Robert Kirkman's Secret History of Comics (2017) s01e03 Episode Script

The Trials of Superman

[Narrator] Superheroes and Superman they are one and the same.
[music] There are no other superheroes without Superman, he's the first.
[Narrator] An extraordinary being with extraordinary powers.
That was it.
The whole world of comic books changed.
Superman is really the all-father of superheroes.
He is the Odin from which all else springs forward.
[Narrator] See, without Superman, there's no Marvel or DC, no billion-dollar blockbusters.
[Kevin Smith] That logo is one of the three most recognizable symbols on the planet, and it stands shoulder to shoulder with the crucifix and the Jewish star.
Like, that's madness, man! [Narrator] Superman became a worldwide phenomenon and he was created by two working-class kids from Cleveland Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
[Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson] Superman he's for justice.
It's kind of ironic that there was a great injustice done to his creators.
[Narrator] Siegel and Shuster lost everything, and just like Superman they demanded justice.
[gavel bangs] [title music] [Narrator] Cleveland, Ohio.
The late 1920s.
To struggle is to be alive.
Poverty is commonplace.
And to be a dreamer is to be an outcast.
[typewriter roller clicking] Jerry Siegel is a dreamer the son of working-class Jewish immigrants.
Jerry dreams of a world outside of Ohio one full of spacemen, aliens, and creatures from a planet far, far away.
As kids play stickball, Jerry prefers to stay inside.
A typewriter is his main companion.
Jerry Siegel he's a classic geek.
You know instead of liking football or liking baseball, you know, he really liked science fiction.
I think it really was escape for him, because he was very painfully aware of how others thought of him.
Back then, people looked at him and said, "What? Comic books? [laughs] You really think there's a future in comic books?" [Narrator] At school, Jerry is surrounded by classmates, and yet he feels alone.
No one seems to "get" him until the day he meets Joe Shuster.
- You all right? - I'm fine.
Um, you're Siegel, right? I'm [Narrator] Like Jerry, Joe lives in a world of fantasy.
The two boys are kindred spirits.
- Is that Wonder Stories? - Yeah.
You know it? Yeah, uh [Ricca] Joe was a super nerd too.
He was really small, really thin, he wore the glasses.
So he would get all these self-help manuals through the mail on how to get strong, and do all these exercises.
He ate raw eggs and lifted weights 'cause he wanted to be this, like, bigger person, and stronger But the thing is, it just never worked for him.
He was still really thin, really short, really kind of scrawny.
Joe Shuster grew up very poor.
In fact, Joe had to learn to draw with gloves on.
They couldn't afford heat.
He would take his mom's bread board when she was done making bread, put a sheet of paper or anything he could find, wallpaper, scrap paper, anything, and then he would just draw on that.
He was never really taught how to draw, so he was self-taught, but his eyesight was bad, so he would get inches away from the paper and just scratch it out.
These two guys just hit it off together, and they worked on the school newspaper together.
[Mike Sangiacomo] They found that they had a lot in common.
An artist without a writer is as painful as a writer without an artist.
I mean, you can have these great ideas, but if you can't translate them somehow onto the page and show them to people, what good are they? Joe was the perfect person to translate Jerry's ideas.
[Ricca] In high school, they worked on the school newspaper, but they also put together this magazine.
They called it Science Fiction.
One of the stories in one of the issues is called The Reign of the Super-Man.
Jerry types down this real pulpy science fiction story, Joe illustrates it, and the "super-man" in the story is a bad guy, and he's bald, too, in the picture, so he looks like Lex Luthor, and that story just doesn't work.
They try to get people to buy the magazine, and nobody buys it.
[Narrator] And then, a seminal moment Jerry's father passes away.
He dies of a heart attack while being robbed at gunpoint.
Jerry never finds justice for his father's killers and it haunts him.
[Sangiacomo] Jerry really had it tough after that, but he persisted, and that's what Superman grew out of.
There's no coincidence that a year later, he creates Superman 's goal to eliminate crime.
Maybe we did it wrong.
We shouldn't have made him a bad guy.
What if he was good? He can do anything he wants, but all he really wants is to to fit in and help people.
Any time anybody creates something, there's always that aspect of themselves that's in their characters.
[Ricca] You know, Joe, who was small and couldn't get strong, that went into, you know, creating someone who was big and strong, like Superman.
