Comic Creator Siegel & Shuster

Siegel & Shuster

Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

(17 October 1914 - 28 January 1996, USA & 10 July 1914, Canada - 30 July 1992, USA)   United States

  Siegel & Shuster

Superman in action, 1938, by Joe Shuster
Panels from the first story of 'Superman' (Action Comics #1, June 1938), with a later colorization.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were the creators of Superman, the "Man of Steel" whose 1938 appearance marked the beginning of a long tradition of caped superheroes in American comics. Launched in Adventure Comics issue #1, Siegel was the feature's first scriptwriter and Shuster was the artist. Laying the foundations for Superman's entire mythos, they gave him an origin story, a home city – Metropolis – and introduced characters still used in 'Superman' comics today, including Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Jor-El, and Lex Luthor. Superman not only became one of the most iconic comic characters of all time, he spawned an entirely new and quintessential American genre, superhero comics. An entire industry was built around comic books about humanitarian crusaders with superhuman powers, most of them taking elements from tropes pioneered by Siegel and Shuster. The duo was directly responsible for turning DC Comics into one of the major comics companies in the world, yet in later years had to fight in court to receive recognition, credit and royalties for their creation.

Early life and career
Jerome "Jerry" Siegel and Joe Shuster were both born in 1914 and are of Jewish descent. Siegel was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of a sign painter who immigrated from Russia. Shuster, the son of a tailor with Dutch-Ukrainian roots, was born in Toronto, Canada. When Shuster's family moved to Cleveland in 1924, they sent their son to Glenville High School, where he met Siegel for the first time. Both were huge fans of the science fiction stories that appeared in magazines like Amazing Stories and Weird Tales, and wanted to make their own comics. They found inspiration in Dick Calkins' 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century', and Harold Foster's 'Tarzan', as well as 'Popeye' from the 'Thimble Theater' comic strips by E.C. Segar and the 1930s Fleischer Brothers animated cartoons. Unable to afford drawing supplies, Shuster made his drawings on either brown wrapping paper or the back of wallpaper. Shuster and Siegel had their first cartooning experience at their local school paper, the Glenville Torch. One of their earliest collaborative efforts was 'Goober the Mighty' (1931), a Tarzan parody. Right from the start, Siegel was scriptwriter, and Shuster provided illustrations. Although Shuster attended the Cleveland School of Art for a while, he later claimed that movies had a far greater impact on the composition and design of his visual narratives than this formal art training.

'The Reign of the Superman' (Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization #3, January 1933).

First prototype of Superman
During the Great Depression, Siegel and Shuster tried to make a living as authors of science fiction novels, but none of their stories found a publisher. In October 1932, tired of waiting in vain, they founded their own typed, mimeographed magazine, Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization, that lasted five issues. In their third issue (January 1933) they printed a story called 'The Reign of the Superman', which marked the first appearance of their iconic character, though not in the form as he is known today. In the story, Superman was a monster created by mad scientist Professor Ernest Smalley with the aid of a meteor. Smalley wanted to make the perfect human being. His eugenic experiment works, as his Superman has amazing telepathic superpowers, but he eventually goes on a rampage until his power wears off. This first Superman story was clearly inspired by the Frankenstein monster, which appeared in a 1818 novel by Mary Shelley and its 1931 Universal movie adaptation. Contrary to popular thought, the term "superman" was not thought up by Siegel or Shuster. It first appeared as a concept in German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's 1883 treatise 'Also Sprach Zarathustra', described as the "Übermensch". This was later translated by some English translators as "superman", like in George Bernard Shaw's 1903 play 'Man and Superman'. The term was already in casual use by pulp novelists, which might be where Siegel and Shuster picked it up. Despite its historical significance, the first Superman comic didn't sell. Audiences were not in the mood for a story about an omni-powerful villain. So Siegel and Shuster tried out several other science fiction stories, all rejected by bigger publishing companies.

