of the Silver Age:
Legendary DC Editor Julius Schwartz Dead At 88
the text of DC's sad announcement:
Schwartz, one of the best-loved and most influential members
of both the comics and science fiction communities, died Sunday
morning, February 8, in Winthrop Hospital in New York from
complications from pneumonia. Schwartz was 88 years old.
who was popularly called "a living legend" and served
as DC's Editor Emeritus, will be remembered as one of the
founders of science fiction fandom, as a comic-book editor
whose vision spanned five decades with DC Comics, and as the
architect of comics' Silver Age, revitalizing the careers
of such super-heroes as Batman, Superman, The Flash, Green
Lantern and The Justice League of America.
has lost a living legend this weekend and a true original,"
says Paul Levitz, DC's President & Publisher. "Julie
was an editor who entertained and educated millions over three
generations, performed the near-impossible feat of getting
great work out of his contributors without ever ruffling their
feelings, and taught many of us our craft. If the measure
of an editor is the respect of his peers, he was immeasurable
- for his peers who loved and respected him were often legends
in their own right. Most of us were simply left in awe."
> Schwartz was born on June 19, 1915, in the Bronx, NY.
In 1932 he created science fiction's first fanzine, The Time
Traveler, with fellow enthusiasts Mort Weisinger and Forrest
J Ackerman. With Weisinger, he formed Solar Sales Service,
the first literary agency specializing in science fiction,
with clients including Ray Bradbury, Henry Kuttner, Alfred
Bester, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Bloch, and many others. In
1939 he helped organize the first World Science Fiction Convention.
left the world of science fiction in 1944 to join the staff
of All-American Comics (one of DC's predecessor imprints),
where he was hired by Sheldon Mayer. As script editor, Schwartz
contributed to GREEN LANTERN, ALL STAR COMICS, THE FLASH,
and many others. As interest in super-hero comics faded in
the late 1940s, Schwartz moved on to a variety of titles including
ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN, DANGER TRAIL, HOPALONG CASSIDY, and
REX THE WONDER DOG. His passion for science fiction shined
through in launching MYSTERY IN SPACE and STRANGE ADVENTURES,
which featured fondly remembered series including Captain
Comet, Space Museum, the Atomic Knights, Star Hawkins, and
this time, Schwartz continued to work with his favored stable
of writers including John Broome and Gardner Fox, and artists
such as Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, Murphy Anderson and Joe
Kubert. With these creators and others, Schwartz would soon
lead comics into a new age.
career - and the history of comics - turned a corner in with
the publication of SHOWCASE #4 (October 1956). The issue,
which featured the debut of a new Flash, was a hit: it marked
the start of the Silver Age of Comics, and of Schwartz's unparalleled
streak at reintroducing Golden Age heroes in a way that would
appeal to current comics readers.
soon was followed by the debuts of a new Green Lantern (SHOWCASE
#22, September 1959), the Justice League of America (THE BRAVE
& THE BOLD #28, February 1960), Hawkman (THE BRAVE &
THE BOLD #34, February 1961), and The Atom (SHOWCASE #34,
September 1961). Not content only to reinvent past heroes,
Schwartz edited the far-flung adventures of science fiction
hero Adam Strange, who made his debut in SHOWCASE #17 (November
know a lot of people in our business, but not many I could
call my friend," says acclaimed artist Kubert. "Julie
helped a lot of people in this business, as an editor and
as a person, mostly by being a good guy and a straight guy.
He came off as a curmudgeon, but he had a soft heart underneath
was a fan, and agent, an editor," writes New York Times
best-selling novelist Neil Gaiman. "Without Julie, our
media landscape would look nothing like it does today. His
passing really is the end of an era."
comics were noted for their rugged heroes, who were scientists,
test pilots, and adventurers. Readers enjoyed their attention
to detail and their mix of science fact and fiction, as well
as their tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and strong romantic
relationships between the heroes and their leading ladies.
1961, Schwartz transformed the world of DC Comics into a complex
multiverse with THE FLASH #123. "Flash of Two Worlds"
opened up the possibility that DC's Silver Age heroes could
race into adventure alongside their Golden Age predecessors.
It was an idea inspired by science fiction, and one that Schwartz
would use for years to come in annual Justice League/Justice
Society crossovers, and in stories that introduced Earth-2,
Earth-3, Earth-S, Earth-X, and even Earth-Prime, home of DC
Comics and Schwartz himself. This depiction of the science
fiction concept of multiple earths became so iconic that it
became the basis for a recent cover on a national science
Schwartz's reputation for revitalizing DC's characters had
grown so great that he was asked to rework Batman, whose adventures
he edited through 1978. The "New Look" Batman first
appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #327 (May 1964). The issue featured
the addition of an easily recognized bright yellow oval on
the Dark Knight Detective's chest, while the tone of the stories
shifted to moody and mysterious.
helped move the comics industry forward again in the late
1960s by teaming Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams for the first
time in DETECTIVE COMICS #395 (January 1970), which started
the collaboration that still informs the portrayal of the
Dark Knight today. Under Schwartz's watchful eye, O'Neil and
Adams also created an award-winning run of GREEN LANTERN/GREEN
ARROW that brought the concept of relevant, contemporary issues
the retirement of his old collaborator Weisinger, Schwartz
stepped in as the new SUPERMAN editor from 1971 through 1985.
Typically, Schwartz enhanced what made the Man of Steel work
while downplaying elements that seemed dated. He pared down
Superman's out-of-this-world abilities, introduced a host
of new characters into the Man of Steel's milieu, and gave
Clark Kent a new job as TV reporter.
retired from editing monthly comic books in 1986 with the
two-part story "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?,"
which appeared in SUPERMAN #423 and ACTION COMICS #583. The
story, written by Alan Moore with art by Curt Swan, George
Pérez and Kurt Schaffenberger, served as a closing
chapter to the Silver Age of Superman.
As a coda
to his career as a comic book editor, Schwartz edited seven
DC SCIENCE FICTION GRAPHIC NOVELS, adapted from classic science
fiction works by Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Bradbury,
his retirement in 1987, Schwartz made countless appearances
as a goodwill ambassador for DC Comics. He has received awards
including the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award, the Shazam,
the Eagle, the Alley, the Inkpot and the Jules Verne Awards.
In 1998, DragonCon established the Julie Award, whose recipients,
including Bradbury, Ackerman, Gaiman, Ellison, Will Eisner
and others, are recognized for achievements in multiple genres.
memoirs, Man of Two Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and
Comics, co-written with Brian Thomsen, was published by HarperCollins
is survived by his son-in-law, three grandchildren, and five
great-grandchildren. The family asks that donations be made
to the Julius Schwartz Scholarship Fund c/o DC Comics, 1700
Broadway, New York, NY, 10019.