After World War II, Superman creators JERRY SEIGEL & JOE SHUSTER left DC/National and rejoined their original editor Vin Sullivan at his Magazine Enterprises company. In January 1948, they published Funnyman #1 about the adventures of comedian Larry Davis who accidently starts fighting crime! Reportedly he was based on DANNY KAYE. The "Siegel & Shuster" byline was prominent on the covers but sadly the book only lasted until August of that year.

I guess comedy is hard!

Thus Funnyman was sent to Comic Book Limbo!

Until.....

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Super Friends #5 (Ju'77) by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ramona Fradon and Bob Smith revolved around the Justice League Super-Thon which featured Daphne Dean (Barry Allen's ex-girlfriend), Scott Free (Mister Miracle), Kathy Kane (Batwoman), Gregory Reed (star of Earth-One's Superman movies) and Carlo Di Rienzi (the Secret Six). But the opening act is comedian Larry Davis! Who is introduced by Superman! And says they have two mutual friends! And is described as a "Funny Man"!

"Brothers" meeting after thirty years!

Only in the comics!

Thanks, Philip. I hadn't seen that. Funnyman's love interest was his manager, too.

...He does indeed look like a young Danny Kaye...I have only read excerpts/brief repros of parts of Funnyman .

  Has anyone here read more ? There was a newspaper strip , too .

  There seem to be a few books of FM out , possibly drawing on the comics being at lest partly PD ?

  There's one FM book I've read of , that seems to be (I haven't read it .) an attempt to recycle someone's graduate thesis taking up much of the book , informing us that Siegel and Shuster were ( Gasp ! Who'a thunk it ?) Jewish...Amazing , that .

Actually I had no idea who Larry Davis was when I first read Super Friends #5 (which also had Batman take a $75,000 pledge from ANTHONY STARK from NYC for the heart fund!)* Later I read about Funnyman then much later connected the two. Of course, E. Nelson Bridwell would know all about Funnyman.

Siegel, as is well known, did return to DC, writing for Superman and the Legion among other features and even wrote some stories for Marvel. Joe Shuster never drew for DC again, due to his failing eyesight.

*Naturally Bruce had to beat him with a $100,000 pledge!

That FunnyMan trade paperback was quite a disappointment--since there were only six issues of the series, the whole thing could have been reprinted in one nice package, but instead we got random bits of several issues wrapped around a dull & pointless college thesis.  I know I felt ripped off, and it doesn't sound like I'm alone in that.

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...He does indeed look like a young Danny Kaye...I have only read excerpts/brief repros of parts of Funnyman .

  Has anyone here read more ? There was a newspaper strip , too .

  There seem to be a few books of FM out , possibly drawing on the comics being at lest partly PD ?

  There's one FM book I've read of , that seems to be (I haven't read it .) an attempt to recycle someone's graduate thesis taking up much of the book , informing us that Siegel and Shuster were ( Gasp ! Who'a thunk it ?) Jewish...Amazing , that .

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

Has anyone here read more ? There was a newspaper strip , too .

The issues can be found at Comic Book Plus. I don't know for sure they're in the public domain, but they would be if their copyrights weren't renewed. I've read a couple of the issues and much or all of the run of the newspaper strip. In my view the feature doesn't work because it relies on slapstick and the slapstick isn't funny.

Siegel was sometimes quite funny elsewhere. BailsProjects has a bibliography of his work here.(1) Unfortunately Ziff-Davis, where he had an editorial position, didn't stick with comics very long. He also often failed to make the most of his ideas. Ger Apeldoorn of The Fabulous Fifties website posted on his strip Ken Winston, which he did with Ogden Whitney and Mike Roy, here and here.

(1) I have a theory that he also wrote "Beau Brummell", which made a handful of appearances in comics from less prolific publishers in the 40s, because it seems to me written in his style and resembles Funnyman. But I could be mistaken. I reviewed (and overpraised) it in consecutive posts here.

Even though Funnyman was based on Danny Kaye, when I looked at him, he reminded me of Dick Van Dyke as chronologically impossible as that is. With his height and physicality, he would have been perfect to play the character.

It's too bad Danny Kaye didn't play Funnyman in the movies. If he had, I think it would have been a smash. And the notoriety would have helped Siegel and Shuster's creation stay in print.

...Wre the stories even complete ?

Dave Elyea said:

That FunnyMan trade paperback was quite a disappointment--since there were only six issues of the series, the whole thing could have been reprinted in one nice package, but instead we got random bits of several issues wrapped around a dull & pointless college thesis.  I know I felt ripped off, and it doesn't sound like I'm alone in that.

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...He does indeed look like a young Danny Kaye...I have only read excerpts/brief repros of parts of Funnyman .

  Has anyone here read more ? There was a newspaper strip , too .

  There seem to be a few books of FM out , possibly drawing on the comics being at lest partly PD ?

  There's one FM book I've read of , that seems to be (I haven't read it .) an attempt to recycle someone's graduate thesis taking up much of the book , informing us that Siegel and Shuster were ( Gasp ! Who'a thunk it ?) Jewish...Amazing , that .

The stories they ran were complete, but since back then there were three or four stories per issue, I'm not sure if any full issues were presented, even tho it shouldn't have been that big a deal to reprint all of them--even when the book was published, scans of all of them were available on Comic Book Plus and the Digital Comics Museum.

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