Jerry Siegel’s Daughter Speaks Out
Jerry Siegel’s daughter issued a letter to fans recounting her family’s fight to reclaim a portion of the Superman copyright, and criticizing the tactics used by Warner Bros. and DC Comics in the increasingly bitter legal battle.
In 2008 a federal judge ruled that the Siegel family had succeeded in recapturing a share of the first Superman story in Action Comics #1 through a provision of the U.S. Copyright Act. Some of that is still being fought over in appeal. This put DC in a bind as some of Superman’s defining elements were no longer completely in their hands, such as his secret identity, his origin, his costume and Lois Lane.
DC then sued in 2010, to force Marc Toberoff to resign as the Siegel attorney. They claim he advised the family to walk away from a $3 million deal that would’ve permitted the company to retain control of Superman and stands to gain controlling interest in the property.
DC is also asking a court to block the Shuster estate from reclaiming its stake. They claim the family relinquished all claims to Superman in 1992 in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” including payment of Shuster’s debts following his death earlier that year and a $25,000 annual pension for his sister Jean Peavy.
The battle has been bitter and hard fought as hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.