Robert Bernstein (comics)

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Robert Bernstein
Robert Bernstein (left) in 1965 with pianist Géza Anda (center) and Jerry Schoenbaum, head of MGM's classical music division.
Born(1919-05-23)May 23, 1919
DiedDecember 19, 1988(1988-12-19) (aged 69)
Delray Beach, Florida
Pseudonym(s)R. Berns
Notable works

Robert Bernstein (May 23, 1919 – December 19, 1988), [1] [2] sometimes credited as R. Berns, was an American comic book writer, playwright and concert impresario, notable as the founder of the Island Concert Hall recital series which ran for 15 years on Long Island.

Americans Citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Comic book Publication of comics art

A comic book or comicbook, also called comic magazine or simply comic, is a publication that consists of comics art in the form of sequential juxtaposed panels that represent individual scenes. Panels are often accompanied by descriptive prose and written narrative, usually, dialog contained in word balloons emblematic of the comics art form. Although comics has some origins in 18th century Japan, comic books were first popularized in the United States and the United Kingdom during the 1930s. The first modern comic book, Famous Funnies, was released in the U.S. in 1933 and was a reprinting of earlier newspaper humor comic strips, which had established many of the story-telling devices used in comics. The term comic book derives from American comic books once being a compilation of comic strips of a humorous tone; however, this practice was replaced by featuring stories of all genres, usually not humorous in tone.

An impresario is a person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays, or operas, performing a role similar to that of an artist manager or a film or television producer.


Comic books

As a writer, he is best known for his EC Comics tales and his Superman stories for DC Comics, where he also established the origin and mythos of Aquaman. With various artists, Bernstein co-created DC's Congorilla, Aqualad and Aquagirl, and also Archie Comics' the Jaguar.

Entertaining Comics, more commonly known as EC Comics, was an American publisher of comic books, which specialized in horror fiction, crime fiction, satire, military fiction, dark fantasy, and science fiction from the 1940s through the mid-1950s, notably the Tales from the Crypt series. Initially, EC was owned by Maxwell Gaines and specialized in educational and child-oriented stories. After Max Gaines' death in a boating accident in 1947, his son William Gaines took over the company and began to print more mature stories, delving into genres of horror, war, fantasy, science-fiction, adventure, and others. Noted for their high quality and shock endings, these stories were also unique in their socially conscious, progressive themes that anticipated the Civil Rights Movement and dawn of 1960s counterculture. In 1954–55, censorship pressures prompted it to concentrate on the humor magazine Mad, leading to the company's greatest and most enduring success. Consequently, by 1956, the company ceased publishing all of its comic lines except Mad.

Superman Fictional superhero

Superman is a fictional superhero. The character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, and first appeared in Action Comics #1, a comic book published on April 18, 1938. The character regularly appears in comic books published by DC Comics, and has been adapted to a number of radio serials, movies, and television shows.

DC Comics U.S. comic book publisher

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, Flash, Shazam, Dick Grayson, Green Lantern, Atom, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, Zatanna, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Static, Batgirl and Cyborg.

Like most comics professionals of this time, Bernstein went largely uncredited, often receiving credit belatedly in modern-day reprints of his work. His first confirmable credit is the signed, six-page story "Ghouls' Gold" in publisher Lev Gleason's Crime Does Not Pay #43 (Jan. 1946). Other early work includes a five-page story in Spark Publications' Golden Lad #4, featuring the character Swift Arrow, plus text fillers for DC Comics and Fawcett Comics, [3] and a 1947 Green Lantern story. [4]

<i>Crime Does Not Pay</i> (comics) comic book

Crime Does Not Pay is the title of an American comic book series published between 1942 and 1955 by Lev Gleason Publications. Edited and chiefly written by Charles Biro, the title launched the crime comics genre and was the first "true crime" comic book series. At the height of its popularity, Crime Does Not Pay would claim a readership of six million on its covers. The series' sensationalized recountings of the deeds of gangsters such as Baby Face Nelson and Machine Gun Kelly were illustrated by artists Bob Wood, George Tuska, and others. Stories were often introduced and commented upon by "Mr. Crime", a ghoulish figure in a top hat, and the precursor of "horror hosts" such as EC Comics' Crypt Keeper. According to Gerard Jones, Crime Does Not Pay was "the first nonhumor comic to rival the superheroes in sales, the first to open the comic book market to large numbers of late adolescent and young males."