Starting in the mid-1930s, comics were also made available in comic books. Instead of the serialized newspaper format of one comic strip per day, these monthly books offered longer stories in full. People could buy an issue without having to wait an entire day for the next episode. They could even keep and collect them. The comic book concept was still in its infancy and although most published stories had already proven their popularity in newspapers or magazines, Siegel and Shuster were immediately attracted to the idea. One comic book that particularly caught their attention was 'Detective Dan' by Norman Marsh, because its story hadn't been published elsewhere and was only available in comic book format. Siegel and Shuster decided to use the same strategy. They brushed off their old Superman story and converted it into a comic book. They even found Consolidated Book Publishing willing to take the risk of publishing their Superman comic book. However, Consolidated's editors changed their minds when 'Detective Dan' failed to catch on and Marsh decided to revamp his comic book to a newspaper strip, 'Dan Dunn'. Devastated, Siegel and Shuster destroyed the only copy of their 'Superman' comic book. Today, only the first page survives. In later interviews, they claimed that while this early incarnation of Superman was a strong person, he lacked superhuman powers.

'Dr. Occult, the Ghost Detective' (October 1935).

Dr. Occult and other comics
Despite their 'Superman' setback, Siegel and Shuster managed to get some of their other creations published with National Allied Publications, the future DC Comics, run by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. 'Henri Duval of France, Famed Soldier of Fortune' was a swashbuckler tale, first appearing in New Fun (issue #6, October 1935) and then running for four more episodes in More Fun. This was followed by the 'Federal Men' feature in Adventure Comics (January 1936-December 1939), about the action-packed adventures of the government agent Steve Carson. 'Federal Men' stories continued in New Adventure Comics and then Adventure Comics until 1942, by then drawn by Chad Grothkopf, but still written by Siegel.  In May 1936, Siegel & Shuster appeared in the first issue of the short-lived comic paper The Comic Magazine by Centaur Publishing with their character 'Dr. Mystic'. By July 1936, the character appeared under his new name, 'Dr. Occult, the Ghost Detective', in National's More Fun Comics (July 1936). It is the oldest character still used in the DC Universe. In New Adventure Comics issue #12 (January 1937), Siegel & Shuster gave a hint of what crime fighting might look like in the year 3000. The Federal man of the future is called Jor-L, a name the authors later reused, with a slightly different spelling, for Superman's father.

The first issue of National Periodicals' Detective Comics (March 1937) ran two stories by Siegel and Shuster. 'Bart Regan, Spy' was a reboot of a previous one-off feature from Comics Magazine #2 (1936) by Centaur Publishing, and a new creation, 'Slam Bradley,' was a detective handy with his fists. Between 1937 and 1939, Siegel and Shuster additionally made the feature 'Radio Squad' for More Fun Comics, about courageous policeman Sandy Kean.

Slam Bradley by Siegel & Shuster
'Slam Bradley' (Detective Comics #1, March 1937), with a later colorization.

These early successes gave Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster the courage to flesh out their 'Superman' idea once again. Inspired by Philip Wylie's novel 'Gladiator', which they had read in one of the many science fiction magazines they enjoyed, they turned their villain into a hero. Superman was given an extraterrestrial backstory, a uniform and a double life as Clark Kent, a shy, bespectacled journalist. It took a while before Siegel & Shuster found a trustworthy publisher who believed in their idea. A rejection letter by an editor at Tip Top Comics declared Superman an "attractive idea because of its freshness and naïvité, but still a rather immature piece of work." In this early conceptual phase, Siegel experimented using different artists - Tony Strobl, Mel Graff, and Russell Keaton - but in the end, Siegel and Shuster decided to work on 'Superman' on their own. In 1937, they finally were given an opportunity when publisher Wheeler-Nicholson went bankrupt. The company was taken over by the businessmen Harry Donnenfeld and Jack Liebowitz, who wanted to start a new comic book series named Action Comics, similar to their successful Detective Comics series. Siegel and Shuster were asked if they could contribute anything suitable for the first issue of Action Comics, and at long last, 'Superman' finally made his debut in Action Comics issue #1 (June 1938).

Spy: The Nearly-Weds, by Joe Shuster (Detective Comics #3, 1937)
'Spy: The Nearly-Weds' (Detective Comics #3, 1937).

