Author Craig Yoe explores the risque art of the man behind Superman in his new book, Secret Identity: The Fetish Art Of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster. As Yoe explains, artist Joe Shuster did not earn much money for his part in the creation of the man of steel. After suing D.C. Comics over the copyright for Superman, Shuster drew art for an obscure series of magazines called Nights Of Horror. In Secret Identity, Yoe collects Shuster’s racy drawings and details the scandal and murder trial related to Nights Of Horror. The author of over 30 books, Yoe runs the New York design firm YOE! Studio.
PREVIOUSLY ON PHAWKER: Joe Shuster was paid the princely sum of $130 by DC Comics (then called National Comics) for all rights and ownership of Superman — which he invented in his bedroom in Cleveland with the help of Jerry Siegel, his high school buddy from down the street. Even back in 1938, that wasn’t a lot of money, but Shuster was just glad somebody had finally bought into the concept of the Man of Steel after years of knocking on the doors of publishers, to no avail. Shuster and Siegel were tasked with creating future episodes of Superman, which, as history shows, was a super-hit with the comic book-buying public, drawing some 20 million readers by the early 1940s.
Even though both Shuster and Siegel earned about $50,000 a year each in newspaper syndication royalties, both men deeply resented the gross disparity between what they were paid and what their creation earned for DC Comics and, after their initial 10-year contract with the comic book publisher concluded, endeavored to sue for a more equitable split. This ingratitude did not go down well with the powers that be at DC Comics and when the judge eventually ruled against Shuster and Siegel, both were promptly fired and their names removed from any future association with The Man Of Steel. Desperate for money, Shuster took a shady gig drawing up outlandish fetish scenes — whipping, spanking, cactus dildos, teen age sex cults, dope smoking, blood letting, foot-kissing, and bizarre bondage machines – to accompany the spicy tales included in Nights Of Horror, a low-rent smut fiction ‘zine that would raise the ire of both Congress and the Supreme Court, which duly issued an injunction against its sale and ordered all existing copies be destroyed.
Fortunately for modern-day perverts like you and me, Shuster’s fetish work — in which the guys all look just like Superman or Lex Luthor and the girls look just like Lois Lane — has been retrieved from the dustbin of history by comic book archivist/scholar Craig Yoe and handsomely repackaged in SECRET IDENTITY: The Fetish Art Of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster (Abrams ComicArts). It’s hard to say which is more shocking or surprising, the sadistic tableaux of Shuster’s forbidden art or the exceptional circumstances that triggered their creation and eventual destruction. Recently, Phawker got Yoe (pictured above, with keeper) on the horn and asked him to explain…MORE
[Photo by Adrian Buckmaster]