Skip to main content

Shuster, Joe


SHUSTER, JOE (1914–1992), U.S. cartoonist. Joseph Shuster was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the son of Jewish immigrants from Rotterdam and Kiev. As a boy, he worked at the Toronto Star but liked to sketch as a hobby. The fantasy world of the newspaper's color comics had a strong impact on him. The family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, when he was 10, and at 18 he met Jerry *Siegel, with whom he was to create Superman, the most famous and fabulous fictional superhero of the 20th century. When Superman first appeared, in 1938, its hero, mild-mannered Clark Kent, worked for The Daily Star, named by Shuster after his old employer in Toronto. When the comic strip received international distribution, the company permanently changed the newspaper's name to The Daily Planet. Superman's popularity helped establish comic books as a format and spawned a genre of costumed superheroes, from Spiderman to Wonder Woman to Captain Marvel. Superman became an industry unto himself. Faster than a speeding bullet, as he was described on the radio, the Man of Steel appeared in newspaper comics, animated cartoons, movie-theater serials, a television series, a Broadway musical, a novel, feature films, and a stream of franchised goods from lunch boxes and toys to bubble gum. In the 1970s alone, Superman sales exceeded $1 billion. Superman was reared as a normal American boy and grew up to become Clark Kent, but when danger loomed, he became the crusader for "Truth, Justice, and the American Way." He doffed his glasses, stripped to a blue bodysuit and red cape, and flew off, using X-ray vision and other powers to thwart the latest evil menace or global disaster. But Siegel and Shuster did not share in the money machine, having signed away their rights in 1938 for $130. After a series of bitter legal battles, both creators became destitute and even sold their old comic books as collectors' items worth thousands of dollars apiece. Shuster, partly blind and unemployed, lived in a very modest apartment in Queens, n.y. Finally, Siegel and Shuster were granted $35,000 a year from the publisher of Superman, dc Comics, for the rest of their lives and were guaranteed that all comics, tv episodes, films, and other Superman references would state that the character was "created by Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster."

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Shuster, Joe." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 20 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Shuster, Joe." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (April 20, 2019).

"Shuster, Joe." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved April 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.