Super City: The Secret Origin of Comic Books

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By Tom Meyers and Bowery Boys Media. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

A history of the comic book industry in New York City, how the energy and diversity of the city influenced the burgeoning medium in the 1930s and 40s and how New York’s history reflects out from the origins of its most popular characters.

In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzee helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book.

Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever — in blockbuster summer movies and television shows — and most of them still have an inseparable bond with New York City.

What’s Spider-Man without a tall building from which to swing? But not only are the comics often set here; the creators were often born here too.

Many of the greatest writers and artists actually came from Jewish communities in the Lower East Side, Brooklyn or the Bronx.

For many decades, nearly all of America’s comic books were produced here. Unfortunately that meant they were in certain danger of being eliminated entirely during a 1950s witch hunt by a crusading psychiatrist from Bellevue Hospital named Frederic Wertham.

FEATURING a special chat with comics historian Peter Sandersonabout the unique New York City connections of Marvel Comics’ most famous characters. Sanderson is the author of The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City and The Marvel Encyclopedia.

WITH: The Yellow Kid, Little Orphan Annie, Batman, Doctor Strange and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

The episode is a rebroadcast of a show which first aired on July 24, 2015.

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