Book looks at at Jewish roots of ‘Funnyman,’ by Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
The first superhero created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, you’ve heard of. The pair created Superman, who is often considered one of the five most famous fictional characters in the world.
They split with DC Comics over the rights to Superman in 1946, and in 1947 took their next creation, “Funnyman,” to competing publisher Magazine Enterprises. Funnyman is a slapstick superhero that resembled Danny Kaye. He failed to find much of an audience, with only six issues and a yearlong comic strip to his name before fading into oblivion. Siegel and Shuster never worked together again.
Authors Thomas Andrae and Mel Gordon look at the creation and antecedents of this character in “Siegel and Shuster’s Funnyman: The First Jewish Superhero, from the Creators of Superman.” The book, set for release in July, explores the inspirations for Funnyman, by looking at the history of Jewish humor. They also provide a particular Jewish tie-in for Superman: 1920s strongman Siegmund Breitbart, who was billed as a “Superman of Strength” at a 1923 event in Cleveland, where Siegel then lived.
In addition to the essays, the book collects 35 pages of the “Funnyman” comic book stories, 11 Sunday strips and 57 daily comic strips. Synopses are included for the non-collected comic books and some of the strips.
The assertion of the title – that Funnyman was the first Jewish superhero — isn’t specifically supported, though the use of Yiddish terms by Funnyman is a good way to make that argument.
In the comic, Funnyman was TV comedian Larry Davis, who dresses as a superhero for a publicity stunt. But when he encounters a real criminal instead, he uses practical joke techniques to bring him down. Davis enjoys fighting crime, he decides, and goes on fighting crime in a clown suit, cracking jokes all the while, as “Funnyman.”
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 46110Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 14982Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms drink in success of 'Hangover' series
- 9556Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 8109Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 7765Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 7102Rock, pop, country acts give talents and time to help Oklahoma tornado victims
- 7082Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena
- 6778Carrie Underwood donates $1 million to Red Cross for disaster relief in wake of deadly Oklahoma tornadoes
- 6425Story behind the photo: Family members describe desperate search for one another after EF5 twister
- 5726How to help tornado victims
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients