Julius Schwartz, editor emeritus of DC Comics and a pioneering figure in science fiction and the history of American comics, died February 8 in Winthrop Hospital in New York City of complications from pneumonia. He was 88.
A legendary and much-loved figure credited with nurturing the beginnings of science fiction publishing, Schwartz was also a seminal editorial figure in the comic book industry, spanning the Golden Age (1930s to 1956) and Silver Age (1956 to about 1970) as well as contemporary comics publishing. Born in the Bronx, he was the co-creator of the Time Traveler, the first science fiction fanzine, in 1932. Shortly after that, along with his collaborator Mort Weisinger, he founded Solar Sales Service, the first literary agency specializing in science fiction, with such clients as Ray Bradbury, Henry Kuttner, H.P. Lovecraft and many others. He joined All-American Comics (one of the predecessors of DC Comics) in 1944, editing scripts for such comic book heroes as the Green Lantern, the Flash and others. In 1956, Schwartz introduced a redesigned Flash in an effort that marked the beginning of the Silver Age of Comics and a new wave of popularity for the character. Schwartz often used science fiction concepts to revitalize old comics characters, and his success continued throughout the 1960s with his revamping of Batman and Green Arrow. He retired in 1986, but continued to influence the industry as the editor of DC Science Fiction, a series of seven graphic novels adapting the works of Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg and others. In 1998, the Julie Award was established in his name, honoring recipients for achievements in multiple genres.