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Jerry Siegel Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (10)

Overview (3)

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameJerome Siegel

Mini Bio (1)

Jerry Siegel was born in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1931, he met and befriended his future partner, Joe Shuster, when the latter moved from his birthplace in Canada. Siegel and Shuster were both avid science fiction fans, publishing a fanzine in the mid-1920s. It was during this period that they read Philip Wylie's book, "Gladiator", about a mysterious character with superpowers and invulnerability. They created a strip for their fanzine (Shuster drawing, Siegel writing) featuring a super-powered villian, but later made him into a hero. In 1936, they tried, unsuccessfully, to turn it into a daily comic strip. About the same time, both young men got a job working for DC-National (now DC Comics), working on such titles as Doctor Occult, Slam Bradley, and Radio Squad. Siegel also created and worked on the Spectre In 1939, DC editor Sheldon Meyer decided to give the two young men a chance, and published their character Superman a new comic title, "Action Comics". Superman was an almost imediate hit, spawning his own eponymous title within a year, then going on to be featured in virtually every type of media.

Siegel and Shuster continued working on Superman for many years, but became increasingly resentful of the profits that DC-National made off their character (because of the practice at the time, the creators had signed away all rights to the character to the publisher). In 1946, Shuster and Siegel sued DC for a share of the rights to Superman (their lawyer was Albert Zugsmith). The case dragged on until 1948, when the two men settled for royalties only on the Superboy character. They were also required to sign away any future claims to the Superman character.

Shuster left the comic field, while Seigel left DC to become comics editor at Ziff-Davis Publications during the 1950s. Without his long-time partner, however, Siegel found the creative spark to be missing, and gradually lost work. Finally, Siegel's wife went to DC's publisher and told them, "Do you really want to read the headline "Superman Creator Starves to Death'?", and asked for the comic publisher to give him uncredited work.

Siegel wrote many Superman stories in the 1960s, including many about Superman's home planet Krypton. In 1964, however, DC once again let Siegel go. He moved to Los Angeles, where he became a virtual recluse. In 1975, after the Superman movie raised new interest in the character, the two men once again sued DC for recognition and royalties. DC, with much prodding from publisher/editor Carmine Infantino, re-instated Siegel and Shuster's name on the masthead as creators, and awarded the two men an annual stipend of $35,000. Finally receiving the recognition he deserved, Siegel became recognized as one of the pioneers of the comics industries. In 1999, his heirs' finally won their court case with DC and received 50% ownership and control of Superman.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Mike Konczewski

Spouse (2)

Joanne Siegel (14 October 1948 - 28 January 1996) ( his death) ( 1 child)
Bella Lifshitz (18 June 1939 - 7 October 1948) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trivia (10)

One of the creators of the comic book character Superman, who made his debut on June 1st, 1938 in Action Comics No. 1 and heralded in the 'Golden Age of Comics'. The original issue only cost 10 cents then, but a near mint condition copy can sell for $ 400,000 (in 2003) and is the most expensive comic book collectible.
He is credited as 'Jerome' Siegel on the very first issue of his creation 'Superman'.
After leaving the Superman books in the late 1940s, he returned to DC Comics in the early 1960s where he worked on Tales of the Bizarro World and then Legion of Superheroes.
After leaving National/DC in 1948, Siegel went on to serve in an editorial capacity for Ziff-Davis, and also wrote comic stories for Charlton, ME, Western Publishing, Archie Comics, and Marvel Comics (where he often worked under the name of "Joe Carter," because he was also working for DC again, and they frowned on moonlighting).
In 1929, at the age of 15, Siegel self-published what some historians believe may be the very first science fiction "fanzine," called 'Cosmic Stories'.
Father of actress Laura Siegel (aka Laura Carter).
Jerry's wife, Joanne, was the model for Lois Lane. She and Jerry first met when she answered an ad to pose for artist Joe Shuster.
Other comic book characters co-created by Siegel include the Spectre, Dr. Occult, Slam Bradley, and Funnyman.
The fictional character Sam Clay, in Michael Chabon's novel "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," bears a superficial resemblance to Jerry Siegel. Both write comic books, both fight with their employers over royalties, and while both are natives of the United States they each partner with an artist named Joe who isn't. However, Siegel is mentioned in the novel as a being a contemporary of Clay, suggesting that Clay is not a disguised Jerry Siegel.
He inserted himself into the last panel of the story where Superman confronts the evil villain Funnyface, a disgruntled cartoonist who brings super-villains from the comics to life and forces them to rob and plunder Metropolis. It is his face that is revealed when Superman unmasks Funnyface at the end.

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