On July 10th, 1914, Joe Shuster was born to a pair of Jewish immigrants living in Toronto. As a young man living in Cleveland, Shuster befriended another first-generation American named Jerry Siegel, and together the two created both a genre and an icon with Superman.
The years of legal battles and ignominy are well-known, but it's important to think of Shuster as more than a tale of woe. Let's take a moment to consider Shuster's greatest contribution to comics: raw power.
Many of comics' most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this new feature we'll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics' most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we're taking a look at Superman.
If you're the kind of person who keeps up with news about people spending truly massive amounts of money on comic books, then you're probably aware that there was a copy of Action Comics #1 rated at 9.0 that sold for $3,000,000 earlier this year. On one level, that makes sense. It is, after all, an incredibly important historical artifact, featuring the first appearance of Superman and Lois Lane in a story that kickstarted the entire superhero genre. On the other hand, if you really want to read that comic, you don't need to spend three mil. You can get it for like fifteen bucks.
Either way, the CGC corporation put the entire issue online to read for free -- presumably to prove that these crisp, unblemished pages really are as good as they say they are -- and there's a lot more in there than just Superman, whose first appearance has naturally overshadowed the numerous other short features contained in this most coveted comic.
To celebrate the centennial anniversary of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster's birth, some of the men and women who've benefited from his tremendous artistic influence have paid homage to and shared their impressions of Shuster's work, his legacy, and his signature character.
With comics being the visual medium that they are, there's no shortage of pictures of the characters. With the exception of media darling Stan Lee or commercial star Rob Liefeld, however, most comic book creators exist behind a much deeper veil of obscurity -- especially in the Golden Age, when their names were rarely attached to the comics they worked on. When you hear names like Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster or Jack Kirby, you think of the creations rather than the people.
Now, artist Drew Friedman is attempting to change that, at least a little, with Heroes of the Comics, a Fantagraphics hardcover book of portraits of the pioneers of the golden age, from the creators we all love like Siegel and Shuster, above, down to the villains like Bob Kane and Frederic Wertham.
Two of my greatest loves in life are Christmas and comics, and so it's always a treat for me when the two cross over in that most wonderful of things: the holiday special. Even when those things are bad, they're still kind of good, because it's Christmas, and you're feeling charitable. But sometimes the introduction of Christmas-themed elements are not what you expect. Here are ten appearances by Christmas folk that might confound you, and that's even without mentioning that time Aquaman saved the baby Jesus from pirates by mind-controlling a giant squid.
There are very few things I love in this world more than a story where a superhero teams up with Santa Claus to save Christmas. I mean, I love Christmas comics in general, but the ones where the Jolly Old Saint himself shows up are always just a little bit more special, especially when the hero in question is Superman. If I was in charge, you'd see Santa Claus literally every time there was a comic set at the Fortress of Solitude, because really, the North Pole has exactly three residents, and who else are they going to hang out with? But I digress.
My point is, Superman/Santa Claus team-ups are great, even when they're weird -- and folks, they do get weird. Take, for example, one of Superman's earliest team-ups with St. Nicholas, wherein they have to battle against the evil machinations of a dude who hates Christmas so much that he makes Santa Claus even fatter than he already was, and Superman has to help him lose weight.
The legendary and outspoken writer behind Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell, and many more of the most memorable comic book stories of the last 30+ years, Alan Moore's feelings on creators' rights are well documented. He's continued to discuss his views at length in Occupy Comics, Black Mask Studios' Kickstarter-funded anthology inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, opining mainly on the comics industry's complex historical relationship with counterculture and corporations. Titled "Buster Brown At The Barricades," much of the latest chapter focuses specifically on Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and their lifelong struggle for credit and control of the Man of Steel they created and sold for just $130 in the 1930s.
Like most of you, I've got a to-read stack that kills me every time I look at it. Friends laugh at it, small children cry at it, and the police keep giving me the stink eye. I've also got a to-read list for those things that I want to read in digital form, but haven't yet
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