superman-france-nazi-ban-display

How Superman Outmaneuvered the Nazi Ban on American Comics in France

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and seventy-fifth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false.

As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!

French comics surreptitiously kept Superman comics going after the Nazis banned most American comics during World War II

True

I just noticed that this is the 775th installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed. The most notable 775th issue of a comic book that I can think of is Joe Kelly’s excellent “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?” from Action Comics #775. So amusingly, then, this installment happened to kick off with story about Superman, as well!

A year after Superman debuted and soon after his newspaper comic strip launched, Superman was brought over to the pages of the iconic Spirou magazine in Belgium (the famous Franco-Belgium comic series that continues to this very day)…

However, when Belgium was invaded by Nazi Germany the following year, the Superman strip soon vanished.

Superman had also appeared, though, in Sagedition’s French comic magazine, Aventures, with his named changed to Yordi…

Amusingly, the Jerry Siegel/Joe Shuster comic strips had four panels a strip, but Aventures cut and paste them to make them into five panel strips…

Anyhow, once France was taken over by Nazi Germany, as well, American comic book characters were almost all banned, so they got around the ban by basically re-inventing Superman as Le Homme de Acier, sans costume (and with original stories done by French comic creators)…

Once the war ended, the Superman comic strip was once again adapted…

But then, ironically enough, Superman was banned again, but this time by the French government, who felt that it was too pro-American.

Eventually, though, Sagedition defied this newer ban in the early 1970s and produced a number of DC Comics…

This led to DC honoring Sagedition’s head, Bernard Trout, in their 1985 collection, 50 Who Made DC Great….

Chris Gavaler did an in-depth look at this era for the Hooded Utilitarian here. That’s where the scans came from. Thanks to Chris on his excellent work.

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Check out some entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Was Gabrielle Reece Cast as the She-Hulk in a Failed She-Hulk TV Pilot?

2. How Did Robert Altman’s Son Make Over a Million Dollars Writing the Lyrics to “The Stupidest Song Ever Written”?

3. Was the Apartment Building in 227 the Same One Used on Sesame Street?

4. Were Dorothy Parker’s Ashes Kept in a Filing Cabinet for Two Decades? _______________________________________________________________________________

Check back later for part 2 of this installment’s legends!

Feel free to send suggestions for future comic legends to me at either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com

See how French comics kept Superman in print even after the Nazis banned almost all American comic books.

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