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SUPERMAN CREATOR JERRY SIEGEL FEUD REPORT Memorabilia
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Report on Visit to Superman Co-Creator Jerry Siegel After Threatening Letters to Comics Executives
internal National document reporting on visit to Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel after he sent threatening letter
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A 15% BUYER'S PREMIUM WILL BE ADDED TO THIS ITEM AT CONCLUSION OF THE AUCTION
Report on Visit to Superman Co-Creator Jerry Siegel After Threatening Letters to Comics Executives
internal National document reporting on visit to Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel after he sent threatening letter

This five-page document is one of the most troubling artifacts of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel’s battle with National Comics. Siegel and his artist partner Joe Shuster were just teenagers when they created Superman, selling the rights to their character for $130 as Action Comics #1 became a global sensation. By the end of the 1940s, Siegel was unemployed and struggling financially while writing caustic letters to National executives that he blamed for his plight.

The typewritten report (possibly from ruthless attorney Dave Alterbaum, who’d often deal with Siegel) details a November 18th trip to meet with Siegel and his wife in Connecticut. This was deemed necessary after Siegel sent a particularly troubling letter to National boss Jack Liebowitz. That correspondence (postmarked Oct. 29, 1949) included threats of assisting sci-fi author Philip Wylie in a plagiarism suit against Siegel’s own creation. Siegel also made a disturbing reference to the recent reissue of the mystery novel The Mighty Blockhead. The 1942 pulp novel was about a corrupt comics publisher found murdered after cheating teen creators out of the rights to their popular superhero character. "I had no difficulty figuring out who the killer was in that murder mystery," wrote Siegel. "The motive was so apparent."

This document provides a unique look into Siegel’s troubled life at the time, noting that he was renting a small summer cabin with “an oil burner which is the sole source of heat for the kitchen.” The narrator notes that he quickly told Siegel that attorneys had advised Liebowitz that “the reference to ‘The Mighty Blockhead’ was and could be deemed a threat to the being of Liebowitz.” Siegel is further informed that Liebowitz “was not concerned” with the threat of Philip Wylie going to court over Superman.

There’s plenty of Golden Age gossip, ranging from Siegel’s arguments with legendary editor Whit Ellsworth to how Joseph Shuster “is heartily disliked by Siegel and his wife.” There’s also cruel revelations of how Liebowitz couldn’t get hired by any comics company, and of how he had been exploited by both friends and his own lawyers. (“He agreed that the past was a gross mistake for which he has paid by his present failure.”) All of this leads to the writer concluding, “I am at a loss to make any recommendations as to what to do for Siegel. But I do believe something should be done about Siegel.”

The day after the visit documented here, Siegel would write Liebowitz a groveling letter apologizing for his earlier correspondence. That attempt to reach out would do little to change Siegel's situation. By 1951, Siegel would return to blasting National executives as part of an extensive poison-pen campaign.



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