New details have been released on the "lost" Superman story by Jerry Siegel and unspecified artists from the Joe Shuster Studio that will be included in April's Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman hardcover. The story is titled "Too Many Heroes," and as editor (and former DC publisher) Paul Levitz frames it, it has an interesting provenance.
“The found Siegel and Shuster story is a true treasure with a fascinating backstory,” Levitz said. “Back when DC did regular tours of the New York office, it was common for fans to get original art that would have been otherwise disposed of as a tour souvenir. As a young fan on a tour Marv Wolfman found this Superman story and kept it all these years. It’s incredible to think that Marv not only rescued this unpublished story, he then went on to become one of DC’s most prolific writers, and shared the story with DC to publish as part of this special new collection.”
In an earlier interview with Roy Thomas' Alter Ego, Wolfman recounted his acquisition of the pages
Several fans and I were on one of DC's regular Thursday afternoon tours when production manager Sol Harrison came wheeling a huge postal cart past us, filled with 'Written Off' artwork, mostly from the '40s. He was bringing the pages to the building's incinerator to destroy them; obviously, the small office DC had at the time was running out of space and they had to clear away room.
Sol asked the fans on the tour if we wanted any of the art. As fans, we all knew artwork was important, even if the professionals didn't. We all dove into the postal cart like Uncle Scrooge into his money bin and took everything we could, then scurried downstairs and traded in the building's lobby.
I had so many pages by the end of the day that I had to take a cab home from Manhattan to Flushing, Queens, which was very expensive for a kid. I don't remember if every page was stamped "Written Off" but most were.
The pages we got then were full pages, and uncut. I realized early on that I had gotten almost all the pages of a 12-page never-published Siegel and Shuster Superman story and managed to trade for the other pages. I still have that story and it has never been printed. The pages have "Written Off" stamped on them, as well as editing notes which were never corrected in the story. It has an incredibly good splash page with a full-page Superman shot on it.
Later, when I went to work for DC, I went through their library to try to trace the time period of that story. As best I could figure out, it must have been done about 1942. In 1947, I believe, the story was rewritten as a ten-page story and then redrawn by Wayne Boring and was published. Why the Siegel and Shuster version wasn't used, I don't know.
That Boring story appeared as a back-up in 1948's Superman #55.
The 384-page Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman hardcover is scheduled go go on-sale April 19 for $29.99, the same day as the 80-page Action Comics #1000.