Superman (comic strip)

Superman was a daily newspaper comic strip which began on January 16, 1939, and a separate Sunday strip was added on November 5, 1939. These strips ran continuously until May 1966. In 1941, the McClure Syndicate had placed the strip in hundreds of newspapers. At its peak, the strip, featuring Superman, was in over 300 daily newspapers and 90 Sunday papers, with a readership of over 20 million.

During the National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications court case, the District Court ruled that McClure Syndicate failed to place the copyright notice on some of the strips and thus those strips are in the public domain.[1]

Superman
Advertisement for SUPERMAN daily comic strip
Ad announcing the beginning of the Superman strip.
Author(s)Jerry Siegel
Illustrator(s)Joe Shuster
Current status/scheduleConcluded Daily & Sunday
Launch dateJanuary 16, 1939
End dateMay 1966
Syndicate(s)McClure Syndicate
Publisher(s)National Comics Publications
Genre(s)Superhero Adventure

Original storylines

Supermannov539
First Superman Sunday strip (November 5, 1939).

The daily strip was host to many storylines, unique from the regular Superman comic series. The early years consisted of Siegel-era Superman stories, many of which have yet to be republished. The strips contained the first appearance of a bald Lex Luthor, the first appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk and the first telephone booth costume change in comics. Other stories of note include Superman saving Santa Claus from the Nazis, World War II-era stories of Superman protecting the American home front and Clark Kent marrying Lois Lane. The artwork includes runs by famed Superman artists Wayne Boring and Curt Swan.

Mr. Mxyzptlk was first created to appear in the Superman #30 (September 1944) story, "The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk". But due to the publishing lag time, the daily strip team of writer Whitney Ellsworth and artist Wayne Boring saw what had been created for issue #30, and were able to use him first in the daily strip story “The Mischievous Mr. Mxyzptlk” published from February 21, 1944 to July 19, 1944. So Mr. Mxyzptlk was not created for, but first published in the Superman daily strip. And while published second, Mr. Mxyztplk was first created for Superman issue #30 and first written by Jerry Siegel and drawn and inked by Ira Yarborough.

Superman appeared in the newspapers again in 1978, with the newspaper strip The World's Greatest Superheroes, which was retitled in his name in 1982 and lasted until 1985. Between these two comic strip series, Superman appeared in almost 12,000 unique newspaper strips.

Writers and artists

Advertisement for SUPERMAN daily comic strip (text)
Advertisement for Superman comic strip.

Over the years, there have been a number of different writers and artists on the Superman newspaper strips. Originally, the strip was drawn by Joe Shuster. As Superman became more and more popular and the workload kept increasing, Shuster turned over many duties to his studio assistants. Paul Cassidy was the first in a line of ghost artists on the strip and took over the inking and detail work in 1939. In September 1940, Leo Nowak replaced Cassidy on the strip. Other assistants during this time included Dennis Neville, John Sikela (beginning in 1940), Ed Dobrotka (beginning in 1941), Paul J. Lauretta, and Jack Burnley (beginning in 1941). Sikela and Dobrotka often traded penciling and inking duties between each other. Lauretta primarily inked and did backgrounds on the strips. Burnley eventually left to work on his own comic book, Starman, but did return to pencil the Superman Sundays in 1943. The Superman strips during this early period of shop work was a team effort with multiple artists working on different parts of the same strip.

This early period ended with the start of World War II. Jerry Siegel, the main writer, was drafted in 1943. Early that same year, Leo Nowak and John Sikela were drafted as well. In 1943, Stan Kaye took over the inking. Wayne Boring, who had been another early assistant to Joe Shuster, left the Shuster studio in 1942 to directly draw the daily strip for DC. Boring and Kaye dominated the daily strip’s artwork throughout most of the 1940s. The two also provided art for the Sunday strip between 1940 and 1966.

