Julius Schwartz

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This article is about the comic book author. For the American rabbi, see Julie Schwartz (rabbi).
Julius Schwartz
Julius Schwartz in 2002.jpg
Julius Schwartz, editor for DC Comics at Comic-Con International in 2002
Born (1915-06-19)June 19, 1915[1]
The Bronx, New York
Died February 8, 2004(2004-02-08) (aged 88)
Nationality American
Area(s) Editor, Publisher, Writer, Literary agent
Pseudonym(s) Julie Schwartz

Julius "Julie" Schwartz (June 19, 1915 – February 8, 2004) was a comic book and pulp magazine editor, and a science fiction agent and prominent fan. He was born in The Bronx, New York. He is best known as a longtime editor at DC Comics, where at various times he was primary editor over the company's flagship superheroes, Superman and Batman.

He was inducted into the comics industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1997.

Early life and career[edit]

Born on June 19, 1915, Julius Schwartz grew up on 817 Caldwell Avenue in The Bronx, to his Romanian immigrant parents Joseph and Bertha[2] who emigrated from a small town outside Bucharest, Romania. He graduated at Theodore Roosevelt High School in The Bronx at age seventeen.

In 1932, Schwartz co-published (with Mort Weisinger and Forrest J. Ackerman) Time Traveller, one of the first science fiction fanzines. Schwartz and Weisinger also founded the Solar Sales Service literary agency (1934–1944) where Schwartz represented such writers as Alfred Bester, Stanley G. Weinbaum, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, and H. P. Lovecraft, including some of Bradbury's first published work and Lovecraft's last. In addition, Schwartz helped organize the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939.

In 1944 he became an editor at All-American Comics, one of the companies that evolved into DC Comics. He recruited Bester to contribute to the company's line of comic books.

Silver Age of Comic Books[edit]

In 1956, Schwartz assigned writer Robert Kanigher and artists Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert to the company's first attempt at reviving superheroes: an updated version of the Flash that would appear in Showcase #4 (October 1956).[3] The eventual success of the new, science-fiction oriented Flash heralded the wholesale return of superheroes, and the beginning of what fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books.[4] Schwartz also had writers John Broome and Gardner Fox revive other superheroes such as Green Lantern in Showcase #22 (October 1959);[5] Hawkman in The Brave and the Bold #34 (Feb.-March 1961);[6][7] and the Atom in Showcase #34 (Sept-Oct. 1961).[8][9] A character Schwartz created himself, Adam Strange,[10] debuted in Showcase #17 (Nov-Dec. 1958), and was unusual in that he used his wits and scientific knowledge, rather than superpowers, to solve problems.

Schwartz hired Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky to create the Justice League of America as an updating of the Justice Society.[11] The new team debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28 (February/March 1960), and received its own title in October 1960. It became one of the most successful series of the Silver Age.

Schwartz oversaw the introduction of the Elongated Man in The Flash #112 (May 1960) by writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino.[12]

Schwartz edited the "Flash of Two Worlds" story published in The Flash #123 (September 1961). It introduces Earth-Two, and more generally the concept of the multiverse, to DC Comics.[13] Justice League of America #21 and #22 (August–September 1963) saw the first use of the term "Crisis" in reference to a crossover between DC's Golden Age and Silver Age characters.[14]

In 1964, Schwartz was made responsible for reviving the faded Batman titles. Broome and Infantino jettisoned the sillier aspects that had crept into the series such as Ace the Bathound and Bat-Mite and gave the character a "New Look" that premiered in Detective Comics #327 (May 1964).[15] Schwartz, Gardner Fox, and Carmine Infantino introduced Barbara Gordon as a new version of Batgirl in a story titled "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!" in Detective Comics #359 (January 1967).[16]

He helped writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams come to prominence at DC Comics.[17] The duo, under the direction of Schwartz,[18] would revitalize the Batman with a series of stories reestablishing the character's dark, brooding nature.

From 1971 to 1986 Schwartz was the editor of the Superman titles,[9] helping to modernize the settings of the books and move them away from "gimmick" stories to stories with more of a character-driven nature. This included an attempt to scale back Superman's powers while removing kryptonite as an overused plot device.[19] This proved short-lived, with Schwartz bowing to pressure to restore both elements in the titles. Schwartz oversaw the launch of DC Comics Presents in 1978 and edited it throughout its 97 issue run.[20]

As an editor, Schwartz was heavily involved in the writing of the stories published in his magazines. He worked out the plot with the writer in story conferences. The writer would then break down the plot into a panel-by-panel continuity, and write the dialogue and captions. Schwartz would in turn polish the script, sometimes rewriting extensively.

