Siegel and Shus­ter’s Fun­ny­man: The First Jew­ish Super­hero From the Cre­ators of Superman

Thomas Andrae and Mel Gor­don, eds; Dan­ny Fin­geroth, fwd.

  • Review
By – September 26, 2011

Hop­ing to earn back some of the mil­lions of dol­lars they lost when they sold the rights to Super­man for just $130, Jer­ry Siegel and Joe Shus­ter poured their ener­gies and bit­ter­ness into cre­at­ing a new char­ac­ter that they hoped would take the world by storm. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Fun­ny­man, the come­di­an-turned­crime­fight­er intro­duced in 1948, failed to nab the hearts of read­ers. After just six com­ic book issues and a hand­ful of Sun­day and dai­ly strips, the hero mod­eled after actor Dan­ny Kaye fad­ed into obliv­ion. Thank­ful­ly, edi­tors Andrae and Gor­don have rec­ti­fied the sit­u­a­tion with the pub­li­ca­tion of Fun­ny­man. Read­ers can now turn to one source to see col­or repro­duc­tions of Fun­ny­man com­ic books, dailies, and Sun­day strips, as well as a com­pre­hen­sive look at the char­ac­ter­is­tics and his­to­ry of Jew­ish humor. Along the way, fans are giv­en a close-up look at the per­son­al lives of Siegel and Shus­ter, and faith­ful read­ers are entrust­ed with the secret iden­ti­ty of the Jew­ish strong­man who inspired the cre­ation of Super­man. A must-have book for the true com­ic book enthu­si­ast, Fun­ny­man is bound to teach, inspire, and enter­tain for years to come.

Wendy Was­man is the librar­i­an & archivist at the Cleve­land Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry in Cleve­land, Ohio.

Discussion Questions