Mentally disabled man robbed of his epic Superman collection

Via Newsarama and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the story of 48-year-old Mike Meyer, a mentally disabled man who was robbed "of about 1,800 of his favorite Superman comic books, some dating to the 1950s," and cherished collector’s items including lunch boxes, an old-time radio, a Monopoly game and television set.

All of these sentimental treasures had one thing in common: they were Superman-themed. Mike purchased his first Superman comic book for about 20 cents in 1974, and has since collected nearly every single issue to the present—along with many other items devoted to his favorite comic-book hero.

If there is a Superman, I hope he reads Boing Boing and will come help Mike get his collection back. Snip:

Meyer said mostly only his friends and family knew of his collection, but he also made the mistake once of telling someone less trustworthy: a guy named Gary whom he worked with at the Hardee’s on Madison Avenue in 1991. Meyer said he ran into Gary recently while at Kyle’s Baseball Cards and Comics in Granite City. Gary asked Meyer whether he still collected Superman items and asked to see the collection. Meyer first gave an excuse, but then Gary called him later saying he was in the neighborhood and hoped to stop by.

“He just kept talking like a salesman,” Meyer said. “He wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

Meyer said he let Gary into the house that day and gave him a quick tour. Gary asked to see “my most precious comics,” Meyer said.

The next night, Gary was back again, asking whether Meyer would let Gary’s girlfriend watch some of his Superman movies. Meyer said while he and the girlfriend watched, Gary disappeared for a while. Meyer noticed the theft two days later, on the morning of Aug. 24, and called police. All he knows is that Gary has dark hair, a goatee, is about 35 and drives a silver or gray car.

Describing Superman to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mike said, “He uses his powers not to benefit himself, but to help others, and “He’s the champion of the oppressed.”

Photo: Emily Rasinski of

(thanks, Patrick Hassell)



  1. Some humans are pure scum. I hope this man gets his collection back. I know if someone acted like my friend just to steal my collection of Magic: The Gathering I would be hurt and furious.

    1. Give this man a cigar.  My thoughts exactly.  While I don’t have anything close to the collection this fellow had I have a few old SM comics collecting dust that I would be more than happy to donate.  Anyone have a line on an address?

      Update: (although it looks as though others beat me to it)

    1. >I hope some citizen with a bat finds Gary before Superman does.

      Or Batman.                 

  2. If it’s true as the story says that Mike and Gary were concurrently employed by Hardees 20 years ago it shouldn’t be hard to identify the guy.

    1. Employee records are unlikely to go back that far, especially if it was a franchise operation. There’s currently no Hardee’s on Madison Avenue in Granite City, though there is one in the town. Did it move, or close? Someone in the county courthouse might have records of who the business licensee was, but that person could be dead or living in Australia. 

      I think tracking the stolen goods is going to be a better bet, alas. Hopefully Gary is a shithead and will take them down to the nearest comic and collectible store ASAP.

      1. @FNARF – The company may not know who worked there, but I guarantee the IRS does.  Finding out who Gary is won’t be that hard, although finding him might.

        1. Um, it’s against the law for the IRS to release or even look for that information, unless they’re doing their own investigation into tax fraud. 

          1. True that.  If the IRS starts bending the rules here, they risk losing their income from all criminals and dissidents.

      2. Another approach for tracing employees at a given Hardees 20 years ago might be yearbooks from the local high schools. Far from certain, but not a bad bet.

  3. i hope local comic book store owners are on the lookout, and help him find his comics. also, check pawn shops, ebay, and craigslist!

  4. Maybe the cool kids of Anonymous would be willing to help a bit. There are anons everywhere, after all. Even in Granite City. Surely someone among them could throw Mike a bone. At least find Gary’s full name. If someone can find Gary’s full name, then word can be passed on to Mike or to the cops in Mike’s area.

    1. They might, and they have it in their power.  On the other hand, people claiming to be from Anonymous have also picked on people like Mike before.  Really depends on who you get.  

  5. Yup, (Christ…) Gary’s an asshole. I sure hope the comics dealers who see Gary aren’t assholes, too.

  6. Do it the easy way.  Mike’s employment records lead to the dates he worked at Hardees.  A police complaint and warrant turn up the names of teenagers named Gary who worked with him.
    Then the shark tank.

    1. Don’t even need cameras, story reports that Gary worked at the Hardees as well.  If they’ve got the records going back that far (doubtful) then they may have an ID.

