April 25, 1915
New York City, New York
|Died||May 7, 1978 63) (aged|
Great Neck, New York
| Action Comics |
|Awards|| Inkpot Award, 1978|
Eisner Award Hall of Fame, 2010
Mortimer "Mort" Weisinger ( // ; April 25, 1915 – May 7, 1978) was an American magazine and comic book editor best known for editing DC Comics' Superman during the mid-1950s to 1960s, in the Silver Age of comic books. He also co-created such features as Aquaman, Green Arrow, Johnny Quick, and the original Vigilante, served as story editor for the Adventures of Superman television series, and compiled the often-revised paperback 1001 Valuable Things You Can Get Free.
DC Comics, Inc. is an American comic book publisher. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. since 1967. DC Comics is one of the largest and oldest American comic book companies, and produces material featuring numerous culturally iconic heroic characters including: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Nightwing, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Hawkman, Cyborg and Supergirl.
Superman is a fictional superhero created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. He first appeared in Action Comics #1, a comic book published on April 18, 1938. He appears regularly in American comic books published by DC Comics, and has been adapted to radio shows, newspaper strips, television shows, movies, and video games.
Aquaman is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the character debuted in More Fun Comics #73. Initially a backup feature in DC's anthology titles, Aquaman later starred in several volumes of a solo comic book series. During the late 1950s and 1960s superhero-revival period known as the Silver Age, he was a founding member of the Justice League. In the 1990s Modern Age, writers interpreted Aquaman's character more seriously, with storylines depicting the weight of his role as king of Atlantis.
Weisinger was born in the Washington Heights section of New York City, New York and was raised in the Bronx, as the son of Austrian Jewish parents. His father was a businessman in the garment trade. At 13, he was introduced to science fiction by means of a borrowed copy of the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories (featuring Buck Rogers and The Skylark of Space). By 1930, Weisinger was active in some of the earliest SF fan clubs and fanzines, including The Planet. In 1931, Weisinger hosted a meeting of pioneer SF fan club "The Scienceers," which was attended by a young Julius Schwartz, who recalled that the two became "very friendly... [and] got along well together."A year later, Weisinger, Schwartz and Allen Glasser joined fellow-future professional editor Forrest J. Ackerman in founding The Time Traveller , which they styled "Science Fiction's Only Fan Magazine". The claim was more than mere youthful bravado, according to SF historian Sam Moskowitz, who described the 'zine as the first devoted entirely to science fiction. Drawing on information they had gleaned from writing letters to the SF magazines and authors of the day, the young fans published interviews with, and short pieces by, established SF writers, and in the process gained increasing familiarity with the personalities and situations of the genre in that era. The first issue featured "a one-page biography of Edward 'Doc' Smith... [and] some news items."
Washington Heights is a neighborhood in the northern portion of the New York City borough of Manhattan. The area, with over 150,000 inhabitants as of 2010, is named for Fort Washington, a fortification constructed at the highest point on the island of Manhattan by Continental Army troops during the American Revolutionary War, to defend the area from the British forces. Washington Heights is bordered by Harlem to the south, along 155th Street, Inwood to the north along Dyckman Street or Hillside Avenue, the Hudson River to the west, and the Harlem River and Coogan's Bluff to the east.
The City of New York, often called New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original Thirteen Colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. To distinguish the state from the city in the state with the same name, it is sometimes called New York State.
After high school, Weisinger attended New York University, where he worked as editor of the college's newspaper and magazine, but left before graduating. With Schwartz, he approached the editor of Amazing Stories (T. Connor Sloane) and "sold his first story": 'The Price of Peace'.In late 1934, Weisinger suggested that he and Schwartz "ought to go into the agency business," noting (according to Schwartz) that the duo had
New York University (NYU) is a private research university spread throughout the world. Founded in 1831, NYU's historical campus is in Greenwich Village, New York City. As a global university, students can graduate from its degree-granting campuses in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, as well as study at its 12 academic centers in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C.
