An Important Day in Comics History, Sheldon Mayer was Born
When the comic greats discussion comes up, the name Stan Lee, Bob Kane, Jack Kirby, or the creators of Superman are the first names offers. Superman very well may be the greatest superhero of all time and he was certainly the first, but did you know that Seigel and Shuster may not be the only one to credit for Superman’s success?
Sheldon Mayer’s Birthday: April 1st
Before search engine optimization, digital comics and guided views — you actually had to work to get your comics noticed. Back in 1935, the creators of Superman sent their idea for a man of steel to every major newspaper in the country. They were a couple rejected by every single one. Seigel and Shuster decided to try their luck with comicbook company and they were forunate to have their hero land of the desk of Sheldon Mayor. You see, Sheldon was only 17 years old at the time but his publisher believed he had a keen eye for comics and supported him wholeheartedly. The idea for a superhero was a gamble in 1935; everything back then was science fiction pulp and westerns. Who would want to read about someone who had every power imaginable?
Superman was only the first superhero, but he was also the first superhero to almost get axed due to sales figures. When Superman appeared on Action Comics #1 he was an all star attraction, but the sales numbers didn’t reach their offices until the time Action Comics #4 was ready to print. After they realized that Sheldon Mayer had saved Seigel and Shuster’s golden egg from the trash bin — they knew Superman was only the first of a new wave of comics.
Sheldon Mayer was born on April 1st back in 1917. He continually innovated comic books until his death back in 1991. Mayer was inducted into the comic book industry’s Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2000 for his tremendous work in the comic industry. He started working in comic when he was fourteen years old as an artist. His first book he was assigned to was Green Lantern #16. Following the success of Superman and his own titles, Sheldon Mayor served as editor for Green Lanter, Wonder Woman, Flash, Sandman, Atom and many, many more.
Not only did he save Superman, but he also created the first superhero team of all time. You see, Sheldon knew that one superhero was good. Two superheroes was great — but if you got a whole roster of them, you’d never stop selling books! When he created the Justice Society of America and assigned it to his best writer. The results were amazing and the Justice Society of America is still being published to this day! In fact, they’re getting a new book.
Though Gardener Fox helmed the title, Sheldon Mayor deserves a large chunk of the credit. It’s because of his efforts that we have teams like the Justice League, the Avengers and the X-Men. He continually changed the face of comics over the course of his career and that’s why we honor his efforts.
Though you died before my time ever started, Shelly, you impacted my life more than you could ever know. No fooling — spend your April 1st reading your favorite Superman and Justice Society of America books and thank Shelly. You can start by complaining to DC about his talent page, they owe their success to this man!