Mar 25, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 759: Siegel and Shuster: Date Line 1930s #1, Novebmer 1984

To be remembered as the creators of Superman would surely be enough legacy for most, but in the case of Siegel and Shuster it would be a disservice to a couple of talented comics creators to not acknowledge their other works. Both spent much time during the Golden and Silver ages plying their trade, even after their mishandling by DC Comics, and well after they left their most famous creation to other creators.

What makes this comic so interesting is that we see what they were getting up to before the Man of Steel. Everything they produced afterward, purposefully or no, lives in the shadow of Superman. It's virtually impossible for any mainstream comic, and certainly any superhero, to step out from that shadow. But the work in today's comic, produced in the 4 years before they sold Superman, offers tantalizing glimpses of other features that, had fortune functioned differently, might have been the one to propel these two to stardom. Many of the strips are single-page features, designed for serialization in a projected Popular Comics periodical. For the more dramatic features, this means we get a scant introduction before the "To be continued" box at the bottom of the page. There is another issue of this series, so perhaps some of the features continue. The most interesting strips are certainly the ones revolving around weird science and weird scientists - you can see where Siegel and Shuster's passions really lie. The comedy strips are well-crafted, but perhaps the intervening 80 or so years has aged the humour to a point that I don't really get it.

A cool little peek at a very important part of comics history.

To be continued.

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