Jimmy So has a brief, nice piece about Superman’s popularity in times of war over on Newsweek.
A deliciously absurd moment in Super Boys, an ambitious new biography of Siegel and Shuster that aims to be as literary as Kavalier and Clay and takes Chabon’s novel as a model, notes that Siegel, who was Jewish, was threatened by the Nazis in Das Schwarze Korps, the official newspaper of the SS.
I’ve been meaning to post this anyway, so here is the actual page from the newspaper:
As I note in the book, this is just another example of Jerry having no fear when it came to his writing — he got LOTS of people, often very dangerous people, mad at him. This was hard to find, by the way — thanks to the NY Public Library, Dr. Katherine Kickel, and Caroline — we found it, I lost it, so we had to find it again. Read So’s entire article (with some of the above translated) here.
I did a guest post over at The Nook Blog titled “5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Superman”:
5. Jerry and Joe got the idea for Superman having a secret identity from The Shadow, a popular radio show about a man who shrouded his face and fought crime. But that is kind of a misleading lie, too. In fact, much of what we think we know about Superman and his creators has been, at times, a carefully orchestrated myth. Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, was also based on someone real: a secret identity of a man who should not exist. A man who, like Clark Kent, has been standing in front of us the whole time.
Read the whole post here.
One of the many small, strange surprises that I found doing research for the book was actual correspondence in 1951 between Jerry Siegel and J. Edgar Hoover of the F.B.I. I write about what it’s about (and means) in the book, but if you want to see the actual copied letters, I’ve given them to Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool to post — seemed like the perfect place to share them.
Read the facsimile letters here.
Patrick Challis reviews for COASM:
The story of Shuster and Siegel is a bittersweet one tinged with moments of success and creativity. Ricca doesn’t hold back on any information or leave any stone unturned and that leads in to one of the most infomative biographies that I have read in a long time.
Read the full review here.
Today is Maurice Sendak’s birthday, the source of many of our nighttime dreams (or nightmares) as kids. One of my favorite series of his works are these illustrations for an anniversary edition of Melville’s Pierre. I did my MA thesis on this book, mostly because I liked these illos. so much. I always thought he drew Pierre (the tortured artist) as Superman. I have been working on a paper on it here and there. The last image especially.
Sendak did a lot of “last interviews” before his death last year, but The Comics Journal #302 with Gary Groth is one of the best. Glen Weldon, author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography writes a nice article in The New Republic about this interview here.
Margaret Quamme reviews for The Columbus Dispatch:
As much as anything, this is a story of persistence, as the guys, both working as delivery boys, came up with idea after idea, published their work and endlessly pestered the new magazines publishing comics. Even after Superman hit it big, they kept going — in part because money was always a problem, whether they had a lot of it or a little.
Read the entire review here.
Michael Bradley over at Siegel & Shuster: Mythmakers has a great new online resource for early, non-Superman material. Really nicely done.
Click here to visit.
I had a great conversation with Christopher Borrelli of the Tribune about Midwestern values and Superman, and whether or not cities like Cleveland and Chicago are even Midwestern at all. Love this great quote from Scott Snyder in here:
Traveling through the Midwest I always think of things as being big and small at the same time,” Snyder said. “You’re humbled by the landscape but feel huge if you’re the only thing there most of the time. Which speaks to Superman. He is the most powerful being on the planet but a deeply human character.”
Read the whole article here (warning: mild movie spoilers).