Amazing Stories is an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Science fiction stories had made regular appearances in other magazines, including some published by Gernsback, but Amazing helped define and launch a new genre of pulp fiction.
|“||"...got to know a lot of writers and artists and so on... [Mort explained] 'When a writer writes a story he lives out of town, and he mails it to Amazing Stories. If it's rejected, it has to go all the way back to California. So he sends it to Wonder Stories . Then it goes back and forth, because they send it blind. They don't know what the editor wants. Now we talk to the editors, and he can find out if they want an interplanetary story of about six thousand words, or if they want this or that. Then we can relay this information to the writers. And of course we can become their agents and collect the usual fee of 10%.' "||”|
Schwartz concurred, and they formed the Solar Sales Service ("We always believed in alliteration," noted Schwartz), the first literary agency to specialize in the related genres of SF, horror, and fantasy. Edmond Hamilton was the agency's first client, and Otto Binder soon followed. Solar Sales eventually represented many prominent SF and fantasy writers, including John Russell Fearn, Alfred Bester, Stanley Weinbaum, H. P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury. But while Schwartz continued the agency into the early 1940s, Weisinger moved on; he took a job with the Standard Magazine chain, publisher of a range of pulp magazines. Standard had acquired writer-publisher Hugo Gernsback's defunct Wonder Stories and added it to Standard series of "Thrilling" publications (Thrilling Detective,Thrilling Western, and others). Weisinger became the editor of Thrilling Wonder Stories, and bought stories by Hamilton and others from his former partner Schwartz. Weisinger was soon editing a range of other pulps by Standard, including Startling Stories and Captain Future , and "was in charge of no fewer than 40 titles" by 1940.
In literature, alliteration is the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently. As a method of linking words for effect, alliteration is also called head rhyme or initial rhyme. For example, "humble house," or "potential power play." A familiar example is "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers". "Alliteration" is from the Latin word littera, meaning "letter of the alphabet"; it was first coined in a Latin dialogue by the Italian humanist Giovanni Pontano in the 15th century.
Edmond Moore Hamilton was an American writer of science fiction during the mid-twentieth century.
Otto Oscar Binder was an American author of science fiction and non-fiction books and stories, and comic books. He is best known for his many scripts for Captain Marvel Adventures and other stories involving the entire superhero Marvel Family. He was prolific in the comic book field and is credited with writing over 4400 stories across a variety of publishers under his own name, as well as more than 160 stories under the pen-name Eando Binder.
In March 1941, Weisinger moved from Standard Magazines to National Periodicals (later DC Comics) primarily as editor of the Superman and Batman titles.Among his earliest jobs, however, was the task of "dream[ing] up some new characters" - these resulted in the line-up of More Fun Comics #73, and took the form of Aquaman, Green Arrow, Johnny Quick and Vigilante. Weisinger's fledgling career was soon interrupted when he was conscripted in 1942, and he served as a sergeant in Special Services. Stationed at Yale (and rooming with Broderick Crawford and William Holden), he wrote scripts for a U.S. Army "radio show called 'I Sustain the Wings' " in New York City.
Batman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27, in 1939. Originally named the "Bat-Man", the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World's Greatest Detective.
More Fun Comics, originally titled New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine a.k.a. New Fun Comics, was a 1935–1947 American comic book anthology that introduced several major superhero characters and was the first American comic-book series to feature solely original material rather than reprints of newspaper comic strips. It was also the first publication of the company that would become DC Comics.
Green Arrow is a fictional superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Mort Weisinger and designed by George Papp, he first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. His real name is Oliver Jonas Queen, a wealthy businessman and owner of Queen Industries who is also a well-known celebrity in Star City. Sometimes shown dressed like the character Robin Hood, Green Arrow is an archer who uses his skills to fight crime in his home cities of Star City and Seattle, as well as alongside his fellow superheroes as a member of the Justice League. Though much less frequently used in modern stories, he also deploys a range of trick arrows with various special functions, such as glue, explosive-tipped, grappling hook, flash grenade, tear gas and even kryptonite arrows for use in a range of special situations. At the time of his debut, Green Arrow functioned in many ways as an archery-themed analogue of the very popular Batman character, but writers at DC subsequently developed him into a voice of left-wing politics very much distinct in character from Batman.
He met and married (Sept. 27, 1943) his wife, the former Thelma Rudnick. They would have two children, a daughter, Joyce, and son, Hendrie.
