The conference room was filled with adults, children and superman shirts alike as the guest panelists were introduced into what would be one of the more emotional events of SLCom.
The panelists ranged from artists inspired by the big S to writers that worked on novels as well as Superman TV shows.
Batton Lash, Bill Galvan and Jonathan Decker are long time industry artists and writers, both inspired to follow their career paths due to the Superman influence.
Kevin Anderson is successful novel writer, best known for his Superman and Batman novels, and Jake Black is known for working on “Smallville” and the Kelly Slater “Supergirl” TV series.
Sean Means, a critic for the Salt Lake Tribune, served as moderator keeping topics on point.
The forum started off by having panelists describe their first experiences with Superman, with many attributing the comics, the animated show and the Christopher Reeves’ movies as major influences.
The topics then moved on to the personal meaning and why Superman, after 75 years of publication, is still relevant.
The answer, in a near unanimous response, was that he was a symbol of good. A hero created to be the ultimate role model in the times of the great depression, is still relevant in today’s recession and war troubled times.
More than that, Superman also envisions strength over our own weaknesses, one example being that co-creator Jerry Siegel’s father had been gunned down in a robbery, which inspired the young creator to make Superman bulletproof.
More than just the origins, the idea and symbolism of Superman was further explored comparing his story to that of Moses and Jesus Christ.
This caused the analogy of ‘The Church of Superman’ to be used for the remainder of the panel. The Church of Superman was meant to signify a person’s love of the man of steel based on which version they envisioned to be the definitive Superman.
They went on to say that some people belong to the Church of Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, Animated TV Show or even different versions of Comic Book Superman. This discussion further pushed the idea that there is a Superman for everyone regardless of generation and medium.
Guests were then given the chance to ask questions, but only three guests would have the chance to talk. One guest instead of asking a question expressed his love of Superman and thanked the panelists for their kind words towards the man of steel.
In a late, last minute surprise Dean Cain, Superman actor from the 90s live action series, joined the panel.
He gave kind words about the big S and received praise from the other panelists, notably Bill Galvan.
Galvan thanked him for his portrayal in the TV show since that is what he used to teach his kids right from wrong, further stating that his son wants to be Superman, specifically the version portrayed by Cain.
An emotional and insightful panel, the discussion of 75 years of Superman has been one of the most enjoyable panels of the convention.