With Jerry, it was more personal.
It was his father's death, so Superman is really a kind of autobiography for both of them.
- Come here.
- What? Tell me what you think of this.
That's our super-man! [music] [music] [Narrator] In 1933, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster create a character entirely unique special powers, a secret identity, a visitor from a distant planet.
None of it had been seen before.
See, in those days, all comic strips are cowboys, detectives, spacemen.
There is no such thing as superheroes.
[Brownstein] Jerry Siegel had been inventing mythology since he was a teenager.
Working with Joe, who was, in many ways, his protégé, they developed Superman together, but it was a long gestation process.
It took many, many, many years.
[Jeff Trexler] When Siegel and Shuster got started, what they really wanted to do was be able to sell a comic strip because back in the 1930s, the real rock stars of the comics world were comic strip artists.
Like Milton Caniff or Rube Goldberg, or E.
C.
Segar, who did Popeye, they were the celebrities of their time.
They were on the front of magazines and they met with presidents.
At that point, newspaper comics, that was the way to make a lot of money.
So they sent their Superman to all these syndicates, and they got them back with rejection notices.
They couldn't sell it to anybody, because any time you have a new idea, everybody thinks it's stupid.
[Ricca] You know, they said, "Joe can't draw," "Jerry has no business writing," and somebody said, "No one will ever believe this stuff.
" Let's look at the heroes who existed prior to Superman.
You had, like, your Flash Gordon, your Buck Rogers.
You know, Flash Gordon, at the end of the day, was a guy who, like, you know, hey, he luckily got to space.
He didn't have any superpowers.
Buck Rogers just a guy who went to the future.
Didn't have any superpowers.
But that genre would be reinvented by Superman because he's a god, he's this strange visitor from another planet with these abilities.
But newspapers were saying "It's too far-fetched," "It's silly," and they felt that this concept of a super-man would never take off.
And, in the meantime, they did get comic book work, and so they were getting paid.
They were doing, uh, Dr.
Occult.
They were doing, uh, a lot of federal agent-type strips.
They were actually building up a reputation in this new comic industry.
[Brownstein] Prior to Superman, I don't know that you could say there was a comic book business.
What there was was a publishing business.
There were pulp magazines.
There were comic strips, which were the most popular part of the newspapers, and there were people that were entrepreneurial, in a way, that tried to marry the two.
Ultimately, Superman resided in the slush pile until Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz said, "Let's give it a shot.
" - What about that one? - Can't put that on the cover.
It's a good story.
Doesn't matter.
It's not gonna sell magazines.
[Narrator] Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz run DC Comics.
Donenfeld is a showman, a bit outlandish.
Jack Liebowitz is mild-mannered, more even-tempered.
Both men share a common bond money.
But in 1937, business is bad, and they are willing to take a risk.
What about that strip those guys from Cleveland sent in? Here it is.
- Superman.
- Superman, huh? [chuckles] [Brownstein] Harry and Jack were entrepreneurs.
They were just trying to sell magazines.
They were just trying to make a buck.
Let's get a contract written up right away.
I'll have one sent out for them to sign immediately.
[Ricca] And the letter is sent to Jerry and Joe, offering the grand sum total of $10 a page, and there's 13 pages, so it was 130 bucks.
[Brownstein] That Superman idea, which had originally been formatted as a comic strip, they said, "Reformat those strips into a 13-page story.
" [music] [Adams] The thing that you have to remember is that the process of creation, you're putting all of your energy into that.
You don't think about if somebody's gonna cheat you.
You just hope somebody's going to print it.
I told Donenfeld we'd have this back to him by tomorrow.
You know, maybe they want to do The Crimson Horsemen instead.
No, they want action.
They want Superman.
When we sign, we'll get our check.
$130.
Here, let me see that again.
[Ricca] Remember, this process took years.
They had sent Superman to every publisher.
Nobody liked it.
[Narrator] If Jerry and Joe sign the deal, their character, Superman, will be known throughout the world.
It's a dream they've had since they were kids But if they sign, they also give up all rights to the Superman character.
Okay, give me a pen.
Signing the deal will change both men forever as Superman will become a worldwide phenomenon.
[Narrator] With World War II looming, the United States needs a hero, someone who represents the very best of American values truth, liberty, justice.
