Monday, April 9, 2007

SUPERMAN Cartoonists and Other Reversals Of Fortune

It is well-known to many that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the original writer and cartoonst of SUPERMAN, signed away their rights to their creation as young men.
Thanks to the then-imminent release of SUPERMAN THE MOVIE (1978), the accomplished and erudite cartoonist-entrepreneur-publisher Neal Adams, along with BATMAN ghost Jerry Robinson, and others, spearheaded a campaign to get the by then impoverished SUPERMAN creators some royalties for what was about to become a box-office blockbuster.
Adams and his associates were able to persuade the owners of SUPERMAN and associated characters to put a "created by" notice on SUPERMAN stories and other items, much like that of Bob Kane on BATMAN materials.
Appearances on the television program "Tomorrow", with Tom Snyder, and many news stories, gave the appeal so much publicity that it was a virtual necessity for the SUPERMAN publishers to acknowledge the character's creative fathers.
The Siegel and Shuster heirs now receive monies from Time-Warner, the parent company of DC COMICS, the company that publishes the SUPERMAN comic books. Well, I believe that is an accurate statement, I hope I will be corrected if I have worded that improperly.
In any case, it happens now that further litigation involving use of creations by Siegel and Shuster, and others, continues to ensue, reportedly resulting in a stoppage of using the name "Superboy" in comic books, and on television, and in movies, and animated cartoons.
In case you wondered why SMALLVILLE is called that, not SUPERBOY, this just may be the reason.
There has also been some court activity involving the character THE SPECTRE, a character co-created by Siegel and cartoonist Bernard Baily.
Further, Martin Nodell, the recently deceased creator of the original GREEN LANTERN, Joe Simon, the surviving partner of the Simon & Kirby team who created CAPTAIN AMERICA, and Stan Lee, who with cartoonist Jack Kirby, the same Kirby just mentioned, co-created the Marvel Comics "universe" have all been involved in such actions as well.
Nodell, by the way, headed the team that developed the famous "Poppin' Fresh, The Pilsbury Doughboy".
Nowadays the comic book industry is structured differently, so that many creators eother own their characters or get good monetary and health benefits from their work
It has taken nearly 70 years, but it makes it easier to believe in "Truth, Justice, and The American Way!".


Danny said...

I've always wondered why people went hard and fast for S&S yet totally ignored Bill Finger...something that no-one has been able to explain to me.

--steve cohen said...

Yes, Danny!!!
I was always glad that Bill Finger had at least gotten screen credit as writer for one Adam West BATMAN show.
At least that was something for him and his family.