Fawcett Comics Publisher

Fawcett Comics, a division of Fawcett Publications, was one of several successful comic book publishers during the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1940s. Its most popular character was Captain Marvel, the alter ego of radio reporter Billy Batson, who transformed into the hero whenever he said the magic word "Shazam!".

Alan Scott Fictional superhero of the DC Comics Universe

Alan Scott is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, and the first character to bear the name Green Lantern. He fights evil with the aid of a magical ring which grants him a variety of powers. He was created by Martin Nodell, first appearing in the comic book All-American Comics #16, published in 1940.

For Marvel Comics' 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics, Bernstein wrote for the war comics series War Comics, as well as several stories of the masked Western character Black Rider. Also during this decade, he wrote for DC's All-American Men of War , G.I. Combat , Our Army at War , Our Fighting Forces , and Star Spangled War Stories ; psychological drama in EC's Psychoanalysis and Shock Illustrated ; and superhero stories, working with artist Jack Kirby on at least one Green Arrow tale, in World's Finest Comics #99 (Feb. 1959). [3]

Marvel Comics Company that publishes comic books and related media

Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Worldwide's parent company.

Atlas Comics (1950s) 1950s comic book publishing company

Atlas Comics is the 1950s comic-book publishing label that evolved into Marvel Comics. Magazine and paperback novel publisher Martin Goodman, whose business strategy involved having a multitude of corporate entities, used Atlas as the umbrella name for his comic-book division during this time. Atlas evolved out of Goodman's 1940s comic-book division, Timely Comics, and was located on the 14th floor of the Empire State Building.

War comics comic genre

War comics is a genre of comic books that gained popularity in English-speaking countries following World War II.

With artist Howard Sherman, Bernstein adapted the long-running "Congo Bill" jungle-adventure feature into the body-switching superhero feature "Congorilla", beginning in Action Comics #248 (Jan. 1959). [3] [5] [6]

Congorilla fictional gorilla which appear in DC Comics and Vertigo Comics

Congorilla, originally a human character known as Congo Bill, is a superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics and Vertigo Comics. Originally co-created by writer Whitney Ellsworth and artist George Papp, he was later transformed into Congorilla by Robert Bernstein and Howard Sherman. The character first appeared in More Fun Comics #56.

<i>Action Comics</i> American comic book

Action Comics is an American comic book/magazine series that introduced Superman, one of the first major superhero characters. The publisher was originally known as National Allied Publications, and later as National Comics Publications and as National Periodical Publications, before taking on its current name of DC Comics. Its original incarnation ran from 1938 to 2011 and stands as one of the longest-running comic books with consecutively numbered issues. A second volume of Action Comics beginning with issue #1 ran from 2011 to 2016. Action Comics returned to its original numbering beginning with issue #957.

Superman and Aquaman

Bernstein's first recorded Superman story, for DC Comics, is "The Oldest Man In Metropolis", in Action Comics #251 (April 1959). Later work include the DC titles Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane , Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen , Superboy (as well as the later Superboy feature in Adventure Comics ), and features starring Green Arrow and Supergirl. With artist Ramona Fradon, he reintroduced the 1940s Golden Age superhero Aquaman in Adventure Comics #260 (May 1959) [7] and scripted through at least #282 (March 1961), introducing major characters along the way. [3] One of these, in Adventure Comics #269 (Feb. 1960), was the teen sidekick Aqualad, [8] who decades later would become the adult hero Tempest. [9] Bernstein and artist George Papp introduced the Phantom Zone and General Zod into the Superman mythos in Adventure Comics #283 (April 1961). [10]

<i>Supermans Girl Friend, Lois Lane</i>

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane is an American comic book series published monthly by DC Comics. The series focusing on the adventures of Lois Lane began publication with a March/April 1958 cover date and ended its run in September/October 1974, with 137 regular issues and two 80-page Annuals. Following the similar themed Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane was the second comic series based on a Superman supporting character.

<i>Supermans Pal Jimmy Olsen</i> Comic book series

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen is an American comic book series published by DC Comics from September–October 1954 until March 1974, spanning a total of 163 issues. Featuring the adventures of Superman supporting character Jimmy Olsen, it contains stories often of a humorous nature.