When Superman came along, America was desperate for a dream they could believe in.
Any story that could touch them deep down in a way that made them feel that things might be okay was going to ignite, and Superman happened to be that story.
Back then, nobody knew who or what Superman was.
They'd just see this guy in the tights and he's lifting this car over his head, and that was it we have the first superhero.
[Adams] Within three months, Superman sold a million copies.
Once that happened Boom! Everything blew up.
I was a kid at that period, and he was my hero.
I mean, it was phenomenal.
[Trexler] Superman is celebrated within a year at the New York World's Fair in 1939.
You have Superman appearing in the Macy's parade.
You have Superman starting to show up in comic strips and on radio.
- [woman] Look! Up in the sky! - [man] It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman! [Adams] Max Fleischer wanted to do Superman cartoons, so they did Superman cartoons.
It was an early licensing bonanza.
There was costumes, there was toys, there was all kinds of spin-offs.
They didn't own the character, but they got paid for it, so Jerry and Joe got to do their comic strip.
[Sangiacomo] Superman was showing up everywhere, so they were doin' great.
They built a studio for Joe, and they were able to bring in other artists to help Joe, because there was no way he could turn out more than one or two books a month, so, uh, he would oversee these guys drawing Superman.
Curl in the front of the forehead That's good.
- Joe, take a look at this.
- Yeah, just like that.
- Joe, so in this next scene - Right, this is the train - Now, this train has got to be huge.
- Yeah.
They're doing very good.
They were celebrities.
You know, Superman's creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
So it was a good life.
In 1940, there's a famous Saturday Evening Post article where Siegel and Shuster are held up as these icons of American success.
[Fred Allen] Now, our guest tonight is the man who originated Superman.
He's Mr.
Jerry Siegel.
- [Siegel] Good evening, Fred.
- [Allen] Now, how does he change his clothes so fast? [Siegel] Well, after all, he's Superman, Fred.
[audience laughing] [Narrator] Jerry and Joe are being paid well, but not nearly well enough.
Donenfeld and Liebowitz are making millions off their creation And as Superman's popularity grows, so does the workload.
To Jerry and Joe it's just not right.
[Yoe] They were very unhappy with what was an inequitable deal.
Something as phenomenally successful and wonderful as Superman, it rankled Jerry and Joe not getting their fair share.
[Adams] They didn't get royalties, really, essentially, so, as the writer-creator of Superman it would get you mad.
[explosion roaring] [Narrator] The bombing of Pearl Harbor forces America into World War II.
[guns blasting] Jerry is drafted to the Army, while Joe stays home due to his poor eyesight.
For the first time, someone else writes Superman, and Jerry isn't as valued as he once was.
During the war, Superman is more popular than ever.
He's an American ally, battling villains both real and imagined.
[music] [Brownstein] Really, what he did was motivated people to become a part of the war effort.
Perhaps most famously, he was the most widely read periodical on Army bases.
G.
I.
s and airmen were putting him on their tanks and on their Jeeps and on their airplane nose cones as a myth that they carried with them and identified with that gave them courage in battle.
[Narrator] Superman is pure propaganda and the public can't get enough.
DC Comics capitalizes with a Superboy spin-off.
Jerry had pitched Superboy many years earlier.
[Adams] He presented this idea, the adventures of Superman when he was a boy, called it Superboy and he was told by his editors, "stupid idea.
" While he was in the army, DC Comics decided, "Let's do Superboy.
" [Ricca] They were in touch with Joe, but they didn't tell Jerry or ask his permission.
During the war, Jerry met a, uh, an attorney, who convinced him that they should sue DC to get out of their contract and try to get more of a piece of Superman.
You're a lawyer.
They can't do this, right? No.
No, they can't.
- So what can I do? - Sue.
[Trexler] He sees himself not only ripped off, but he thinks, "This is a sign they want to take away everything from me," so he's going to pursue justice.
[music] [Narrator] Jerry Siegel comes home from World War II on a mission.
It's 1947.
He's suing DC Comics for the rights to Superman, and he convinces Joe Shuster to do the same.
Jerry is confident that justice is on his side.
It's a gamble that could cost both men everything.
[Ricca] The risk was being banned, basically, from DC after that.
It is the opinion of this court that the plaintiffs, Mr.
Siegel and Mr.
