Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of tales of people ripping off comics dealers, stealing original art from cons, forgeries and bootlegging and so on. But this particular incident is the lowest thing I think I’ve ever heard of.
The short version is that Mike is a guy who’s been on a special-needs disability pension for the last twenty years. He supplements that meager income by working part-time at a fast-food place. The one thing that he really cherished was his Superman collection. Comics, action figures, that kind of thing.
A former co-worker of his at the fast-food place got wind of the collection and figured Mike would be an easy mark. He cultivated a friendship with Mike in order to wangle an invitation to see the collection. Once he’d cased the place… he looted it.
I’ve seen a lot of really unscrupulous people in and around comics over the last thirty years. I daresay you have too, if you have spent any time around the convention circuit or the fan community in general. But even so, I hardly can conceive of the level of sheer douchebaggery involved in preying on a mentally disabled person in order to steal the one thing in his life that brings him real joy.
My friend Rick over at His Name Is Studd thought that maybe we could put together some sort of replace-the-collection effort, much like Mark Evanier did when Len Wein lost his collection when his home burned down in the California wildfires a couple of years ago. So he got hold of the reporter that did the story and she put him in touch with a relative of Mike’s.
What he told Rick was that the police are on it, they know who the thief is and they are still hoping to recover the collection. But, he added, what would really be nice would be if people sent some kind of a card or something, ideally something with Superman on it. Even a little homemade fan art doodle. Whatever.
Here is the address:
Mike Meyer c/o Bill Smith
7041 Kingsbury Blvd.
St. Louis, Mo. 63130
I, for one, would like a chance to show Mike and his family that not all comics fans are greedy predatory creeps, and I’m hoping you will too. It’s a few minutes out of your day and some postage. Why not take a little time and do something nice for a guy whose only crime was thinking he’d met a fellow fan instead of a thieving soulless asshole?
UPDATE: I have been getting some very cool links to blogs from people who are doing drawings for Mike and they are just too awesome not to share. Some of these are buried in the comments below but I think the links should be up here where people can see them.
Comics Alliance has an update here. Also with video.
Lots of retailers are getting the word out and chipping in, too. A couple I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere are Midtown Comics, in New York City; Coast City Comics in Portland, Maine; Astro-Zombies in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop in Cleveland, Ohio (Siegel and Shuster’s hometown REPRESENT!) and Paper Windows Booksellers right here in my hometown of Seattle.
And bless you all. Superman would be proud.