(October 17, 1914 – January 28, 1996)
“It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman.” For millions of comic book fans across the world, these lines automatically conjure the image of the most popular superhero till date: Superman. But what most do not know is that Superman was first introduced in 1933 as a bald telepathic villain determined to dominate the world. He appeared in a short story called “The Reign of Superman” in a science fiction fanzine printed by Jerome Siegel and was a flop.
Jerome Siegel was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. The youngest of six children he was a big fan of comic books and science fiction and went on to start the first Science Fiction fanzine. It was there that he published all his sci-fi stories that has been rejected by various sci-fi magazines. At the age of 16 he met Canadian born artist Joseph Shuster and the two became good friends. They started created characters and stories together and in 1933 the villainous Superman was born. According to comic book legend, one night in 1934, Jerome kept tossing and turning in bed. Suddenly he had a vision and Superman in his new positive avtaar was born. But for 6 years, the superhero had no takers and Shuster in a fit of anger and desperation burnt the entire strip. Siegel managed to save the cover of the strip though and in June 1938, just a few months after the first costumed superhero Phantom was born, the world met Superman in National Action Comics. He was an instant success and in 1939 he made his appearance as a newspaper comic strip. Ten years later when the contract with National expired, Siegel and Shuster sued for rights over the superhero character. Subsequently, Siegel went on to write for Marvel comics and Archie Comics and created many other superheroes, but none came close to Superman. In 1996, Siegel died in Los Angeles. In 2005, he was posthumously awarded the Bill Finger Award For Excellence in Comic Book Writing.
(October 17, 1948 – September 16, 2007)
Born James Oliver Rigney, Jr. in Charleston, South Carolina, Robert learnt how to read at the age of 4 with the help of his 12 year old brother. At the age of five he was engrossed in Mark Twain and Jules Verne. He served as a helicopter gunner in Vietnam for 2 years and earned many military honours. Later he rejoined college and obtained an undergraduate degree in Physics. He went to work as a nuclear engineer in the US Navy. Jordan enjoyed hunting, fishing, and sailing, and collected pipes. It was in 1977 that he began writing. He wrote the Wheel of Time series which is often regarded as the best selling series in the history of Fantasy. Jordan also wrote dance and theatre criticism.In 2006, Jordan was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, cardiac amyloidosis. He died on September 16, 2007 but before his death he disclosed all the details of Book 12 (the final volume of the Wheel of Time series that has now been divided into 3 parts) to his family. The second part of this final book is due for release this November.
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