Thursday, July 8, 2010

The OTHER Hero from the Creators of Superman!

What do you do after you've created the ULTIMATE comics character...and lost the rights to him?
Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster faced that problem in 1947!
When they sued DC Comics (then National Periodicals Publications), they lost all the assignments (both individually and as a team) they were working on.
To pay the bills, they solicited work from other comics companies both on existing characters and, in one case, creating a NEW character...FunnyMan for Magazine Enterprises!

FunnyMan was Larry Davis, a comedian looking for a shtick.
His girlfriend / agent June suggested a publicity stunt with Larry dressing in his trademark clown outfit, "accidentally" coming upon a (staged with actors) "crime scene" and disarming and capturing the "criminals" using his props, all the while being photographed by conveniently-placed cameramen.
As you might have guessed, Larry stumbled on a real crime in progress, and thinking it was the stunt, captured a real criminal!
When he discovered he had captured an actual criminal, Larry decided to continue battling crime, using mocking humor and embarrassing tricks to punish evildoers!

The editor at Magazine Enterprises who bought FunnyMan was Vin Sullivan, who also bought Superman from Siegel & Shuster when he was an editor at National Periodical Publications!
Larry Davis was based on movie / radio comedian Danny Kaye!

It was a clever idea, and pretty well executed.
Unfortunately, it didn't catch on.
The book only lasted six issues.
There was also a short-lived newspaper strip.
After FunnyMan failed and Siegel & Shuster lost their lawsuit, they went their separate ways.

But...FunnyMan has NOT been forgotten!
There's a NEW book about the character--Siegel & Shuster's Funnyman: the First Jewish Superhero from the Creators of Superman by Thomas Andrae and Mel Gordon!
Besides the actual comic stories, there's a wealth of background info about Siegel & Shuster, the Danny Kaye connection, as well as the cultural influences that inspired the character!

Plus: we've brought FunnyMan back with a line of kool kollectibles (including mugs, t-shirts, iPad bags, etc.) in our Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ collection!
So why not get a gift set of the new book and one of our collectibles for the pop culture aficionado in your life?
What could it hurt? ;-)

Bonus: a cool review of the new book at Publishers Weekly.
Extra FREE Bonus: the 6-issue FunnyMan run in PDF form!

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