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Comics A.M. | Donations sought to repair Superman displays

Superman

Superman

Organizations | The Siegel and Shuster Society is seeking donations to repair the fence surrounding the former site of Joe Shuster’s childhood home in Cleveland and to help maintain the new Superman exhibit at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The wooden fence, which is decorated with large metal plates depicting the first Superman story from Action Comics #1, was damaged early last month by a drunken driver. Repairs are expected to cost about $3,000; any additional money will be put toward future restoration. Dedicated in October, the airport’s Superman Welcoming Center has suffered wear from visitors encouraging children to pose for photographs beside the statue. The group is seeking $1,500 to fix the damage and install a barrier to keep kids off the exhibit. Donations can be made through the Cleveland Foundation. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Conventions | It’s time for the mass media to start earnestly explaining Comic-Con to their readers; here’s one that gives a quick overview of the history of the con and gathers quotes from various notables, including Marvel’s Joe Quesada, the guy who runs the Walking Dead obstacle course, and CBR’s Jonah Weiland. [The Long Beach Press-Telegram]

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Ohio drivers can get their Superman plates starting in October

superman-ohioBeginning in early October, Ohio drivers finally will be able to display Superman license plates on their cars.

It certainly hasn’t been easy. The campaign for the specialty plate commemorating the creation of the Man of Steel in 1932 by Cleveland teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster was launched in 2011 by the Siegel & Shuster Society, but ran into a couple of snags: first, objections by DC Comics and Warner Bros. to the proposed slogan “Birthplace of Superman” — he was born on Krypton, they insist — and then, more formidably, the twists and turns of the legislative process.

After a bill for the Superman plates failed to pass on its own, State Rep. Bill Patmon in April inserted the legislation into the state budget, which the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports passed last week.

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Real-world costs of ‘Man of Steel’ battle (and other Super-tidbits)

MAN OF STEEL

Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel has grossed $141.3 million domestically since its June 14 premiere, breaking the record for a June opening on its way to a $214.6 million worldwide box office. That’s not bad for four days’ work. Of course, the franchise reboot had an estimated $225 million production budget, plus another $150 million for marketing and distribution, so Zack Snyder & Co. still have a way to go.

Clearly the film has legs, which means plenty of more Superman stories online and in print. Here are just a handful of them (warning: potential spoilers!):

BuzzFeed turned to Watson Technical Consulting to calculate the real-life toll Man of Steel’s sprawling battle between Superman and General Zod would take on Metropolis — or, in this case, New York City — both in terms of money and human life. The disaster experts paint a grim picture in the days following the fight: 129,000 known dead, more than 250,000 missing (most of whom would’ve also died) and nearly 1 million injured. The strictly physical damage is pegged at $700 million, compared to 9/11′s $55 billion (with a further economic impact of $123 billion). The overall damage would be about $2 trillion.

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‘This case is by no means over,’ vows lawyer in Superman battle

From Action Comics #1

From Action Comics #1

Despite a series of seemingly definitive decisions in DC Comics’ favor, the nearly decade-long legal fight over the rights to Superman continues, with the estate of co-creator Joe Shuster asking an appeals court just three weeks ago to overturn a ruling barring the family from reclaiming the artist’s stake in the Man of Steel. At the center of the battle is tenacious and controversial attorney Marc Toberoff, the longtime nemesis of Warner Bros. who represents the heirs of Shuster and his collaborator Jerry Siegel.

He’s the subject of a lengthy feature in the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, in which he pledges he’ll take the Superman dispute to the Supreme Court, if necessary. “This case is by no means over,” he tells the magazine. “My clients and I are prepared to go the distance.” It’s an interesting article that’s part history lesson and part personality profile, with several tidbits (of varying importance) that I can’t recall seeing previously:

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Comics A.M. | ‘One Piece’ returns; Dubai as comics center?

One Piece, Vol. 70

One Piece, Vol. 70

Manga | The mega-popular series One Piece resumed publication in this week’s issue of Shonen Jump, after a two-week hiatus due to manga-ka Eiichiro Oda’s health problems following a tonsil infection. [Cruchyroll]

Comics | It seems like we are reading a lot about comics in the Arab world lately, and Egyptian graphic novelist Achraf Abd Elazim argues that the fourth major comics center (after New York, France and Belgium, and Japan) will be Dubai. [Your Middle East]

Comics | Michael Cavna kics off Comic Riffs’ celebration of Superman’s 75th birthday with a roundup of writers’ opinions on why the character has stood the test of time. [Comic Riffs]

