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Born in NYC in 1916, Alvin Schwartz wrote his first comics for Fairy Tale Parade in 1939, his first Batman story in 1942, his first Batman newspaper strip in Aug 44 and his first Superman newspaper strip in Oct 44. Before that, he had written extensively for Shelley Mayer, then an editor at Max Gaines. He had also done a stint with Fawcett's now defunct Captain Marvel. While writing most of DC's newspaper strips between 1944 and 1952, he also went on to do Aquaman, Vigilante, Slam Bradley, Date With Judy, Buzzy, House of Mystery, Tomahawk, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Newsboy Legion and numerous others in a long career with DC that ended in 1958.
Little known even among comics aficionados is the existence of two Superman operas written by Schwartz in 1947 and featuring the full radio cast. The original radio show writer, Ben Friedman, couldn't write lyrics because he didn't understand meter. So Schwartz did the operas which appeared in a small illustrated booklet with the lyrics. These essentially children's operas were each recorded on a pair of 78rpm vinyl disks. Schwartz owns one of the operas. The other has disappeared into Superman limbo but is rumored to be well known on a recently discovered galactic colony of Krypton where the songs are frequently crooned by women to their children. Collectors take note.
After his 1958 departure from comics, Schwartz took on a whole new role in the corporate world, using the knowledge of plotting gained in comics to open new directions in market research, developing the now well-known techniques of psycho-graphics, typological identification and others, until as Research Director for the famed think tank of Dr Ernst Dichter, The Institute for Motivational Research, he provided strucural and marketing advice to some of America's largest corporations ranging from General Motors to General Foods. He was subsequently appointed to an advisory committee of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
Schwartz wrote extensively outside of comics. He authored three novels for Arco Press, one of which, Sword of Desire, a detective story, won praise for its successful takeoff on Reichian orgone therapy, a popular psychotherapeutic technique during the 40s and 50s. His novel, The Blowtop was published by Dial in 1948. Under the title Le Cinglé, it became a best seller in France. He also wrote and lectured on superheroes at various universities and received a prestigious Canada Council Grant for a study on the religious symbolism in popular culture, using Superman as a springboard.
Also in Canada, he wrote feature films and did numerous docu-dramas for The National Film Board for nearly 20 years and did a number of economic and social studies for the Canadian government.
His new book, written in his eighties, entitled: An Unlikely Prophet, is a memoir dealing with some very off-the-wall experiences generated by his years doing Superman. Through a gripping and unforgettable personal adventure, Schwartz arrives at a unique understanding of Superman's significance as well as some life-enriching possibilities available to every one of us.
Date of Birth: 1916
Birthplace: New York City, NY, USA
Date of death: October 28, 2011
- 2006 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Winner - Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Writing
Creator of Bizarro.
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