Superman: The Genesis of a Legend

Superman painting by Hugh J. Ward

Superman is easy to take for granted. He is one of the most well-known and popular characters of all time, known by all and loved by most. It almost seems as if the colorful, caped symbol of truth, justice and the American way has simply always been around. But in true superhero fashion, he has an origin story.

It all began with Jerome “Jerry” Siegel and Joseph “Joe” Shuster, two residents of Cleveland, Ohio. Siegel had been a resident of Cleveland since birth, and Shuster (originally from Toronto, Canada) had moved there with his family when was ten years old. They had much in common: both shared the plight of being small, poor, and unpopular; both were Jewish; both were avid fans of science fiction; both had an interest in the newspaper business; and both had artistic skills and ambitions. Siegel had already written and published (using a hectograph) the science fiction fanzine Cosmic Stories. Shuster had been drawing on every piece of paper he could get his hands on for years. It seems a matter of fate that they would meet and combine their talents.

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