The Joe Shuster Story: The Artist Behind Superman ~ My Review

Most superhero comic readers and fans immediately recognize the names of Jerry (Jerome) Siegel and Joe (Joseph) Shuster. Namely, the creative talents who wrote and drew, respectively, the exciting adventures of mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent aka Superman from the planet Krypton. A champion of truth, justice, and the American way, Superman has fought greed and evil in comics, cartoons, tv shows, video games and movies for years. Jerry Siegel came up with the Superman character and wrote the stories and Joe Shuster illustrated them. These two high school friends didn’t know that Superman would help them achieve justice years later.

If we could time travel back to April 18, 1938, we could pick up a copy, for only 10 cents (wow! much better than 3.2 million like a pristine original sold on eBay), of the very first Superman story ever published. 😎 This well-loved character debuted in Action Comics, which was from National Allied Publishing and that became Detective Comics. The Superman comic in that issue was 13 pages long amongst other stories from different authors and characters in the 68 page comic. So today is the 80th anniversary of that comic. 😎 It soon became very obvious that Superman was what people wanted to read and made mucho money. Yet the two people who should have been getting the majority of the profits, namely the writer and artist who created the character before signing with the publisher, received only a small portion of that after getting convinced to sell the rights to Superman to said publisher…for $130 dollars. 😦

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (born in Toronto, Canada), two nice, Jewish boys growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, decided to create some comics. Jerry took care of the writing and Joe the drawing. They both loved adventure, detective, and science fiction stories. The character of Superman would take on the job of rescuing people and combating evil alongside his regular job as reporter under his name Clark Kent. Like all good red-blooded males, Jerry and Joe wanted to meet and impress girls so several of the details about Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane were inspired by that fact.

The upcoming graphic novel, from Super Genius, an imprint of Papercutz, The Joe Shuster Story: The Artist Behind Superman, written by Julian Voloj and illustrated by Thomas Campi covers some of the happy and sad times of the artist who first drew Superman/Clark Kent, Lois Lane, etc.. One of my favorite parts in the book is telling about how Joe would borrow his mom’s bread board to use as a drawing board then he’d give it back in time each week for her to bake challah for Shabbat (Sabbath). Those kind of cool, real things are important. 😎

With financial situations the way they were, Joe resourcefully re-used brown wrapping paper and back of wallpaper to draw on. 

I also enjoyed reading about the excitement of creativity and wanting their work to be enjoyed by many. You can feel the thrill of them seeing their work, writing and drawing, in print at the newstand. 😎 That’s an author and illustrator’s dream, and especially for it to be so well-loved. 🙂

I really, really felt for them when they could smell the delicious aromas from Solomon’s Delicatessen, but were too broke to get a corned beef sandwich. 😦

They had much tzuris (trouble), hardships, and that was all heartbreaking to read. 😦 Many sad times noted in the book including a number of tragedies. Danger, risk, and drama weren’t only in the pages of the comic book issues. Treachery and legal fights in regards to reclaiming rights to Superman – it’s a shanda (shame) how they were done at times. There were gangsters to deal with. Death threats from evil nazis when Superman fought them in the comics. Way to go, Superman!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😎 You know you’re doing good when you make evil people angry. 😀

Jerry Siegel was drafted during World War II and on the 4th of July in 1943 at the Festival of Freedom he was the guest of honor. Comedian and actor, Bob Hope, was there, as well. 😎 Joe Shuster wasn’t drafted due to his eyesight.

I appreciate that historical facts were noted in the book and how they got to experience the exciting news that Israel had won statehood and independence after the horrible atrocities of the Shoah (the Holocaust), and World War II. 

Julian Voloj and Thomas Campi clearly put a lot of work into the book – it’s over 160 pages and includes reference details at the end of it. I appreciate that. 😎 You can see that much effort was given towards the research. I think the cover is pretty cool showing Joe Shuster drawing and make sure to check out the window. 😉

Several legal battles took place for the rights to Superman and Detective Comics took away Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s byline. That however had a happy ending because it was restored and it’s always noted that they created Superman. I really believe in giving credit where credit is due.

I loved reading about Stan Lee helping Jerry Siegel with a job at Marvel Comics after DC Comics dropped him. 

The popularity of Superman helped gain some compensation and Superman had a part in getting justice for them. The legal fights continued with the heirs and relatives of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. 

Five of my favorite quotes from The Joe Shuster Story ~

In a comic strip, two characters, Snoopy and Smiley, standing in front of Solomon’s Delicatessen: 

“See what faith and stick-to-it-iveness can do! Just keep trying and never give up!”

