Illustration for article titled What Killed Supermans Grandfather?

As anyone who's heard Brad Meltzer talk about his new novel The Book Of Lies knows, he's a subscriber to the theory that Superman's creation in 1938 was a subconscious reaction to co-creator Jerry Siegel's father dying after being shot in a store hold-up. While it's a wonderful story — the death of Siegel's father led him to create a bulletproof hero who stopped crimes - it also happens not to be true, according to another Superman scholar.Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, sheds light on what really happened to Siegel:

[Gerard Jones' non-fiction history of comics] Men of Tomorrow was the first published source to address the tragic end of Michael Siegel - but the book got a crucial detail wrong. Siegel did die during a robbery of his store, but not by gunshot. His heart failed. No wounds were on his body. A key plot device in Brad Meltzer's novel The Book of Lies (which I have not read) is the missing gun that allegedly killed Michael Siegel - but none of the four reports invoke the possibility of murder. According to the police report, "At no time were any blows struck or any weapons used."


And if you don't believe him, he's got the reports to prove it. While this doesn't change the heart of the creation story (Siegel still created a character who could have saved his father, after all), it does ruin the "torn from the headlines" aspect of Meltzer's new novel that, in part, centers around a search for the gun that killed Jerry Siegel's father. But then again, the novel is called The Book Of Lies. The First Boys Of Steel Tour [Noblemania]

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