Jack Schiff (1909 – April 30, 1999) was an American comic book writer and editor best known for his work editing various Batman comic book series for DC Comics from 1942 to 1964. He was the co-creator of Starman, Tommy Tomorrow, and the Wyoming Kid.
|Died||April 30, 1999 (aged 89)|
Jack Schiff entered the comics industry after attending Cornell University. At DC Comics, he co-created the original Starman with artist Jack Burnley and editors Whitney Ellsworth, Murray Boltinoff, Mort Weisinger, and Bernie Breslauer in Adventure Comics #61 (April 1941). DC hired Schiff as an editor in 1942 and he oversaw the various Batman and Superman comic book titles after Weisinger was drafted into military service during World War II. He wrote the story "Case of the Costume-Clad Killers" in Detective Comics #60 (Feb. 1942) which introduced the Bat-Signal into the Batman mythos. In addition, he edited and wrote the Batman comic strip for the McClure Newspaper Syndicate and wrote The Vigilante (1947) and Batman and Robin (1949) serials for Columbia Pictures. He developed a series of public service announcements which ran throughout DC's entire publishing line from 1949 to the mid–1960s and scripted the "Johnny Everyman" feature which had been created by Nobel Prize laureate Pearl S. Buck. He launched comic book titles which were licensed from the popular radio programs A Date with Judy, Gang Busters, and Mr. District Attorney and co-created new characters such as Tommy Tomorrow and the Wyoming Kid. His introduction of science fiction concepts into the Batman stories met with mixed results. In 1958, he became involved in a legal dispute with artist Jack Kirby over the "Sky Masters" newspaper comic strip and Schiff won the resulting lawsuit. The following year, he and Dick Dillin created Lady Blackhawk in Blackhawk #133 (Feb. 1959). DC's upper management removed Schiff as editor of Batman and Detective Comics due to low sales and replaced him with Julius Schwartz in 1964. Mystery in Space and Strange Adventures were given to Schiff as replacements to edit. He retired from DC after 25 years with the company and his final editing credit appeared in Strange Adventures #203 (Aug. 1967).
Jack Schiff received citations and commendations from such organizations as the Anti-Defamation League (1948), the National Conference of Christians and Jews (1953), the United States Office of War Information (1945), and the United States Department of the Treasury (1945).
As writer edit
DC Comics edit
- Batman #10, 13, 15, 21, 26 (1942–1944)
- Detective Comics #60 (1942)
- World's Finest Comics #8, 15–26, 28, 30, 37, 39 (1942–1949)
As editor edit
DC Comics edit
- Action Comics #56–118 (1943–1948)
- Adventure Comics #82–194 (1943–1953)
- The Adventures of Alan Ladd #1–9 (1949–1951)
- Aquaman #1–4 (1962)
- Batman #15–163 (1943–1964)
- Big Town #1–3 (1951)
- Blackhawk #108–195 (1957–1964)
- Boy Commandos #2–36 (1943–1949)
- The Brave and the Bold #31–33, 40–41 (1960–1962)
- Buzzy #1–27 (1944–1949)
- Challengers of the Unknown #1–27 (1958–1962)
- Dale Evans Comics #1–24 (1948–1952)
- A Date with Judy #1–12 (1947–1949)
- Detective Comics #71–326 (1943–1964)
- Feature Films #1–4 (1950)
- Frontier Fighters #1–8 (1955–1956)
- Gang Busters #1–67 (1947–1958)
- House of Mystery #1–125, 143–169 (1951–1962, 1964–1967)
- House of Secrets #1–56, 66–80 (1956–1962, 1964–1966)
- Leading Comics #6–14 (1943–1945)
- Legends of Daniel Boone #1–8 (1955–1956)
- More Fun Comics #87–107 (1943–1946)
- Mr. District Attorney #1–67 (1948–1959)
- My Greatest Adventure #1–70 (1955–1962)
- Mystery in Space #92–110 (1964–1966)
- Real Fact Comics #1–21 (1946–1949)
- Rip Hunter... Time Master #1–9 (1961–1962)
- Showcase #5–7, 11–12, 15–16, 20–21, 25–26, 30–33 (1956–1961)
- Star-Spangled Comics #16–130 (1943–1952)
- Strange Adventures #164–203 (1964–1967)
- Superboy #1–28 (1949–1953)
- Superman #20–51 (1943–1948)
- Tales of the Unexpected #1–72, 83–102 (1956–1962, 1964–1967)
- Tomahawk #1–81 (1950–1962)
- Western Comics #1–42 (1948–1953)
- World's Finest Comics #8–140 (1942–1964)
- Bails, Jerry (n.d.). "Schiff, Jack". Who's Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999. Archived from the original on January 8, 2017.
- "Deaths: Schiff, Jack". The New York Times. May 1, 1999. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015.
Schiff, Jack. 89. Of New Rochelle, NY, died on April 30, 1999. He had been a managing editor for DC Comics, including Superman and Batman.
