An Old Family Friend

It’s not everyday an eight year old gets to see his grandmother with his hero. Back in 1988, Superman came to town. While on his trip to Ithaca, New York, he stopped by my grandmothers candy shop. He even brought along Wonder Woman to have a little time out.

My grandmother, Ruby Andrews, was an iconic part of downtown Ithaca. She ran a candy shop called “Andrews Confectionary.” Growing up, I was actually a kid in a candy shop. If this didn’t make my grandmother perfect enough in my mind, she even got to meet my hero.

Superman, issue number 700, was released today. It got me thinking about my life long history with The Man of Steel. I don’t remember exactly when I first was introduced to Superman, but I know he was always apart of my life.

I was born in 1980, and my earliest thoughts seem to revolve around Superman. I had Superman pajamas with a Velcro cape, action figures, watched his cartoons, and even had an overplayed Superman record. The record told the story of how Superman came to be on earth. It was accompanied by a picture book, my first Superman comic. Superman was there when I learned how to read. The Superman comics opened up a whole new world.

It was great to be a Superman fan in the 1980’s; Superman saw resurgence in popularity brought on by the Christopher Reeves movies. Then the old George Reeves Superman TV show was re-run all the time.

While I still have a classic poster of Superman hanging in my room from when I was five, in the last few years I have drifted away from Superman. From time to time, I will thumb through all the comics I saved when I was younger.

I re-discovered the image of my grandmother and Superman when the movie Superman Returns came out. I decided to go through all my Superman memorabilia. The version I have is from the publication in 1988. Someone in my family has the original. It hung in my grandmother’s home for years until she died. I tried tracking it down through the publisher, but with no luck.

1988 marked the 50th anniversary of Superman. John Byrne had taken over in 1986 and re-vamped it. He took on many Superman projects, including a cover for Time Magazine. He was visiting Ithaca for a comic book convention with a few other very noteworthy names in the comic book world, like Roger Stern who would eventually be the one to get Clark Kent and Lois Lane married. I don’t know what Byrnes connection to Ithaca was. This was the second cover he did for the “Art and Leisure” section for the Ithaca Journal. Other than my grandmother being a bit of an icon in the area, I am not sure how the drawing came to be?

For Byrnes, it may have just been another drawing, but for me it was a legendary moment. He not only brought my worlds together, he made everyone in the world see just how special my grandmother was.