The Joe Shuster Story: The Artist Behind Superman

Thomas Campi (illus.). Super Genius: Papercutz. May 2018. 180p. notes. ISBN 9781629917771. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781545801932. GRAPHIC BIOG
Voloj (Ghetto Brother) and Campi (Magritte) offer a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Superman, celebrating 80 years in comics this month. More than just a straight biography of the character, this is equal parts exploration of the superhero's conception by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster (1914–92) in 1933 as well as the comics industry in mid-20th-century America. Reflecting the strained relationships between creators and publishers, it further delves into the prickly issue of censorship and the 1950s hysteria concerning the influence of comics on children, resulting in the formation of the Comics Code Authority. Voloj's extensive research, supported by voluminous archival sources, creates an authoritative work on both Shuster and Superman. Campi's soft and diffused midcentury illustrations bring readers easily into the 1930s Midwest, where Superman was first imagined.
VERDICT Recommended for fans of the iconic Superman, those with an interest in the history of the comics industry, and pop culture enthusiasts.

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