Shuster, transferred all of their rights in, and to, the comic strip Superman, including the title, names, characters, and concept to the defendant.
This court affirms that the defendant is the sole and exclusive owner of the character Superman.
This court is adjourned.
[bang] [gavel rests] [Trexler] They lose that case.
They do not get Superman back But it then goes on to say that the Superboy character was indeed created by Jerry Siegel.
DC Comics should have bought that character from him, so they enter into a settlement.
[Ricca] They got a settlement, but it went to all the lawyers, and they were fired from working on Superman at DC.
There's this really strange thing that Jerry says.
He's in the courtroom, and he looks over and he sees Superman and he disappears.
He knows that this is the moment where this thing they'd worked so hard on has been taken away and now they've been barred from the character they created.
They're devastated by it, but they're together, and they say, "Let's just do it again.
Let's do something better.
Lightning can strike twice.
" And so, they come up with Funnyman.
[Yoe] They took the humor of, like, Danny Kaye's movies and combined it with Superman, but the jokes weren't very funny and he wasn't all that super, and that fell flat after about a half a dozen issues.
People were expecting another Superman, and it was as far from Superman as could be And I think that's where they really felt it.
"Not only did we lose Superman, but we lost the spark.
What do we have now?" [Trexler] In hindsight, they should've never filed the '47 lawsuit, because in 1948, it did appear that they were going to get another renewal of their contract, and if they'd taken that renewal, that would've taken them into the Superman TV show.
[announcer] The Adventures of Superman! [Trexler] That would've taken them to a whole new era of merchandising.
They could've been set for life.
[announcer] More powerful than a locomotive [Narrator] The 1950s sees the dawn of a new visual medium, and once again Superman is a sensation.
Alongside I Love Lucy, The Adventures of Superman is one of the biggest hits on television.
There can only be one Superman, of course, but did you ever think about some of the super things that you can do for yourself? Kids were completely enamored of it, but also a lot of adults were, too.
[Ricca] The idea of someone who's the best version of ourselves was very appealing to us as a society, especially at the end of World War II.
Here was a guy who had all this power, and, unlike people with power who abuse it, Superman never abused his power, and people just really gravitated to it, so it was a huge hit.
[announcer] Yes, it's Superman! The strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.
Superman, who Do you know how many people are watching this right now? - Jerry - Do you know how much that George Reeves makes? How much those crooks, Donenfeld and Liebowitz, make off of what we did? There wouldn't even be a Superman if it wasn't for us.
How is it that we're sitting here with nothing? There's never going to be another Superman, Joe.
[Sangiacomo] Things for Jerry got really bad really fast.
He couldn't get work.
His wife, Joanne she had Jerry's conviction that there was an injustice done.
[Ricca] Joanne Siegel was Lois Lane.
[music] She was the physical model for Lois Lane, first of all, but more important, later in life, she was kind of sticking up for Jerry at a time when he wasn't sticking up for himself.
Joanne called DC Comics and tried to shame them into giving Jerry a job so he could at least make some money to keep his family going.
[Joanne] Thank you.
Jerry gets hired as a staff writer.
No celebration of his return.
[music] He's just this anonymous writer.
[Ricca] Even though Jerry was told, "We'll never put your name on these issues.
No one will ever know you wrote it," he still found a way to get his voice into the stories.
I mean, he would write these wonderful stories of going back to Krypton.
[Sangiacomo] Superman's return to Krypton, I think that played into the fantasy of "Well, if you could fix your life, if you could go back and do things over again, what would you do?" and here was Superman going back and trying to save his parents and finding that things were not as simple as he thought they were, and that ultimately he failed anyway.
[music] There's a funnier story; Superboy 100, a milestone issue of the character, and Superboy's parents come back, but it turns out that his parents are evil pretenders who are not really his parents, which is a clear jibe at Jerry Siegel's belief that he's the true creator of Superboy so he sneaks in these interesting little jabs at the company.
[Narrator] With Jerry writing for DC, Joe earns money as an artist but not drawing comic books.
What he's doing isn't for kids.
[Yoe] He actually started doing S&M fetish drawings.
They were the pornography of their time, these under-the-counter pulps that had very racy inside artwork and stories.
Whether he was specifically trying to look like the Superman family as a kind of a revenge against DC Comics in these illustrated booklets that he did, called Nights of Horror, I couldn't say, but that's what Joe had been doing in those kind of lost years that nobody knew how he was getting by.
