Disabled Superman fan gets donations to stolen collection

Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:03pm EST
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By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A mentally-disabled Illinois man who had his Superman memorabilia collection stolen got a superhero's welcome in Cleveland this week, where he met some of the comic fans who had worked to restore what was lost.

Mike Meyer, 48, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything Superman, started his collection in the early 1970s and had amassed more than 1,800 comic books, 100 action figures and a wall's worth of statues valued at around $5,000. They were stolen in September by an acquaintance posing as Meyer's friend.

What began as a St. Louis-area news story about Meyer turned into an international movement to do what fans say Superman would do. One of those fans was John Dudas, co-owner of Carol & John's Comic Book Shop in Cleveland, the birthplace of Superman's creators.

"John first saw the story on the Internet and as a comic lover it struck him how wrong that this guy befriended him so he could do this," says Carol Cazzarin, co-owner of the shop.

Dudas, as a fellow collector, worked with Meyer's friend Keith Howard of Belleville, Illinois and other super fans to do their best to replace what Meyer lost.

"A collector knows how important a collection is," explained Howard. The donations came in from China, Australia, India and Paraguay but primarily from Cleveland, the home of Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Howard, who looks a bit like Superman television actor George Reeves, was dressed head-to-boot in a Superman costume as he accompanied Meyer on visits to Cleveland comic book shops Wednesday.

Meyer's story garnered so much attention from the Superman community, "he even got a call from Brendan Routh, the actor from Superman Returns," Howard told Reuters. "He talked to him for about a half-hour."   Continued...