Superman's Canadian Heritage?
Okay... so Superman's not Canadian, but one half of the famous pair that created him was from Toronto, and that creator's sur name, much like Eisner's, was adopted to address the award for Canadian accomplishments in the field of comics. Of course, I'm talking about Joe Shuster!
The child of poor Jewish immigrants, Shuster worked as a youngster as a newspaper boy for the Toronto Daily Star and in his spare time devoted himself to his favourite hobby of sketching. At the age of ten he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, met a fellow student at Glenville High School by the name of Jerry Siegel, and the pair began collaborating together on a science fiction fanzine. Years later, they began working for National Publications on a book called New Fun, created some original characters like the musketeer swashbuckler "Henri Duval" and the supernatural crime-fighter strip Doctor Occult, both of which debuted in the October 1935 issue of New Fun #6. From here they kept re-tooling their original comic proposal of a "strong man in tights", who was originally dismissed, but fortunately after a few revisions, National editor, Vin Sullivan, chose it as the cover feature for National's Action Comics #1 which hit in June 1938. And well the rest is comic book history...
If you'd like to know more about this early part of the genesis of the granddaddy of all super-heroes I recommend the new all-ages picture book from Random House, Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman!
Written by Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustrated by Ross MacDonald, this book tells "the true story of the events leading up to two teenagers' creation of a character that would change the course of popular culture".
Now to get back to that part about Superman's Canadian heritage? This is the commercial about Shuster from Canada's Heritage Commercial Series. I used to see this all the time on TV, and while it's been argued that it is a little off in its portrayal of events, I personally enjoyed seeing it each time I'd catch it during some show. As an American living in Canada for a time, these commercials taught me a lot of interesting tidbits about figures and events in Canada's history. The one about the Halifax Explosion was of particular interest to me.
So check out the commercial, and definitely take a look at Boys of Steel. It's a beautiful book, and it's in stock now!