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Old 08-26-2008, 10:11 PM
La Cosa Blanca's Avatar
La Cosa Blanca La Cosa Blanca is offline
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Default The death of a father created Superman

Superman creator 'dreamed up comic hero after his father died in armed raid when he was a boy'

It was a secret the men who created Superman kept for 60 years and eventually took to their graves.

For all that time writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster let people think they dreamed up the bulletproof flying avenger as a way to attract girls because they were a pair of 17-year-old wimps.

But now the comic world is abuzz because it seems the Man of Steel was really born from a personal tragedy.

Tragic origin: Christopher Reeve as Superman who creator Jerry Siegel may have come up with because his dad died after an armed raid

In 1932, just a year before Superman’s first adventure was tentatively drawn on a sketchpad, Jerry Siegel’s father, Mitchell, a poor Jewish immigrant, died during an armed raid at his second-hand clothing store.

The cause of Mr Siegel’s death is still shrouded in mystery.

His reclusive family appear to have believed for years that he was shot twice in the chest.

Modern researchers think the shots missed and he died of a heart attack.

But the death in Cleveland, Ohio, had a tremendous impact on his teenage son.

And in Superman’s first adventure Siegel and Shuster show him flying to rescue a bound and gagged shopkeeper who is being held up by a gunman.

There’s more, says best-selling author Brad Meltzer, who has researched the origins of one of the world’s most famous and enduring comic heroes.

Secret to the grave: Superman creators Jerry Siegel(left) and Joe Shuster never suggested the hero was created from a personal tragedy

The day after Mr Siegel died, as newspapers argued over the need for a vigilante force to protect ordinary people during the desperate days of the Depression, a letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer denounced the idea.

It was signed L. Luther.

Mr Meltzer said: 'When I saw the first Superman illustration I thought, wow, is that Jerry’s alter-ego flying to rescue his helpless father?

'Then I saw the letter in the paper and wondered, could that be the origin of Lex Luther, Superman’s arch-enemy? Surely it can’t be coincidence.’

Yesterday comic experts agreed there is strong evidence to support the theory.

Arch enemies: Christopher Reeve as Superman with his arch-enemy Lex Luther played by Gene Hackman

In his earliest incarnation Superman’s greatest strengths were that he was bulletproof and could fly.

All his other powers, such as X-ray vision, came later.

The Superman creators can’t help.

Mr Shuster died in 1992, and Mr Siegel in 1996.

That first illustration dating from 1933, the oldest-surviving drawing of their hero, was never published.

It took the men six years to get their first Superman story in print and they spent the rest of their lives trying to regain the rights to their creation.

But comic historian Gerard Jones, author of Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book, said: ‘There are clear similarities between Jerry’s early years and the fictional Superman’s flight from the planet Krypton.

‘Superman's invulnerability to bullets, loss of family, destruction of his homeland — all seem to overlap with Jerry's personal experience.

'There's a connection there: the loss of a dad as a source for Superman.'

Mr Meltzer said: ‘Think about it. Your father dies in a robbery, and you invent a bulletproof man who becomes the world's greatest hero.

‘America ... got Superman because a boy lost his father.'

Iconic: The first ever Superman comic book(left) and Brandon Routh in the latest film made based on the comic

There seems to be quite a connection between the archetypal hero/protagonist who has lost his father... Lion King, Star Wars...
Even historical examples like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Hitler...

Nietzsche, who also wrote of a superman, his father died early on as well.

Last edited by La Cosa Blanca : 08-26-2008 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:00 AM
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Ahknaton Ahknaton is offline
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Superman versus the Nazis (with official response printed in SS magazine!):


Full text of Nazi rebuttal to the comic:

Jerry Siegel, an intellectually and physically circumcised chap who has his headquarters in New York, is the inventor of a colorful figure with an impressive appearance, a powerful body, and a red swim suit who enjoys the ability to fly through the ether.

The inventive Israelite named this pleasant guy with an overdeveloped body and underdeveloped mind "Superman." He advertised widely Superman's sense of justice, well-suited for imitation by the American youth.

As you can see, there is nothing the Sadducees won't do for money!

Jerry looked about the world and saw things happening in the distance, some of which alarmed him. He heard of Germany's reawakening, of Italy's revival, in short of a resurgence of the manly virtues of Rome and Greece. "That's fine," thought Jerry, and decided to import the idea of manly virtue and spread them among young Americans. Thus was born this "Superman." On this page we present you with several particularly unusual examples of his activities. We see Superman, lacking all strategic sense and tactical ability, storming the West Wall in shorts. We see several German soldiers in a bunker, who in order to receive the American guest have borrowed old uniforms from a military museum. Their faces express at once both desperation and cheerfulness. We see this bicepped wonder in a rather odd pose, bending the barrels of Krupp guns like spaghetti. "Concrete can't stop me," he shouts in another picture as he knocks the tops off pill boxes like overripe tomatoes. His true strength only shows itself in flight, however. He leaps into the air to tear the propeller from a passing German airplane. As we can see from the next frame, however, Superman has apparently made a mistake, since he seems to have encountered a Yid pilot. No German would say what the pilot says: "Himmel! Vos is diss?" The American answer "Well, here it is" seems to us not quite right. The right response would be something like "Laff if ya likes, I'm Simple Simon!" [The best I can do at translating "Se wern lachen, jach bin der klaine Moritz!"].

A triumphant final frame shows Superman, the conquerer of death, dropping in at the headquarters of the chatterboxes at the League of Nations in Geneva. Although the rules of the establishment probably prohibit people in bathing suits from participating in their deliberations, Superman ignores them as well as the other laws of physics, logic, and life in general. He brings with him the evil German enemy along with Soviet Russia.

Well, we really ought to ignore these fantasies of Jerry Israel Siegel, but there is a catch. The daring deeds of Superman are those of a Colorado beetle. He works in the dark, in incomprehensible ways. He cries "Strength! Courage! Justice!" to the noble yearnings of American children. Instead of using the chance to encourage really useful virtues, he sows hate, suspicion, evil, laziness, and criminality in their young hearts.

Jerry Siegellack stinks. Woe to the American youth, who must live in such a poisoned atmosphere and don't even notice the poison they swallow daily.
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