After the success of their first creation, Superman, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster tried to recreate the magic with Funnyman, the “first Jewish superhero.”
The failed endeavor is chronicled in a new book from Feral House, a collection of essays and images that also examines Superman’s roots in the Jewish storytelling tradition. The volume includes color reproductions of the 1948 Funnyman comic-book series, which openly referenced Jewish humor and coincided with the establishment of the new state of Israel.
In 1938, while still just teenagers, Siegel and Shuster sold the rights to Superman for $130. Ten years later, their new character, a professional comedian and superhero, appeared in his own series. While it only ran for six issues, Funnyman came at a crucial time for American Jews. And though Siegel and Shuster were never able to repeat the success of Superman, they continued to tap into the postwar zeitgeist with Funnyman — and this time, the duo kept the rights.
of your own.
Click through below for a gallery of images from the book.
Jerry Siegel, 1941
Joe Shuster, 1941
1000 Jokes Magazine #40 (October-December, 1947)