Honorary Unsubscribe

Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Often Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives.
These are the people you will wish you had known.


Joanne Siegel

Early drawing of Siegel as Lois Lane by Superman artist Joe ShusterAs a teen, Siegel wanted to be a model, so she advertised her availability in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. Two up-and-coming young cartoonists saw the ad and called her, and used her as the model for a character they were coming up with for a comic book series they hoped to sell. The cartoonists: Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. The character: Lois Lane, the love interest of Clark Kent/Superman. The first Superman comic appeared in 1938. She continued being an artistic model, and reconnected with Siegel later, and they married in 1948. In between modeling gigs, Siegel worked to reclaim her husband’s copyright on the Superman series — in 1937 he sold all rights to Superman to Detective Comics for just $130, and was living in poverty. The legal battle went on for decades: DC Comics paid a little money to the family over the years, but it wasn’t until 2008 that a judge ruled that Siegel was entitled to co-authorship credit and royalties. But to this day, a settlement still hasn’t been reached. “All her life she carried the torch for Jerry and Joe, and other artists,” said Marc Toberoff, the lawyer representing both of the co-creators’ heirs. “There was a lot of Lois Lane in Joanne Siegel.” She died February 12 at 93.

Author’s Note: The story of the Superman copyright fight is convoluted, but it shows just how valuable Intellectual Property can be. For a good summary write-up see LegalFish if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

From This is True for 20 February 2011

Honorary Unsubscribe Books

HU BooksThe Early Writeups from This is True's popular Honorary Unsubscribe feature are now available for your Kindle (or Kindle software for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) as low-cost ebooks.

See details on Volume 1 (covering 1998 through 2000), Volume 2 (2001 through 2003), Volume 3 (2004 through 2006), and Volume 4 (2007 through 2009).

The honorees truly are the people you wish you had known.

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