365 Reasons to Love Comics #121
Eh-pril showers bring M-eh flowers! Let’s continue our look at Canada’s finest with a reverent tribute to a Canadian-born creator who majorly influenced the entire comics medium.
121. Joe Shuster
Joe is the co-creator of Superman, of course, along with Jerry Siegel. Without these two guys, we probably wouldn’t have a comics industry these days. That’s not all they did, of course– they’re also the creators of Slam Bradley and Dr. Occult, of whom I’ve written before– but Superman is clearly their most prominent work. Here’s a page from a Slam feature:
Joe didn’t live in Canada long, as he and his family moved to Cleveland when he was 10– but he was born in Toronto, where he worked as a paper boy (The Toronto Star was the inspiration for Golden Age Superman’s Daily Star). Metropolis would be modeled after the city of Toronto.
The story of Joe’s life, the creation of Superman, his and Jerry’s battle over the rights, and everything to do with DC’s treatment of them, has been written about everywhere, and many of you probably know the details better than I do. Thankfully, DC reinstated the “created by” credit and gave the pair a lifetime pension in the 70’s. By that point, Joe was legally blind and suffering financial difficulties. DC finally got around to doing the right thing. Good for them.
Supermanartists.org delves into the work, style, and studio of Joe Shuster quite a bit. It’s a good read, so I encourage you to visit the link.
In 2005, the Joe Shuster Awards were created to mark achievements by Canadians in the field of comics. Our friends Darwyn Cooke, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Kaare Andrews have all won. This is a brilliant idea for an award, and I’m glad to see it, and pleased it’s named after Joe.
We wouldn’t have comics without Superman, and we wouldn’t have Superman without Joe Shuster. He passed away in 1992, but his contributions to our favorite medium has made him immortal. Thank you for everything, Mr. Shuster.