Jerry Siegel talking with Joe Shuster:

“Our own comic book. My ideas and your drawings. We can do this.”

Joe Shuster’s dad after getting a job as an elevator operator at Mount Sinai Hospital:

“Every job has it’s ups and downs.”

Joe Shuster to his dad when Israel gained independence in 1948:

David defeated Goliath.

 

“We won, Father.”

Clearly, plenty of quotes I liked in the book. 😎 Also ones I didn’t, such as the quote from some bigoted jerk. It wasn’t necessary to repeat that, but I’m glad it was pointed out he was a creep. Still, I didn’t like coming across that. And there were a few unnecessary and inappropriate graphics.

It’s cool that Superman is timeless and I love that even though he didn’t have to use his powers to save the world, he chose to do the right thing out of compassion and wanting to help people. 😎 Instead of using his abilities for his own gain, he fights evil . We all have abilities that we can use to help others, too, and make the world a better place. Superman’s a good example of values such as rachmonis (compassion) and doing what he can. That is my favorite thing about Superman and I’m glad Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster chose to make that an essential part of his character. 😎 Happy 80th Anniversary, Clark! 🙂

Thank you to Arthur Field @ Papercutz for the arc, advance review copy. 🙂 The graphic novel in hardcover and paperback,The Joe Shuster Story, will be available 15th of May, 2018.

Title: The Joe Shuster Story: The Artist Behind Superman
Written by: Julian Voloj
Illustrated by: Thomas Campi
Release Date: 5/15/18
Available Formats: Paperback, Hardcover
Published by: Super Genius, an imprint of Papercutz
Distributed by: MacMillan

 

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The Hardy Boys #30 The Wailing Siren Mystery ~ My Review

Hardy Boys fans have a lot to enjoy in The Wailing Siren Mystery, the 30th volume of the main HB series! 😀 Great scenes, intense danger, and thrilling excitement in this. Great family, too. I love that. 🙂 You’ve got all kinds of things happening! An intense storm at the beginning while the Hardy brothers are in their boat, Sleuth. A mysterious siren, money falling from the sky, danger from a potential collision with a yacht, theft, kidnapping – and that’s just in the first half of the book!!!! And you’re there with them every step of the way! 😎 The exciting action is great. The heart-warming brotherly love is great. It’s an excellent read! 🙂

The mysteries in the book all flow well and while a lot goes on, it’s not too much. I love that many Hardy book characters show up in The Wailing Siren Mystery. The whole Hardy family ~ Fenton, Laura, Frank, Joe, and Aunt Gertrude. Joe’s love, Iola, and Frank’s love, Callie. Chet Morton, Biff Hooper, Tony Prito, Officer Con Riley, Fenton’s operative Sam Radley, Chief Ezra Collig, Jack Wayne gets introduced – and kidnapped by the bad guys! And we even have an appearance by Oscar Smuff, who’s a policeman in the mystery and does his job. 😮 I missed Phil Cohen in this one. He must have been on vacation elsewhere. Hope he had fun! 🙂

There are so many parts I could quote and talk about – how do I choose?!?!?! 😀 The clues, investigating, and crime-fighting are very well done. They use their brains and utilize resources including tech and fight when they have to. 😎

Frank is kidnapped and what an intense part of the book that is! Joe is a great brother (so is Frank!) and he knows something isn’t right. He goes to investigate and tries to find his brother. You can’t stop reading! 😮 Great brotherly love. 🙂 😎

As has been mentioned on The Bayport Library page here, the wolves are scary. They can be terrifying in the book because of the realistic writing. 

Okay, so there are number of really intense scenes! Another one is when Joe goes missing and Frank’s really worried. Joe and Chet risk their lives and well-being at a threat to Iola’s life. I don’t think I can tell you more without spoilers! If you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, you will when you read it! 🙂

So many great quotes in The Wailing Siren Mystery. Such as from feisty Aunt Gertrude ~

…Aunt Gertrude said excitedly: “Take your two-way radio and keep in touch. If anybody bothers you, I’ll give him a piece of my mind!”

And she means it, too! 😀 😎

There are a lot of great scenes in this book (I think I’ve already alluded to that 😉 Oh, wait, I think I flat-out said that 😀 ), but I’ll share this one with everyone where a bad guy is trying to scare the Hardy brothers. Yeah, I love that they don’t let the bad guys win or intimidate them. Frank and Joe outwit him. 😀 To set the scene, they are on the Sleuth and the one bad guy pirate has just gotten on the boat and is asking the brothers if they’re going to leave or not like they’d been warned and threatened to ~

He was several inches over six feet and as burly as a bear. menacingly he approached Joe.

