No new Hembeck today, but something of a testimonial instead. Come back on March 1st for new Fred, okay? Meanwhile, we're going into sentimental toast mode.
Wow. Talk about unexpected.
Warner Brothers announced today that DC President and Editor-in-Chief Jenette Kahn will resign both positions by the end of the year, to engage in new creative projects.
This feels a little odd. Jenette has been running the show at DC for 26 years, almost as long as I've been reading comics. If there's anything to the notion that comic book creators have a substantive postive effect on the minds and upbringing of their younger fans, then I owe her a word of thanks.
That's not just for her tenure at DC, but also for her work prior to that with her kids' magazine 'Dynamite'. I'll admit it - I was a subscriber, and it definitely lived up to the accolades that helped land Jenette at DC.
Thanks, Jenette, for all of your contributions and dedication to the comics industry, and best of luck with your book and other projects.
Instead of more words from me, I thought it would be a truly nifty idea (sorry!) to present Jenette's first 'publishorial' - which also included the above illustration by Neal Adams:
When you've got just one comic and a lot of time to kill, what is the only thing you can do?
Right. Read the comic again.
But supposing you've read it not just twice but three times, decided who wrote the jerkiest letter on the letters page and spent at least three minutes wondering if those X-ray Spex really work and if so why haven't you sent away for them already? What then?
Well, in desperation, you might turn again to the beginning and read the old familiar names in tiny type at the bottom of page one. Sol Harrison, Jack Adler - yep, it's the same old DC. But wait. Wasn't Sol Vice-President before? It says President now. And Jack's Vice-President. And Joe Orlando's not just an editor, he's managing editor. And Vince Colletta's art director, and Paul Levitz is some impressive-sounding thing called editorial coordinator. Even a dingbat of modest intelligence can tell some kind of change is going on.
A more astute dingbat may notice something else. One of the old familiar names is nowhere to be found. And there in its place is a new name, never before seen in comics. Jenette Kahn. All signs seem to indicate that an unknown person of presumably female persuasion has become publisher of DC.
The inevitable questions arise. Who is she anyway? Does she have the necessary qualifications to be publisher of the largest comic company in the world? Can she type?
Yes. I can. Ten words a minute using two fingers. I also started three magazines which - strange to say - you might well be hoarding right next to your most prized comics.
Those of you tottering on the brink of second childhood will remember KIDS which I began seven years ago. It was - dare I say it - one of those truly nifty ideas - a magazine written and illustrated by kids for each other.
Everybody loved it. It was an enormous critical success. It also lost money. I learned four hundred and twenty-seven creative mistakes never to foist on a business again. This encouraged me to start another magazine. I figured there were only so many errors one could make and I had used up a lot.
The new magazine was called DYNAMITE. DYNAMITE not only was one of those (dare I say it again?) truly nifty ideas. It was an enormous critical success... and it just happened to make money hand over fist.
Meanwhile, Xerox had jealously watched the explosion of DYNAMITE. Since they'd built a business on copying, they were not adverse to reproducing DYNAMITE's success. We became partners in SMASH, my third magazine. And it was while I was happily esconced in SMASH's secret headquarters in upper Manhattan that Warner Publishing's Morgan Edge asked me how I'd like to be DC's Perry White.
You're right. Dare I say it still one more time? It was one of those truly nifty ideas. I said yes.
And that is my history in brief. In issues to come, I'll be mixing other equally relevant personal details (tonsils removed: November 8, 1954) with the stuff that truly counts - what's happening here at Dynamic DC.
Until then, don't forget that you can tune in weekly on what we're putting out by calling our toll free Direct Currents Hot Line. It's 800-223-7760 no matter where you're calling from. Unless it's New York. In which case you should dial 800-442-8180.
Since it's December, I get to end my first public note by saying all kinds of nice things. To all of you out there - the happiest of holidays and the best of new years. Not just from me, but from the whole gang at DC.