Friday, April 17, 2009

Co-creator of Superman has S&M comic past

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 10:27 AM

Check out this interesting story on Craig Yoe's new book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-creator Joe Shuster. It highlights Shuster's fetish and S&M heavy comic works.

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In a compelling feat of literary sleuthing, Craig Yoe’s new book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster, manages to shed light on an obscure segment of a seminal comics creator’s career while simultaneously unearthing long-forgotten illegal works that played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Comics Code Authority, an agency created by the comics industry in 1954 that aggressively censored and monitored comics content for many years. Abrams ComicArts publishes Secret Identity this month and will support the book with a series of signing events with the author in New York City and the Washington D.C. area.

Along with writer Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster created a cultural icon in Superman in the late 1930s only to naively sell away the rights to their epochal brainchild for a pittance to the company that would later become DC Comics. And while the co-creators were highly paid for their work during Superman’s early years, the pair’s subsequent misfortunes—the two watched as their creation reaped millions—have become part of cautionary lore for each successive generation of comics creators. What has remained lost to the public due to the passage of time was Shuster’s dire financial straights leading in 1954 to his participation in the creation of Nights of Horror, an illustrated sixteen-booklet series of lurid and illegal S&M pornography. Fronted by racketeer Eddie Mishkin, a Jewish pornographer with alleged ties to the Gambino crime family, Nights of Horror spun wild tales of discipline, torture, lesbianism and all manner of activities universally referred to as perversions at the time of publication, and Shuster, working uncredited, provided the illustrations. Read more here.

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