Noel Neill and Toni Collins
She is a legend. We grew up with her. Every girl on earth wants to be in her shoes. She is Lois Lane, who has loved Superman, well, forever.
And the woman who first brought Lois Lane to life, who has been involved with Superman longer than anyone else alive, is Noel Neill. Could there be any better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than with her?
A confluence of coincidences on May 4, 2008, allowed me to make the six hour round trip to The Comic Outpost in San Francisco. This friendly shop was hosting Noel Neill and her biographer Larry Thomas Ward for an afternoon Meet and Greet.
A larger-than-life statue of Superman greeted guests as they stepped into the long, deep store. Strains of well-known Superman music floated from the back of the shop. There stood Noel Neill, one of the sweetest women on earth, dressed in her trademark yellow jacket dripping with Superman rhinestones.
Face it, comic stores are not the usual hangout for a 52-year old mother of four, and I admit to being a little out of my comfort zone. But dedication to Superman brings a lot of disparate folks together. Noel Neill has shown that dedication for 60 years now. She is giving and gracious and an absolute delight.
I was lucky enough to arrive during a lull in her book signing, and we were able to speak of many things. We spoke of the Superman “after hers” – Bob Holiday – and his recent recovery from open heart surgery. We talked about Australia, about my friend from the crew of Superman Returns, and the old friend she tried to make contact with while she was filming. I was able to share with her how, on the opening day of Superman Returns, the entire theater gasped in recognition when her voice opened the dialogue of the movie.
When Noel learned that I’d heard of her visit to The Comics Outpost from the Superman Homepage, she said how much she’s looking forward to seeing Steve Younis at this year’s Metropolis, Illinois Superman Celebration. Noel couldn’t stop gushing about how wonderful the people are in Metropolis and how much she looks forward to attending the Superman Celebration there every year.
Throughout my visit, Noel Neill fans continued to enter the store. It was a pleasure to watch Noel greet each one. She made every person there feel special. Even when it was time for her to leave, she posed delightedly for numerous photos in front of the Superman statue at the front of the store.
The first Lois, the first lady of Metropolis, and the first lady of our hearts, Noel Neill is a delightful woman. It’s no wonder that Superman fell in love with her at first sight.