Superman: concept
The Superman mythos and backstory is known to almost everybody on earth, even people who don't really care about superhero comics. Superman was born on Krypton, a distant planet threatened by destruction. His parents, Jor-El and Lara, decide to place their new-born boy into a rocket which blasts off into space. After crashing down on Earth, he is adopted by a childless couple, John and Mary Kent, who name the orphan Clark Kent. They quickly discover that Clark is no ordinary infant, but decide to keep his real identity and super powers hidden from the outside world. When Clark becomes an adult, he learns the truth about his origins and decides to move to the city of Metropolis. Clark becomes a reporter for the newspaper The Daily Star (changed into The Daily Planet in the 23th issue). He disguises himself with glasses and exhibits a shy, mild-mannered personality. But when Clark notices a crime, he quickly rushes towards a phone booth, alley or cabin to change into his iconic red, yellow and blue uniform. As Superman, he zooms off to save the day. In early stories he didn't fly yet, but this quickly became one of his trademarks, along with the iconic exchange from people in the crowd, introduced in 1941 in the animated cartoons: "Look up in the air. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's... Superman!" After showing off his invincibility, Superman, nicknamed "Man of Steel" brings crooks and robbers to the local police station, then quickly disappears from the limelight, returning to his life as Clark Kent.

The toughest battle of Superman's life is remaining anonymous. While Superman is hailed as a hero, nobody cares about Clark Kent. Everybody sees him as a loser, including his boss George Taylor and colleague Lois Lane, with whom Kent is in love. Unfortunately, the young female reporter is not attracted to him at all, and views him as a rival journalist. The Lois Lane character was partially based on the reporter Torchy Blane (from the similarly titled 1936-1939 film serial) and Siegel's future wife, Joanne Carter. Lois's first name was taken from a high school student Siegel was hopelessly in love with, but never approached, and her last name was taken from film actress Lola Lane. The only person somewhat sympathetic to Clark is the young photojournalist Jimmy Olsen. While Lois Lane and the editor Taylor made their debut in the first Action Comics issue, Jimmy did not appear until the sixth, and only became a major character starting in issue #13 (1941). Superman struggles with the fact that he can never reveal his true identity, even though many people, including Lois, would instantly like him a lot better. This recognizable human drama of concealed identity made Superman relatable to readers, despite the fantastic elements in the overall narrative. Slowly but surely, 'Superman' gained fans and became a global bestseller, turning DC Comics into one of the biggest comic book companies in the world.

Clark Kent and Lois Lane in Action Comics #23 (April, 1940), with later colorization.

Superman: spin-offs
To meet the rising demand for new 'Superman' stories, the character received his own title, 'Superman', (June 1939), while Action Comics also continued to run his adventures. The caped crusader also appeared in other comic formats. A 'Superman' daily newspaper strip debuted on 16 January 1939 and Sunday newspaper comic feature was added later that same year, on 5 November 1939. Both strips were syndicated uninterrupted by Bell-McClure until April 1966. The newspaper comics were first drawn by Joe Shuster and his assistants, and in later years by Wayne Boring, Win Mortimer and Curt Swan. The writing of the strip was initially done by Jerry Siegel, then passed on over the years to Whitney Ellsworth, Jack Schiff, Alvin Schwartz, Bill Woolfolk and Bill Finger. A spin-off, 'Lois Lane, Girl Reporter' (24 October 1943 - 27 February 1944) ran as a topper to the Sunday strip, but only lasted twelve episodes. The Superman comic books also inspired some spin-offs over the years, with titles such as 'Superboy' (1949-1977), 'Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen' (1954-1974), 'Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane' (1958-1974) and 'Supergirl' (1972-1974).

First 'Superman' daily, from 16 January 1939.