<i>Superboy</i> (comic book) comic book published by DC Comics

Superboy is the name of several American comic book series published by DC Comics, featuring characters of the same name. The first three titles feature the original Superboy, the legendary hero Superman as a boy. Later series feature the second Superboy, who is a partial clone of the original Superman.

Later during this period historians and fans call the Silver Age of Comic Books, Bernstein scripted stories of the Archie Comics characters the Fly and the Jaguar, [11] and, with plots by Marvel editor-in-chief Stan Lee, some of the earliest Iron Man and Thor stories, in, respectively Tales of Suspense and Journey into Mystery . He also scripted some Human Torch stories, plotted by penciler Jack Kirby, in Strange Tales . [3] He used the pen name "R. Berns" for his Marvel work. [12]

Bernstein adapted the famed radio drama character The Shadow for Archie Comics in 1964, and his last work for that character was the two stories in The Shadow #3 (Nov. 1964). Bernstein's last original DC story in the 1960s was "Olsen's Time-Trip to Save Krypton" in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #101 (April 1967). Bernstein wrote one final comics story, "The Miracle of the Catacombs", which was published in DC's Weird War Tales #91 (Sept. 1980). [3]

Concert impresario and playwright

Bernstein founded the Island Concert Hall recital series which ran for 15 years on Long Island. [2]

His presentations spanned three decades. In 1951, when he co-founded the Roslyn Music Group, presenting chamber-music ensembles and soloists on Long Island, his concert career as an impresario was underway. Because Long Island had "an omnivorous appetite for the arts", as he phrased it, Bernstein launched the nonprofit Concert Hall subscription series in 1964, offering approximately 30 annual performances of classical, jazz, dance and theater, including Broadway road company shows and New York Philharmonic concerts. The events were staged at Long Island University's C. W. Post Center, the Nassau Coliseum and other Long Island auditoriums. [2]

Bernstein's one-act plays received a posthumous performance in 1993 at the Arena Players Repertory Theater in East Farmingdale, Long Island. [13]

Personal life

Bernstein lived in Upper Brookville, New York, on Long Island. At age 69, he died of heart failure at his Delray Beach, Florida winter home, survived by his wife, Beverly, of Upper Brookville; his daughter, Alison, of Manhattan; and his sister, Louise Sandler of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. [1] [2]

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  1. 1 2 Robert Bernstein (no middle initial), Social Security Number 084-14-9274, at the United States Social Security Death Index via Retrieved on March 12, 2012. Archived from the original on November 28, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Robert Bernstein, 69; Founded Music Series". The New York Times . December 22, 1988. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Robert Bernstein at the Grand Comics Database
  4. Eury, Michael (2006). "More Men Behind the Man of Tomorrow". The Krypton Companion. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 83. ISBN   978-1893905610.
  5. Markstein, Don (2009). "Congorilla". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on December 1, 2009.
  6. Irvine, Alex; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1950s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 92. ISBN   978-0-7566-6742-9. Writer Robert Bernstein and artist Howard Sherman gave Congo Bill a new direction in Action Comics #248.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. Cronin, Brian (January 12, 2006). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #33!". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013.
  8. McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 98: "Writer Robert Bernstein and artist Ramona Fradon provided a lifelong pal for Aquaman in a backup tale in this issue."
  9. "Tempest II (Garth)". (fan site). n.d. Archived from the original on December 1, 2009.
  10. McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 102
  11. Markstein, Don (2009). "The Jaguar". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on December 1, 2009.
  12. Evanier, Mark (n.d.). "An Incessantly Asked Question #5". POV Online. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012.
  13. Frank, Leah D. (September 19, 1993). "Theater Review; Ethnic Look at Love in Three One-Acters". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013.

Further reading

Preceded by
Bill Finger
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen writer
Succeeded by
Edmond Hamilton
Preceded by
Otto Binder
Superboy writer
Succeeded by
Jerry Siegel
Preceded by
Stan Lee
"Thor" feature
in Journey into Mystery scripter

Succeeded by
Stan Lee
Preceded by
Larry Lieber
"Iron Man" feature
in Tales of Suspense scripter

Succeeded by
Stan Lee