      Edit: Oops, this post was the one that mentioned it, was going to reply to an anonymous post below. It was a long day.

  7. The comic collectable community is very tight and (mostly) honorable.   I would bet once Mike gets the word out to his friends and fellow collectors – especially the ones he buys from –  “Gary” will be found pretty quickly.   At that point Gary might wish the police had found him first.   There is nothing more dangerous than an angry comic book geek…

  8. Gary was in the house, given what he did here one has to image his fingerprints are already in the system.  It can not be that hard to actually find this bastard.
    Gary is in the area and so is his girlfriend, someone has to know who the hell they are and they should come forward.

    Has anyone started watching the CL postings in this area for Superman stuff?

  9. I feel so sad for this sweet man.  How awful that we can’t protect everyone from bullies and thieves.  I don’t have anything with Superman on it, or I would find a way to get it to him.  I will pray that the people that do have collections will share with him.

  10. This makes me sad and sick. I’m thinking if enough people get the word out, there is nowhere that this guy can hide. My brother in law manages a comic shop in STL, I just passed this along to him and asked him to get the word out. Clearly this poor excuse for a human isn’t a collector. He’s going to try and sell these items, and if the word is out there, he is going to get nailed. If there is any justice in the world Mr. Meyer will have his items returned, and “Gary” will end up with some comics style justice. I’m hoping The Punisher finds “Gary” before Superman though…

  11. Seems like if there was ever a time for Superman to take a lesson out of Batman’s book, and curbstomp a douchenozzle, this is that time….

  12. Robbed? No.  Burgled? Yes. 

    And this Gary must be stopped.  It should be easy to catch him.  Alert the local comic stores and pawn shops. Check ebay for auctions.

    Gary will regret the day he messed with boingboing the rest of his life….

  13. More than hoping Gary gets caught, I wish I wasn’t surprised by this story.  It just seems to be the norm any more.  I really hope he gets his comics back – that’s just fucked up…mentally challenged or not.

    1. I think it’s worse because he is mentally challenged. Because he is an easier target, and according to Mike’s cousin who posted on the article, Mike is a nice guy who’s only fault is being too trusting (obviously). This isn’t the Savannah, and Mike isn’t a limping gazelle who slows down the herd. Gary however is clearly a hyena.

  14. Man… You just don’t fuck with someone’s geekstash.  That is so uncool.  It shouldn’t take police more than a few phone calls to figure out where the first (most likely, most valuable) comics were offloaded since I’m sure that some of Mike’s items were probably very rare.  After that finding such an epic shithead like Gary shouldn’t be that tough.  In the meantime if we could somehow get a list of lost items we could check our own stashes for matches to donate to Mike. 

    1. From the article, it sounds like a Captain Action figurine with Superman
      costume (circa 1966) would be a good start.

  15. Ah.. this is a true bummer. So we keep an eye out for old superman items and lots coming from his area on ebay? He needs to get the word out to local comic shops too.

  16. Someone should contact Kyle’s Baseball
    Cards and Comics in Granite City where he ran into Gary, and see if they have cameras.

  17. If there is any sort of punishment for evil deeds after we die, the guy who did this is going to suffer tremendously. Clearly a sociopath. I don’t hate all criminals, some have a certain honor, but those who take advantage of easy targets… old frail people, disabled folks… they are nothing more than savage animals that need to put down. And to the soon to be poster who is going to say that that statement is unfair to the animal kingdom: sit and spin. You know what I mean.

  18. So, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have some old superman stuff lying around.
    Why don’t we send it to Mike?

    I’m not one for vengeance and all that, but this is a guy who was profoundly betrayed. Let’s show him the world doesn’t entirely suck.

  19. A couple of things need to be addressed here:

    1) With all respect to drew olanoff, focusing on raising money to replace his collection probably isn’t the best idea in the world right now. Who would be the first person to offer to sell those items, probably at a steep discount?

    2) Speaking of which, “watching eBay and Craigslist” isn’t the most practical suggestion in the world; right now, eBay has 105,172 Superman-related items for sale.

    3) Probably tapping into the hive mind near where Mike lives is the best bet. It would also be a good idea if some of the local comics fans could work together to make sure that Mike keeps his collection (if he gets it back) or what’s left of it (if not) safe in the future; he seems like an easy mark for scammers and burglars right now, and it’s not going to get easier in the future.

