Thursday, September 6, 2012

People you may know: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and Bill Finger

Though Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and Bill Finger began making heroic history at the same time, I know of only a couple of concrete overlaps between the Boys of Steel and Bill the Boy Wonder.

At the sunrise of Superman, Jerry and Joe lived in Cleveland, but did go to New York to meet with people at what became DC Comics. I don’t know how often but do know that Jerry and Joe were friends with Jerry Robinson who was a good friend of Finger’s; both Robinson and Finger lived in New York. In the 1940s, Jerry and a couple of other cartoonists he lived with had parties and all of them would’ve been there at one time or another. I was sure to acknowledge this in Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman.

Also, there’s this:

Joanne Siegel…mentions that Bill Finger used to try and borrow money from her husband in washrooms, bringing the magic of a life in the comics industry into keen focus for the younger generation in attendance.

Tragic and almost mean-spirited as it is, the way the writer phrased this did make me chuckle.

While we’re pulling back the curtain, here is another way in which the three men overlapped.

Somewhat related, onetime Batman ghost artist Lew Sayre Schwartz told me a great (and potentially history-changing) story about how Jerry and Joe tried to get Bob Kane to go in with them on a lawsuit against DC in the 1940s. Lew was at Bob’s when Jerry and Joe showed up and he overheard some of the attempt. Bob infamously declined, and went on to get rich on Batman his own way. I hope someone recorded the full story before Lew passed away in 2011.

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