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Superman was a daily newspaper comic strip which began on January 16, 1939, and a separate Sunday strip was added on November 5, 1939. These strips ran continuously until May 1966. In 1941, the McClure Syndicate had placed the strip in hundreds of newspapers. At its peak, the strip was in over 300 daily newspapers and 90 Sunday papers, with a readership of over 20 million.

During the National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications court case, the District Court ruled that McClure Syndicate failed to place the copyright notice on some of the strips and thus those strips are in the public domain.

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The daily strip was host to many storylines, unique from the regular Superman comic series. The early years consisted of Siegel-era Superman stories, many of which have yet to be republished. The strips contained the first appearance of a bald Lex Luthor, the first appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk and the first telephone booth costume change in comics. Other stories of note include Superman saving Santa Claus from the Nazis, WWII-era stories of Superman protecting the American home front and Clark Kent marrying Lois Lane (and they lived together for years without her figuring out that he’s Superman). The artwork includes runs by famed Superman artists Wayne Boring and Curt Swan.

Mr. Mxyzptlk was first created to appear in the Superman #30 (September 1944) story, “The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk”. But due to the publishing lag time, the daily strip team of writer Whitney Ellsworth and artist Wayne Boring saw what had been created for issue #30, and were able to use him first in the daily strip story “The Mischievous Mr. Mxyzptlk” published from February 21, 1944 to July 19, 1944. So Mr. Mxyzptlk was not created for, but first published in the Superman daily strip. And while published second, Mr. Mxyztplk was first created for Superman issue #30 and first written by Jerry Siegel and drawn and inked by Ira Yarborough.

Superman appeared in the newspapers again in 1978, with the newspaper strip The World’s Greatest Superheroes, which lasted until 1985. Between these two comic strip series, Superman appeared in almost 12,000 unique newspaper strips. superman01

Over the years, there have been a number of different writers and artists on the Superman newspaper strips. Originally, the strip was drawn by Joe Shuster. As Superman became more and more popular and the workload kept increasing, Shuster turned over many duties to his studio assistants. Paul Cassidy was the first in a line of ghost artists on the strip and took over the inking and detail work in 1939. In September 1940, Leo Nowak replaced Cassidy on the strip. Other assistants during this time included Dennis Neville, John Sikela (beginning in 1940), Ed Dobrotka (beginning in 1941), Paul J. Lauretta, and Jack Burnley (beginning in 1941). Sikela and Dobrotka often traded penciling and inking duties between each other. Lauretta primarily inked and did backgrounds on the strips. Burnley eventually left to work on his own comic book Starman but did return to pencil the Superman Sundays in 1943. The Superman strips during this early period of shop work was a team effort with multiple artists working on different parts of the same strip.

This early period ended with the start of WWII. Jerry Siegel, the main writer, was drafted in 1943. Early that same year, Leo Nowak and John Sikela were drafted as well. In 1943, Stan Kaye took over the inking. Wayne Boring, who had been another early assistant to Joe Shuster, left the Shuster studio in 1942 to directly draw the daily strip for DC. Boring and Kaye dominated the daily strip’s artwork throughout most of the 1940s. The two also provided art for the Sunday strip between 1940 and 1966.

In the middle of 1949, Win Mortimer took over the daily strip from Wayne Boring. Stan Kaye continued inking Mortimer’s work until Kaye temporarily left, and Mortimer inked his own work until he left DC in 1956 to publish his David Crane strip. Curt Swan took over the daily strip on June 18, 1956, along with Stan Kaye. Swan continued on the strip until November 12, 1960.

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As for the stories in the Superman strips, Jerry Siegel originally wrote them until he was drafted in 1943. Whitney Ellsworth, who had begun on the strip in 1941, continued until 1945. Jack Schiff began his writing on the strip in 1942 and worked on the strip off and on until 1962.

Alvin Schwartz first started writing for the Superman strip in October 1944. Between 1947 and 1951, Schwartz was the only writer on the Superman strip, and he continued on the strip until 1958. Bill Woolfolk wrote one story for the dailies in 1953.

In 1959, Bill Finger started scripting stories, and he worked through the series’ end in 1966. During this final period, Jerry Siegel resumed his duties writing some stories.

335 strips 1943
320 strips 1944
327 strips 1945
93 strips 1946
78 strips 1947

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15 Daily stories

Clark Kent in the Big House
Clark Kent’s Incredible Delusion
Dear Dr. Cupid
Earth’s Super-Idiot
From Rags to Riches
Juvenile Delinquency
King Jimmy Olsen
Labours of Love
Lair of the Leer
Lex Luthor, Daily Planet Editor
Lois Anti-Superman Campaign
Lois Lane Millionaire
Lois Lane’s Love Trap
Lois Lane’s Revenge on Superman
Lois’s No-Superman Scoop

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18 Daily stories

Miss Whisper
Project X
Queen Jena of Adoria
Return of the Ogies
Return to Krypton!
Superman Achille’s Heel
Superman, Please Marry Me
Superman’s Employment Drive
Superman’s Hands of Doom
Superman’s Income Tax Debt
Superman’s Lost Secret Identity
Superman’s Portrait
Superman’s Secret Revealed
Superman’s Super-Cold Vision
The Black Knight
The Black Wing
The Coward of Steel
The Day Superman Lost His Powers

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17 Daily stories

The Death March
The Delinquent Superman
The Duel for Earth
The Engagement of Lois and Clark
The Fingergirl of Death
The Future Superman
The Ghosts of Superman
The Goofy Superman
The Great Baroni
The Great Superman Impersonation
The Honeymoon of Lois and Clark
The Human Crime Detector
The Impostor Superman
The Man Who Discovered Superman’s Identity
The Man Who Stole Superman’s Secret Life
The Marriage of Lois and Clark
The Menace of Metallo

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20 Daily stories

The Modern Day Achilles
The Mortal Superman
The New Lives of Superman
The Obnoxious Ogies
The Perfect Woman
The Reenacted Feats of Superman
The Reporter of Steel
The Six Super-Requests
The Steel Mill Poet
The Super Scoops of Moira Vine
The Super-Clown of Metropolis
The Super-Lion
The Superman of 800 Years Ago
The Three Tough Teenagers
The Trial of Superman
The Ugly Superman
The Untouchable Clark Kent
The Youth Ray
The Youth Serum
When Superman Lost His Memory

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Dailies 1939-1942 part 1,2

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Dailies 1939-1942 part 3,4

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29 Sunday stories

Aleutian Dancing Girls
An Insurance Policy for Superman
Boot Training
Bringing in the New Year
Canine Combat
Careless on Furlough
Giants and Little People
Hitler’s Invitation
If You’re Not a Fighter – be a Writer
Natural Hazards
Raising Morale
Shave and a Haircut
Smartypants
Superman 4-F
Superman and Cleopatra
Superman Huckster
Superman, Specialist Chief
Superman’s Housekeeping
Superman’s Service for Veteran Kennedy
The Conquerers from Mars
The Curiosity Crimes
The Lovesick Monster
The Magic Carpet
The Medical Tests Volunteer
The Super-Genie
The Super-Ray
The Talking Dog
The War Medals
What Happened to Ed Morley

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2 responses »

  1. dottedsun says:

    Superb job!
    Thnaks one more time!

    Like

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