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June 20, 2013
Ricca examines Superman as biographical art with a CIA connection.
It’s Superman’s 75th anniversary, and Bradley Ricca, adjunct faculty member in the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Liberal Arts environment, discusses the early days of the man of steel, including his costume, quirks, and the evolution of his image, with CBC News (Canada) in the segment, “Seeking Superman’s Origins.”
Ricca, who teaches Graphic Narratives and Science Fiction & Fantasy at CIA, is the author of the new book, Super Boys, from St. Martin's Press, which tells the back story of the Clevelanders who created Superman: writer Jerry Siegel and cartoonist Joe Shuster, who studied at CIA.
Ricca noted that on more than one occasion, Shuster was a candidate for a scholarship to CIA, which was then called the Cleveland School of Art. “He would always get honorable mention but never got the scholarship. He was heartbroken over it. He took classes at the Cleveland School of Art, but he never fully enrolled or graduated,” Ricca said.
Ricca said he teaches CIA students that comics can be a valuable media for self-expression.
“The Superman story is basically a biography,” he said. “Siegel and Shuster were bullied, so they created this super-human character. All this stuff that happened in their lives they just turned into art. We talk in class about looking at something you’ve been struggling with in your own life and creating avatars or symbols that are ways of expressing what’s going on. It could be something personal or something you see going on in the world. Siegel and Shuster were writing during the Great Depression.”
Released on June 4, Super Boys has already been reviewed by the New York Times, The New Yorker and many other publications and websites, several of which can be accessed from Ricca’s own website at www.brad-ricca.com.
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