Weisinger returned to his job at National after his discharge from military service in 1946, and resumed his editorship of the Superman comics, the Batman titles and others. His tenure was marked by the introduction of a variety of new concepts and supporting characters, including Supergirl, Krypto the Super Dog, the Phantom Zone, the bottle city of Kandor, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and a variety of types of kryptonite. Attempting to rationalize Superman's powers, it was under Weisinger's watch that the "concept that in a world circling a yellow sun [as opposed to Krypton's red sun] his [Superman's] powers are multiplied" came to be introduced to the Superman mythology. 's Alan Funt, This is Your Life 's Ralph Edwards, Steve Allen, Ann Blyth and Pat Boone among others. Weisinger was particularly "proud of having dreamed up the "imaginary story" gimmick to motivate otherwise impossible stories," (non-canonical 'what if...?' scenarios not bound to series or character continuity, timeframe or logic), and for "having conceived the idea of DC's first giant anthology - The Superman Annual."Realising that "Batman was my favorite [character]," Weisinger realised that the crucial difference was that "Batman can get hurt." In order to better allow the reader to identify with the invulnerable Man of Steel, Weisinger frequently featured stories in which "Superman lost his powers and had to survive on his natural wits." Pitted against Superman's wits was Lois Lane, and under Weisinger's editorship stories in which she sought to prove that Superman was Clark Kent abounded. Weisinger "enjoyed surprising the readers," and to that end introduced a number of "live personalities... real people" into the comics, including Candid Camera
Supergirl is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The original and most well known Supergirl is Kara Zor-El, who was the cousin of the superhero Superman. The character made her first appearance in Action Comics #252 and was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.
Krypto, also known as Superdog, is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Superman. In most continuities, Krypto is Superman's pet dog, and is usually depicted as a white dog of a generic pedigree. Krypto is sometimes depicted as resembling a Labrador Retriever, but his specific breed is almost never specified.
The Phantom Zone is a fictional prison dimension appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with stories featuring Superman. It first appeared in Adventure Comics #283, and was created by Robert Bernstein and George Papp. It was frequently used in the Superman comics before the continuity was rebooted in the 1980s, after Crisis on Infinite Earths, and has appeared occasionally since.
Weisinger "eventually gave up editorship of Batman and many of the other magazines and concentrated on the #1 superhero," both in the comics and elsewhere.In the early 1950s, he was "called out to California by Whitney Ellsworth . . . to work as story editor for the Superman TV series." Weisinger recalled in 1975 about this experience that
|“||On the way out to the coast, we sat in a roomette on a train with a tape recorder and plotted about fifteen stories for the series. I met George Reeves, the actor who played Superman and was one helluva nice guy — very, very unaffected. The amazing thing was that when you met Reeves you said, 'My lord, it's Clark Kent!' It was like seeing Clark step out of the comic pages into three dimensions.||”|
Through Weisinger's previous "experience with television," Reeves landed "a guest star spot, "Big Red S" and all, on the I Love Lucy show."
Weisinger's influences on up-and-coming writers in SF and comics also extended, by these means, to television. Jackson Gillis was shepherded from his work on The Adventures of Superman to Perry Mason and Columbo (alongside many, many other credits).Weisinger also highlights David Chantler, William Woolfolk and Leigh Brackett as "examples of proteges and associates who have surpassed him in term of success."
Many of Weisinger's ideas came from talking to kids in his neighborhood, asking them what they wanted to see, and then attempting to riff on those ideas. Such talks inspired him to create the Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen spin-off titles "over a lot of opposition" from the management who "protested that the characters weren't strong enough."Weisinger later bought a story from Jim Shooter while unaware of the writer's age, and hiring him for a popular run on "The Legion of Super-Heroes" even after discovering that he was only 14 years old.
Weisinger encouraged a static picture book style of illustration in his stories,[ citation needed ] and was known for reusing previously published stories as new story ideas. A noted example of this is a 1950s story featuring Superman encountering an alien being he thought might have been his long-lost brother; this was reused in the early 1960s as a Superboy story introducing Mon-El.
Over time, Weisinger found himself growing disenchanted, and even embarrassed to reveal his primary job, saying "When people asked me what I did for a living, I would suppress the fact that I was editing Superman. I'd tell people that I wrote for Collier's or The Saturday Evening Post."He recalls that he attempted to get himself removed from his editorial position by "asking for bigger and bigger raises," but instead found his demands met - even to the extent that he was given "generous stock options" and "made a vice president of public relations for the company." He did eventually leave, and bought himself a white Cadillac to "bolster my ego."
