Over at the Collector’s Society forums (which helped me in my research big time), somebody named Hibou made this in response to the question: if you had a time machine, would you go help Siegel and Shuster, Bill Finger, or stop Frederic Wertham? Some interesting answers to look at. I think I’d just go to the late ’70s, look around and come back. Fixed points and all that.
Ever since comics have become more accepted as an art form, the question of what to call them has been an ongoing one. I get asked this so much that I thought I’d write up an answer for BookRiot. Check it out here. Hint: it’s not “graphic novel.”
Around Christmas, I posted this film showing the Superman puppet show that Higbee’s department store sponsored here in 1940. I forgot I had this photo showing Jerry and Joe at the actual event!
It was too grainy to put in the book, but nothing is too grainy for the Internet.
So I’m going to be writing a regular column over at The Beat. I’m calling it Unassuming Barber Shop and it is going to deal with some mysteries of comics history. Read the first installment on the Human Torch today. Hope you like it.
Last night I got to speak at a really unique event: the Cleveland chapter of the William K. Thomas Inn of Courts (a bunch of lawyers club?) invited me to talk about Superman. So that, but then — but then — a bunch of high-powered attorneys acted out the Superman litigation history. To elevate the drama, Time-Warner was played by Lex Luthor and Superman himself represented the families. Brainiac, Daredevil, and Batman (he was the bailliff) were there, too. The judge was played by a prominent Cleveland standing judge (no names, please). I really wished Jeff Trexler was there — seeing it this way was actually very enlightening, even as (especially as?) farce. The Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court was there, too (talking about Groupons). Thanks to legendary civil rights attorney (and fantastic host) Avery Friedman for inviting me.
As we mingled in the cocktail hour, I spoke with real-life lawyers who had all reviewed the case. They all said: what a ____________ mess. After years of being convinced I was just dumb, this felt really good to hear. I also felt relieved that the two things I was most mad about in the case — the termination/trap letter to Jean Peavy Shuster and the 6-page dismissal from the 9th Circuit — were also looked at by the lawyers as really bizarre, shady events.
Afterwards, I met Adam (above), who was working there and got Rosa from Mac’s Backs some much-needed coffee. He grabbed some of our empty book boxes for “his comic collection.” I asked what he read and he showed me this:
Over on Kevin Smith’s “Fatman on Batman” podcast, he has Neal Adams for a 3-part interview. It’s really great stuff — Neal is as good a verbal storyteller as he is a visual one. My favorite part so far is when he talks about Al Williamson.
Neal helped me with the book and gave me a cool blurb even though he kind of terrified me in the beginning. People always ask me if we can trust his version and I think his is the one to trust for the 1975 crusade. With some small modifications for storytelling, of course. But he was a big help. And if you want to know WHO Neal was talking to on the phone for the settlement, the book gives the name.
And if you haven’t listened to the podcast with Marc Tyler Nobleman on Bill Finger, it is another must-listen.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I was disappointed when venerable London periodical The Sun went to an online subscription model. At least I admit it. This was the *shocker* in The Sun yesterday:
So is this the usual Sun “Man U Captain Caught in Snog with Gail Porter’s Flatmate — and Noel KNOWS?” Not really: I looked up the report and it seems to have a good sample size (though the questions are a bit conditional).
The Society’s aim is a campaign called “Pass It On,” to “encourage parents to read, watch or listen to a Bible story with their child.” Read the entire report here.
So is Western civ screwed or is this just really cool? If anything it’s that “could be” in the question that might be the most telling: Superman is a very Biblical character — some Moses, some Jesus, even some Samson. That we get. And while I don’t think it defines the narrative, it might have bolstered it, as this survey seems to suggest. The parallels give it legs.
I’ve been pretty vocal that it is difficult to completely claim Superman for one religious group or testament. Jerry and Joe grew up in Orthodox Jewish households, but then became much more reformed in their own religious practices. Joe even joined a Christian mystery cult for a time. I don’t say that as anything other than my interpretation of things I have determined to be facts. These were complicated human beings whose spiritual lives are difficult (and almost impossible) to wholly define, just like it is for many of us. They were guys, not gods. That being said, I was just told a great story about Jerry from someone who knew him in Cleveland:
Ps – I forgot to add that – as Joe may have told you – he used to see Jerry Siegel and talk to him when Siegel came to their shul – a tiny synagogue in a house on 105th st. – a 3 minute walk from Glenville – on the anniversary of his father’s death to say Kaddish.
Isn’t that the point?
But I have no idea why The Hunger Games. And, of course, Comment Guy: