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Birthday of Joe Shuster, 1914

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: July 10th, 1914




Joe Shuster was born in Toronto, Canada #onthisday. Joe Shuster, along with Jerry Siegel, created Superman which became a global phenomenon and started the trend of superheroes in comics.

In 1933, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created Superman as a villain determined to take over the world, but when they published their comic strip it gained little popularity. In 1938, Detective Comics (which became DC Comics) decided to take a chance on Superman but portrayed him as a superhero in Action Comics #1, the first stand alone comic book.


Superman amassed a large following and became the superhero in a comic strip, a comic book, a radio series, a TV show and a series of movies. Because comics were not a lucrative business in 1938, Shuster and Siegel signed over the rights to Superman for $130. When Superman took off, Shuster and Siegel sued DC Comics to regain their rights to Superman and receive a “just amount” of the profits but they were struck down in court.


Superman became famous because he was created as someone that everyone could relate to as he was just trying to fit into society. He represented the good in everyone and showed how good always triumphs over evil. He gave hope to children and adults alike which was especially necessary during WW2 which began soon after Superman debuted.


Due to the creators’ backgrounds, some read Superman as a Jewish character even going as far as to say that Superman being sent from Krypton was a parallel to the Moshe and Exodus story. They argue that the “immigrant” background of Superman parallels Shuster and Siegel’s families’ history as Jewish immigrants to Canada and America.

Superman transformed comics into a lucrative business where characters were not only portrayed in newspaper comic strips but also in books, TV shows and movies.



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