Paying For Superman

Bleeding Cool has posted an image of the actual check that "Detective Comics" paid to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster for the rights to Superman, as well as some additional material.

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By EdGross - 10/26/2011
Writes Bleeding Cool, "Note the Superman line item next to the amount $130. Also note the total $412, with other line items including “D.C”, ”Adv”, and “Fun”. This would probably correspond to payments for work in Detective Comics, New Adventure Comics, and More Fun Comics, where Siegel and Shuster had strips such as Doctor Occult, Federal Men, and Slam Bradley published just prior to the debut of Superman."

The legend is that the writing/artist duo sold their rights to the Man of Steel for $130, and here's the documentation to back it up. Who could have known that some 70+ years later this payment would be part of the legal system.

Source: Bleeding Cool
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22 Comments
Ichaos - 10/26/2011, 6:01 AM
Ummmm its a check there is zero documentation. For all we know that could have bee refunding them for pizza and beer. A contract would be something. This is nothing.
HaroldOfGalactus - 10/26/2011, 6:26 AM
412 dollars?

I would have paid twice that.
billnye69 - 10/26/2011, 6:28 AM
By today's standards, $412 is equal to?
kriswone - 10/26/2011, 6:45 AM
@billnye69

depending on who you ask you will get different answer to what 412 is worth now, if you ask WB it's $4.12 million, if you ask the heirs of siegal & shuster it's worth $0

but it's more like $4,000.00 adjusted for inflation (guestimate)
rbfn04 - 10/26/2011, 6:50 AM
@Ichaos ha! SUperpizza!!!!!!!
Ahdio0 - 10/26/2011, 6:54 AM
$412.00 in 1931 had the same buying power as $5,608.80 in 2011.

Annual inflation over this period was 3.32%
plasticman - 10/26/2011, 6:55 AM
If you look at the signature it is clearly a forgery. Plus Superman does his work as good deeds/ charity for soceity. He doesn't need you stinkin' money!
kingkrikkit - 10/26/2011, 6:57 AM
The thing is Im sure DC bought a lot of intellectual property from various artists and writers that amounted to nothing.
Siegel and Schuster sold thier baby, granted he turned out to be the greatest superhero of all time, but no one, not even DC, knew it at the time. Back them the guys probably took that $412 gratefully. People say they should have held on to it, they should have kept a piece of it, etc, but the fact is there was never any guarentee Superman would have taken off. In fact, if they turned down DC's offer, I'll bet they woudl have refused to back Supes and it never would have gone anywhere.
Shaman - 10/26/2011, 7:00 AM
That was a huge amount of money back then for a funny book character that no one knew about. They sold it, they got their money's worth for it's time and situation. Done deal, nuff said, DC OWNS.
Shaman - 10/26/2011, 7:04 AM
Siegel & Shuster invented Superman but DC MADE HIM what he is today.
plasticman - 10/26/2011, 7:09 AM
@ kingkrikkit- Agreed and who's to say that if Siegel and Shuster held on to the character that it would have gone anywhere. It was through DC's efforts of building a back story and promoting this characater that he really took off.

We're all comic book fans and understand the concept that one slight change could possibly throw off future events. Siegel and Shuster did what all comic book writers did back then. The only grudge I have is how little monetary recognition they have recieved since then. Are they obligated to it? No. But as big as moneymaker as they created for DC/ Warners, you are morally in a continual debt of gratitude.
MaddMonkk - 10/26/2011, 7:42 AM
Amalgamated Bank! HA!
WesleyGibson - 10/26/2011, 7:52 AM
WOW!!...it's a check.
rickflip - 10/26/2011, 8:20 AM
Superman back then was not as valuable also. To them it seemed like a good deal.
hoodedjester - 10/26/2011, 8:24 AM
where has that been hiding all these years?
BATMAN1X - 10/26/2011, 9:14 AM
Does Dc comics still own the rights to Superman?? or is the case still open
dnno1 - 10/26/2011, 9:26 AM
Just to put thing in perspective, you could buy a Chevrolet for $250 back then.
Blur1528 - 10/26/2011, 9:35 AM
Money well spent.
Shaman - 10/26/2011, 9:54 AM
dnno1- Precisely!
AC1 - 10/26/2011, 10:10 AM
Wow, seems like they got ripped off, but maybe neither party anticipated how popular Superman would become, the fact that he'd spawn a multi-million dollar multimedia franchise.

From a fan point of view, I think the Siegel & Shuster families should back off, stop trying to screw up Superman as a part of the DCU and accept what they already have (don't they get a percentage of any Superman related profits?), but from a moral point of view, I think DC should maybe fork out a bit more cash.

But again, I think both parties are in the wrong in a certain sense, because as soon as you create something as big as Superman, it ceases to be your property and becomes something to be shared around the world. Of course they need to make money off it, and rightly so, but no one has the right to mess up something as iconic as Superman for the sake of a few extra dollars. Just being a part of the character's legacy should be reward enough, and any money you make off him is a well deserved bonus.
ThePhantom1 - 10/26/2011, 11:20 AM
what I think that most people alive in today's day and age actually have no conception of what a Depression is, people were going without food, the only closest think to compare it to is to how the people of most African nations or some of them anyway, and as it has been said that $430.00 would go a long way to feed hungry mouths, but I honestly believe that something like .05% should be an additional stipend given that the time was the Depression, and within about 15 years cooler heads would have been thinking about that backside the the whole program, and folks would have been clear headed or at least not as hungry thinking and it would have set a better level playing field to sanely and fairly have settled a contract between the DC Comics and Shuster and Siegel
TheBlitzkrieg - 10/26/2011, 8:26 PM
yet Siegel and Shuster were making around 800 dollars a week apiece for their work with DC, especially Superman. So In hindsight, 430 bucks while useful was only like what, a quarter of their combined weekly income? Food for thought.

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