Later life and career[edit]

Schwartz retired from DC in 1986 after 42 years at the company, but continued to be active in comics and science fiction fandom until shortly before his death. As a coda to his career as a comic book editor, Schwartz edited seven releases in the DC Graphic Novel line adapted from classic science fiction works by Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Bradbury, and others. In 2000 he published his autobiography, Man of Two Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and Comics, co-authored with Brian Thomsen.

His wife, Jean Ordwein (who had been his secretary before they married), died in 1986 from emphysema, after 34 years of marriage. Schwartz's relationship with Jean had been particularly close, and he never remarried or dated following her death. Not many years later, Schwartz's stepdaughter Jeanne — Jean's daughter from a previous marriage — died from the same illness under similar circumstances.

Schwartz died at the age of 88, after being hospitalized for pneumonia. He was survived by his son-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He remained a "Goodwill Ambassador" for DC Comics and an Editor Emeritus up until his death.[21] He was a popular guest at comics and science fiction conventions, often attending between ten and twelve conventions a year.

Awards[edit]

Ray Bradbury and Schwartz (right) at Comic-Con International in 2002

In 1998, Dragon*Con chairman Ed Kramer established the Julie Award, bestowed for universal achievement spanning multiple genres and selected each year by a panel of industry professionals.[22][23] The inaugural recipient was science-fiction and fantasy Grand Master Ray Bradbury.[22] Additional awards, presented by Schwartz each year, included Forrest J. Ackerman, Yoshitaka Amano, Alice Cooper, Will Eisner, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Carmine Infantino, Anne McCaffrey, Peter David, Jim Steranko and Micky Dolenz.[22]

In addition to his induction into both of the comic-book industry's halls of fame, Schwartz received a great deal of other recognition over the course of his career, including:

Appearances in comics[edit]

Schwartz has appeared as himself in a number of comics:

In the "Flash — Fact Or Fiction" story (reprinted in The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told), the Flash finds himself on "Earth Prime" (the real Earth that we live on). He contacts the "one man on Earth who might believe his fantastic story and give him the money he needs. The editor of that Flash comic mag !" Schwartz helps the Flash build a cosmic treadmill so that he can return home.[26]
In "Where On Earth Am I?" and "Avenging Ghosts of the Justice Society", Schwartz tasks writers Cary Bates and Elliot S. Maggin with inventing a fresh plot for the Justice League of America comic book. Using the cosmic treadmill left behind by the Flash in Flash #179, Bates and Maggin are transported to Earth-Two and Earth-One, respectively, leaving Schwartz to cover for their absence when DC Publisher Carmine Infantino walks into his office.[27][28]
As a 70th birthday present, the staff at DC Comics made Superman #411 as a surprise tribute to Schwartz, who was involved in creating what he thought was #411. The cover shows Schwartz in his office being surprised by real-life co-workers just before Superman flies in the window with a birthday cake.[29] The story features Schwartz playing himself as a down-and-out character with a modified version of his real history.
The cover of part two of the two-part alternate-universe story "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", written by Alan Moore and begun in the same month's Superman #423, shows Superman flying away from a number of DC Comics staff, including Schwartz.
  • Superman and Batman: World's Funnest (2000)
During Mister Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite's rampage in numerous DC Universe realities, they find the "real" Earth and Julie Schwartz working in the DC offices.
After Schwartz's death, DC Comics issued a series of eight standalone one-shot specials. Each issue featured two stories based on a classic DC cover from the mid-1950s and 1960s Silver Age of Comic Books, reflecting Schwartz's frequent practice of commissioning a cover concept, then telling the writers to create a story around that cover. Schwartz or a doppelganger thereof appeared in all eight issues, serving various roles.[30][31]
  • Schwartz has made countless appearances in Adam Strange stories as Alanna's father, Sardath. Julie was proud to be recognized as the planet's chief scientist and "the finest mind on Rann". It was from the Adam Strange stories that he lifted the auto-bio title for himself as the "Man of Two Worlds".

