Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Secret Identity

Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster

By Craig Yoe

The co-creator of Superman, must have been a millionaire right? That’s a common misconception, one of many that Craig Yoe sets straight in his new book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster. Yoe paints a picture of a man who is half responsible for creating a major piece of Americana culture that out of desperation (or was it deviant fetish?)takes a small paying job illustrating early torture porn.

Joe Shuster will always be known as the first artist to ever draw the man of steel, but until recently not much was known about his art career after comics. Yoe’s book shows proof that Shuster was still drawing way after he was thought to be retired, but it wasn’t funny pages or iconic heroes. Instead we learn he was drawing torture porn for a fly by night pornography publisher. Secret Identity starts with a long opening chapter on Joe Shuster’s life, the creation of Superman, and the hard times that he fell upon. After that we are treated to many of the drawings Shuster did for “Nights of Horror” the fetish book he illustrated. Yoe makes some startling comparisons between Superman characters and the characters of Night of Horrors. The likeness between a man stretched out on a torture rack and Superman are uncanny.

When Yoe announced the release of his book there was somewhat of a small backlash on the internet from diehard Superman fans who thought the image of his creator would be tarnished with this book. But by far the majority of the reviews has been positive, and makes a good case for the book showing the full canon of Shuster’s work. With that I couldn’t agree more.

For more insight into the publication of this book check out Craig Yoe’s Secret Identity blog here.

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