Let’s travel back in time for this one, shall we? The year is 2001, I’m in the 8th grade. My favorite show is Roswell and I’m disappointed that it’s being “replaced” by some new Superman show called Smallville. Now, this is 13 year old me, I’m just excited to get the heck out of middle school and I have one real release and it’s engaging with fellow fans about Roswell in Forums and these now ancient relic things called AOL Chatrooms. I’m in a tizzy, my favorite show is being shut out by my favorite network in exchange for this cool, new, hip, Smallville thing and I’m losing it. Even the posters were similar, I’m officially distraught.
Flash forward to 15 years later, 28 year old Diane is in the bedroom of her apartment surrounded by graphic novels and comic books. A funko pop of Superman on her bookshelf, batman and cat woman collectible barbies next to him. These all sound like random things, but they aren’t. If it weren’t for this horrible and no good, Smallville that premiered 15 years to the day on October 16th 2001, I would have never picked up my first Superman comic book: The Death And Return of Superman and fallen in love with a new world. I dove in head first and when I came up for air, I went right back in but the next time I swam longer, and 15 years later I’m still swimming but now I’m not in the shallow end of a pool, I’m in an ocean of comic books and life long friendships I’ve created through, you guessed it, Smallville.
The pilot of Smallville was huge, it paved the way for every single superhero show you’re more than likely watching now. The premises was simple, this was young Clark Kent trying to find himself despite his feelings of alienation and confusion, plus you know, his Kryptonian powers. You would think adolescence was hard enough with pimples and hormones. The basic premises of the alienation of adolescence was easy for me to grasp as I was going through the same thing except I wasn’t bullet proof or from krypton, despite wishing I were. I didn’t expect to actually fall in love with this show, I was just curious. I’m clearly an expert at 13 having seen all the Superman movies and watching Lois and Clark. I’m one of those people that has to Google and IMDB search everything she watches and back then it wasn’t different. I decided I needed to read some Superman and I did. Eventually I got older and my collection exploded to include other super heroes, indie comics, graphic novels, zines, and reading comics on live journals via act-I-vate. I also frequented the Krypton Site boards to discuss the series, lurked the Lois and Clark website, Divine Intervention, and listened to SHoE Podcast. Twitter was in its infancy at the time but eventually became a thing and I transferred my thoughts there.
Once on Twitter I met people who are now life long friends. I still see them frequently and they live all over the country, from California to Florida, my neighbors in New Jersey, and down the road in Ohio. I’ve made friends with people in Brazil and Spain just to to name a few. Smallville wasn’t just a show. It was one of the gateways to what we know as modern fandom. Its reach spanned continents and millions of people.
Here I am today, taking time out of a lazy Sunday which I dedicated to being curled up with my book to write about how much some old show changed my life. At the end of the series Jonathan Kent told Clark to always remember Smallville, and believe me, sir, we will. Happy Birthday, Smallville. You’ll always be near and dear to me.