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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Neverending Battle For Superman

Above, the very first published Superman story appeared in the first issue of Action Comics.

Just about everyone knows that the character of Superman/Clark Kent was created by two Cleveland, Ohio boys, Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster.

Siegel did the writing and Shuster did the illustrating.

Above, Laura Siegel Larson at the Superman Celebration luncheon last August. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After receiving no success in having Superman picked up by a publisher, the Superman character was picked up by a publisher (now known as DC Comics) and the rest is history.

But there's much more to the history.

Sedgwick Law has posted a history of the legal battles between Siegel & Shuster (and their heirs) and DC Comics.

Here's a snippet:
By now, the story behind Superman’s origins is well-known.  Created by teenagers Joseph Shuster and Jerry Siegel in the 1930s, Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 in 1938.  Shortly thereafter, Shuster and Siegel reportedly sold to what is now DC Comics their rights to the Action Comics storyline, including the Superman character as he then existed, for $130.00 and additional, annual “work for hire” payments for supplying material to DC Comics.  Superman would, of course, then go on to become one of the most well-recognized and financially successful characters in comic book history, generating millions of dollars in subsequent sales, spin-offs, movies and merchandise.  In the years that followed, both Shuster and Siegel would attempt to regain ownership of Superman and a more appropriate share in DC’s profits from the booming franchise.  Ultimately, various lawsuits, settlements and copyright extensions restored their names to the Superman comics’ credit pages, and deals were made to provide pensions and other compensation for the co-creators’ heirs.
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster have both passed on. The battle has been taken up by their heirs, most notably Jerry Siegel's daughter, Laura Siegel Larson.

To read "the rest of the story" (as the late Paul Harvey used to say), go here

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