Neil Cole has had a super week, which started with attending the red carpet world premiere on Monday in New York for “Man of Steel,” which opens nationwide on Friday.
The Conway resident, who started the website www.supermansupersite.com in 1998, said this movie about the superhero who came from Krypton to Metropolis through Smallville marks the first release in the series since “Superman Returns” in 2006. That sequel came out 19 years after the late Christopher Reeve’s final bow in the role in “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,” in 1987.
Cole, the office manager for a family accounting firm owned by his wife of 14 years, Jennifer Cole, said he’s been ready for heavier traffic on his website as “Man of Steel” hits the silver screen globally.
Question | What got this website off the ground?
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Answer | Pretty much, I was trying to find a genre that I could base a website on that would have some popularity to it. In 1998, there were not many websites about Superman. ... I thought, that would be an interesting character ... and in building the website, I would learn stuff about the character. ... I’ve learned a lot more than I ever imagined.
Q. | Has the level of hits to supermansupersite.com surged in the countdowns to the respective releases of “Man of Steel” and “Superman Returns?”
A. | Leading up to “Superman Returns,” there was an increase in traffic ... as stories would come out, leading into the promotion of the movie. ... Now with the new film, “Man of Steel,” it’s been the same way, with the anticipation and hype, especially with all promotional material that Warner Bros. has out there and social media. ... Just all that, coupled together has caused a high increase in traffic, and it’s going to continue. I don’t see it dropping off anytime soon.
Q. | How’d you get on the guest list for its official screening this week?
A. | It was a 2 1/2-year process, pretty much going all the way back to January and February of 2011, when it was announced that Henry Cavill would be the new Superman. From that point going forward, I had remained in consistent contact with an individual at Warner Bros. ... My wife and I were able to get an invitation to the screening and the after party, which featured a number of cast and crew members from the film, including Henry Cavill – we got to meet him in person.
Q. | How long Superman has counted on you as a fan?
A. | I grew up with the Christopher Reeve movies; he was my Superman. And outside of the movies, I was never into the comic books. I got into the comics when they did the whole death of Superman in 1993. ... I just happened to conveniently show up at a comic book store that morning ... I hadn’t been there in forever ... and there was a long line. I asked what was going on, and then they explained to me the whole buildup of the past few months. That kind of got me into the comics, and it turned into picking up comics as more of an investment.
Q. | Just how far back does Superman go?
A. | Even prior to George Reeves, who was on the TV series “Adventures of Superman,” back in the 1940s, they started to have movie serials: You could see a double episode before the movies would start. You would see a chapter for 15 minutes based on characters such as Superman or Flash Gordon, and you would go back next week to see the next chapter. Those had Kirk Alyn as Superman. When they decided to do the TV series, they recast the role for George Reeves.
Q. | What has kept Superman going for so many generations?
A. | Pretty much, the people are loyal to Superman. They always seem to reinvent him for each generation. My parents and people of their generation of the 1950s, George Reeves was whom they grew up with, and his death caught everybody off guard. ... Then, Superman was brought back to life again in the late 1970s, when you had those Hanna-Barbera “Super Friends” cartoons, then the character was brought back into a serious series, with the Christopher Reeve movies, and it really identified the character for that generation. Then there was the 1980s, and the “Superboy” TV series, and “Lois and Clark” in the 1990s, and “Smallville” ... a complete reinvention of everything; they stuck to the core of the original character and the individual relationships of how the characters came to be.
Q. | Without giving anything away, what impression did you bring home from the newest incarnation, “Man of Steel”?
A. | It was epic. It’s not just because of the fact being that I’m a Superman fan. Even if I wasn’t, or for any people who aren’t Superman fans, if they don’t think it’s the best Superman movie, I’d be dumbfounded. It’s just that good, and reports are that it’s on the fast track for a sequel already. ...
Henry Cavill will the Superman for the current generation. Sadly, Brandon Routh, from “Superman Returns,” has become the George Lazenby – who did one James Bond movie [“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”] – of the “Superman” movie series.
Q. | Is there any certain little part of “Man of Steel” to which we might pay close attention?
A. | There is a brief scene, and this has something that has been reported over the past few months. There’s a cameo from somebody in the original Christopher Reeve film, and it’s relatively quick. You won’t necessarily recognize this individual, because in the Reeve movie, he was young back then. If you stick around for the credits, you’ll recognize him. ... That’s how I was: “I knew I knew him.”