The Check: A Contest

In mid-1930s Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster started making comics together. Their favorite idea was something called “Superman.” They sent it out for several years but could get no one to publish it to their liking. In early 1938, Jerry and Joe received a contract in the mail. “Detective Comics, Inc.” wanted to publish Superman in their brand-new Action Comics #1.

Jerry and Joe got the check, for $10 a page, and stared at it.

When they signed it, they became famous — and Superman was loosed into popular culture. But their signatures also relinquished all ownership of Superman to the company that would become DC Comics, who would help keep the character popular — and relatively stable — for over 75 years. Jerry and Joe meanwhile would go on to write and draw Superman comics for a decade. Afterwards, they would fight to get the rights to their character. They would eventually receive a pension and a byline, but would continue to fight for ownership for the rest of their lives.

But what if they had a second chance? What if you could project your consciousness back in time a la Kitty Pryde? Knowing what you know now, what would you do if you were Jerry or Joe? It is 1938 and you are standing in your mother’s house. You are Jerry Siegel or Joe Shuster. The open envelope is on the floor. You are staring at this check. You have a pen.

What will you do?











Click the pen and release. Move the crosshair and sign the check.

Or not.

Press ESC to return.




Tweet your explanation with #cbrthecheck. Why did you sign it? Or…why did you not?

The best answer wins the Mega Super Boys Summer Wet-n-Wild Prize Pack: a signed copy of the new paperback version of Super Boys (named a Top 10 Arts book for 2013 by Booklist), collectible promotional secret identity glasses, and a whole mess of stuff that I will pack in for you (posters, bookmarks) and maybe even some old comics or actual artifacts.

Enough debating. Put your money (ok, fake time-travel fictional money) where your mouth is.

Web app courtesy of

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>