[Trexler] Joe was a jobber.
He had an assignment, he was gonna do it But for Jerry, he felt like he never had what he deserved.
[Sangiacomo] Jerry was back working at DC, and had a rough time of it.
Hey, Siegel.
How are those changes coming along? I'm just finishing them up right now, sir.
Jerry would go in and say, "Hey, I've got an idea about Superman does this and that.
" Sir? Did you get my story about Krypton I sent you? It's not gonna work.
Just stick to what the editor gave you.
[Trexler] And he would actually trade the story off to another writer and kind of make it as if it were him, which is sort of the worst thing you can do to a writer.
It kind of demoralizes them.
It was tough.
So, Jerry Siegel persuades Joe to go in with him to try to get Superman back again.
For Jerry, the risk was being let go and losing his writer job, but he had this core conviction that they were being mistreated, and until he had that judgment, he was not going to be happy.
[music] [Narrator] In 1967, a new copyright law is enacted.
Jerry and Joe sue again, trying to regain the rights to Superman.
We are persuaded here that the court judgment of May 21, 1948 effectively stopped Mr.
Siegel and Mr.
Shuster from contesting the issue of ownership of copyright of Superman.
[Ricca] What they found was that the Superboy settlement had effectively closed the door on any other litigation.
This precludes the plaintiffs from contesting [Ricca] Leaving Jerry and Joe without a job, and without any other possibility of opening it up again.
- [judge] the defendants, DC Comics.
- [Ricca] They were out of comics.
They were kind of out of everything.
They were pretty bleak times.
[Narrator] Joe is in New York, unmarried, without children.
He stays in his brother's one-bedroom apartment, scraping by even to survive.
[Adams] He slept on a cot, next to a window that had no curtains and had tape on the broken cracks.
The artist of Superman sleeping on a cot.
In wintertime, he couldn't afford, uh, to buy an overcoat.
For a period of time, he was a messenger in Manhattan And one of his deliveries was to DC Comics, and he came in and saw the big painting of Superman there.
Here he was, delivering packages.
Can you sign this, please? Line 17.
Right there.
[Olszewski] Meanwhile, the people that were now taking over Superman were doing very well for themselves.
- The Sanchez file.
- Hello, Mr.
Liebowitz.
[Adams] Jack Liebowitz said, "What are you doing around here?" - He said, "Delivering messages.
" - Delivery? - "You don't have a coat.
" - Oh, I don't mind the cold.
You buy yourself a warm coat, you hear me? Thank you, Mr.
Liebowitz.
[Adams] There's too many stories like this.
Bad stories.
[Narrator] Jerry is married with one daughter in Southern California.
He works as a postal clerk.
Very few are aware that he created the most iconic hero of our time.
Then something happens that makes Jerry snap, and it's the news that they're going to make a Superman movie.
It's going to be this huge blockbuster with Marlon Brando.
[Trexler] Mario Puzo, the guy who wrote The Godfather movie's getting paid to write the Superman movie, which Jerry Siegel sees and he loses it.
[music] Here's a guy that created Superman.
We're going to be in every major theatre in the United States, and this guy has to work as a mailman for his income.
[Ricca] The person who won't speak up for himself finally finds his voice [thud] that kind of angry voice.
[music] [Narrator] Jerry is tired.
He's tired of losing.
He's tired of being bullied, and he's not going to take it any longer.
Jerry writes letters letters full of vitriol and spite, even putting a curse on the Superman film.
[Ricca] He curses Warner Brothers and DC, and says, "Your Superman is built on lies.
" [Trexler] He writes, "My American dream has turned into an American nightmare.
" He said, "I believed people.
I trusted people, and then they took it all away from me, and the courts didn't back me up.
" He said, "Our system is broken.
" [Ricca] Finally, he gets it all out and he sends it to every newspaper in the country.
Of course, nobody, you know, does anything with it.
They don't believe it except one guy Neal Adams.
[Brownstein] Neal Adams infused comics with a sense of self-confidence and swagger that wasn't there before.
He understood the value of creativity, and he had been around enough people from the prior generation to recognize that they were not getting their proper due.
[Adams] Ever since I got into comics, I had been asking about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and, uh, one day, there was a letter waiting for me, and it was from Jerry Siegel and it was the whole story of what happened with Jerry and Joe, from his point of view.
