City in tights
The city best known for a certain transplant from planet Krypton will be a mecca for superhero fans this weekend. Head south to Metropolis for the aptly named Fandomfest Metropolis and you’ll find a gathering of comic book aficionados amid a trove of related marvels. Here, suggestions for a superlative weekend in southern Illinois:
- Toys and treasures
Fandomfest Metropolis runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 5th, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 6th. The fest includes films screenings, trivia contests, panel discussions, q-and-a sessions with various personalities from the world of comic books, and vendors proffering comic books dating to the 1940s amid a plethora of other kitschy-to-collectible items. Bonus for horror geeks: Ari Lehman, a.k.a. Jason from the very first Friday the 13th flick (the one with Kevin Bacon) will attend, as will comic-book artist Jacob Rougemont. Got tights? Bring them. The festivities include a costume contest with a $500 prize going to the best caped crusader.
GO Fandomfest Metropolis, Metropolis Community Center, 900 W. 10th St. For more information, go to metropolistourism.com or call Marc Ballard at 615-573-4537.
- The man, the myth
The $5 Fandomfest ticket also gets you into The Super Museum, where the owner Jim Hambrick has been collecting Superman-abilia since 1959. The 20,000-square-foot museum houses more than 100,000 items cataloguing the history of Clark Kent’s alter ego, from George Reeves to Brandon Routh. Among the items: The costumes Reeves wore in the 1950s television show—both the black-and-gray super-suit he donned for the black-and-white TV era and the later red-and-blue one used for color episodes. Supporting characters are not neglected: Hambrick has devoted sections of the museum to Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and newspaper editor Perry White.
GO Metropolis Super Museum, 517 Market St.; 618-524-5518, supermuseum.com
- Exit through the gift shop
For super shopping, the Americana Hollywood Museum and Gift Shop is one of the nation’s most eclectic repositories of pop-culture tchotchkes. It’s a one-stop shop for John Wayne wall clocks, wine glasses etched with Elvis’s likeness, Wonder Woman lunch boxes, Supergirl belly rings, and hundreds of other souvenirs.
GO Americana Hollywood Museum and Gift Shop, 108 W. 3rd St., Metropolis, 618-524-5975.
Where to stay: For lodging, the Summers Riverview Mansion (205 Metropolis St.; 877-524-5328, summersbedandbreakfast.com) is a block from the Ohio River and has cozy rooms for $75 to $195 a night.
Where to eat: For some of the best ribs in the Midwest, head to Bill’s BBQ (1105 E. 7th St.; 618-524-2503), where locals and tourists alike have been lining up since 1965. For a white-tablecloth experience, cross the state line into Paducah, Kentucky, where Cynthia’s Ristorante (125 Market House Square; 270-443-3319, cynthiasristorante.com) offers an ever-changing menu, including goat cheese truffles, maple-basted roast duck, and smoked-trout crepes.