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COMICS

June 20, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JULIE SCHWARTZ

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What’s left to say about iconic DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz that hasn’t been said before? The godfather of the Silver Age of Comics passed away, June 19, 2004. He would have been 99 yesterday.

Julie edited nearly every major character in the DC Pantheon. At one time or another he guided the adventures of Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and many more. Besides his expertise with super-heroes, Schwartz produced some of the best science-fiction anthology comics ever done. This included introducing the s-f inspired, Adam Strange.

I never knew Julie while he was actively editing comics and I never wrote a word for him. My encounters with him were solely at the many conventions he enjoyed attending during the latter phase of his life.

Oh, he could be a curmudgeon of the first order! I remember the first time I met him, I walked up and extended my hand. “Mr. Schwartz, it’s a pleasure to meet you at last. You are a living legend!”

“Yes, I am.” he replied tersely, and went back to reading his newspaper.

Such stories about Julie were legendary! But once you got to know him, he was a great guy and loved to talk–mainly about himself–and his accomplishments as a comic-book editor.

It was even more fun to watch Schwartz interact at these conventions with some of his contemporaries. These were folks he worked with at DC for decades as an editor.

Before there was a term ‘frenemies,’ this was the relationship he enjoyed with his fellow comic-book makers. It mainly consisted of well-aimed barbs that bordered on the vicious, but wrapped in a layer of humor. It sort of reminded me of the condo-committee meetings depicted on the ‘Seinfeld’ sitcom.

I recall once Julie tossed one of his stinging bon mots at a very famous Golden Age creator. The man’s wife sprang up from her chair with the intention of cleaning the former-editor’s clock.

Despite it all, Julie was adored by fans and pros alike. Like many of the new breed of comic book creators, we all grew up with his great books and learned a lot from him.

I was never really a friend, but I felt like I knew him well from his work. I sure miss him a lot!

 

 

 

 






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