Weisinger was criticized by some for having a micromanaging attitude and a heavy-handed, overbearing treatment of his writers and artists. He was well known for his abusive treatment of the DC employees. Indeed, his son also confirms he was abusive to restaurant waiters as well.Criticism has also been leveled at Weisinger for quashing creativity by dictating storylines. Jim Shooter, who wrote for years under his editorship, praised Weisinger's "rules" for writing comics but criticized his rigid adherence to them: ". . . Mort’s rules always worked, story-mechanics-wise. Easy, idiot-proof, safe. Trying things that explored the frontiers beyond the confines of Mort’s rules was tricky—fraught with opportunities to fail—but if you were daring, if you had the necessary depth of understanding and the skills, you could do wonderful things."[emphasis in original] Weisinger has commented, "People have always accused me of being an egomaniac as an editor because I always gave the writers my own plots. I did that for a reason. If I asked a writer to bring in his own plots, and he spent a weekend on four of them, and I didn't like any of the four, then he's wasted a whole weekend. . . . . The least I could do was to think of a plot for the writer and if he liked it — I'd never force it down his throat — we'd kick it around and evolve a story."
One concept Weisinger brought to comics from the pulps was creating a story "around a pre-drawn cover," a concept taken up across the industry, most notably by colleague Julius Schwartz.During Weisinger's reign, the Superman comics maintained a reasonably tight internal continuity, but related little to the rest of the DC Universe. Weisinger was succeeded in 1970 by his childhood friend and longtime colleague Julius Schwartz. Weisinger was later immortalized within the Superman comics "as a bust in Clark Kent's apartment."
In addition to his SF agency and extensive editorial work for DC Comics, Weisinger found time - particularly after his retirement from DC - to write a considerable number of articles for a wide variety of magazines. Weisinger was reported, in 1975, as having "had articles in The Journal of the AMA, Reader's Digest , Collier's , The Saturday Evening Post ... [and] Parade ."His articles ranged from one on the Comics Code for Better Homes and Gardens to an article entitled "How Ralph Edwards Fools 'Em" for which he "accompanied Edwards on several This is Your Life escapades to get the story of how the clever impresario suckered the celebrities whom he was to honor on his popular '50s show."
Weisinger had a particular interest in Beauty contests, writing an article for Parade on "why certain finalists in the Miss America pageant can never win the crown," as well as a "best-selling novel" entitled The Contest (published in hardback by World, and in paperback by New American Library).Weisinger had once been a "judge in a preliminary Miss America contest," through which he "learned the inside story," later travelling to Europe with the then-"world-famous host of the real-life contest," a friend of Weisinger's at the time who refused to talk to him again after reading the resulting novel. For the author, however, The Contest netted a $125,000 movie option and "printings in several foreign languages."
Weisinger's best known book was "a compendium of freebies available to anyone" entitled 1001 Valuable Things You Can Get For Free, first published in 1955 and which (as of 1975) had "gone through 41 paperback printings and sold over three million copies."Weisinger's book was praised by Abbie Hoffman in Steal This Book , and earned its author a place in "Who's Who".
Weisinger lived for much of his life in Great Neck, New York, and stayed there until his death from a heart attack. In 1985, he was posthumously named as one of the honorees by DC Comics in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great .
James Shooter is an American writer, occasional fill-in artist, editor, and publisher for various comic books. He started professionally in the medium at the age of 14, and he is most notable for his successful and controversial run as Marvel Comics' ninth editor-in-chief, and his work as editor in chief of Valiant Comics.
Alvin Schwartz was an American comic-book writer best known for his Batman and Superman stories. He was also a novelist, poet, and essayist.
Julius "Julie" Schwartz was a 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.
Elseworlds was the publication imprint for American comic books produced by DC Comics for stories that took place outside the DC Universe canon. The Gotham by Gaslight graphic novel, featuring Batman, is considered to be the first official Elseworlds story. The "Elseworlds" name was trademarked in 1989, the same year as the first Elseworlds publication.
Dennis J. "Denny" O'Neil is an American comic book writer and editor, principally for Marvel Comics and DC Comics from the 1960s through the 1990s, and Group Editor for the Batman family of titles until his retirement.
DC Comics Presents is a comic book series published by DC Comics from 1978 to 1986 which ran for 97 issues and 4 annuals and featured team-ups between Superman and a wide variety of other characters of the DC Universe. A recurring back-up feature "Whatever Happened to...?" had stories revealing the status of various minor and little-used characters.
