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From Strange Visitors to Men of Tomorrow

From Strange Visitors to Men of Tomorrow

(p.79) Chapter Three From Strange Visitors to Men of Tomorrow
Bending Steel
Aldo J. Regalado
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on the creation of Superman. As second-generation Jewish immigrants, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's experiences in America differed from that of men like Burroughs and Lovecraft, combining the realities of urban living, the consequences of the Great Depression, America's entry into World War II, the pervasiveness of ethnic and racial discrimination, and the formidable challenges of acculturating to a society that was violent, oppressive, and culturally distant for their parents. Responding to these realities, Siegel and Shuster engaged the fiction of previous authors in the spirit of appropriation, renegotiating its meanings and employing its forms to express distinctly different ethnic, masculine, and national identities suited to navigating their own particular encounters with American modernity. As the ultimate product of his authors' creative endeavors, therefore, Superman worked towards redefining the ethnic and class requirements of masculinity in America.

Keywords:   Superman, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Great Depression, World War II, American modernity, American masculinity

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