    1. You can sort Ebay by zipcode, makes sense to look at the few hundred collectibles sold within a hundred or so miles of St. Louis. 

  20. Bet Gary rides a fixie.

    Kidding. Kinda. 

    Seriously…even if the dealer knows about, or suspects these are stolen, there’s no guarantee the dealer will be reputable.  There might be honor among nerds – but I have noticed that this sometimes takes a backseat when money or pu…er…love is involved. 

    Owning a comic store doesn’t make one a saint…and unlike pawnshops, comic dealers don’t have to keep records for the police. Actually – let’s hope Gary does take the hoard to a pawnshop. This way he’ll have to show ID and if asking for ID scares him away, there’s a good chance the pawnbroker will take his license plate number.

  21. Does Kyle’s Baseball Cards and Comics in Granite City have a security camera? If so, wouldn’t that be the best place to start looking for the Gary guy?

  22. Any updates guys? I’ve got nothing beyond what’s already been mentioned.

    Serious un-coolness going on by Gary. 

    Any word back from the Hive Mind on this one?

    Edit: I have family that has mental disabilities. Depending on Mike’s history and functionality this could be anything as relatively light as losing an insanely rare and expensive collection, to having his whole world (or at least the security blanket he could always fall back on) has been taken away from him.

    With people like this it might not matter that it’s a mondo-rare issue. It might just be that it’s Superman, or it could have associations with relatives or teachers and that could be what’s important.

    This man was robbed of his world. I hope Gary has not one thing physically done to him.

    I want him mentally broken. Forever.

  23. Instead of railing against Gary, could we not do something nice for Mike? Something cheezy-sweet-simple to counter this experience. Ideas anyone? What if we each contributed one special superman-related image we make ourselves – anything, yourself acting out a superman scene or a sugarcube resembling whatever, and then print it, send it for some mental support.Would there be enough animo to pull it off?

  24. Frankly, the story of this theft is either inaccurate or extremely dubious.  According to the articles linked, this guy stole 1,800 comics, 100 figurines, plus “lunch boxes, an old-time radio, a Monopoly game and television set.”  To steal that amount of stuff, you would have to back a pickup or van up to the door and make over 20 trips back and forth carrying out your loot.  The victim lives in a two bedroom house.  You would almost certainly have to walk right past him over and over again while stealing his stuff.  Yet somehow Mike didn’t notice that anything was missing for two days?  Whether he’s mentally disabled or not, I’m not buying his story at all.

    1. All I know is that guys like Mike exist, and guys like Gary exist. Of course I doubt the story, this is the internet.

      But bobbywong, your ability to concoct details of a situation you know nothing about, details that discredit the victim, rather than waiting for or responsibly seeking better information… that ability makes you a powerful ally to the Gary’s of the world. Even if you don’t mean to help them out.

      Not that all the internet tough guy-ism helps Mike, but it doesn’t hurt. 

    2. Hello, wise guy. Please provide evidence for the requirement of the aforementioned vehicles, as well as empirical support justifying the claim of “over 20 trips.” Almost certainly? Please provide empirical justification, with regards to the claimed victim in question. Lightweight. Go play with some mechano-reductionist biologists. ;)

      1. Well, I’m a a reasonably strong male who collects comics. A short box will hold about 150 comics  – less if they are bagged and boarded. It is possible to carry two at a time, but it’s a bit of a hassle. Things like the tv set and the radio will almost certainly be one trip each, the rest depends if there are boxed around.  I don’t think that 20 trips are far off the track.

    3. 1 reg. box = 100 issuses.
      1 walk = 2 to 3 boxes = 9 walks.
      figurines don’t weigh a lot, so even more boxes a walk.

      Lets assume its a total of 16walks and he has help from one guy this takes 15 – 20 min max. and that fits in any regular car. If the girl sits with the Meyer, he won’t notice 15 – 20min. of a guy handling out boxes out of a window. Especially if he’s mentally ill. People with a mental illnes can be very naive, and have a different wy to percieve things. If you had never contact to people like that, it may sound fishy, but it isn’t.

  25. @boingboing-9ee29303f3c07960aa0560a4a518962a:disqus  Can’t speak for Mike’s condition, but having been around people with varying mental functionality pretty much my whole life. Yes. It’s real easy to keep even something like a team of movers from being noticed if you key in on the One Thing that mike likes by… oh… having a ladyfriend show interest in his hobby by being willing to sit through superman cartoons with him.
    Which is an even worse gut-punch because it takes his joy at being able to share his interests and uses it to pull the rug out from under him.