Superman: assistants
To keep up with their workload, Siegel and Shuster had begun working with assistants as early as 1938. Shuster turned the inking and finished artwork of several 'Superman' stories over to Paul Cassidy (1938-1940), who gave 'Superman' the classic diamond "S" on his costume. Also in 1938, Wayne Boring began assisting Shuster on 'Spy' and 'Slam Bradley', and he joined Shuster's Cleveland-based studio in 1940. Cassidy was replaced by Leo Nowak (1940-1943). In 1940, John Sikela became one of Shuster's long-lasting assistants, often working in tandem on stories with Ed Dobrotka, who joined in 1941. Another early assistant was Paul J. Lauretta (1939), and Hi Mankin worked at the studio for one month in 1941. New pencil artists joined during the war period: Jack Burnley, Fred Ray, Sam Citron, Ira Yarbrough and Pete Riss, as well as the inkers Stan Kaye and George Roussos. With artist Bernard Baily, Siegel also created the ghostly avenger 'The Spectre' for More Fun Comics #52 (1940).

From: Superman #4 (inks by Paul Cassidy).

Superman: media adaptations
The Kryptonian hero also conquered other media. As early as 1942, George Lowther wrote 'Superman' novels, illustrated by Shuster. A long-running radio serial 'The Adventures of Superman' (1940-1951) was broadcast on the Mutual Radio Network. A series of Fleischer Brothers animated shorts by Paramount Pictures (1941-1943) were followed by two film serials, 'Superman' (1948) and 'Atom Man vs. Superman' (1950) by Columbia Pictures. In 1951, the character appeared in his own feature length-movie, 'Superman and the Mole Men' where he was portrayed by George Reeves, who also played him in the popular TV series 'Adventures of Superman' (1952-1958). The TV series ended after George Reeves suffered an untimely and mysterious death by gunshot. Many animated Superman TV series have been produced: Filmation made 'The New Adventures of Superman' (1966-1970), Hanna-Barbera came up with the 'Super Friends' (1973-1985), Ruby-Spears produced the short-lived 'Superman' (1988), and Warner Bros. Animation created 'Superman: The Animated Series' (1996-2000). Two live-action drama series, 'Lois & Clark' (1993-1997) and 'Smallville' (2001-2011), also kept interest in the franchise alive. In 1966, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams adapted Superman into a Broadway musical: 'It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman' (1966). Superman was also the subject of two pieces by Andy Warhol, a collage in 1960 and a silkscreen series in 1981.

In 1978, Superman reached a whole new audience when Richard Donner directed the blockbuster movie 'Superman', starring Christopher Reeve in the title role and a heavily-publicized and well-paid Marlon Brando as his father Jor-El. The script was written by Mario Puzo, writer of 'The Godfather'. Three sequels followed: 'Superman II' (1980), 'Superman III' (1983) and 'Superman IV: The Quest for Peace' (1987). The first Superman video game coincided with the 1978 movie version. Brandon Routh played the title character when Superman returned to the big screen in 2006 in Bryan Singer's aptly titled 'Superman Returns'. While the film was a financial success, executives still decided to reboot the franchise a few years later with a new actor in the title role. Zack Snyder directed three films, 'Man of Steel' (2013), 'Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice' (2016) and 'Justice League' (2017), which all starred the first British-born actor in the Superman role, Henry Cavill.

'The Inventions of Hector Thwistle', pencils by Joe Shuster, inks by George Roussos (Superman #43, November 1946).

Invention of superhero comics as a genre
Siegel and Shuster's 'Superman' is generally considered the starting point for the popular U.S. superhero comics genre, and a keystone of what many call "The Golden Age of Comic Books". While there were earlier powerful comic heroes, such as Wilhelm Detlev Körner's 'Hugo Hercules' (1902-1903), E.C. Segar's 'Popeye' (1929) and Lee Falk's 'Mandrake the Magician' (1934) and 'The Phantom' (1936), Superman set the standard for the comic book superhero. Siegel and Shuster introduced many elements that became standards of the genre. They pioneered the muscular caped hero in uniform fighting eccentric supervillains. Superman's tragic origin story and a need to keep a secret identity also became a trope of the genre.

