every interaction, from Kara's origin to the motivation of her supporting cast and enemies. Rarely a scene passed without a mention or allusion to him. Clearly, every character on the show is in awe of Superman (as they should be). To some viewers it might seem intrusive, but to me it felt appropriate. If Superman were a real person, leaping over tall buildings and speeding past bullets, we'd talk about him and his exploits all the time. There'd be a cottage industry built around it. In Supergirl's National City, there is.

Do I have complaints? You betcha. CGI special effects often looked cheap. Villain motivation was razor-thin to non-existent. Character mood swings border on the psychotic. The costume is far too dark. (And what's with the black nylons? Who wears pantyhose anymore?) But all those gripes were minor irritations in the bigger picture. When the episode ended, I was smiling.

I look forward to seeing more in January after the Monday Night Football season ends. I could probably record Supergirl episodes, but I don't want to get carried away. I can only like so many things at a time, you know.

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The Preakness Stakes is tomorrow, and Kentucky Derby champion Mine That Bird is currently the betting favorite to win at 11-2 odds, considerably better than the 50-1 odds that he beat to win the Derby. Don't get me wrong, I'm not endorsing gambling on the ponies. I don't even generally care for horse racing outside of the Triple Crown events. It's a sport for rich people, and I'm more of a... poor person. The closest I've ever come to owning a horse is possessing a copy of Who's Who in the DC Universe featuring the Legion of Super-Pets, which naturally includes Comet the Super-Horse.

Run, Comet, run!

(I really love the depictions for breaking the time barrier in Silver Age Superman comics. Time, ladies and gentlemen, is a rainbow.)

However, I don't think Comet should be allowed to race in any horse-race, but not because of his super-speed. No, see, Comet is really a Grecian centaur accidentally transformed into a horse, granted superpowers as a consolation for the mistake, banished to a comet for millennia by his enemies, and freed from said imprisonment by the happenstance passage of a rocket ship that contained a young Supergirl fleeing the destruction of Krypton. It all makes sense if you think about it. Comet isn't a horse, but a man trapped in a horse's body. You wouldn't let a man enter a horse race, would you?

Why is

Of course this begs the question that if Comet had a highly developed brain, was sentient, and capable of telepathic communication, why in the world would he join a group called the Legion of Super-Pets in the first place? Just because he let Supergirl ride on his back, he qualified as a pet? (Superman's Pet, Lois Lane probably isn't going to appear on newsracks anytime soon.) What male wouldn't let Supergirl ride on his back?

Fast fact: in "The Secret Identity of Super-Horse," Action Comics #301, Comet was granted the form of a bipedal human -- his fondest wish -- and began a romance with Supergirl. Turnabout is fair play, it would seem. Maybe I've just got a salacious mind, but that sounds like a comic I've got to get my hands on. I suppose a "Super-Pet" must be a little different than a traditional pet. Maybe it's the equivalent of a pet with benefits.

Thank you, Super Dictionary.

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To be continued...

 

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