My old buddy, and former DC editor, Bob Greenberger, has put together a special "DC Memories" section for the current issue of Back Issue magazine (on sale this week). I was among the many people who contributed and I thought I'd share my short essay with you here.
The thing I remember most about my time starting out as a freelancer at DC is the quiet: there wasn’t a lot of hustle and bustle in the halls. DC was a ship sailing on very even waters and editorial co-ordinator Paul Levitz (the world’s oldest young person) had most, probably all, of the books six months ahead of schedule. (Never happen today. Never!)
Paul was a superb editor—he taught me so much in those early days—and I also had the pleasure of working with Jack Harris (one of the nicest men to ever sit behind an editorial desk) and Len Wein, who became not just my editor, but my mentor and life-long friend.
That was the era when I sent another life-long friend, Karen Berger, up to the office to meet Paul. He was looking for an assistant and Karen, who’d just graduated from Brooklyn College with a journalism degree, was looking for a job. They hit it off—and the rest is comic book history.
Jump ahead eight or so years: Andy Helfer—as talented an editor as the company has ever employed—has put me together with some guy named Giffen and a new artist named Maguire on an offbeat revamp of the Justice League. We worked on that book, and its many spin-offs, for half a decade—and some of my most cherished DC memories are of hanging around Andy’s office on a Friday afternoon (the day the checks arrived) with Keith, Kevin and, it seemed, half the freelance community. I’d arrive at DC in the late morning, make my rounds, visiting Karen, Art Young, Bob Greenberger and other editors, then plop myself down in a chair beside Andy’s desk and hang out for the rest of the day. The quiet of those early years was gone by the late 80’s: it was creative chaos, in the best possible way. More than twenty-five years later, Keith G and I are still collaborating, still working for DC—and on a book with Justice League in the title—and I’m astonished by the swift passage of time (as well as the swift loss of hair that accompanied it).
So many memories—enough to literally fill a book—but I think the brightest is the earliest: December, 1977, selling my first comic book script to Paul L, an eight page House of Mystery story with the deathless title “The Lady Killer Craves Blood.” After approving the script, Paul shook my hand, looked me square in the eye and said, "Welcome to the business."
It doesn’t get better than that. Thanks, Paul. And thanks, DC. Here’s to the past and, I hope, a very bright future.
If you want to read more reminiscences, from folks like Len Wein, Denny O'Neil, Dave Gibbons, Cary Bates and many more, you can click right here and order the book.
©copyright 2015 J.M. DeMatteis