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Comics A.M. | For Superman’s 75th, a look back at rights battle

Action Comics #1

Action Comics #1

Comics | To mark the 75th anniversary of Superman, and the premiere this week of Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel, Edward Helmore of The Telegraph recounts the long and bitter legal feud between DC Comics and the families of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster over the rights to to the multibillion-dollar property, a battle from which the publisher has seemingly emerged victorious. [The Telegraph]

Comics | The New York Post’s Reed Tucker has some ideas on how to “fix” comics, starting with cutting the cover price to increase sales. [Parallel Worlds]

Comics | With an exhibit of original art from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts opening in a local gallery last week, a local comic convention in the works, and a thriving comics retail scene all year round, South Florida could just be the next comics hotspot. [WLRN]

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Another car drives through fence around site of Shuster home

The plates on the fence surrounding the site of the Shuster family home (via CapedWonder)

The plates on the fence surrounding the site of the Shuster family home (via CapedWonder)

Two years after a car drove through a fence surrounding the site of Joe Shuster’s former home in Cleveland, it’s happened again.

The Plain Dealer reports that a 41-year-old Cleveland man has been charged with drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license after he allegedly drove off the street late Wednesday afternoon and plowed through the wooden fence. While a portion of the fence and seven large metal plates reprinting the first Superman story are missing, it’s unknown whether those plates are destroyed or were merely removed until repairs can be made.

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Hutchinson, Kansas, declares June 21 ‘Smallville Day’

welcome to smallvilleIt’s not exactly what three residents had in mind last year when they launched a campaign to change the name of Hutchinson, Kansas, to Smallville, but this week city council voted to proclaim June 21 as “Smallville Day” in honor of Superman.

That’s the same day the Man of Steel will be inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame, alongside “the Father of Basketball” James Naismith, the band Kansas, Menninger Clinic founders Charles, Karl and Will Menninger, and the Union Army’s 1st Regiment Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry.

The push to rename Hutchinson was begun last year by friends Ben Eisiminger, KC McNeely and Christopher Wietrick, who noticed similarities between their city and the fictional hometown of Clark Kent — among them, a similar location and population (many more are detailed in the video below). The city of 42,080 also has a Clark Road and a Kent Road.

The Hutchinson News reports that given the 75th anniversary of Superman, the looming release of Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel and the Hall of Fame induction, Wietrick thought it was a perfect time to approach the city council with the idea. Tuesday morning, the members voted unanimously in support of the “Smallville Day” proclamation, which will be read at the June 18 by Mayor Bob Bush.

On June 21 the editor and publisher of The Hutchinson News will travel to Topeka to accept Clark Kent’s induction into the Kansas Hall of Fame, alongside Laura Siegel Larson, the daughter of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel.

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Shuster estate urges appeals court to reverse Superman ruling

From Action Comics #1

From Action Comics #1

If you thought the nearly decade-long legal battle for the rights to the Man of Steel had come to an end last month, think again: On Thursday, the attorney for the Joe Shuster estate asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn an October ruling that the family was prevented from reclaiming the artist’s stake in Superman by a 20-year-old agreement with DC Comics.

At issue is a 1992 deal in which the estate relinquished all claims to the property in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” which included paying Shuster’s debts following his death earlier that year and providing his sister Jean Peavy and brother Frank Shuster with a $25,000 annual pension. On Oct. 17, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright found that the agreement invalidated a copyright-termination notice filed in 2003 by Shuster’s nephew Mark Peary. Less than three months later, the 9th Circuit overturned a 2008 decision granting the heirs of Jerry Siegel the writer’s 50-percent share of the copyright to the first Superman story in Action Comics #1, effectively granting DC full ownership of the character.

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Ohio’s Superman license plates included with state budget

superman-ohioFrustrated by the glacial pace of a bill to create a Superman license plate, an Ohio representative pinned the legislation to the state budget, which passed the House on Thursday — coincidentally, the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel.

“This is an important moment for Ohioans,” State Rep. Bill Patmon, who represents Cleveland, told The Plain Dealer. “This license plate is all about recognizing the American dream and the heroes that make it possible.”

The legislation now moves to the Senate, and then on to Gov. John Kasich for final approval. If all goes as planned, the plates will be available for purchase by Ohioans next summer.

Celebrating the creation of Man of Steel in 1932 by Cleveland teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the plates originally were intended to bear the phrase, “Birthplace of Superman,” but Warner Bros. and DC Comics objected to the slogan, insisting the superhero was born on Krypton. So instead they’ll now say “Truth, Justice & the American Way,” and sport the iconic “S” emblem.

