Jerry Seigel, creator of Superman, dies at age 81 on this day in 1996. Seigel, a writer, created Superman with artist friend Joe Shuster when they were both teenagers in the 1930s. All the major newspaper syndicates rejected the character, who was born on the doomed planet Krypton and bundled off by his parents in a space capsule to Smallville USA, where he's raised by kindly earthlings. In 1938, however, Seigel and Shuster finally landed a comic book deal, and Superman's adventures as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent moonlighting as the Man of Steel became an instant hit. The comic book spawned a newspaper strip that ran for 28 years, as well as a radio series, several TV shows and movies.