But that isn’t stopping the Superfriends of Metropolis. Their TroublAlert went off when a member posted on Facebook about Meyer’s misfortune, and they’re assembling to help.
The Superfriends are a Superman fan club drawn together from across the country, friends who meet at the Metropolis, Ill., Superman Festival every year. Now the Superfriends are arranging a massive international effort to replace as much of the lost collection as possible.
Coordinated by Keith Howard of Belleville, the packages have already started to arrive.
“People could have just thrown some old T-shirt or hat in a box, but people are really personalizing this,” Howard said. “I’d never heard of this group in Indiana or in Cleveland… People in Canada are sending me packages.”
Artists are drawing sketches and autographing them for Meyer. Original Superman artwork from Paraguay is on its way. Fans are buying Superman items and shipping them directly to Belleville.
A California fan group has contacted actress Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane opposite George Reeves in the original TV series, for an autograph. Neill in fact met Meyer once, Howard said — when Meyer attended the Metropolis Festival several years ago, he got to meet her and stand in Superman’s place beside her for a few minutes. Other celebrities, including Tracy Lewis of the “Superboy” series and Mark Tyler Nobleman, author of “Boys of Steel,” are sending autographed items.
A comic-shop owner in Cincinnati — hometown of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster — is arranging a memorial brick from one of the creators’ houses with a plaque for Meyer. They have offered to fly Meyer and a close friend out for a day’s tour of the Superman museums and tourist sites there.
Local comic shops have been approached about donating merchandise. Other fan groups have joined with the Superfriends — the cross-denominational Justice League Avengers of Indiana are coordinating their own drive to get Superman memorabilia.
“I was not surprised by the initial response from our group members because they’re my friends,” said Kristina Johnson, who began a Superfriends Facebook page for the effort that numbered 570 “friends” by Friday afternoon. It has been cross-posted in high-traffic sites like Blogarama, Tumblr, the Spiderman Crawlspace and The Nerdy Bird.
“Superman fans are truly a special kind of people,” Johnson said.
And all this is still a secret from Meyer. In two weeks, Howard and several Superfriends will deliver the new collection to Meyer, in costume. Howard is a surgical nurse at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and volunteers at Children’s Hospital dressed in his Reeves-era Superman costume. He’ll be in that costume to deliver the presents, along with his daughter in her Supergirl outfit and other fans.
“You see the kind of heart (Meyer’s) got,” Howard said. “He made a mistake, he allowed this guy in his house, and it really hurt Mike quit a bit.”
But a close friend of Meyer’s, Bill Smith, talked him into going public with the theft, at the very least to warn local comic dealers to be wary of memorabilia suddenly on the market.
“(Meyer) knows he’s getting a visit from a handful of people associated with the Superfriends, but he doesn’t know about the gifts,” Howard said.
Meanwhile, Granite City police are investigating the theft. No update on the investigation was available.
Anyone interested in donating Superman items to the effort is asked to send them to Keith Howard, 920 Express Drive, Belleville, Ill., 62223. Superman items only are being accepted; no monetary donations.