Countless powerful costumed crime fighters were created in Superman's wake: 'The Arrow' by Paul Gustavson (1938), 'Crimson Avenger' by Jim Chambers (1938), 'Batman' by Bob Kane (1939), 'Captain Marvel' (1940) by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, 'Thin Man' by Klaus Nordling (1940), 'The Flash' by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert (1940), 'Green Lantern' (1940) by Martin Nodell and Bill Finger, 'Wonder Woman' by William Moulton Marston (1941), 'Captain America' by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (1941), 'Plastic Man' by Jack Cole (1941), 'Aquaman' by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger (1941) and from Marvel comics Stan Lee's 'The Fantastic Four' (1961, with Jack Kirby), 'Spider-Man' (1962, with Steve Ditko), 'The Incredible Hulk' (1962, with Kirby), 'X-Men', 'The Avengers' (1963, with Kirby), 'Iron Man' (1963, with Don Heck), 'The Silver Surfer' (1966, with Kirby), and many more. Superman's influence is also felt in comic book superheroes from other countries, such as 'Streamline' by Denis Gifford and Bob Monkhouse (1947), 'Darna' by Mars Ravelo and Nestor Redondo (1950), 'Jerom' by Willy Vandersteen (1953), 'Astérix' by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo (1959) and 'Captain Canuck' by Richard Comely and Ron Leishman (1975).

In some cases, the similarities were blatant enough to provoke lawsuits. Both 'Wonder Man' by Will Eisner (1939) and 'Master Man' by Newt Alfred and Harry Fiske (1940) were sued by DC, resulting in cancellation of these series. Bill Parker and C.C. Beck's 'Captain Marvel' (1940), Superman's most successful rival, was also threatened by legal action, but this court case took over a decade to reach a final verdict before Marvel was forced to discontinue the series in 1953. Later, DC decided they would revive the character, but then under the name 'Shazam!'.

Covers for Action Comics #10 (March 1939), left, and #35 (April, 1941), right.

Superman: universal appeal
Much has been written about Superman and why he became such a global success. Although the character's origins are extraterrestrial, many elements of the world Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created for him to live in were autobiographical, and offered a recognizable reality to the reader. The skyscrapers of Metropolis were based on Shuster's hometown Toronto. Siegel's background as a journalist and paperboy for the Toronto newspaper Daily Star helped give Clark Kent's workplace, the Daily Planet, a sense of verisimilitude. Both Siegel and Shuster were shy, somewhat geeky Jewish men who had their fair share of bad luck in life. They weren't popular in high school, especially with girls. Readers, particularly teenagers, could identify with Clark Kent's struggles with trying to fit in, and instilled hope that like Clark Kent, they too had hidden superpowers unseen by their peers. Additionally, like many immigrants, Superman came to the United States and managed to find a new identity and a successful career. In the 1930's, Superman's omnipotence provided wish fulfillment to a segment of the population feeling disempowered by widespread unemployment in the Great Depression, and stories of Superman fighting the Axis powers comforted readers worried about World War II. After World War II, Superman continued as a symbol of the American Dream, fighting for "truth, justice and the American way", as his motto appeared in the 'Superman' radio serial.

'Hocus and Pocus...Magicians by Accident!' (Action Comics #83).

Superman: expansion of superpowers and cast
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster enriched Superman's backstory in various ways. His superhuman powers provided them with numerous ideas for new stories. Sensational action scenes could be made from Superman's ability to jump extremely high, his X-ray vision and bullet-proof chest, but after a while, his invincibility seemed to become a drawback. How could an invincible character ever be in genuine danger, an important element in creating drama? In 1943, Siegel came up with an answer to this question when he introduced Superman's Achilles' heel: Kryptonite, a material which originated from his home planet and whose radioactive rays could severely weaken or even kill him. Additional drama was provided by new enemies, whose intellect or powers made them worthy opponents to Superman's talents. The first of these was the genius billionaire Lex Luthor, who debuted in Action Comics issue #23 (April 1940). In issue #51 (August 1942), Siegel and Shuster came up with The Prankster, a con artist who enjoys playing pranks on Superman in a manner quite similar to Bob Kane's The Joker in 'Batman'. The Toyman first started tormenting Superman with his toys and gadgets in Action Comics #64 (September 1943). Also created by Siegel, but first appearing in a comic by Whitney Ellsworth and Wayne Boring, was the magical imp Mister Mxyzptlk, who debuted in the 'Superman' newspaper comic in 1944. Later authors created more supervillains, of which the android Brainiac (issue #242, July 1958) and General Zod (issue #283, April 1961) had the most staying power. Siegel and Shuster also came up with new dimensions for the other cast members. In Action Comics issue #60 (May 1943), Lois Lane first adopted a superhero persona of her own as 'Superwoman'.

