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Permanus
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2005, 10:07:58 PM »

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Swan's stuff is more in the style of classic illustrators...more polished, more delicate, more pleasing to the eye.

I love, always have loved and probably always will love Swan's Superman. I grew up on it, and quickly learned to spot which inkers had been on his pencils. My favourites were Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell, and Francisco Chiaramonte grew on me too. There was, as you say, something very delicate about Swan's rendition: he was just as comfortable depicting rather laid-back scenes showing Clark Kent at work, chatting to people, as he was with the action scenes.

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I have the opposite view: with all due respect to Jerry and Joe, the vision of Superman that won over most of the world is one fashioned by Bob Maxwell, Whit Ellsworth, Mort Weisinger, Curt Swan, Wayne Boring, George Reeves, Ed Hamilton, Otto Binder, Christopher Reeve, et al.

Yep. Superman is very much a horse designed by a committee, though the original premise is of course still Siegel and Shuster, and remains unchanged.

Superman is like any character that has been appropriated so widely: there is a sort of shared notion of who he is that is completely different from what the purist might think. It's like Sherlock Holmes and his deerstalker: in the Conan Doyle stories, he only wore it in the countryside (no Victorian gentleman would walk around London in that getup), but film, TV and other adaptations have changed that perception.

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I think comics historians have a hard time accepting that anything worthwhile can be created by committee


Oh! You already used the word "committee". I thought I was being all smart and original. Well, I agree with you -- while I have a lot of fondness for Siegel and Shuster's Superman, I really prefer the later stuff. (Well, apart from all the frantic John Byrne Stalinist Revisionism, to be honest.)
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llozymandias
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2005, 01:19:34 AM »

Nightwing; sorry about the "intellectual dishonesty" remark".  It just irked me that you seemed to be giving George Brewer/Bessolo/Reeves & Christopher Reeve creator credit for the silver-age Superman while denying it to Jerry Siegel.  I see i overreacted.  There are those (including Permanus, it seems) who believe that Jerry Siegel had no involvement past 1947.  And even others who seem to give Siegel & Shuster no credit for anything after the story in Action Comics #1.  Some sources state that Jerry Siegel was actually the sole creator of Superman.  Seigel & Shuster are the ones who should get full credit for creating Superman.  The mythos itself i credit to the writers & artists (& some of the editors).
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2005, 01:33:32 AM »

Wait til the K-Metal story is finished...it might help solidify the original Siegel vision, and a totally different outcome than what he thought...talk about hypertime...
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TELLE
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2005, 07:15:06 AM »

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I've noticed a lot of comics historians (Steranko, et al) tend to pooh-pooh any post-Shuster Superman art as boring and pedestrian.  This seems to be based on the academician's view that comics exist in their purest form only while in the hands of their originators.  Thus, where I would judge Joe Shuster's work as crude and unschooled (albeit fun), the historian sees it as definitive...anything rough or ugly about it is all intentional and integral to the character, from their point of view.


Well, Jones is pretty dismissive of Shuster as well, while crediting him with the essential combination of unschooled cartoonishness and earnest proletarian love of the material that made Superman "believable" initially.  But he is quick to point out that the character and the mythos quickly outgrew Joe's skills.  For myself, I don't see the necessity of the evolution, as much as I love Swan, et al (ie, more than Shuster, mostly).

There is room in my worldview for both styles of Superman (this is why Earth-2 is such a great concept).

Jones has written eloquently on Silver Age artists elsewhere, so it seems he is more intent on proving a thesis by selectively ignoring the great art of the 50s-60s.  It would be interesting to read his chapters on Siegel's "Second Act" as part of the Great Comic Book Heroes, his book on the birth of the Silver Age.
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nightwing
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2005, 07:13:04 PM »

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Nightwing; sorry about the "intellectual dishonesty" remark". It just irked me that you seemed to be giving George Brewer/Bessolo/Reeves & Christopher Reeve creator credit for the silver-age Superman while denying it to Jerry Siegel. I see i overreacted. There are those (including Permanus, it seems) who believe that Jerry Siegel had no involvement past 1947. And even others who seem to give Siegel & Shuster no credit for anything after the story in Action Comics #1. Some sources state that Jerry Siegel was actually the sole creator of Superman. Seigel & Shuster are the ones who should get full credit for creating Superman. The mythos itself i credit to the writers & artists (& some of the editors).


No problem, I just wanted to make sure you knew where I was coming from.  I don't mind people thinking I'm all wet, I just want to make sure they know what I said first.  :lol:

One nice thing about Jones' book is that he does NOT take the easy way out and portray Jerry and Joe as a couple of poor schmuck kids steam-rollered by the DC monster.  Sure, there's a bit of that at work, but real life is a lot more complex than the tidy mythology that's sprung up around these two.  Jones shows how Jerry shot himself in the foot with poor decisions, paranoia and a lack of social skills.  Reading the book you really want to wince as you watch Jerry continually rub Jack Leibowitz and Harry Donenfeld the wrong way and set himself up for the fall of a lifetime.  Plus, in Jones' account, Jerry was an opportunist who saw Joe's art for what it was...limited...and was very much ready to leave his partner behind if that's what it took to succeed.  In fact, if anyone comes off as a real victim in Jones' account it's poor old Joe, who seems to have been in over his head from Day One and never really stood up for himself  to anyone, even Jerry.

Frankly, I love Jerry's Silver Age contributions and I wish he could've done more (but again, he tangled with DC and got tossed out for good).

And I'm not necessarily giving George Reeves credit for the SA Superman...he preceded the Silver Age...or Chris Reeve, who came after it!  My point is that the average man on the street doesn't know Silver from Bronze from Gold, but what he does know he probably learned from the the Adventures of Superman, Superfriends, the filmation cartoons or the Reeve movies.  And most of us who do care about comics are far too young to have read Action #1 the month it hit the stands; our Superman is very different.  Jerry and Joe started the ball rolling, but if the character had remained exclusively under their control, he may well have sputtered out by war's end, to be remembered as a fad like bobby socks and plane-spotter cards.
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llozymandias
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2005, 11:05:45 PM »

Sometimes in real life neither party of a lawsuit (or other kind of conflict) is the "bad guy".  Or the "good guy" for that matter.  They both believe they are "in the right" & the other guy is wrong.  These conflicts are usually so heated & bitter because neither side wants to listen to each other.  They just talk at each other.  I'm right, you are wrong & evil.  To a uninvolved 3rd party the invectives from both sides can sound like stereo.  I wonder, if things would have been all that different if Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster were the businessmen while Jack Liebowitz & Harry Donenfeld were the creators of Superman.  There would most likely be stories about how the evil Jerry & Joe stole Superman from the pure, innocent, naive Jack & Harry.
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2005, 03:33:18 AM »

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in Jones' account, Jerry was an opportunist who saw Joe's art for what it was...limited...and was very much ready to leave his partner behind if that's what it took to succeed


Abd the creation of the Spectre is an example of that.  Jones tells that story from an angle I'd never considered.  Although many of those Spectre stories are not exactly "improvements" on Shuster --perfect candidates for "outsider art" status to rival Fletcher Hanks.

It really is a great book, giving the most exacting, complex version of the events surrounding the creation and subsequent exploitation of Superman ever.

Siegel's story is really one of great success, all things considered.  Given his limited skills, personality, and initial inexperience, he carved out a unique life in the annals of American culture.  With imagination, determination, luck, a partner, and financial backing, he gave the world Superman.  And with experience and age, he created great art in the Silver Age.  From what I understand, he also left behind a loving family.
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