1984: Siegel and Shuster: Dateline 1930s

Siegel and Shuster: Dateline 1930s (1984) #1-2 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

These two comics reprint a tabloid comic book Siegel & Shuster (the creators of The Superman) put together in the mid-30s, but which were never published.

It a cornucopia of single page beginnings to adventure stories that, naturally, were never continued, so it’s … perhaps … not very interesting to the general audience.

The tabloid wasn’t to be just adventure serials, but all kinds of things, like this feature about the future. They were both science fiction buffs.

There’s even some humour pages. I mean. Allegedly humour.

The art styles vary wildly, and they were done over a four-year period. This is one of the earliest ones, from 1931 when they were 16 years old.

Shuster explains (in an interview with Shel Dorf) that his mother was supportive of his ambitions.

I don’t think it’s all that odd that this tabloid was never published. It’s basically two teenagers goofing off, but they don’t really produce any knee-slappers. This one, where they comment on the format of comics, is one of the better ones.

And this parody of Tarzan isn’t bad. I mean, the idea is basically there.

The second issue is printed on newsprint, and in black and white, and with an increased cover price, so I’m assuming that the first issue didn’t sell gangbusters.

But it’s better! It reprints the Snoopy and Smiley series (of which they did 18 episodes before giving up). I wouldn’t have recognised that artwork as Joe Shuster at all: It’s so different from his usual style. And the gags are… Well… Fine.

The issue is rounded out by reprints of pencils for various things that they had cooked up, and now we’re beyond the “of interest for people with special interests” area.

This is a pretty odd project for Pacific Comic: They were more into sci-fi and horror, so I wonder what prompted them to do this project.

Of course, they went bankrupt before they had a chance to print it, which is how it ended up at Eclipse Comics.

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