Friday, January 7, 2022

Review of "The Artist Behind Superman: The Joe Shuster Story," by Julian Voloj and Thomas Campi

 Review of

The Artist Behind Superman: The Joe Shuster Story, by Julian Voloj and Thomas Campi ISBN 9781629917771

Five out of five stars

A tale of struggle to get the proper credit

 One of the greatest comic book characters ever created is Superman, the character alone is a billion dollar enterprise. This icon was created by two young men named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, with Siegel doing the storylines and Shuster the artwork. Their original work was done during the depth of the Depression in the United States and at first they struggled to get the character published. Almost unknown is how much the Superman character evolved until they finally arrived on the origin from the planet Krypton.

 For decades, Siegel and Shuster received very little compensation for their creation of Superman, not even an acknowledgement that they created the character. It was only in the 1970’s that they began getting credit, both textual and financial for their creation of Superman. The success of the first Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve was the impetus for Warner Brothers to finally acknowledge that Siegel and Shuster deserved additional compensation for their creation.

 As the title suggests, this graphic novel is largely about Joe Shuster and his struggles, although there is much about Siegel as well. It is a story of the creative energy of youth, being forced to sell for what was a pittance, being denied credit and finally receiving acknowledgement of their achievement.

 This graphic novel should be read by all people interested in the history of comics, including those that are considering making it a career. There is an enormous amount of talent in the comic book industry, yet, as this book shows, that is not enough in order to succeed. It takes a bit of business cynicism as well and in some cases, decades of persistence.

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