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Man of Two Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and Comics

Overview

Before there was Superman or Batman, before Ray Bradbury or Harlan Ellison ever picked up a pen, before there were science-fiction fans and conventions, there was Julius Schwartz ? a man who would have an indelible effect on all this and more.

One of the inventors of science-fiction fandom in the thirties and publisher of the first SF "fanzine" (one of its early subscribers was Superman's cocreator Jerry Siegel), Julius Schwartz became the world's first SF specialty literary ...

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Overview

Before there was Superman or Batman, before Ray Bradbury or Harlan Ellison ever picked up a pen, before there were science-fiction fans and conventions, there was Julius Schwartz — a man who would have an indelible effect on all this and more.

One of the inventors of science-fiction fandom in the thirties and publisher of the first SF "fanzine" (one of its early subscribers was Superman's cocreator Jerry Siegel), Julius Schwartz became the world's first SF specialty literary agent while still in his teens. During the "Golden Age" of science fiction, he represented a distinguished roster of authors, including H. P. Lovecraft, Alfred Bester, Robert Bloch, and Ray Bradbury. But that was only the first chapter in Schwartzs amazing career, for he is also one of the most influential editors in comic-book history.

Besides working on both the Superman and Batman character she created much of the mythology we now take for granted. Schwartz was also responsible for revitalizing nearly every important DC Comics character, highlighted by the mighty Justice League of America, in what has since become known as comics' beloved "Silver Age." Over more than forty years, Schwartz captained such blazing talents of the comics industry as Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, Denny O'Neil, Alan Moore, and many others.

Here, in "Julie's" own words, is a behind-the-scenes look at a life spent having fun and making sure readers did, too — the incredible story of a true hero of American pop culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Using anecdotes, capsule portraits of writers, and an appropriately jocular style, Schwartz highlights his strategic location as a literary agent in 1930s sf and an editor at DC Comics after World War II. Growing up in New York City, he became a fan of pulp sf and used his familiarity with sf editors and writers to place the early stories of authors like Alfred Bester, Robert Heinlein, and Ray Bradbury. When the market for pulp sf declined, Schwartz began editing such popular comics as Flash, Justice League of America, Superman, and Batman. This book might interest those curious about the economics of sf publishing in the Golden Age or insider publishing activities at DC Comics. However, too often the author focuses on the trivialities of business lunches or petty interoffice squabbles. Ultimately, Schwartz epitomizes the 20th-century phenomenon of sf and comics fandom, and, like many fans, he never quite explains what fascinates him about these genres. Recommended for specialized collections only, except where local interest warrants.--Roger A. Berger, Everett Community Coll., WA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380810512
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Julius Schwartz was one of the inventors of science-fiction fandom in the thirties and publisher of the first SF "fanzine" (one of its early subscribers was Superman's cocreater Jerry Siegel), Julius Schwartz became the world's first SF specialty literary agent while still in his teens.

Brian Thomsen is the author of several books and an editor of fifteen anthologies and collections, including You Did What? He is also the author of numerous articles, ranging in topic from history to media tie-ins to religion.

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Read an Excerpt

At The Beginnings Of Time

All of my life I have been punctual.

Everything I do has always been on the clock.

I never missed a deadline — better to be an hour early than a minute late — and on my tombstone will be the epitaph:

HERE LIES JULIUS SCHWARTZ

HE MET HIS LAST DEADLINE





I was always in the DC office by nine. I'd be a nervous wreck if the trains were late and I'd assure myself that it was positively not my fault.

Habitually, I'd count the number of steps from my house to the corner, to the subway, down the stairs, and up again ...

and it was always higher mathematics if the escalator wasn't working: one ... two ... three ... up to seventy.

Why, I even count the number of seconds it takes for a plane to lift off the runway at LaGuardia Airport, from the time it starts to accelerate up to the moment the plane safely leaves the terra firma (no more than thirty-two seconds, counted in elephants — one elephant, two elephants, etc.; others may use the four-syllable word "Mississippi," but my college professor preferred the word "elephant" as a counting device).

So you see, I've been a prisoner of time all my life.

I trace this obsession back to a momentous event early in my childhood, which provides me with a convenient spot to kick off the story of my life.

My parents, Joseph and Bertha, were of Jewish descent and emigrated from a small town outside Bucharest in Romania to come to the land of milk and honey — which other people have chosen to call the Bronx. My birth certificate indicates I was born at home: 817 Caldwell Avenue, theBronx, and on June 19, 1915, I was enrolled in kindergarten at P.S. 5.

One morning while sipping my coffee out of a saucer, I looked at my parent's Big Ben clock, and, to my horror I realized that I was going to be late for promotion to the first grade-I-A, as it was called.

I bolted out of the house, dashed the two and a half blocks to P.S. 5 just as my classmates were marching into the new classroom. Heart pounding, I joined the tail end of the line ... only to have the teacher pull me away from the others and order me back to the kindergarten room.

There I sat all alone, sobbing, shaking like a leaf, hardly able to breathe.

Eventually the teacher returned and informed me that I had been left back!

On that day I learned the terrible consequences of being late!

(Only recently have I come to understand what really happened that day. The decision to have me repeat kindergarten was automatic; it had nothing to do with my tardiness. Obviously my parents had enrolled me in school a semester too early Accordingly, I had been kept back to put me on the proper schedule for my age group. And I nevertheless still managed to graduate high school at seventeen in 1932, a year earlier than others my age, thanks to skipping a couple of semesters.)

I was a library kid. It was my home away from home. I remember my first introduction to fantasy was a series of books called the Blue Fairy books (other colorful titles in the series included the Red Fairy Book, the Yellow Fairy Book, etc.), and at the time there wasn't really much else available in terms of fantasy or science fiction, unless you included the classics and other things that might be assigned in school.

Junior high put me in P.S. 45.

My best memory is of a short fellow student named Jules Garfinkel who appeared in a school play, delivering the melodic line "Swallow, swallow, little swallow" ever so sweetly. Years later he changed his name to John Garfield and carved out a short but successful career on Broadway and in Hollywood.

It was as a senior in Theodore Roosevelt High School that I gained my first editorial experience and (ahem) expertise. My mentor-to-be was a junior who edited the school publication called The Square Deal. As humor editor, I had a column called "Jest a Moment" (whose pun of a title I was quite proud of having come up with all by myself).

The editor of the weekly publication was a very talented fellow who showed me not only how to improve my own writing but also how to copyedit and proofread the works of others, as well. His name was Norman Cousins (actually his real name was Cousin, but since he was invariably addressed as Cousins, Norman eventually added the "s" as well), and he later went on to be the celebrated editor of The Saturday Review. He was the best editor I've ever known, and he taught me a lot about editing. I guess I owe him even more for introducing me to and breaking me into the field that would soon be my profession...

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