- Burnley, Jack (May 2000). "Foreword". The Golden Age Starman Archives Volume 1. New York, New York: DC Comics. ISBN 978-1-56389-622-4.
- Jack Schiff at the Grand Comics Database
- Daniels, Les (1995). DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. New York, New York: Bulfinch Press. p. 28. ISBN 0821220764.
Mort Weisinger and Jack Schiff were recruited from the pulp magazines, Weisinger...was soon called away by World War II, leaving Schiff as managing editor for the duration.
- Pasko, Martin (2008). The DC Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the DC Universe. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0762432578.
Weisinger's idea was that Schiff would act as a benchwarmer, and after the war, Weisinger would return to his old job.
- Manning, Matthew K. (2014). "1940s". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). Batman: A Visual History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 26. ISBN 978-1465424563.
In this issue by artist Bob Kane and writer Jack Schiff...the police introduced the Bat-Signal, a giant spotlight that displayed the bat-symbol on the night sky in order to summon the hero.
- Daniels, p. 92: "Jack Schiff enjoyed more success, however, with an even more idealistic experiment. This was a series of single-page public service announcements that he created and wrote for publication in all DC titles."
- Levitz, Paul (2010). "The Silver Age 1956–1970". 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Cologne, Germany: Taschen. p. 422. ISBN 9783836519816.
In cooperation with several social welfare agencies, editor Jack Schiff routinely prepared public service ads...for all the DC titles, beginning in 1949 and continuing through the mid-1960s.
- Bingaman, Brian (March 31, 2016). "Comic Books Unmasked uncovers Pearl S. Buck's role in changing the comics industry". 21st Century Media. Archived from the original on December 28, 2016.
Buck introduced the non-mask-wearing superhero Johnny Everyman, who fought racism with the power of persuasion and intellect in adventures set in China, India, the Philippines, Belgium, Germany and the U.S. Scripted by Jack Schiff and illustrated by John Daly, Johnny Everyman appeared in DC's World's Finest Comics and Comic Cavalcade in the mid-'40s.
- Wallace, Daniel (2010). "1940s". In Dolan, Hannah (ed.). DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
Jack Schiff edited the stories, with Graham Place providing the art.
- Wallace "1940s" in Dolan, p. 57: "Edited by Jack Schiff, the Gang Busters comic focused on FBI cases and standalone crime stories."
- Pasko, p. 88: "For extra insurance that it would be done in good taste, the book [Gang Busters] was assigned to public service page writer Jack Schiff. Other crime-related titles from radio quickly followed, including Mr. District Attorney."
- Markstein, Don (2010). "Tommy Tomorrow". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on June 12, 2016.
The script had a lot of writers for something so short — Jack Schiff, George Kashdan and Bernie Breslauer (all of whom edited for DC) shared the credit, tho Breslauer (a very minor writer otherwise) is generally given most of it.
- Wallace "1940s" in Dolan, p. 54: "Tomorrow's inaugural tale...was a fanciful dramatization of what writer Jack Schiff claimed to be a future vision of human space travel."
- Markstein, Don (2009). "The Wyoming Kid". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on March 5, 2015.
- Greenberger, Robert; Manning, Matthew K. (2009). The Batman Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the Batcave. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0762436637.
Schiff attempted to force this new genre into the Caped Crusader's world. But the square peg of time travel, giant alien monsters, and flying saucers didn't quite fit into the round hole of Gotham City.
- Smith, Colin (August 7, 2012). "On the Batman of Three Worlds, by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff (1963)". Edwardsville, Illinois: Sequart Organization. Archived from the original on May 3, 2016.
This process of searching for reader-enticing hooks meant an obsessional reliance upon thin, well-worn, and tacky sci-fi tropes: weird alien planets, weird alien creatures, and weird alien technology. It was a desperate attempt to combat constantly falling sales.
- Evanier, Mark (2008). Kirby: King of Comics. New York, New York: Abrams. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-8109-9447-8.
- Irvine, Alex "1950s" in Dolan, p. 92: "With Blackhawk #133, the Blackhawk Squadron finally welcomed a woman to their ranks – Zinda Blake – courtesy of editor Jack Schiff and artist Dick Dillin."
- McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 110: "The Dark Knight received a much-needed face lift from new Batman editor Julius Schwartz, writer John Broome, and artist Carmine Infantino. With sales at an all-time low and threatening the cancellation of one of DC's flagship titles, their overhaul was a lifesaving success for DC and its beloved Batman."
- Ro, Ronin (2004). Tales To Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, And The American Comic Book Revolution. London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 89–90. ISBN 1582343454.
There was a point when DC actually gave thought to canceling Batman...in his spacious office, facing [Julius] Schwartz and [Carmine] Infantino, [Irwin] Donenfeld told them, 'Gentlemen, you two guys are going to take over Batman. The book is dying. I'll give you six months. If you don't bring it back, we'll kill it off.
- Amash, Jim; Nolen-Weathington, Eric (2010). "Lightning Strikes Again". Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 85. ISBN 978-1605490250.