Quotes[edit]

Nick Cardy on the popular but apocryphal anecdote, told by Schwartz, about Carmine Infantino firing Cardy over not following a cover layout, only to rehire him moments later when Schwartz praised the errant cover art:

Bibliography[edit]

As editor unless noted:

DC Comics[edit]

DC Comics and Marvel Comics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JKVN-KN1 : accessed 19 Mar 2013), Julius Schwartz, 8 February 2004.
  2. ^ "Softly: A Living Legend Passes", by Harlan Ellison and Brian M. Thomsen; published in "DC Comics Presents: Mystery in Space (Julius Schwartz Tribute)"; September 2004
  3. ^ Levitz, Paul (2010). "The Silver Age 1956-1970". 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Taschen America. p. 251. ISBN 9783836519816. "Together Schwartz, Kanigher, Infantino, and Kubert would set a tone for the Flash that was both cinematic...and influenced by Schwartz's first love of science fiction." 
  4. ^ Irvine, Alex; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1950s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "The arrival of the second incarnation of the Flash in [Showcase] issue #4 is considered to be the official start of the Silver Age of comics." 
  5. ^ Levitz "The Silver Age 1956-1970", p. 252: "Schwartz enlisted Broome to update Green Lantern...He got a quick Showcase try before launching on his own even before sales figures came in."
  6. ^ McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 102: "DC's...renaissance soared to new heights with the return of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Writer Gardner Fox and artist Joe Kubert...ushered in a pair of Winged Wonders that, costumes aside, were radically different from their Golden Age predecessors."
  7. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). "The Silver Age Applying a Fine Shine". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch. p. 130. ISBN 0821220764. "Hawkman took a little longer to get off the ground. He showed up initially in The Brave and the Bold #34 (March 1961), but had to wait three years for Hawkman #1 (April–May 1964)." 
  8. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 103: "The Atom was the next Golden Age hero to receive a Silver Age makeover from writer Gardner Fox and artist Gil Kane."
  9. ^ a b Julius Schwartz at the Grand Comics Database
  10. ^ Amash, Jim (2003). "Foreward" in The Adam Strange Archives: Volume 1. Pages 5-8.
  11. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 99: "Editor Julius Schwartz had repopulated the [superhero] subculture by revitalizing Golden Age icons like Green Lantern and the Flash..He recruited writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky, and together they came up with the Justice League of America, a modern version of the legendary Justice Society of America from the 1940s."
  12. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 100: "Editor Julius Schwartz, writer John Broome, and artist Carmine Infantino introduced the Elongated Man."
  13. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 103 "This classic Silver Age story resurrected the Golden Age Flash and provided a foundation for the Multiverse from which he and the Silver Age Flash would hail."
  14. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 109: "The two-part 'Crisis on Earth-One!' and 'Crisis on Earth-Two!' saga represented the first use of the term 'Crisis' in crossovers, as well as the designations 'Earth-1' and 'Earth-2'. In it editor Julius Schwartz, [writer Gardner] Fox, and artist Mike Sekowsky devised a menace worthy of the World's Greatest Heroes."
  15. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 110: "The Dark Knight received a much-needed facelift from new Batman editor Julius Schwartz, writer John Broome, and artist Carmine Infantino. With sales at an all-time low and threatening the cancelation of one of DC's flagship titles, their overhaul was a lifesaving success for DC and its beloved Batman."
  16. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 122 "Nine months before making her debut on Batman, a new Batgirl appeared in the pages of Detective Comics...Yet the idea for the debut of Barbara Gordon, according to editor Julius Schwartz, was attributed to the television series executives' desire to have a character that would appeal to a female audience and for this character to originate in the comics. Hence, writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino collaborated on 'The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!'"
  17. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 139: "Under the editorship of Julius Schwartz, O'Neil and Adams tackled a plethora of real-world topics that helped launch comics' more socially relevant Bronze Age."
  18. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Manning, Matthew K. (2009). The Batman Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the Batcave. Running Press. p. 26. ISBN 0-7624-3663-8. "Editor Julius Schwartz had decided to darken the character's world to further distance him from the camp environment created by the 1966 ABC show. Bringing in the talented O'Neil as well as the innovative Frank Robbins and showcasing the art of rising star Neal Adams...Schwartz pointed Batman in a new and darker direction, a path the character still continues on to this day." 
  19. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 144 "New editor Julius Schwartz, new scripter Denny O'Neil, and regular artist Curt Swan removed the Man of Steel's greatest weakness from the face of the Earth."
  20. ^ Kingman, Jim (August 2013). "Men of Steel: Superman and Julius Schwartz in World's Finest Comics and DC Comics Presents". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (66): 53–64. 
  21. ^ Kininger, Dennis. "'Man of 2 Worlds' Julius Schwartz". Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f "Julius Schwartz". Dragon*Con. April 25, 2004. Archived from the original on March 24, 2009. Retrieved March 24, 2009. 
  23. ^ Harlan Ellison; Brian M. Thomsen (March 18, 2004). "Harlan Ellison remembers friend Julie Schwartz". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on March 24, 2009. Retrieved March 24, 2009. 
  24. ^ a b c "Julius Schwartz". The Daily Telegraph. February 24, 2004. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  25. ^ Marx, Barry, Cavalieri, Joey and Hill, Thomas (w), Petruccio, Steven (a), Marx, Barry (ed). "Julius Schwartz The Golden Age Recreated" Fifty Who Made DC Great: 31 (1985), DC Comics
  26. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 130: "Trapped on 'Earth-Prime', the Flash knew only one man could possibly help him: DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz."
  27. ^ Bates, Cary; Maggin, Elliot S. (w), Dillin, Dick (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Where on Earth Am I?" Justice League of America 123 (October 1975), DC Comics
  28. ^ Bates, Cary; Maggin, Elliot S. (w), Dillin, Dick (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Avenging Ghosts of the Justice Society!" Justice League of America 124 (November 1975), DC Comics
  29. ^ Eury, Michael (February 2013). "The Julius Scwartz Superman Dynasty". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (62): 16. 
  30. ^ "DC Comics Celebrates the Legacy of Julius Schwartz with Eight New Specials". Comics Bulletin. March 20, 2004. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2012. "Beginning in July [2004], DC Comics will celebrate the late Julius Schwartz's contribution to comics by publishing eight stand-alone DC Comics Presents Specials." 
  31. ^ Cowsill, Alan "2000s (decade)" in Dolan, p. 314: "When DC Comics' icon Julius Schwartz sadly passed away in February 2004, some kind of major tribute was required...To celebrate his life, DC revived the DC Comics Presents series, producing eight one-shots in which DC writers and artists put their own twists on covers inspired by Schwartz and reimagined classic Silver Age stories."
  32. ^ Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (13): 6. November 2005. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Schwartz, Julius: Man of Two Worlds: My Life In Science Fiction and Comics, 197 pages, Harper Paperbacks, June 2000, ISBN 978-0380810512