Funnyman by Joe Shuster
'The Return of Slippery Slim' (Funnyman #4, May, 1948).

Contractual issues
Unfortunately for Superman's creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's own story was less glorious. Their contract stipulated that all rights to their characters and associated merchandise were owned by the publisher, National Periodicals, AKA DC. The duo, so willing to get their comic published after numerous rejections, had sold their first story for 130 dollars. By the mid-1940s, their control over their own creation was diminished. Siegel was not available to write stories as he served in World War II, and Shuster's output suffered from his increasingly worsening eyesight. To their horror, the duo found they were easily replaceable, as 'Superman' stories had been assigned by DC to other writers and artists, without fans noticing any shift in tone or quality. As DC took Superman into directions they didn't like without paying them, Siegel and Shuster decided to sue. Originally, they received support from publisher Max Gaines, but when he noticed that parts of their story didn't match, he no longer trusted them and pulled out. In 1947, the judge, asserting that the contract was very clear, ruled in the company's favor. After losing the case, Siegel and Shuster were taken off all Superman-related projects, and their names were removed from any credits.

Disillusioned, Joe Shuster largely retreated from the comic scene. With Jerry Siegel, he made one final comic, 'Funnyman' (1948), for DC's rival company Magazine Enterprises. Shuster only did lay-outs for this feature, of which the finished pencil art was done by John Sikela, Dick Ayers and Marvin Stein. In October of the same year, 'Funnyman' also inspired a newspaper comic by the Bell Syndicate. However, the character failed to catch on. The comic book was canceled after six issues, and by June 1949, the newspaper strip no longer featured the character Funnyman himself, and was advertised by the syndicate as 'Reggie'.

'Where Do They Lurk?' (Charlton's This Magazine is Haunted #19, August 1954) by Joe Shuster and Ray Osrin.

Charlton Comics 
Shuster's final mainstream comic book work were some early 1950s crime, racing and mystery stories for Charlton Comics titles: 'Crime and Justice', 'Racket Squad in Action', 'Hot Rods and Racing Cars' and 'Strange Suspense Stories'. However, most of the artwork was outsourced to ghost artists like Charlton staffer Bill Molno and inker Ray Osrin.

Fetish comics: Nights of Horror
In 1954, rapidly losing his eyesight and in desperate need of money, Shuster was hired by his neighbor to illustrate a series of sixteen fetish comic booklets for the Queens-based publisher Malcla. Written by "Clancy" (a pseudonym used by Shuster's neighbor), the 'Nights of Horror' (1954) booklets contained bondage, torture, sexual slavery and other fetishes, but featured little nudity. For violating obscenity laws, the books were seized and banned by New York City, and later also the State of New York. They received further negative publicity during the trial of the Brooklyn Thrill Killers, a juvenile gang who in the summer of 1954 killed and tortured several men in Brooklyn. Dr. Fredric Wertham used the case as an example of the potential harm of comic books, blaming the 'Nights of Horror' series for the sexual perversions of one of the suspects. Further pornographic comic book work by Shuster appeared under the titles 'Hollywood Detective', 'Rod Rule' and 'Pink Chemise', while around 1955, the early porn digest It's Continental ran his fetish strip 'Annette Secret Agent X'. Most of Joe Shuster's sex comics were discovered and identified by comic historian Craig Yoe, who compiled them in the book 'Secret Identity - The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-creator Joe Shuster' (Abrams, 2009).

A panel from 'Nights of Horror' #5 (1954).

