Joe Shuster & Jerry Siegel: The Men Behind Superman

Joe Shuster & Jerry Siegel: The Men Behind Superman

The story behind the legendary superhero. The East-European creators and their legacy.

It would be weird for me to even ask if you know Superman, so let me ask you something that you might not expect to be true about him.

Do you know that Superman is created by two immigrants? Well, yes, he is!

The idea of Superman was from two Jewish immigrants who are named Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. Not many may recognize their legacy, so why not take this short time to read about the men behind the legendary hero, Superman!

Early Life

Joe Shuster was born to a Jewish Dutch-Ukrainian father. The family was from Kiev, Ukraine but Joe grew up in Toronto, Canada.

Another immigrant, Jerry Siegel, was born to a Lithuanian father. The Siegel family were first-generation American refugees who fleed from the Russian war, but Joe did not experience the war first-hand since, at the time he was born, his family had managed to move to Cleaveland, Ohio.

Being an immigrant is not only the thing that connects Joe and Jerry, they are also both raised in a Jewish family!

In 1924, the Shuster’s moved to Cleveland, and there, the two young men crossed paths and started their legacy.

Moving to the US & Building their Career

With a new life in the States, Joe and Jerry met for the first time while attending the same school at Glenville High School. The two met each other’s comfort by being both fascinated with science fiction stories and magazines.

Shuster was always passionate about drawing, and together, they were able to showcase their comics skills on Glenville Torch, their school’s official paper.

Since the beginning, the two had roles of their own, Siegel as the scriptwriter and Shuster as the illustrator.

When Shuster and Siegel reached the point of adulthood, the Great Depression welcomed them, and they suffered from unemployment due to lacking opportunities.

In October of 1932, while the two were in a van, they resolved to release their magazine, which was then published in January of 1933.

The first issue was entitled “The Reign of Superman.”

Years after, as comics became a trend after newspaper comics, Shuster and Siegel adapted to this concept and started working their way to publish their first comic strip.

Legacy and Late Life

With the huge success of Superman, Siegel and Shuster received several awards for their excellence.

In 1975, Siegel received the Ink Pot Award, while in 1992, both were drafted in the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and Jack Kirby Hall of fame.

Shuster has his name included Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame, where Siegel was inducted too, later in 2005.

Sieger and Shuster lived out their late years in a pretty comfortable life with their success still greatly living. However, their conflicts against DC Comics haven’t been resolved.

Siegel and Shuster’s success in Superman is undeniable. The two immigrants had created a legacy not just in the United States but all over the world.

Superman is one of the top superheroes that every man or woman knows, and that just proves how Shuster and Siegel have been successful in working their way up with their passion and talent as their weapons.


Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel gave pride to immigrants then and now.

Not many may recognize, but their creation Superman embodied a hero who fought for people’s equality, justice, and peace.

As a character made by both immigrants, Superman himself too was an immigrant.

He was raised by American parents, but his true identity is a Kryptonian. He may have embraced American values, but his abilities as a Kryptonian were still alive, and he used it to help the country he loves. 

As immigrants of today, we may not have superficial powers, but I bet every one of us has skills molded by our home country. We may be outside of our home but just like Superman, let us be inspired to bring our skills to help the country we are in right now.


 Lambiek Comiclopedia 

 International Rescue Committee 

 Ohio History Connection 

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Daniel De Biasi

Emigrant & Podcaster

Leaving my country is by far the best decision I have ever made. It was scary and challenging but totally worth it. I want to help more people follow their dreams abroad. by removing the scary bit.