Monday, March 31, 2008

SUPERMAN Co-creator's Heirs Compensated

Well, not quite. But a Los Angeles federal judge has put Jerry Siegel's heirs on that road.

"A federal judge here [Los Angeles] on Wednesday ruled that the heirs of Jerome Siegel — who 70 years ago sold the rights to the action hero he created with Joseph Shuster to Detective Comics for $130 — were entitled to claim a share of the United States copyright to the character."

The NY Times is reported on this Saturday, but today's Journalista! has more of the history and copious links to the story.

Siegel and Shuster created Superman in the late 1930s. After trying to sell their creation to the syndicates and failing, they cut up their daily strips and pasted them onto boards to be published in Action Comics #1. They were paid $130 and became work-for-hire creators for National Periodical Publications (later named Detective Comics, or DC Comics; then, later, bought out by Time Warner). This was standard industry practice then. They watched as Superman became a licensing phenomenon, and the corporate types get rich. They would have died in poverty had not Jerry Robinson, along with the National Cartoonists Society, publicized their plight and shamed Time Warner to compensate the two men.

For more background, one of the best books to read is MEN OF TOMORROW by Gerard Jones.

1 comment:

Gary Fields said...

Mike, Thanks for visiting my blog! Been enjoying yours for a while. I've been doing gags for Nick Mag off and on for 10 years. Love the medium, but have only really done it for them. I'm afraid of all the "paperwork" of keeping track of gags/sales/etc. to do more of it. Love seeing the scans of the old gag collections and when you post your recent work!