In the middle of 1949, Win Mortimer took over the daily strip from Wayne Boring. Stan Kaye continued inking Mortimer’s work until Kaye temporarily left, and Mortimer inked his own work until he left DC in 1956 to publish his David Crane strip. Curt Swan took over the daily strip on June 18, 1956, along with Stan Kaye. Swan continued on the strip until November 12, 1960.

As for the stories in the Superman strips, Jerry Siegel originally wrote them until he was drafted in 1943. Whitney Ellsworth, who had begun on the strip in 1941, continued until 1945. Jack Schiff began his writing on the strip in 1942 and worked on the strip off and on until 1962.

Alvin Schwartz first started writing for the Superman strip in October 1944. Between 1947 and 1951, Schwartz was the only writer on the Superman strip, and he continued on the strip until 1958. Bill Woolfolk wrote one story for the dailies in 1953.

In 1959, Bill Finger started scripting stories, and he worked through the series' end in 1966. During this final period, Jerry Siegel resumed his duties writing some stories.

Spinoff

Lois Lane, Girl Reporter was a newspaper comic strip and topper to the Superman comic strip, featuring Superman's supporting character Lois Lane. Lois Lane accompanied the Superman Sunday strip in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, running irregularly between October 24, 1943, and February 27, 1944; a total of twelve Lois Lane topper strips were produced.

McClure Syndicate, concerned and fearing newspapers would cancel the popular Superman strip if it could not appear regularly and on time, appealed to DC to instead create a spin-off strip, Lois Lane, Girl Reporter, for McClure to use as a filler material for newspaper syndication.[2][3]

Reprints

In 2013 The Library of American Comics started to collect all the Superman comic strips, daily and Sundays, originally published between 1939-1966 in six sub set hardcover collections, see Superman: The Complete Comic Strips 1939-1966.

References

  1. ^ Ingersoll, Bob. "Installment # 66". "The Law is a Ass". Comics Buyer's Guide. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Obscurity of the Day: Lois Lane, Girl Reporter". January 11, 2007.
  3. ^ "On History: Lois Lane, Girl Reporter". January 14, 2014.

External links

← The character Jimmy Olsen is believed to be debuted by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. See Jimmy Olsen for more info and the previous timeline. Timeline of DC Comics (1930s)
January 1939
The characters of Jor-El and Lara were debuted by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. See Jor-El and Lara (comics) for more info and next timeline. →
Adventure Comics

Adventure Comics is an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1938 to 1983 and revived from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues (472 of those after the title changed from New Adventure Comics), making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman. It was revived in 2009 by writer Geoff Johns with the Conner Kent incarnation of Superboy headlining the title's main feature, and the Legion of Super-Heroes in the back-up story. It returned to its original numbering with #516 (September 2010). The series finally ended with #529 (October 2011), prior to DC's The New 52 company reboot as a result of the Flashpoint storyline.

Cyclotron

A cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator invented by Ernest O. Lawrence in 1929-1930 at the University of California, Berkeley, and patented in 1932. A cyclotron accelerates charged particles outwards from the center along a spiral path. The particles are held to a spiral trajectory by a static magnetic field and accelerated by a rapidly varying (radio frequency) electric field. Lawrence was awarded the 1939 Nobel prize in physics for this invention.Cyclotrons were the most powerful particle accelerator technology until the 1950s when they were superseded by the synchrotron, and are still used to produce particle beams in physics and nuclear medicine. The largest single-magnet cyclotron was the 4.67 m (184 in) synchrocyclotron built between 1940 and 1946 by Lawrence at the University of California at Berkeley, which could accelerate protons to 730 million electron volts (MeV). The largest cyclotron is the 17.1 m (56 ft) multimagnet TRIUMF accelerator at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia which can produce 500 MeV protons.

Over 1200 cyclotrons are used in nuclear medicine worldwide for the production of radionuclides.

Jimmy Olsen

James Bartholomew Olsen, better known as Jimmy Olsen, is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Olsen is a young photojournalist working for the Daily Planet. He is close friends with Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman, and has a good working relationship with his boss Perry White. Olsen looks up to his coworkers as role models and parent figures.

