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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Jerry Siegel

Faster than a speeding bullet!

Neil deGrasse Tyson Has Found Superman’s Home Planet Of Krypton, With Science

We here at The Mary Sue have a very fond affection for astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He’s just so cool! Well his coolness factor just went up exponentially. He’s found Krypton. 

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Things We Saw Today

Things We Saw Today: TARDIS Lockers That Might Get You Out Of Homework

Just think of the possibilities. Teacher: Sally, where’s your homework. Sally: I think it’s somewhere behind the pool, probably lost forever. But if I find it, I’ll hand it in last week. (via Nerd Approved

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Great Hera!

How To Get People To Pay $25,000 for a $400 Check: Invent Superman

Last year a pretty amazing piece of comics history surfaced from who knows where: the original check that publisher and accountant Jack Liebowitz used to pay Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster $130 when they signed over all rights to their new character Superman to Detective Comics Inc. The small piece of paper bears the signatures of Liebowitz, Siegel, and Shuster; as well as an ominous stamp from the U.S. District Court of New York dated April 6th, 1939, from when it was entered as evidence in Detective Comics, Inc. v. Bruns Publications, the first of a number of legal battles over who deserves compensation for the success of Superman that is still ongoing.

The check surfaced last year, around October, but this weekend it, like most ancient comic book memorabilia, went up for auction, and the bidding has climbed to $25,500 as of yesterday afternoon.

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Just What You've Always Wanted

Now You Can Own a Lock of Hair From the Head of Jerry Siegel, Creator of Superman

‘Tis the season for weird Superman memorabilia, and our latest installment comes courtesy of the co-creator of Superman himself, Jerry Siegel. As in, this item up for auction came right out of the head of Jerry Siegel, and it has nothing to do with his creativity. Because it’s his hair. Comic Connect is auctioning off locks of Jerry Siegel’s hair.

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Not all that glitters is gold

The Check That Bought Superman

On March 1st, 1938, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were paid a sum of $130 by Detective Comics Inc. for the complete rights and ownership of a possibly promising but odd new science fiction adventure hero they’d just invented and named Superman. You can see in the above check, soon to go up on the auction block at Comic Connect, both Siegel and Shuster’s names (Siegel spelled incorrectly by co-owner and accountant Jack Liebowitz) and a tally of the money owed to them for the June issue of Detective Comics, and work for Adventure Comics and More Fun Comics.

This check represents the business transaction that sparked the explosion of American superhero comics, without which the American comics industry would be, for better or for worse, completely unrecognizable. It also represents the beginning of one of the thorniest, long lived legal battles in comics history.

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Meanwhile...

Marvel/Disney to Retain Rights to Jack Kirby’s Estate

After a legal battle lasting about two years, Marvel/Disney have successfully retained their rights to the estate of legendary comic book creator Jack Kirby, marking a rare loss for intellectual property lawyer Marc Toberoff. On Kirby’s behalf, Toberoff sued for the rights to materials featuring characters such as Captain America, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor and had sent notices to Marvel/Disney — and all the other companies who have been making money off these characters — to stop publishing Kirby’s work back in 2009, terminating their copyrights. Well, the judgment is in, and Marvel will retain ownership.

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For great justice

Setback for Warner Bros. in Rights-to-Superman Legal Struggle

In the ’70s, Warner Bros. agreed to allow a window when the heirs of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster could claim their ownership of the rights to Superman and his origin story. Now that it’s actually coming around, they’re fighting tooth and nail to prevent the Shusters from submitting their claim, and to overturn the 2008 ruling that said the Siegel family had partial US rights to the character. Accounts of the proceedings do not paint Warner Bros. in a particularly nice light. In fact, they make them look like jerks.

To that end, Warner Bros. demanded access to some documents that they said “contain a formula for how the two estates will share proceeds on Superman once they successfully terminate Warner’s rights to the lucrative franchise.” The Siegels’ lawyer maintained (and was upheld) that the papers fell under attorney-client priveledge. …and then it gets complicated.

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A Lesson in Humility

Joanne Siegel’s Last Words to Warner Bros. On the Rights to Superman

In light of yesterday’s casting announcement of Amy Adams as Lois Lane in Zach Snyder’s Superman reboot, Nikki Finke at Deadline decided that it  would be relevant to publish a letter sent to Warner Bros. by Joanne Siegel, the widow of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and, as acknowledged by Siegel himself, the real-life inspiration for Lois Lane.

Mrs. Siegel was a driving force behind the lawsuit that ensured that the rights to Superman, sold by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster for $65 each in the 1930′s in what is considered one of the great ironic tragedies in American comics, will eventually revert totally to the families of his creators. Until that lawsuit, Siegel and Shuster had received no royalties on Superman for more than forty years. The Siegel’s were supposed to have received their half share in 1999, and the Shusters will be awarded financial rights in 2013.

Which is precisely why Warner Bros. is pushing out a 2012 Superman movie as fast as possible, even dating it for a summer where they’ve already got a guaranteed tent-pole summer blockbuster in the final installment of their second Batman film franchise. After 2012, they (and DC Comics) will have to get permission and negotiate financial compensation with both families in order to use and license Superman and very key parts of his origin story. If they can get the beginning of a financially successful franchise out now, it gives them a bit more clout in copyright court, by giving them more of an obvious financial stake in the character. In the meantime, however, they’ve actually been counter suing the widow of the creator of their most iconic character for years. Read Joanne’s last plea for civility after the jump:

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so long and thanks for all the fish

Joanne Siegel, Inspiration for Lois Lane, Dies at the Age of 93

Joanne Siegel, second wife of Jerry Siegel, died this week.  While most comic fans are probably not aware of her name, the lady she inspired is known even to non-geeks as Superman’s feisty, stubborn one and only: Lois Lane.

Sometime during the depression, Siegel (then Joanne Carter) placed an ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer offering to model for artists.  She wound up working for and become a friend of Jerry Siegel, and though, according to the Plain Dealer, there are quite a few women who modeled in Cleveland in the the 30′s who claim to be the inspiration for Lois Lane, Jerry Siegel himself maintained that Lois was based mostly on Joanne.

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Misleading Headline of the Day

A First Look At Lois Lane?

Hehe. See what we did there?

Cleveland, Ohio is celebrating its native sons, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, the creators of Superman, by naming streets after them. The original unveiling took place in 2009, but the signs have now been updated with the iconic Superman “S.”

(Siegel and Schuster Society via Bleeding Cool)

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