According to a recently published book by comics historian Craig Yoe, Joe Shuster the artist half of the creative team who dreamed up Superman spent a portion of his career in the 1950s drawing sadomasochistic fetish comics featuring characters who look suspiciously like Clark Kent and Lois Lane.
Apparently, it wasn't only kryptonite that made the Man of Steel weak in the knees. Whips and chains did the trick as well.
Yoe's book Secret Identity uncovers (no pun intended) the lurid art Shuster drew for an underground magazine entitled Nights of Horror. An article in USA Today quotes Yoe's observation:
Joe obviously had some very dark fantasies. There's a panel in an early Superman comic book where he has Lois over his knee and is spanking her. But certainly nothing of this depth or extremeness.As I said, this really doesn't shock me. Plenty of artists from mainstream comics sidelined in erotica, especially back in the days when mainstream comics habitually paid their creators in chicken feed and shoeshines.
To cite a few examples:
- Wally Wood one of comics' most talented artists ever, in my (and many other knowledgeable people's) opinion was a one-man cottage porn industry in his later years.
- Will Elder, one of the artists who helped make MAD Magazine a household name, drew Little Annie Fanny for Playboy for more than a quarter-century.
- Bill Ward, who started his career drawing Captain Marvel and Blackhawk before creating the classic "good girl" character Torchy, cranked out hundreds of sexy strips for men's magazines.
- Adam Hughes, perhaps comics' preeminent present-day "good girl" artist, used to freelance for Penthouse.
Great Caesar's ghost, indeed.