Up And Away In MK…

Rare global press coverage from the shooting of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, the first (and last) of the Movie series to be made entirely on location in England. The cast & crew had assembled in the sports grounds of the Woughton campus of the Sir Frank Markham School in Milton Keynes, England in late 1986 to shoot the closing moments of the picture under the direction of Sidney J. Furie. The facility had apparently been chosen due to the school being one of the few with American Football on the curriculum and used in return for a new set of kit for the team. Ironically, the scene was excised entirely from the final cut of the film and thought lost until its final discovery and release (in workprint form) in the Deluxe Edition DVD from 2006. From the top – article from Weekend magazine UK, double-page spread from Spain, oversized article from the Australasian Post and Japanese pictorial. Thanks to SuperFan Chris King for the assembly of these scans of my original articles! Click on images for larger size…

Fade To Grey…

In continuation of this post documenting the original Superman costume exhibited in Planet Hollywood, Orlando, the images above show that by 2002 the display had been torn from the ceiling of the Downtown Disney site and relocated to the restaurant lobby. Shoddily remounted on a questionably thin chain-bearing mannequin, the new shattered wall diorama was shielded behind an acrylic tube (causing awful flash glare from whichever angle) and adorned with a new sign (showing a still from Superman II) The costume’s condition had deteriorated badly in the few years between visits and the bodysuit had faded to almost silver-grey, but as it was the first prop visible in the building it was still a sight to behold with everybody entering pausing to stare at it in wonder.
In typical Planet Hollywood fashion, however, the costume would disappear the following year never to be seen again, to my knowledge it wasn’t circulated further so the fate of this particular piece remains unknown…

The Yellow Belt…

Pictured above is the vital first component I managed to secure that would initiate my pursuit of the perfect replica Superman costume. As most fan-made efforts throughout the nineties would demonstrate, the lack of correct belt and buckle would be the undoing of the most valiant attempts. After a long search a small set of perfect resin casts taken from one of Christopher Reeve’s original belts finally found me. Developing a matching belt would be almost as difficult a proposition in my research stage as at the time the only reference was a clip from TV documentary ‘The Making Of Superman‘. From that I ascertained the belt itself was a fabric-backed vinyl – however locating such a thing in mustard yellow proved impossible. Instead I sought to improvise and so in true prop style I concocted a belt made from kitchen floor lino covered in yellow sticky-back plastic. While the results were good the plastic would eventually weaken and split due to its inflexibility.  Many attempts later I came across more pliable plastic and have made numerous belts since then for fans and professionals alike, chances are you’ve seen one of my belts on display on many a full-size replica either online or in-person. Pictured above are two of the last belts I have – a ‘Hero’ version made from genuine Patent leather and a ‘Stunt’ version built using my method. Over the years costumiers and fans have caught up and developed credible versions of their own but for such a minor accoutrement, there is no substitute for the genuine buckle cast to complete a replica…
Further information on the real costume belts and how they were constructed can be found here in my feature on capedwonder.com

Ultimate Superman 1:1 Update…

Two years since this project was first initiated, the kit has returned home unfinished after artist John May sadly had to abandon it due to work commitments. As shown in the pics above the mannequin has had much of the preparation work done and simply awaits final assembly and realistic paint-job. The fantastic artificial eyes (currently held in by Blu-Tac!) from Tech-Optics.com, impressive in photographs are stunning in-hand and bring the excellent sculpt to eerie life.
Finally, the great breaking news is another celebrated FX artist has expressed interest in completing the project and will be taking delivery soon…!
More updates as they happen…