Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Discord In The Superman Camp

Sometimes things aren't as pleasant as they appear on the surface.  In all of the Superman v DC Comics trials one name just didn't warrant much of a mention; Michael Siegel, Jerry Siegel's son from his first marriage, named after Jerry's father, Michel.  Michael is all but the forgotten man in the Jerry Siegel story, the focus has always been on Joanne Siegel, the great love of Jerry's life, and their daughter, Laura.  Michael passed away in 2006, due to complications after knee surgery, and his share in Jerry Siegel's Superman copyright, along with his share in Superboy, passed to Laura.  But it always wasn't to be that way.

From all accounts Michael was pretty much ignored by Joanne and Laura while he was alive.  Marc Toberoff knew Michael though, he represented him and attempted to sell Michael's Superman shares to a yet un-named billionaire - the deal collapsed once Toberoff managed to sign both Joanne and Laura to his firm to represent both them and their Superman copyrights.  Michael was cast aside once more, in a brutal manner.  According to author Gerard Jones, "...in all the interviews he gave and all the conversations he had with fans over the next fifty years, (Siegel) never mentioned his son, Michael. He never mentioned his first wife, Bella."

You can read a lot about Michael here, it's a sad tale, but one that is all too common - husband divorces wife, marries again, fathers a new child and generally ignores the first child and ex-wife.  According to Michael, Jerry, Jerry “never tried to see me. He never asked about me even when he had to talk to my mother. And after the first few months, he didn't pay a cent of alimony or child support." Hell, I know why Michael was angry - my old man did exactly the same thing to me and my brother.  But that's life, the only difference is that Michael's father was world famous. 

The animosity between the two half-siblings persisted almost to the very end.  In November, 2005, Michael sent the following email to his legal counsel, Don Bulson.  In the email Michael's feelings towards both Joanne and Laura are revealed, however despite his wishes, Laura ended up controlling Michael's copyrights in both Superman and Superboy.  Sadly, despite appearances to the contrary, the Siegel family weren't one big happy family after all.  More is the pity.


1 comment:

Mikeyboy said...

Sad....if there ever really was a payout..he deserves a share.