The Schmooze

Funnyman, the First Jewish Superhero

In 1947, nearly a decade after Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster sold the rights to Superman — an infamously raw deal that earned the comic’s creators a paltry $130 — the duo attempted to avenge their exclusion from the franchise’s lucrative rise to the top of the comic book heap. But their new effort, Funnyman, a bizarre fusion of the archetypal American superhero and Jewish vaudevillian humorist, tanked after six issues and spelled the end of Siegel and Shuster’s partnership.

A new book to be released in July, titled “Siegel and Shuster’s Funnyman: The First Jewish Superhero,” by pop culture historian Thomas Andrae and Mel Gordon, a professor of Theater Arts at the University of California, Berkeley, details the genesis, influences and demise of Funnyman.

The book, luminously printed by Feral House, reprints the original six-issue color series, which debuted in January 1948 and began appearing in newspapers later that year.

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Funnyman, the First Jewish Superhero

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