Elliot S! Maggin (born 1950) was the lead writer of the Superman comics during The Bronze Age of Comic Books. He also wrote two original Superman novels, Last Son of Krypton and Miracle Monday, as well as the novelisation of Kingdom Come.
One of his earliest and best-known comic book stories is "Must There Be A Superman?", in which the Guardians of the Universe take Superman aside and suggest to him that his readiness to help everybody may be doing harm as well as good, by letting people get into a habit of relying on him to do things they could and should do themselves.
The idiosyncratic punctuation of his middle initial has its origins in the days when comic books habitually used exclamation marks at the end of every sentence. After typing out an entire script full of exclamation points replacing periods, he did the same to his own name out of force of habit, and (with a bit of prodding from editor Julius Schwartz) it stuck.
Works that Elliot S! Maggin wrote or contributed to with their own trope pages include:
- Batman: The Animated Series
- Last Son of Krypton
- Miracle Monday
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series
- Star Raiders
- Who Took the Super out of Superman?
Other works by Elliot S! Maggin provide examples of:
- All There in the Manual: In the interests of richer characterization, Maggin invented a lot of background details that never made it into the stories — including some that he'd never have been allowed to mention explicitly, like what religion each of the main characters was.note
- Ambiguously Jewish: Maggin's backstory for Lex Luthor had him as a non-observant Jew, but he wasn't allowed to be unambiguous about it.
- Creator Cameo: In Justice League of America #123-124, he and co-writer Cary Bates get transported into the middle of the annual Justice League-Justice Society Crossover as a reality changing hero and villain, respectively.
- Did They or Didn't They?: Lois Lane and Clark Kent, in "Who Took the Super Out of Superman?"
- Distant Finale: The prose story "Luthor's Gift," and the comics story, "The Ghost Of Superman Future."
- Expy: Captain Strong, a sailor who got incredibly strong after eating a green plant and had a skinny girlfriend.
- Holding Out for a Hero: "Must There Be A Superman?"
- I Just Want to Be Normal: In his Supergirl stories appeared in Superman Family, often Linda Danvers states that she wants to lead a 'normal life'.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: In spite of being one of the best writers DC Comics has ever had, the company's been unusually reticent to collect his Superman run, or reprint any of his books. Fortunately, Superman Through The Ages has quite a few issues (including Superman #400), as well as most of his books, including an unpublished chapter from his Kingdom Come book.
- Noble Demon: Lex Luthor. Maggin clearly had a soft spot for Lex and viewed him as a Tragic Villain who might actually see redemption some day.