Jimmy Olsen first appeared around the Golden Age of Comic Books. In the Silver Age, he starred in the humor comic book series, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen.

He has appeared in most other media adaptations of Superman. He was portrayed by Tommy Bond in the two Superman film serials, Superman (1948) and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950). Jack Larson played the character on the Adventures of Superman television show. Marc McClure in the Superman films of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the 1984 film Supergirl. Michael Landes in the first season of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Justin Whalin in the subsequent three seasons. Sam Huntington in the 2006 film Superman Returns, Aaron Ashmore in The CW's Smallville and Michael Cassidy in the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In the series Supergirl, he is portrayed by Mehcad Brooks.

Joe Shuster

Joseph Shuster (; July 10, 1914 – July 30, 1992) was a Canadian-American comic book artist best known for co-creating the DC Comics character Superman, with writer Jerry Siegel, in Action Comics #1 (cover-dated June 1938).

Shuster was involved in a number of legal battles over ownership of the Superman character. His comic book career after Superman was relatively unsuccessful, and by the mid-1970s Shuster had left the field completely due to partial blindness.

He and Siegel were inducted into both the comic book industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2005, the Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards Association instituted the Joe Shuster Awards, named to honor the Canada-born artist.

Jor-El

Jor-El, originally known as Jor-L, is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, Jor-El first appeared in a newspaper comic strip in 1939 with Superman.

A Kryptonian, Jor-El is Superman's biological father, the husband of Lara, and a leading scientist on the planet Krypton before its destruction. He foresaw the planet's fate but was unable to convince his colleagues in time to save the inhabitants. Jor-El was able to save his infant son Kal-El (Superman) by sending him in a homemade spaceship towards Earth just moments before Krypton exploded. After constructing his Fortress of Solitude, Superman honored his biological parents with a statue of Jor-El and Lara holding up a globe of Krypton.

Lara (comics)

Lara (née Lara Lor-Van) is a fictional character who appears in Superman comics published by DC Comics. Lara is the biological mother of Superman, and the wife of scientist Jor-El. Lara Lor-Van is Lara's full maiden name, as "Lor-Van" is the name of Lara's father. Most depictions of Kryptonian culture show that Kryptonian women use their father's full name as their last names before marriage. After marriage, they usually are known simply by their first names, though various versions show they use their husband's full name or last name as their married last name.Lara's role in the Superman mythos has varied over the years, with her treatment and emphasis often depending on the decade she was written in. Golden Age and early Silver Age stories treated Lara in a lesser role compared to her husband. However, stories from the 1970s onwards depict Lara in more prominent roles; one such example is the 2004 miniseries Superman: Birthright.

After constructing his Fortress of Solitude, Superman honored his deceased biological parents with a statue of Jor-El and Lara holding up a globe of their native planet Krypton.

Sheldon Mayer

Sheldon Mayer (; April 1, 1917 – December 21, 1991) was an American comics artist, writer, and editor. One of the earliest employees of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's National Allied Publications, Mayer produced almost all of his comics work for the company that would become known as DC Comics.

He is among those credited with rescuing the unsold Superman comic strip from the rejection pile.

Mayer was inducted into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2000. Mayer is not to be confused with fellow Golden Age comics professional Sheldon Moldoff.

Supergirl (comic book)

Supergirl is the name of seven comic book series published by DC Comics, featuring various characters of the same name. The majority of the titles feature Superman's cousin Kara Zor-El.

