Otto Binder co-created the DC Comics heroine ‘Supergirl’ along with a handful of other well-known - and lesser-known - comic book heroes.

After being born in Bessemer in 1911, the Binder family hung in that Upper Peninsula town for eleven years…then they moved to Chicago. In 1922, science fiction tales were a hot commodity in pulp magazines which fascinated Otto and his brother Earl. Together they began writing their own stories and by 1930, 19-year-old Otto (and Earl) sold their first tale to Amazing Stories magazine, titled “The First Martian.” They shared the writing credit under the alias “Eando Binder” which was a mashup of “E” (for Earl) and “O” (for Otto). They are also credited with the 1939 creation of ‘Adam Link’, the metallic hero of the sci-fi tale, “I Robot.”

Disillusioned that he wasn’t making enough money at writing to sustain a living, brother Earl stopped writing and went to work elsewhere.

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In 1939, Otto began writing stories for comic books and after many stories for a good number of comic publications, he began his long tenure with Fawcett Comics writing Captain Marvel stories…986 in all…from 1941-1953.

Fawcett shut down in 1953, but Otto continued writing for other comic book publishers, including DC Comics, who he started writing for previously in 1948. Otto wrote many Superman & Superboy stories and even launched the first edition of the Jimmy Olsen comic books. Otto also created Lois Lane’s sister Lucy Lane, Krypto the Super-Dog, and the Phantom Zone.

He debuted the Legion of Super-Heroes, the villain Brainiac, and the Bottle City of Kandor. Then, a year later in 1959, he co-created the character Supergirl, who debuted in Action Comics #252.

Otto’s last Superman story was featured in Action Comics #377 in 1969. Otto’s comic career took an unexpected downspin when his 14-year-old daughter Mary was hit and killed by a car that jumped the curb while she was on her way to school. In a 1974 interview, Otto stated, “I'm far from retired, simply because I can't afford it. All the money I made from the Marvels and had saved up went down the drain… that left me without money reserves, and it was back to the comics until 1967, when my daughter—our only child—was killed by a car at age 14…..I was pretty broken up and found it difficult to write again up here, but went back to sci-fi, this time as the market hit.”

Broken-hearted, Otto passed away not long after that interview, leaving behind an impressive amount – thousands, actually – of creations and stories.

And he hailed from the little U.P. town of Bessemer.

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