Vintage superman toys, action figures and dolls were made by for example Kenner, Remco and Mego. Hot Toys still makes Superman toys and figures. Kenner developed lines centered on Superman and other DC Comics characters. Most of these lines incorporated multi-colored costumes, weapons and features which were not based directly on any existing storylines, although the character names and likenesses were typically drawn from the source material.
What made these lines so successful was that the figures were modeled almost exactly from the style guide of the company. Also, each figure performed some "action." If Superman's legs are squeezed for example, he would throw a punch.
The first Superman character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster was not a hero, but rather a villain. Their short story "The Reign of the Superman" concerned a bald-headed villain, bent on dominating the world. The story did not sell, forcing the two to put their character on the right side of the law.
In 1935, their story was again rejected by newspaper syndicates wanting to avoid lawsuits, who recognized the character as being a slightly altered Hugo Danner, the lead character from Philip Wylie's 1930 novel Gladiator. An upstart publishing company, DC Comics printed another of their creations, Dr. Occult, who made his first appearance in New Fun Comics #6, October 1935. DC decided to take a chance with Superman, figuring if any lawsuits were filed, they would just drop the feature.
The revised Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1, June 1938. Siegel and Shuster sold the rights to the company for $130 and a contract to supply the publisher with material. The Saturday Evening Post reported in 1941 that the pair was being paid $75,000 each per year, still a fraction of DC's Superman profits. In 1946, when Siegel and Shuster sued for more money, DC fired them, prompting a legal battle that ended in 1948, when they accepted $200,000 and signed away any further claim to Superman or any character created from him.
DC soon took Siegel's and Shuster's names off the byline. Following the huge financial success of Superman in 1978 and news reports of their pauper-like existences, Warner Communications gave Siegel and Shuster lifetime pensions of $35,000 per year and health care benefits. In addition, any media production which includes the Superman character must include the credit, "Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster".
Source and more info: Wikipedia.
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