It was devastating.
The creators of Superman are no longer associated with Superman? Hmm No.
That's not right.
[Narrator] By the mid 1970s, the United States is hurting.
Vietnam Watergate and a crumbling economy have all taken their toll.
Corporate greed has run amok.
Once again, America needs a hero.
The bicentennial is approaching, and the public wants to believe that the virtues of America will be restored.
And that's where Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster come back into the story.
People now, in the comics community, particularly like Neal Adams, sense that this is really unfair.
$300,000 to Mario Puzo? [Adams] This guy, Jerry Siegel, he's spitting ve He hates these He's just "pshht!" You can't get a nice word out of him.
He's just angry.
He created Superman! Joe doesn't have $300! How does he get all that money, and we get nothing? I know you guys are upset about the movie, but I think you should look at this as an opportunity.
- How? - Well, it just so happens that I talked to the president of the International Press Corps, and he agreed to set up a press conference for you guys, and when he does, the world is finally gonna hear your story.
These guys went to DC and Warner Brothers, because Warner Brothers owned DC, and just said, "Look, you can't do this.
" [music] [Narrator] For months, Adams leads a media crusade, and the public is ready to listen.
[Adams] Something doesn't have to be legal to be right, and it doesn't have to be right to be legal.
This is about justice.
[Narrator] The people want to right the wrong of what happened to Superman's creators.
This is a story of two men who dreamed up a super idea and then saw others race away with it, faster than a speeding bullet.
There's no courtroom in sight.
It's the courtroom of public opinion.
[Trexler] However much DC may have been in the right in the case, legally there is this sense in the general public that this is not right.
[music] We do not want to live in an America where people can create something like this and other people can get rich off of it.
And so an agreement is reached.
If there is any story the American audience loves, it's the story of the little man triumphant, the individual who whups up on big government or big business.
The publicity for Siegel and Shuster was so heavy that Warner Communications, current owners of Superman, decided to pay the two men even though three courts had ruled that Siegel and Shuster had no ownership.
[music] [Trexler] They end up giving Siegel and Shuster what's essentially a pension.
They got enough to live off of.
They seem pretty comfortable, they can travel, and there's a sense that maybe their fight wasn't in vain.
[Ricca] Joe and Jerry were fine with the settlement.
They said, "We love this.
This is great," and Neal Adams said "No.
" He said, "We want the byline.
" [Adams] I said to Warners, "Look, you take care of these boys, and you will have ambassadors of good will [music] for anything you do with Superman.
They're gonna be your friends.
When you open the Superman movie, they'll be right there with you, smiling.
" [Narrator] Both men are invited to the world premiere of Superman: The Movie.
After nearly 30 years of anguish, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster have arrived.
Jerry and Joe had gotten some money but on this night, they would receive so much more.
For on this night Superman is theirs once again.
[music] ["Superman" theme rises] [applause] [music] [applause] [Trexler] They got their byline back.
You know, for Siegel and Shuster, after 28, 29 years, they're seeing their names on film as the creators of this character.
That is a big thing for them.
That means a lot.
It's vindication.
[Smith] Those two guys who implanted the imaginations of generations of children since then and generations of children to come, finally got acknowledged for that.
[Donner] Siegel and Shuster believed creative rights belong to creative people, and they had to fight for it.
[Smith] Everybody who makes a living dreaming about people who put on capes and masks and helping others bend a knee at the altar of Siegel and Shuster.
Without them, you have nothing.
[Narrator] Superman: The Movie is released in December 1978, and is a blockbuster smash, earning $300 million during its theatrical run.
In the decade that follows, [music] Joe and Jerry are comfortable, if not content.
They live on the California coastline, just a few houses away from each other.
And that's the best, you now? So at the end, it's not the court case or controversy about Superman.
It's just two best friends.
One of the big life lessons from this is "creator rights matter.
" A young person who's aware of Siegel and Shuster, they now know what they have to have in a row.
Everybody now fights for their rights.
The business has changed because everybody learned from Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
[Narrator] Out of a kitchen, two kids create the world's first superhero.
It's a fable almost as fantastical as flying.
Theirs is a tale of struggle and heartache, but also of perseverance.
They made it, and the world will always know Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
[music] [title music]