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C O U R S E 
The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture
Michael Uslan, Smithsonian Institute
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
1938: The Birth of Superman
Notes taken on January 10, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
June 1938
sociological conditions that were present in America and the world
this impacted America's need for heroes
many publishers turned Siegel and Shuster down
too crazy
too over-the-top
too unbelievable
too crude
finally published in Action Comics #1, June 1938
starts with an origin story of superman
unnamed planet exploding
coming to earth as a baby
he couldn't fly at this time, but could just leap 1/8th of a mile
not yet dealing with super villains and alien threats
he's more about being a crusader for social justice
fighting everything from gangsters to corrupt politicians to big business
the original Superman was representing every man, the common man, in his battle for truth and justice
begins to describe the love triangle with Lois Lane
by 1939 was awarded his own comic book
Superman 2
sales were high
exceeded one million
a retelling of the original story
brings us into modern day stories of the man of steel
gave birth to a modern-day mythology
art of comic books and comic strips
look at original art on the back, since artists do sketches on the backs of paintings
on an original print, there is an inked picture of Lois Lane
Stan Lee co-created the entire pantheon of Marvel superheroes
superman was a man from another planet where the gravity is heavier
but they had him able to fly with no visible means of propulsion
would have been more realistic if he was only able to jump high
began to market merchandise
view master and slides
television show which turned into a film
on the black and white shows
his costume was not red and blue
tannish brown
Kellogg's Pep Whole Wheat sponsored
law suit from 1940 to 1953
between National Comics (also known as Detective Comics and DC Comics) and the Fawcett Comics
longest running legal battles in comic book publication history
suit resulted in the dissolution of Fawcett Comics and the cancellation of all of its superhero-related publications