Superman

Superman is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the character first appeared in Action Comics #1 on April 18, 1938 which marked the rise of the Golden Age of Comic Books.Ever since his inception, Superman has been depicted as an hero that that originated the planet Krypton and named Kal-El. As a baby, he was sent to Earth in a small spaceship by his biological family, Jor-El and Lara, moments before Krypton was destroyed in a natural cataclysm. His ship landed in the American countryside; he was found and adopted by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent near the small town of Smallville, who named him Clark Kent. Clark displayed various superhuman abilities from the start as a young boy, such as incredible strength and impervious skin. His foster parents advised him to use his abilities for the benefit of humanity, and he decided to fight crime as a vigilante. To protect his privacy, he changes into a colorful costume and uses the alias "Superman" when fighting crime. Clark Kent resides in the fictional American city of Metropolis in his adult life, where he works as a journalist for the Daily Planet disguising himself among the people there. Commonly depicted supporting characters of Superman are depicted as residing in Metropolis such as prominent love interest of Superman, Lois Lane, good friend of Superman, Jimmy Olsen, and Daily Planet chief editor Perry White. He has many foes such as his classic enduring archenemy, the genius inventor Lex Luthor. He is a friend of many other superheroes in the DC Universe, such as Batman and Wonder Woman.

Although Superman was not the first superhero character, he popularized the superhero genre and defined its conventions. He remains the best selling superhero in comic books of all time and endured as one of the most lucrative franchises even outside of comic books. He is generally regarded as the greatest superhero / comic book character of all time.

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane is an American comic book series published monthly by DC Comics. The series focusing on the adventures of Lois Lane began publication with a March/April 1958 cover date and ended its run in September/October 1974, with 137 regular issues and two 80-page Annuals. Following the similar themed Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane was the second comic series based on a Superman supporting character.

At the peak of its popularity in 1962, Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane was the third best-selling comic book in the United States, surpassed only by Superman and Superboy in sales.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen is an American comic book series published by DC Comics from September–October 1954 until March 1974, spanning a total of 163 issues. Featuring the adventures of Superman supporting character Jimmy Olsen, it contains stories often of a humorous nature.

Superman vol. 2

Superman was an ongoing comic book series featuring the DC Comics superhero of the same name. The second volume of the previous ongoing Superman title, the series was published from cover dates January 1987 to April 2006, and ran for 228 issues (226 monthly issues and two issues published outside the concurrent numbering). This series was launched after John Byrne revamped the Superman character in 1986 in The Man of Steel limited series, introducing the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths version of the Superman character.

After that limited series, Action Comics returned to publication and Superman vol. 2, #1 was published. The original Superman series (volume 1) became The Adventures of Superman starting with issue #424. Superman vol. 2 continued publishing until April 2006 at which point DC restored The Adventures of Superman to its original title and canceled the second Superman series.

The Superman Family

The Superman Family was an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1974 to 1982 featuring supporting characters in the Superman comics. The term "Superman Family" is often used to refer to the extended cast of characters of comics books associated with Superman. A similarly titled series Superman Family Adventures was launched in 2012.

Timeline of DC Comics (1930s)

DC Comics would be created in the 1930s. The publishing company would help pioneer American Comic Books into what what they are in the modern day. It would start by National Comics Publications in 1934. Other companies like Quality Comics and Fawcett Comics would debut before being purchased by DC. DC would help create characters like Superman, Batman and Sandman which would stick around for the DC Universe. Anthology comic book series (like Adventure Comics, Detective Comics and Action Comics series) would help pave the groundwork for more stories to come.

Torstar Syndication Services

Torstar Syndication Services is an operating division of Star Media Group led by the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper. (Star Media Group is a division of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited, a Torstar Company.)

Torstar Syndication Services provides value-added services to publishers, companies, governments and consumers by collecting, packaging and distributing content. Activities also include managing content rights, and marketing and licensing content similar to King Features Syndicate. It supplies news, syndicated features, comic strips, photos, and graphics to more than 500 daily and weekly newspapers in Canada and worldwide. All content is collected, packaged and distributed by Torstar news editors.

Wayne Boring

Wayne Boring (June 5, 1905 – February 20, 1987) was an American comic book artist best known for his work on Superman from the late 1940s to 1950s. He occasionally used the pseudonym Jack Harmon.

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