The son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania, Siegel was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of six children. His father Mitchell was a sign painter who opened a haberdashery and encouraged his son's artistic inclinations. Tragically, his father was shot and killed in his store by a thief when Jerry Siegel was still in junior high school.
Siegel was a fan of movies, comic strips, and especially of science fiction pulp fiction. He became active in what would become known as fandom, corresponding with other science fiction fans, including a young Jack Williamson. In 1929 he published what may have been the first science fiction fanzine, Cosmic Stories, which he produced with a manual typewriter and advertised in the classified section of Science Wonder Stories. He published several other booklets over the next few years.
Siegel attended Glenville High School and worked for its weekly student newspaper, The Torch. Siegel was a shy, not particularly popular student, but he achieved a bit of fame among his peers for his popular Tarzan parody, "Goober the Mighty". At Glenville he befriended his later collaborator Joe Shuster.
He and Shuster created Superman, inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, Fleischer Studio's Popeye cartoons, the pulp magazine hero Doc Savage, and Philip Wylie's 1930 novel Gladiator, and used the character in short stories and a 1933 comic strip. In 1938 they managed to sell it to DC Comics, which put Superman on the cover of the first issue of Action Comics in June.
In 1946 the pair sued DC over rights to Superman, and after a two-year fight relinquished claim to the character in return for about $100,000. That severed their relationships with DC for a decade. Siegel became comic art director for Ziff-Davis Company in the early 1950s, and later returned to DC to write uncredited Superman stories in 1959. When he sued DC over the Superman rights again in 1963 he ended his relationship with the hero he'd created.
Siegel's later work would appear anonymously in Marvel Comics and Archie Comics. In 1968 he worked for Western Publishing, for which he wrote (along with Carl Barks) stories of the Junior Woodchucks' comic book and in 1972 he worked for Mondadori Editore on the Italian comic book Topolino, the local Disney's publication.
In 1975, Siegel launched a public-relations campaign to protest DC Comics' treatment of him and Shuster; ultimately Warner Communications, DC's parent company, awarded Siegel and Shuster $35,000 a year each for the rest of their lives and guaranteed that all comics, TV episodes, films and (later) video games starring Superman (including the popular Smallville show) would be required to state that Superman was "created by Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster."
In 1986, Siegel was invited by DC Comics' editor Julius Schwartz to write an "imaginary" final story for Superman, following the pivotal Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline and the miniseries The Man of Steel, which reintroduced Superman. Siegel declined, and the story was instead given to writer Alan Moore, and published in September 1986 in two parts (Superman #423 and Action Comics #583).
In 2005, Seigel was posthumously awarded the Bill Finger Award For Excellence In Comic Book Writing.
This entry derived in whole or in part from wikipedia.org
Date of Birth:
17 October 1914
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Date of death:
28 January 1996 Favorite Creators:
Jerome 'Jerry' Siegel is a favorite creator of 16 usersAwards:
- 1988 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Nominee - Hall of Fame
- 1991 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Nominee - Hall of Fame
- 1992 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Winner - Hall of Fame
- 2005 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Winner - Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Writing