Paul Levitz is an American comic book writer, editor and executive. The president of DC Comics from 2002–2009, he has worked for the company for over 35 years in a wide variety of roles. Along with publisher Jenette Kahn and managing editor Dick Giordano, Levitz was responsible for hiring such writers as Marv Wolfman and Alan Moore, artists such as George Pérez, Keith Giffen, and John Byrne, and editor Karen Berger, who contributed to the 1980s revitalization of the company's line of comic book heroes.
The Time Traveller was one of the earliest science fiction fanzines, started in 1932. It grew out of a New York City fan club called the Scienceers and was started by Mort Weisinger, Julius Schwartz, Allen Glasser, and Forrest J Ackerman. Initially, Glasser was the "Editor" of the zine, Weisinger "Associate Editor," Schwartz "Managing Editor," and Ackerman "Contributing Editor."
Bat-Mite is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Bat-Mite is an imp similar to the Superman villain Mister Mxyzptlk. Depicted as a small, childlike man in an ill-fitting costume, Bat-Mite possesses what appear to be near-infinite magical powers, but he actually utilizes highly advanced technology from the fifth dimension that cannot be understood by humans' limited three-dimensional views. Unlike Mxyzptlk, Bat-Mite idolizes his superhero target and thus he has visited Batman on various occasions, often setting up strange events so that he could see his hero in action. Bat-Mite is more of a nuisance than a supervillain, and often departs of his own accord upon realizing that he has angered his idol.
Carmine Michael Infantino was an American comics artist and editor, primarily for DC Comics, during the late 1950s and early 1960s period known as the Silver Age of Comic Books. Among his character creations are the Silver Age version of DC super-speedster the Flash, with writer Robert Kanigher; the stretching Elongated Man, with John Broome, and Christopher Chance, the second iteration of the Human Target, with Len Wein.
Edward Nelson Bridwell (1931–1987) was a writer for Mad magazine and various comic books published by DC Comics. One of the writers for the Batman comic strip and Super Friends, he also wrote The Inferior Five, among other comics. He has been called "DC's self-appointed continuity cop."
James Noel Mooney was an American comics artist best known for his long tenure at DC Comics and as the signature artist of Supergirl, as well as a Marvel Comics inker and Spider-Man artist, both during what comics historians and fans call the Silver Age of comic books. He sometimes inked under the pseudonym Jay Noel.
See also: 1960s in comics, other events of the 1970s, 1980s in comics and the list of years in comics
Superboy is a fictional superhero that appears in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by Jerry Siegel and Don Cameron and is based on the character of Superman that Siegel co-created with Joe Shuster. Superboy first appeared in the comic book More Fun Comics #101 in 1945.
Sergio Aragonés Destroys DC is a comic book written by Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier and published in 1996. The book is a satire of DC Comics characters. They also produced an equivalent at Marvel Comics, called Sergio Aragonés Massacres Marvel.
"The Sandman Saga" is a Superman story arc published in 1971 in Superman #233 - 235, #237 - 238 and #240 - 242. This is the first Superman storyline under editor Julius Schwartz and the first Bronze Age-era Superman story.
Strange Stories was a pulp magazine which ran for thirteen issues from 1939 to 1941. It was edited by Mort Weisinger, who was not credited. Contributors included Robert Bloch, Eric Frank Russell, C. L. Moore, August Derleth, and Henry Kuttner. Strange Stories was a competitor to the established leader in weird fiction, Weird Tales. With the launch, also in 1939, of the well-received Unknown, Strange Stories was unable to compete. It ceased publication in 1941 when Weisinger left to edit Superman comic books.
Captain Future was a science fiction pulp magazine launched in 1940 by Better Publications, and edited initially by Mort Weisinger. It featured the adventures of Captain Future, a super-scientist whose real name was Curt Newton, in every issue. All but two of the novels in the magazine were written by Edmond Hamilton; the other two were by Joseph Samachson. The magazine also published other stories that had nothing to do with the title character, including Fredric Brown's first science fiction sale, "Not Yet the End". Captain Future published unabashed space opera, and was, in the words of science fiction historian Mike Ashley, "perhaps the most juvenile" of the science fiction pulps to appear in the early years of World War II. Wartime paper shortages eventually led to the magazine's cancellation: the last issue was dated Spring 1944.
Jack Schiff was an American comic book writer and editor best known for his work editing various Batman comic book series for DC Comics from 1942 to 1964. He was the co-creator of Starman, Tommy Tomorrow, and the Wyoming Kid.