Super Boys (Ricca)

This book, subtitled, The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – The Creators of SUPERMAN, recounts the origin of the character and lives of its two co-creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, as they grow up, develop (and steal?) their ideas and then struggle for a long time to gain control of them. The story of the friendship is wonderful as is the story of creativity. Ricca comes off as a fan who knows his comics.

When he tries to turn psychologist, he spends too much time on what for him is shaky ground. Granted, he makes plausible the argument of how autobiography informed the development of their most famous character,, but he belabors the point in a way that makes it clear he’s out of his depth. I wished for more of the history and how current events influenced the characters and stories.

The deterioration of the friendship of the two men as well as the ongoing lawsuits are treated with less clarity.

In many ways, this ends up coming off as an American story – two boyhood friends are so eager to be successful that they allow themselves to be taken advantage of and spend their lives – finally with some moderate success – trying to regain what they see as theirs (money, yes, but also recognition). As with so many other stories, now their descendants have been drawn into the muck. It is also an American story because it matches the boys from Cleveland against the corporate offices of New York, creativity and passion vs. business acumen and ruthlessness (guess who wins that last battle).

An entertaining and quick read. Now Cleveland should do its part to honor Siegel and Shuster. Some are trying –

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/01/siegel_and_shuster_society_pla.html

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