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sheldon Mayer
All-American Comics editor
1944–1947
Succeeded by
Sheldon Mayer
Preceded by
Sheldon Mayer
Flash Comics editor
1944–1949
Succeeded by
n/a
Preceded by
Sheldon Mayer
Comic Cavalcade editor
1944–1948
Succeeded by
Larry Nadle
Preceded by
Sheldon Mayer
Green Lantern editor
1944–1949
Succeeded by
n/a
Preceded by
n/a
The Flash editor
1959–1979
Succeeded by
Ross Andru
Preceded by
n/a
Green Lantern vol. 2 editor
1960–1972
Succeeded by
Dennis O'Neil (in 1976)
Preceded by
n/a
Justice League of America editor
1960–1979
Succeeded by
Ross Andru
Preceded by
Jack Schiff
Detective Comics editor
1964–1973
Succeeded by
Archie Goodwin
Preceded by
Jack Schiff
Batman editor
1964–1979
Succeeded by
Paul Levitz
Preceded by
Mort Weisinger
World's Finest Comics editor
1970–1972
Succeeded by
Murray Boltinoff
Preceded by
Mort Weisinger
Superman editor
1971–1986
Succeeded by
Andrew Helfer
Preceded by
Murray Boltinoff
Action Comics editor
1972–1986
Succeeded by
Andrew Helfer
Preceded by
Robert Kanigher
Wonder Woman editor
1974–1977
Succeeded by
Dennis O'Neil
Preceded by
Archie Goodwin
Detective Comics editor
1974–1979
Succeeded by
Paul Levitz
Preceded by
Dennis O'Neil
Green Lantern vol. 2 editor
1977–1978
Succeeded by
Jack C. Harris