Seventy-five years ago, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created a character that they called "Super-Man." That's right, there was a 'dash' between the 'super' and the 'man' all those years ago. The two worked on the character throughout their childhood for six years aiming for perfection.
When Superman finally hit newsstands on April 18, 1938, the superhero world was forever changed. That first Action Comics #1 issue featured Shuster and Siegel's Super-Man, and it was a smash hit.
The two built their Super-Man character based on images from Edgar Rice Burrough's ‘John Carter;’ the Bible's ‘Samson;’ and Henry W. Ralston's ‘Doc Savage.’ Superman combined all the best parts from these heroes and became the "Man of Steel" that he is today.
Here's a bit of the Superman story that you might not have known: Shuster and Siegel's fathers got together and decided to make some money from the boys' superhero. The families were offered $130 in 1938 for the copyright of Superman.
Guess what? Back in 1938, $130 was a lot of money -- and the U.S. was just emerging from The Great Depression. So, the deal was made, and the two never saw another penny from their super creation.
To date, the estates of Siegel and Shuster are trying to get back the rights to the Superman franchise. But, battling a company like Warner Brothers is hard to do. Plus, the copyright was legally sold (albeit by the fathers of the two creators, and not by the actual creators).
Superman has been redrawn, his story added to, and his character analyzed for 75 event-filled years. Even though Siegel and Shuster never anticipated such success, Superman is still one of the most loved and recognized superheroes to date.
We think Superman (in any form) looks pretty darn good in his 75th year. Happy Birthday, Kal-El!