Note: I have spent considerable time researching this
subject and I wanted to share my thoughts with my nearest and dearest
Superman is a superhero that appears in comic books
published by DC Comics, and is considered an American cultural icon. The
Superman character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe
Shuster in 1933. Superman’s appearance is distinctive and iconic. He
usually wears a blue costume, red cape, and stylized red-and yellow “S”
shield on his chest. This shield is used in a myriad of media to
symbolize the character. *
Jerry Siegel was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of six children
of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. *
Joseph "Joe" Shuster was a Canadian-American comic book artist. He was
best known for co-creating the DC Comics character Superman, with writer
Jerry Siegel, first published in Action Comics No. 1 (June 1938). *
*source - Wikipedia
All this is fact, but there is much of the story that you may not know.
What you are about to discover is true, because I heard it from a guy
who knows a guy who knows a guy, if you know what I mean.
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster lived in the Glenville area of Cleveland, a
predominantly Jewish section of Cleveland at the time. Glenville was
“the place to be”, and spawned many famous people, including sports
journalist Hal Lebovitz, NFL Coach Benny Friedman, playwright Willie
Gilbert, journalist Wilson Hirschfeld, and many more.
How Superman got his name.
Jerry and Joe had been working for months, developing the superhero
character and writing action stories befitting the character of a
superhero. The biggest problem facing them was to come up with a name
for their character. They thought of many names, but couldn’t find the
right one. The one they liked the best was Mister Fantastic, but they
dismissed it, along with others such as Adventure Man, Titanica,
Gigantua, and others. They were looking for a name that rolled off the
Murray K. Supperman lived in the neighborhood. Murray was one of those
young geniuses that you have heard about. He graduated from Glenville
High School at 16 and attained his business degree from Dyke College at
19 years of age. Murray was highly intelligent, but he had not acquired
many social skills. In these days we would call Murray a nerd. The
equivalent term in the 30’s was Crumb. Murray was a crumb, a fink, a
loser by social standards. Murray was aware of this and wanted to be
like the popular guys, Keen, or Neat.
Murray was an accountant, not a very exiting job by some standards, but
something he was good at. As a typical accountant, he wore dress slacks,
suspenders, a white dress shirt, and one of those green plastic visors
on his head like the ones you see on the old movies.
Murray had no idea how to improve his popularity. One way, he thought,
was to start getting his shirts monogrammed with his initials MKS. He
tried this on a few dress shirts and some of the folks in his office
started to see him in a different light. If you know anything about
monograms, the last letter in the monogram is the predominant letter,
and is placed in the center. Thus, his initials MKS in monogram form
After many months of trying, Murray still had not become the cool (in
today’s parlance) guy he wanted to be, so he tried something totally out
of his comfort range. Murray sent for a Charles Atlas Muscle Building
course and started doing the exercises on a daily basis.
During the warm summer days Jerry Seigel and Joe Schuster would move out
to the front porch of Jerry’s house to do their work. Not many homes had
air conditioning In the 1930’s. Murray would pass by occasionally and
wave at Jerry and Joe, not knowing what they were doing. Sometimes,
while walking the neighborhood for exercise, a couple of teenage girls
would see Murray, wave and say “Hi”, giggle, and keep walking.
That was not the response that Murray wanted. He
wanted the girls to stop and chat, but they continued to ignore him. He
thought he might start going out without his horned-rimmed glasses,
thinking that it would make him look more attractive. After all, his
eyesight wasn’t very bad. He just needed the glasses for his accounting
work. He also started doing more difficult Charles Atlas exercises.
Before long, he was building more muscle and started growing out of his
dress shirts. Some people noticed, but he was still held in slight
Murray felt that he was almost keen enough, almost neat enough to get a
girlfriend, but he wanted to try a new tactic. He started wearing work
pants and t-shirts, but his dependence on suspenders did not quite bring
him to the level of sharpness that he had expected. But he did not
realize that the suspenders were a disadvantage.
He decided to show off his muscles, so he bought a tight-fitting,
long-sleeved blue sweatshirt and had it altered to show a huge monogram.
His M S K monogram really stood out on that shirt. However, his
suspenders covered the “M” and the “K”, so the only thing anyone would
see was the big red “S”. Murray didn’t realize this, and on his daily
walk past the Seigel house, Murray was approached by two typical teenage
girls. To say they were typical would be to stereotype them. They wore
the black saddle shoes, dark skirts with some kind of little fancy
stitching on the bottom, white blouses and dark, woolen sweaters with
only the top button fastened.
Murray saw them approaching and smiled. As the girls approached, they
were impressed by the new Murray K. Supperman. They shouted almost
simultaneously, “Murray Supperman, you look super, man”!
Jerry and Joe, sitting on the porch heard this. Jerry remarked to Joe,
“He looks super, man”? Joe mimicked Jerry, repeating the words “super
man, super man”. And it was then that the light bulbs went off in their
heads, and they knew they had a name for their super hero, Superman.
And that’s how it really happened.
Richard V. Briscar