  26. I’m with madhatter. I know people like Mike. Know a couple of Garys too :( You have to really be prepared in advance to not give in to the Garys of the world or they’ll steamroller right over you.

  27. Reading all the wishes of violence, pain, mutilation and eternal hells for Gary…. it really warms my heart!

  28. “Gary, I’m Superman.  Look, I don’t typically cockpunch people because that’s more of a Batman thing but I think I’ll make an exception here.”

  29. Mike has the best wallpaper I’ve ever seen. It looks like it’s showing the stages of Pangea breaking up. How cool is that? Hope Superman does similar to Gary when he finds him.

    1. +1 on the wallpaper, I would really like to know where that came from – I’m a geologist :)

      Also, +1 on ultranaut’s comment hoping for a heartwarming followup. By “heartwarming”, I think this would be appropriate: (with Gary’s heart).

  30. Well they did qualify it — in my world, a ‘good’ beating involves down pillows, and forced inhalation of shortbread. Much more palatable than a ‘bad’ beating.

  31. I sent this link to @JimLee:twitter and @DCComics:twitter last night, but I am just a comic fan, and I am sure they get a ton of mentions everyday. 

  32. Is it really impossible to get this story to the TV and to get something going, so he gets his stuff in any pssible way back? I’m mean I’m in Germany. I’m just thinking to contact any American or anybody who knows americans so they could spread the word. I don’t know, but this story was one of the most sad stoies I have heard this year. Yeah I know: disatsers, wars and politics. But that is everyday catastrophy. But stealing comic books, things that matter to the heart, even for some of us, who aren’t mentally ill, they can mean a huge lot, from a mentally ill guy….That has just reached a point, where I think: THAT is too much. I mean come on!

  33. For someone to do something like this, they’ve already shown themselves heartless. I can’t say I’d have a heart about anything evil that happened to “Gary”.

  34. One of Mike’s relatives posted on Facebook that they were able to identify Gary from a high school year book.

    1. Yeah, I’ve seen that mentioned a couple of places… But I’m a little hesitant to jump on repeating the name until I have more confidence that it’s accurate. Do you have any knowledge (beyond word-of-mouth) that this is the actual culprit?

      1. Can’t talk, getting my cockpunching fist ready!

        Questions are after actions, haven’t you ever seen the show 24?

  35. I know alot of people have been following the story of and helping out Mike Meyer whose Superman collection was tragically stolen. My friend and renown poet, Millicent Accardi wrote a poem about it:

    Saving Superman

    He had only been wearing the cape
    His whole life, searching tall buildings
    For the gift of flight, to steel that secret
    Space of strength. He had loved Superman
    As a boy and then, with the Kryptonite
    That fate sometimes brings, he had kept
    In touch with his heart, with the heat
    Of the moment to act to save that screaming
    Lady tied to the railroad track. He imagined being
    A hero outside his room, somewhere
    He could make a difference. He had every
    Edition of the tales, from the day Clark Kent
    Was born to the day he nearly died
    At the hands of enemies. He cherished every
    Page and every graphic comic book
    Panel that he read at night before he dreamed
    Of leaping tall buildings and growing up.
    He clutched the blue lunch box as he drifted
    Off to sleep. His eyes fluttered over
    Gotham City on the Monopoly board,
    By his side, the old radio with its worn
    Frayed from too many broadcasts.

    By Millicent Accardi

  36. I think that the idea of having a donation drive for Mike is a great idea, he is a true fan and i really feel for him.  Death to Gary!  I hope 4Chan finds him!

  37. If anyone would like to make a donation to Mike please let me know – I’ve gotten in touch with a friend of his via the author of this article and I have an address for donations. 

    1. Gerry Armbruster sounds like the perfect villian’s name!

      “Gerry Armbruster now prowls the dark night as The Grey Arm-Buster!”

  38. I really don’t know what kind of ambulatory piece of s–t you have to be to rob a mentally disabled person, period, but to steal the things he loves most. Jesus, that is lower than low. If they catch this guy and he gets sentenced to jail time I hope the authorities tell the other inmates what he did. I’d imagine he’d get the same welcome they reserve for child molesters. I really hope Meyer gets all or at least some of his collection back. Assuming the thief will try to peddle any this pilfered collection dealers, let’s hope they narc on him.

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