|Born||June 19, 1915|
The Bronx, New York
|Died||February 8, 2004 (aged 88)|
New York City
|Area(s)||Editor, publisher, writer, literary agent|
Julius "Julie" Schwartz (/ʃwɔːrts/; June 19, 1915 – February 8, 2004) was an American comic book 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.
Born on June 19, 1915, to Romanian-Jewish parents Joseph and Bertha who emigrated from a small town outside Bucharest, Romania. Julius and his parents resided at 817 Cauldwell Avenue in the Bronx. He graduated at age seventeen from Theodore Roosevelt High School in The Bronx.
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. Schwartz helped organize the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939. In 1944, while looking for work, he was encouraged by his client, Alfred Bester, who was writing "Green Lantern" at the time, to apply as an editor at All-American Publications, a subsidiary of DC Comics.
In 1956, after the formation of the Comics Code Authority, Schwartz worked along with writer Robert Kanigher and artists Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert on the company's first attempt at reviving superheroes: an updated version of the Flash that would appear in Showcase #4 (October 1956). 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. Schwartz also worked with writers John Broome and Gardner Fox and revived other superheroes such as Green Lantern in Showcase #22 (October 1959); Hawkman in The Brave and the Bold #34 (February–March 1961); and the Atom in Showcase #34 (Sept-Oct. 1961). A character Schwartz created himself, Adam Strange, 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 first thought the concept of the Justice League of America as an updating of the Justice Society and the idea was then developed by Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky. 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.
In 1964, Schwartz was made responsible for reviving the faded Batman titles. Under his editorial instructions, 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). During the rise in popularity of the Batman comics thanks to the Batman TV Series, William Dozier (producer of the show), pitched an initial concept for a female hero and 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).
He helped writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams come to prominence at DC Comics. The duo, under the direction of Schwartz, would revitalize the Batman with a series of stories reestablishing the character's dark, brooding nature. Schwartz edited Detective Comics until issue #481 (Dec. 1978/Jan. 1979) and Batman until issue #309 (March 1979).
From 1971 to 1986 Schwartz was the editor of the Superman titles, 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. 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.
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.
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.
He was a popular guest at comics and science fiction conventions, often attending 10–12 conventions a year.
In 1952, Schwartz married Jean Ordwein who had been his secretary. She died in 1986 from emphysema. 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.
Following his death, a number of women came forward alleging that Schwartz had behaved inappropriately with them. These included Jo Duffy, Jill Thompson, and Colleen Doran, who stated that he had attempted to fondle her in a limousine when she was an aspiring artist in her teens.
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. The inaugural recipient was science-fiction and fantasy Grand Master Ray Bradbury. 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.
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:
Schwartz has appeared as himself in a number of comics:
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:
[A]t one of the conventions ... I said, "You know, Carmine, Julie Schwartz wrote something in [his autobiography] that I don't remember at all and it doesn't sound like you at all." And I told him the incident ... and he said, "That's crazy. You know I always loved your work. Gee, you were one of the best artists in the business. The guy's crazy." So I said, "Okay, come on." We went over to Julie Schwartz's table and we told him what our problem was. And Carmine and I said, "We don't remember the incident." So Julie said, "Well, it's a good story, anyway." [laughs] And that was it. He let it go at that. [laughs] He just made it up.
As editor unless noted:
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.
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.
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).
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.
As the decade drew to a close, longtime Batman editor Julius Schwartz finally passed the torch on to Paul Levitz, marking the end of an era.
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Beginning in July , DC Comics will celebrate the late Julius Schwartz's contribution to comics by publishing eight stand-alone DC Comics Presents Specials.