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Flatiron Hot! News | July 22, 2017

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Superman at 75: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster and the Jewish Roots of the Man of Steel at the Center for Jewish History

Superman at 75: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster and the Jewish Roots of the Man of Steel at the Center for Jewish History
Eric Shapiro

Did you know Superman was Jewish? Well, not quite, but his creators, comic book giants Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, certainly were, and they imbued the world’s first superhero with more than a little bit of Jewish identity.

On January 27th, the Center for Jewish History hosted an event titled “Superman at 75: Celebrating America’s Most Enduring Hero,” consisting of a presentation by author Larry Tye and a panel discussion/Q&A session with some of the world’s foremost authorities on the Man of Steel.

In his keynote address, Larry Tye, the author of New York Times best seller, Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero,  gave an enlightening presentation on the many ways Superman has embodied the American experience since his debut in 1938.

Later, David Weiss, whose father served as Superman artist Joe Shuster’s visual inspiration for Clark Kent and his caped alter ego, took the stage to tell the fascinating story of how one of America’s most recognizable icons ties into his own family legacy.

The Model for Superman …

Finally, a panel of Superman experts including Jim Shooter, Jenette Kahn, Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson Brown and Sam Norich were on hand to discuss various elements of Superman and his cultural impact in the 75 years since his historic first appearance in Detective Comic’s (now known as DC) Action Comics #1.  Tye, along with his panel of experts, proceeded to comment on Superman’s obvious (and less obvious) sources of inspiration for his creators — from the biblical story of Moses and Exodus regarding Superman’s escape from Krypton, to the concept of Superman as a “Christ” figure, to the needs of the nerdy creators Siegel and Shuster to imagine “Superman” as their ultimate wish fullfillment as bullied youngsters in Cleveland.  All the panelists agreed that the one constant for Superman throughout the years has been that he is the ultimate “good guy”– through all the stylistic incarnations of the Man of Steel, everybody knows that he is on our side!

Larry Tye at CJH -

Larry Tye at CJH – “Superman at 75”

More details forthcoming!