Joe Shuster

Joe Shuster, cartoonist (b at Toronto, 10 July 1914; d at Los Angeles, Calif, 30 June 1992) who in 1933 with writer Jerry Siegel created the Superman comic book character. In the original version Superman's mild-mannered alter ego, Clark Kent, worked for the Daily Star, which was patterned after the Toronto Star. The newspaper's name in the strip was changed later to The Daily Planet.

Shuster, first cousin of comedian Frank Shuster (see WAYNE AND SHUSTER), moved to Cleveland, Ohio, with his family when he was nine years old. He studied art at John Huntington Polytechnical Institute and the Cleveland School of Art, where he met his collaborator, Siegel. The pair began publishing science fiction magazines and in 1936 broke into the comic book business by drawing lackluster adventure tales. Shuster's illustrations were rudimentary but well conceived.

In 1938 the duo sold Superman for $130 to Action Comics, but failed to copyright the character. They were paid to draw the series as staffers until 1947 when the Man of Steel became the most famous hero in comic book history. When they sued for a more equitable percentage of royalties, they were fired and Shuster stopped drawing completely. By the mid-1970s he was blind and living in a an apartment in Queens, NY. When the first Superman movie, starring Christopher Reeve, made $82.5 million, Siegel sued, and DC comics restored their creators' credits and agreed to pay each of them $20 000 a year for life.

See alsoCARTOONS AND COMIC STRIPS