Jerry Siegel Scriptwriting in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s
In the late 1950s, Jerry Siegel became comic art director for Ziff-Davis publications and wrote new Superman stories under pseudonyms for editor Mort Weisinger at DC Comics beginning in 1959. Hiding behind pen names like "Joe Carter" and "Jerry Ess", he wrote a few features for Charlton Comics ('Nature Boy', 'Mr. Muscles', 'Za Za the Mystic', 1956), Marvel Comics ('Human Torch' in Strange Tales [1963], 'Angel' in Ka-Zar [1970-1971]), Archie Comics ('Shield' and 'Black Hood' for Mighty Comics, 'Fly Man', 1964-1967) and Gold Key Comics ('Tiger Girl' [1967] and 'The Owl' [1968]). He also worked on comics for foreign companies, like the British comic strip 'The Spider' by Ted Cowman and Reg Bunn, which originally appeared in Lion magazine by Fleetway Publications. He also wrote stories of 'Gadgetman and Gimmick-kid' for this magazine. In 1972, Siegel wrote a 'Donald Duck' and a 'Junior Woodchucks' story for Gold Key Comics, both with art by Kay Wright. Between 1972 and 1979, Siegel additionally wrote Disney comics with either the Duck family or Mickey Mouse for Mondadori's Topolino magazine in Italy. Together with Val Mayerik, he created 'The Starling' (Eclipse, 1982) - featuring another visitor from another planet - and wrote 'Risky Robot' (1984) for the independent company Aardvark-Vanaheim, best known for publishing Dave Sim's 'Cerebus the Aardvark'. Siegel additionally wrote scripts for syndicated newspaper strips, including 'Ken Winston' for General Features (art by Ogden Whitney and Mike Roy, 1954-1955) and 'Tallulah' (art by Ira Yarbrough, 1950-1952) and 'Buck Rogers' (1959) for the John F. Dille Company.

Dateline 1930's
In 1984, Eclipse Comics released two comic books under the title 'Siegel and Shuster: Dateline 1930s'. They collected the material from a tabloid comic book Siegel & Shuster put together in the mid-1930s, but which was never published. Among the featured characters were the duo's rare humorous creations 'Goober the Mighty' and 'Snoopy & Smiley'.

'Ken Winston' strip from 30 October 1954 by Jerry Siegel and Ogden Whitney.

For his contributions to American comics, Jerry Siegel received an Inkpot Award at the 1975 San Diego Comic-Con. In 1992, Siegel and Shuster were inducted in the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and one year later in the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame. Since 2005, Shuster's name lives on in the Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame, in which he and Siegel were inducted posthumously in 2005. The same year, streets in Cleveland were named "Jerry Siegel Lane" and "Joe Shuster Lane".

Financial compensation & credits 
None of Jerry Siegel's other creations were ever successful in the long run, which he blamed on being black-balled from the comic industry after his lawsuit against DC Comics. When the 'Superman' movie came along in 1978, Siegel and Shuster tried once again to get some kind of financial retribution. They were supported by comic artists Neal Adams and Jerry Robinson. The negative media attention made DC Comics finally consider compensation for the duo. While the company still felt they were in their legal right, they offered Siegel and Shuster credit for their work again, as well as a lifetime annuity.

Final years and death
Siegel and Shuster lived out the final years of their lives in well-paid, comfortable circumstances. Joe Shuster - who in his final years was totally blind - passed away in Los Angeles in 1992. Jerry Siegel died in 1996, surviving his partner for four years. Even in death, the legal struggles between the Siegel estate and DC Comics continue, with continuing lawsuits over Superman's copyright and the claim that Siegel's idea of 'Superboy' was stolen from him by DC Comics.

Legacy and influence
Together with Batman and Wonder Woman, Superman is one of the "Big Three" of DC Comics, appearing most often in the company's comic book series and related merchandising. As the prototypical superhero, Superman has become one of the most recognizable characters in pop culture worldwide, comparable in impact to Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse. Over the years, he has turned into a metaphoric symbol of the United States as a global superpower, and was as a result also the subject of spoof and criticism in anti-American satire.

