Sunday, June 18, 2006

Superboy 1940

Surprising bit of arcana concerning the early days of Superman that may be of interest especially to people curious about the ongoing litigation involving the Siegel family and the ownership of Superboy. It seems that the name "Superboy" was being used by the owners and promoters of Superman as early as 1940, when a Superman Day was held at the New York World's Fair. Long-time fans and collectors may know that a special World's Fair comic book featuring Superman was published, but many may not know that a Superboy and Supergirl, selected from real live boys and girls, were crowned on July 4, 1940.

Recently, the website Superman Through the Ages was contacted by Bill Aronis, who states in a letter that he was selected as "superboy" for a day by a panel consisting of Charles Atlas and other celebrities as part of a promotion for Superman comics. 15 at the time, Aronis responded to an ad on the back of a Superman comic and was chosen from among hundred of other applicants. He received a trophy and a tour of the National offices and met some of the creative talent behind the comic book.

The use of the name Superboy for this event predates Superboy's actual comic book debut in More Fun Comics #101 by 5 years. The use of the name Supergirl (won by Maureen Reynolds) predates the appearance of the comic book Supergirl by 18 years (the so-called "Magic Totem Super-Girl" from a story in Superman #123 or by 9 years (the so-called "Lucy Regent Supergirl Story" in Superboy #5 published in 1949), depending on which history you subscribe to.

Recently, the heirs of writer Jerry Siegel, who created Superman with cartoonist Joe Shuster, succeeded in winning co-copyright of the character Superboy. The Siegels argue that the concept and name of Superboy, and the idea for stories of a teenaged Superman, were invented by Siegel before he entered the army in 1943 (Siegel submitted Superboy concepts to National/Detective beginning in 1938, shortly after Action Comics #1 was published).

Read the full story here:

1940 New York Times Superman Day Article

photo above: the first Superboy?

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