   “Are you going to scram?”
 
   “No.”

   The man lunged at Joe, who tried to grapple with him. Frank sprang to his brother’s defense, but before he could clamp a hold on the stranger, the assailant had pitched Joe far over the side of the boat. After a brief struggle Frank followed. The Hardys bobbed to the surface several feet from the boats.

   Frank hissed into Joe’s ear, “Pretend we can’t swim.”

   The boys thrashed about madly, crying for help.

I just love the way they tricked the bad guys! There’s more to the scene and I could keep going. There are a number of cool action scenes throughout the book. It’s really difficult not putting on more, but I can’t put practically the whole book on here. 😛 Believe me, you want to read this one. Most libraries should have it and certainly booksellers should also. 🙂

Brave Aunt Gertrude does a great job with helping Joe against a thug by using a shillelagh (shillelagh just sounds so cool) saving Joe from a vicious kick. 🙂 

Another great quote that is the difficult, but necessary stance ~

“We don’t go for deals,” Joe said.

Even when things looked bad they didn’t give up hope and are defiant against the bad guys. A lot of bravery in this mystery! Look at all they have to fight – greedy, violent, murderous thieves. Multiple kidnappings, grand larceny, and a lot more. That takes more than a little courage and skill – and of course, a lot of prayer!

The Hardy Boys #30 The Wailing Siren Mystery is available in hardback and digital formats at booksellers and libraries. I definitely recommend it! 🙂 😎

For everyone who has been reading it recently, too, or has read it before, or is looking forward to reading it, please let me know what you think! 🙂 There’s definitely a lot to like about this exciting mystery! 🙂 😎

 

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Nancy Drew Girl Detective #25 Trails of Treachery – My Review

Nancy Drew Girl Detective 25 Trails of Treachery

Trails of Treachery, #25, is one of the best in the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series! Nancy and Bess are George’s support team as she participates in an intense bike race in Costa Rica. It’s really beautiful there as the reader can imagine from the aptly described scenery. The author did such a great job with that, you can really feel like you’re there with Nancy, George, and Bess and some new friends. There are many dangerous situations they must contend with. The hazardous elements of the race trail include biking in extreme heat through the jungle and shivery cold temperature at the higher elevation of the volcano, plus a precarious rope and wood bridge, torrential rain, mud and dirt to deal with. Some very difficult obstacles to work through!

Along with all of that, there’s a mystery that also needs their attention. One of the top racers has been targeted for sabotage – and murder. Nancy, Bess, and, George do their best to investigate the threats and sabotage quickly, sensing that danger is racing to overtake them. It’s an intriguing, exciting mystery with several suspects. Definitely fast-paced with the action, plus the added pressure for our friends from River Heights having to determine, before it’s too late, whom they can trust. There are clues to find in the mystery and good sleuthing, making it fun to read.  

Easily one of the best in the Girl Detective series. There are several volumes in the series that I think are good Nancy Drew books, including this one and #2 A Race Against Time. Both actually revolve around bike races, but they’re different mysteries. And I don’t like all bike race mysteries, such as the Nancy Drew Files one that my-Nancy-Hardy-book-reading-buddy sibling and I checked out last year together. I’d say that of the three alternate universe series, Files, Girl Detective, and Diaries so far, the one with the best books of the ones we’ve tried would be the Girl Detective series. My sib feels the same as me about the various series and made a great point that this book would make an awesome game. 😎 It sure would! 😎

Here’s the synopsis for Nancy Drew Girl Detective #25 Trails of Treachery from Simon and Schuster:

Leave it to Nancy Drew to be on the case no matter where she is….

Nancy and Bess travel to Costa Rica with George as she prepares to participate in La Ruta de los Conquistadores, a 3-day mountain bike race. It soon becomes clear that someone will go to great lengths to make sure top cyclist Derek Woodhall doesn’t win.

Actually, the top U.S. cyclist’s name is Derek McDaniel, not Woodhall. 🙄

So, if you enjoy reading Nancy Drew books with a good action-packed mystery in a well-described tropical setting, you’re gonna love this one! It’s available in ebook from Simon and Schuster and other ebooksellers, but the paperback is not available at this time. You can check a digital version out from libraries where they loan ebooks. And of course, a used copy of the paperback can be found online or perhaps at a library sale. 🙂 I have the ebook, but I’d like the paperback as well. 😎

 

Disclaimer: Please feel free to ignore the random ads that pop up on the blog. I don’t choose them or have any say about what ones they are since this is a free blog. Most of the ads are pointless and irrelevant junk in my opinion.