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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 
The People Behind the Golden Age of Comic Books
Notes taken on February 28, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
in the first half of the 1900s, the wave of immigrations of Jewish immigrants continued from Eastern Europe and Russia
many settled in New York
many looking to make large fortunes
but this is not what many found in the Great Depression of the 1930s
but their entrepreneurial spirit prevailed for some
Max Gaines (1895-1947)
in 1933, devised the first four-color, saddle-stitched newsprint pamphlet, a precursor to the color-comics format that became the standard for the American comic book industry
newspaper comic strips were popular
so he made a comic book and sold it at some news stands in New York City
Famous Funnies started to take root in America
Major Malcolm Wheeler Nicholson (1890-1965)
pioneered the American comic book
published first periodical consisting solely of original material rather than reprints of newspaper comic strips
his National Allied Publications would evolve into DC Comics
formed when National Allied Publications was taken over by Harry Donenfeld and Jacob Liebowitz
one of the U.S.'s two largest comic book publishers along with rival Marvel Comics
Martin Goodman (1908-1992)
got in late in 1939, calling his comic line Timely Comics
later became Marvel Comics
was a businessman
happy to be publishing comics but comics didn't interest him much
he had a magazine called Stag and one called Male
years before Playboy
also had a detective magazine
he was more interested in these slick paper magazine than in the comics
so he left the comics to Stan Lee (1922-)
but he was interested in the covers
spent a lot of time playing Scrabble in his office with a friend
had been in the distributing business originally
learned how to publish magazines
had many titles in different fields
John Goldwater (1906-1999)
co-creator of Archie
worked with
Louis Silberkleit (1900-1986)
Morris Coyne
moved from pulp magazines into comic books
MLJ Comics
Blue Ribbon Comics
Pep Comics
Jackpot Comics
Top-Notch Comics
featuring an array of superheroes
create The Shield
patriotic superhero before Captain America
Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) and Joe Shuster (1914-1992)
Jewish immigrants
two 17-year-old kids from Cleveland, Ohio
created Superman
Bob Kane (1915-1998) and Bill Finger (1914-1974)
created the Batman for DC Comics
Jerry Robinson (1922-2011)
Bob Kane's first assistant
ghost artist on Batman
co-creator of Robin and the Joker
Will Eisner (1917-2005)
perhaps the greatest graphic storyteller in the history of comics
created series The Spirit (1940-1952)
the first Jewish superhero
the father of the graphic novel
Joe Simon (1913-2011)
Editor in Chief at Timely Comics, later Marvel Comics
co-created Captain American with Jack Kirby
tall, deep voice, smoke cigars
Jack was always drawing
Boy's Ranch
teenagers who were cowboys
Jack Kirby (1917--1994)
grew up on the streets of New York City
learned to draw cartoon figures by tracing characters from comic strips and editorial cartoons
Marvel Comics
Captain America
Fighting American
The Fly
The Man Hunter
The News Boy Legion
broke partnership with Joe Simon in 1959
moved on to Marvel Comics
teamed up with Stan Lee who created
Fantastic Four
Iron Man
The Avengers
The X-Men
Silver Surfer
could draw dramatic posing
knew how to make anything look interesting
Fawcett Comics
Captain Marvel
said "Shazam!" to transform
William Moulton Marston (1893-1947)
with HG Peter, created Wonder Woman
was also the inventor of the lie detector
Otto Binder (1911-1974)
wrote for the Marvel family
created Super Girl and Brainiac