The Siegel and Shuster Society began the push for the plate in 2011. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the specialty plates will go to the group to fund Superman projects.

Judge rules DC Comics owns Superboy rights

superboyEven as Cleveland’s mayor proclaimed April 18 “Superman Day” to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the release of Action Comics #1, a federal judge effectively brought to an end the lengthy legal battle for the rights to the Man of Steel.

Deadline reports that on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Otis Wright granted summary judgment to DC Comics, declaring that a 2001 agreement with the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel included the rights to Superboy and advertisements for Action Comics #1. Those two issues had been left unresolved in a January decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturning a 2008 ruling that the family had successfully reclaimed a portion of Siegel’s copyright to the first Superman story under a provision of the 1976 Copyright Act.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Happy anniversary, Lois Lane

A Lois Lane sequence from Action Comics #1, by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Three panels which helped define a legend (from Action Comics #1, by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster)

Seventy-five years ago, on or about April 18, 1938, the company that would become DC Comics published the first issue (cover-dated June 1938) of a new anthology series. Today, Action Comics #1 is remembered mainly (and justifiably so) for introducing Superman.

Naturally, many of the elements and concepts from that first Superman story have changed over time. In Action #1, all we see of Krypton is its final fate. Pa Kent doesn’t have a first name, and Clark works for the Daily Star. There’s no Lex Luthor, no Jimmy Olsen, no Kryptonite, and no Superboy. Even Superman’s powers pale in comparison to what they would become.

However, two characters are already fleshed out pretty well, with motivations and dynamics instantly recognizable to today’s readers. One, of course, is Clark Kent, who creates the Superman identity to “turn his titanic strength into channels that would benefit mankind,” and who hides that strength behind a pair of glasses and a meek demeanor.

The other is Lois Lane.

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Cleveland mayor declares April 18 ‘Superman Day’

The plates on the fence surrounding the site of the Shuster family home (via CapedWonder)

The plates on the fence surrounding the site of the Shuster family home (via CapedWonder)

Someone, somewhere determined that on April 18, 1938 — it was a Monday, if you’re interested — Action Comics #1 arrived on newsstands, delivering riveting tales of Tex Thompson, Zatara the Master Magician and Scooby the Five-Star Reporter, and oh, yeah, introducing the world to Superman, Lois Lane and Krypton. It’s an issue that essentially gave birth to the superhero genre, and set the course of the fledgling comic-book industry.

Although DC Comics doesn’t appear to be marking the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel, the city where teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the character is, beginning in about an hour. At 1 p.m. ET, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson will present the Siegel and Shuster Society with a proclamation on the steps of City Hall declaring today “Superman Day.”

To commemorate the event, a Superman flag will be raised, and the lights on City Hall and the Terminal Tower (familiar to anyone how watched The Avengers) will be turned blue, red and yellow. In addition, Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport will have cupcakes for travelers, and a birthday card for the Last Son of Krypton at its recently installed Superman Welcoming Center.

Cleveland newspaper celebrates Superman’s 75th anniversary

superman-plain dealerFollowing the video on Friday, The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of Superman kicked into high gear Sunday with seven more stories, including a front-page feature.

Superman was, of course, created in 1933 by teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who lived in the city’s Glenville neighborhood (spotlighted in that Friday video), and then sold in 1938 to Detective Comics. The newspaper’s anniversary coverage includes:

Interviews with fans traveling to Cleveland to mark the occasion

A timeline (of sorts, although it’s more like a game board) of Superman’s 75-year history, from his arrival on Earth to his first encounter with Beppo to his relaunch in DC Comics’ New 52

A more in-depth chronicle of Superman’s journey

A rundown of the Superman-related events planned over the next few months

A Superman quiz

An interview with Brad Ricca, author of the upcoming Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster — the Creators of Superman

A video explaining everything you want to know about kryptonite in just 90 seconds

In addition to all of that, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has proclaimed Thursday “Superman Day.”

Cleveland newspaper takes Superman back to his roots

Jerry Siegel's former home in Cleveland

Jerry Siegel’s former home in Cleveland

Kicking off its celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel, The Plain Dealer has released a video that traces Superman’s Cleveland roots, from the character’s creation by teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in the city’s Glenville neighborhood to the studio they later established that employed local artists like John Sikela, Leo Nowak, Ed Dobrotka and Hi Mankin.

Over the next few days, the newspaper will roll out more Superman content, including a 90-second video about kryptonite, the full story of the character’s creation, and an illustrated timeline.

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