While some might argue Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster should have been richer, more renowned by the general public, and awarded by their peers in their lifetime, with 'Superman' they leave an influential legacy that lives on. Many other comic writers and graphic artists have produced 'Superman' comic books after Siegel and Shuster left the title. Among the 'Superman' scriptwriters have been Cary Bates, Kust Busiek, Don Cameron, Bill Finger, Geoff Johns, Elliot S. Maggin, Alan Moore, Martin Pasko, James Robinson, Jim Shooter, Len Wein, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Scott Lobdell, George Pérez, Gene Luen Yang, Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. In Superman's later years, his adventures have been visualized by comic artists Wayne Boring, Al Plastino, Ross Andru, Curt Swan, José Luis García-López, Dick Dillin, Stuart Immonen, Pete Woods, Renato Guedes, Karl Kerschi, Carlos Pacheco, Eddy Barrows, Kenneth Rocafort, George Pérez, Howard Porter, John Romita Jr. and Patrick Gleason, among many others. New recurring characters were introduced to the cast, such as Superman's dog, Krypto (Adventure Comics #210, March 1955) and a female companion, Supergirl (Action Comics #252, May 1959), who also had a pet of her own, Streaky the Supercat (issue #261, February 1960). More Superanimals were Beppo the Super-Monkey (Superboy issue #76, October 1959) and Comet the Super Horse (Action Comics #293, October 1962). Among the more sensational later storylines were the 1976 crossover between Superman and the Marvel Comics hero Spider-Man and one with boxing legend Muhammad Ali (1978). In Action Comics #484 (June 1978), Clark Kent and Lois Lane finally get married, and Superman, at long last, revealed his secret identity to his true love. In Superman issue #75 (January 1993), Superman even died for a couple of issues, but was eventually brought back to life in issue #82 (October 1993).

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Superman: references in music
As an icon of the superhero genre, 'Superman' has been a pop culture mainstay. Many songs namecheck or alluded to Superman in their titles: 'Sunshine Superman' by Donovan (1966), 'Superman' by Gruppo Sportivo (1977), '(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman' by The Kinks (1979), 'Superman's Big Sister' by Ian Dury and the Blockheads (1980), 'O Superman' by Laurie Anderson' (1982), 'Waitin' for a Superman' by The Flaming Lips (1999), 'Kryptonite' by 3 Doors Down (2000), 'The Man of Metropolis Steals our Heart' by Sufjan Stevens (2005) and 'Superman' by The BPA (2009). Loïs Lane, the Dutch duo of Suzanne and Monique Klemann, named themselves after Clark Kent's love interest, Loïs Lane, adding an umlaut over the "i" in her first name. The drummer of The Police, Stewart Copeland, released two solo albums under the pseudonym Klark Kent: 'Klark Kent' (1980) and 'Kollected Works' (1995).

Superman parodies
The pervasive popularity of 'Superman' comics inevitably lead to "Super" parodies of this cultural phenomenon. In 1953, Harvey Kurtzman and Wallace Wood spoofed him as 'Superduper Man' in Mad Magazine. There were animation parodies like Paul Terry's Terrytoon 'Mighty Mouse' (1942) and Jay Ward's TV cartoon 'Super Chicken' (1967), as well as the comic books Al Fagaly's 'Super Duck' (1943), Henry Boltinoff's 'Super-Turtle' (1963), Virgilio Martinez Gainza's 'Supertiñosa' and Jan's 'Superlópez' (1973), and the European comic features 'Superlul' (1971) by porn comic artist Nico van Welzenes, 'Superdupont' (1972) by Marcel Gotlib and Jacques Lob and 'Soeperman' (1986) by Willem Ritstier and René Uilenbroek, among others. One of the most famous TV sketches by British comedy group Monty Python's Flying Circus is 'Bicycle Repairman' (1969) in which the 'Superman' concept is turned on its head by having an ordinary bicycle repairman in a city of supermen be the superhero with a secret identity.

Monetary value
The first issue of the comic book Action Comics also has a legendary status. In February 2010, one of the few remaining copies was sold at an auction for 1 million US dollars, becoming the first million dollar comic book. Another copy sold for $2.16 million in November 2011 through ComicConnect.com. It is speculated that this was a copy stolen from actor and comic collector Nicolas Cage in 2000.

June 1938 issue of Action Comics, featuring the debut of Superman.

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