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    Mort Weisinger
Search for 'Mort Weisinger' on Amazon


Bio:
Friend of the young, pre-DC Julius Schwartz, he was an avid science fiction fan long before the genre was ubiquitous in the marketplace. Indeed, so starved for information was he, that, along with Schwartz, he created what was probably the first fanzine. Called The Time Traveller, this 1932 publication was a compendium of information about the authors of science fiction stories. This magazine was the joint effort of the members of a science fiction club he had started, The Sciencers.

After gaining some subscribers by writing people who had written into the letters columns for several professional science fiction magazines, like Amazing Stories, the fanzine shifted focus to publishing original stories. It changed its name to Science Fiction Digest in 1933 and then to Fantasy Magazine in 1934, when it began to attract submissions by the very authors it had sought to celebrate in issue #1.

Having gained some experience with writers and publishers, he and Schwartz became literary agents, helping writers direct their output to editors. He continued in this capacity for most of the rest of the 30's, then moved into the editorial arm of the business around the advent of World War II. As editor of Thrilling Wonder Stories, he assessed that readers probably liked more fiction and less science, and thus encouraged his writers to play up the action/sex/fantasy elements at the expense of the harder scientific theories. It was a kind of "pulp science fiction" he was advocating--and one that clearly resounded well with his audience.

It also put him on a collision path with comics, especially as the prose science fiction market dried as the war went on. He had just been hired as one of the expanded class of editors for DC when he was called into military service. Still, he had time before he left for boot camp to create Green Arrow, Speedy and Aquaman.

Upon returning to DC at the end of his tour of duty, he found an expanding product line still in need of his editorial services. Whitney Ellsworth, who had guided the Superman titles through the war, was now becoming too deeply involved in the film, television and radio adaptations of the character to continue editing the comic. Weisinger got Ellsworth's old job, and also became story editor for TV's Adventures of Superman. He was, in a sense, the Jeph Loeb of the late 40s.

By the 1950s, he would be firmly seated as Superman's Editor-in-Chief. One of his biggest defining characteristics was in holding court with ordinary kids who read his books. He would become somewhat famous for his "kid focus groups", which allowed him to better orient the books for the actual target audience.

He also moved to greatly expand the relevancy of the mythos' core characters and concepts. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson both got their own titles under Weisinger. Kryptonians and kryptonites entered the franchise in greater varieties and frequencies. The situations that Superman found himself in got more and more outlandish, to the point that it started reading more like fantasy than science fiction.

Though he apparently had a difficult relationship with Weisinger, Curt Swan displaced Wayne Boring as principle Superman artist during this time. For most of the Weisinger era of the 1960s and 1970s, Swan's less "chiseled", more "human" Superman came to be the visual metaphor for the Weisinger era.

Eventually, though, the pressure of so much responsibility led him to give up his post in 1970. That DC replaced him with not just another single editor, but a whole slew, indicates just how much responsibility he truly had. Though his old friend Julius Schwartz nominally took up the title Weisinger had vacated, in practice the day-to-day decisions on each book were handled by a different editor. Perhaps as a result, the various titles started spinning slightly different "visions" of Superman, and the absurdist camp of the 1960s gradually faded, never to truly return. Indeed, many modern fans and professionals look on these lighter years with some disdain. Clearly, the first post-Crisis decade was an explicit attempt to "forget" the Weisinger era. Some might even call Crisis itself an attempt to at least partially recant of many of Weisinger's perceived "sins".

Yet one can't help but note how some of the "lightness" introduced by Weisinger has gradually crept back into the title in the 21st century. He would probably be very happy indeed to note that one of his additions to the mythos, the original Supergirl, made such a huge impact in 2004-5.

Date of Birth: 1914-1916
Birthplace: Bronx, NY, USA
Date of death: May 7, 1978



Favorite Creators:
Mort Weisinger is a favorite creator of 4 users


Awards:
  • 1988 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Nominee - Hall of Fame
  • 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Winner - Hall of Fame: (Voter's choice)

View a chronological listing of this creator's work

Writer:
Action Comics (1938)
Adventure Comics (1938)
America at War: The Best of DC War Comics (1979)
Aquaman (1976)
Batman (1940)
Batman In The Forties (2004)
Batman: The Dark Knight Archives (1992)
DC 100-Page Super Spectacular (1971)
DC Special Series (1977)
Detective Comics (1937)
Leading Comics (1941)
More Fun Comics (1935)
MV Comix (1968)
Secret Origins (1973)
Star Spangled Comics (1941)
Strange Adventures (1950)
Superboy (1949)
Superman (1939)

Letterer:

Editor:
80 Page Giant (1964)
Action Comics (1938)
Adventure Comics (1938)
Alice in Comicland (2014)
Aquaman Archives (2003)
Batman Archives (1990)
Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams (2003)
Batman Vs. Two-Face (2008)
Batman: Featuring Two-Face and The Riddler (1995)
Batman: The Joker's Revenge (1990)
Batman: The Strange Deaths Of Batman (2009)
The Best of DC (1979)
Black Canary Archives (2001)
Captain Action (1968)
Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale (2004)
The Dark Knight - Special DVD Issue (2008)
DC 100-Page Super Spectacular (1971)
DC Comics Classics Library (2009)
DC Comics Presents: Jack Kirby Omnibus Sampler (2011)
DC Comics Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes (2011)
DC Goes Ape (2008)
DC Special (1968)
DC Universe: Secret Origins (2012)
DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories (2005)
Detective Comics (1937)
Diana Prince: Wonder Woman (2008)
The Essential Showcase 1956-1959 (1993)
Even More Secret Origins (2003)
Leading Comics (1941)
Legion of Super-Heroes Archives (1991)
More Fun Comics (1935)
Showcase (1956)
Showcase Presents: Showcase (2012)
The Super Heroes Monthly (1980)
Superboy (1949)
Superman (1939)
Superman In The Forties (2005)
Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow Archives (2004)
Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane (1958)
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen (1954)
Weird Secret Origins (2004)
World's Finest Comics (1941)



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