Mort Weisinger

Mort Weisinger
Mort Weisinger in 1975.jpg
Weisinger and DC Comics proofreader Gerda Gattel in 1975.
BornMortimer Weisinger
(1915-04-25)April 25, 1915
New York City, New York
DiedMay 7, 1978(1978-05-07) (aged 63)
Great Neck, New York
NationalityAmerican
Area(s)Writer, Editor
Notable works
Action Comics
Superman
AwardsInkpot Award, 1978
Eisner Award Hall of Fame, 2010

Mortimer "Mort" Weisinger (ər/; April 25, 1915[1] – May 7, 1978)[2] was an American magazine and comic book editor best known for editing DC Comics' Superman during the mid-1950s to 1960s, in the Silver Age of comic books. He also co-created such features as Aquaman, Green Arrow, Johnny Quick, and the original Vigilante, served as story editor for the Adventures of Superman television series, and compiled the often-revised paperback 1001 Valuable Things You Can Get Free.

Biography

Early life and SF fandom

Weisinger was born in the Washington Heights section of New York City, New York and was raised in the Bronx, as the son of Austrian Jewish parents. His father was a businessman in the garment trade. At 13, he was introduced to science fiction by means of a borrowed copy of the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories (featuring Buck Rogers and The Skylark of Space). By 1930, Weisinger was active in some of the earliest SF fan clubs and fanzines, including The Planet. In 1931, Weisinger hosted a meeting of pioneer SF fan club "The Scienceers," which was attended by a young Julius Schwartz, who recalled that the two became "very friendly... [and] got along well together."[3] A year later, Weisinger, Schwartz and Allen Glasser joined fellow-future professional editor Forrest J. Ackerman in founding The Time Traveller, which they styled "Science Fiction's Only Fan Magazine". The claim was more than mere youthful bravado, according to SF historian Sam Moskowitz, who described the 'zine as the first devoted entirely to science fiction. Drawing on information they had gleaned from writing letters to the SF magazines and authors of the day, the young fans published interviews with, and short pieces by, established SF writers, and in the process gained increasing familiarity with the personalities and situations of the genre in that era. The first issue featured "a one-page biography of Edward 'Doc' Smith... [and] some news items."[3]

Early career

After high school, Weisinger attended New York University, where he worked as editor of the college's newspaper and magazine, but left before graduating. With Schwartz, he approached the editor of Amazing Stories (T. Connor Sloane) and "sold his first story": 'The Price of Peace'.[3] In late 1934, Weisinger suggested that he and Schwartz "ought to go into the agency business," noting (according to Schwartz) that the duo had

Schwartz concurred, and they formed the Solar Sales Service ("We always believed in alliteration," noted Schwartz[3]), the first literary agency to specialize in the related genres of SF, horror, and fantasy. Edmond Hamilton was the agency's first client, and Otto Binder soon followed.[3] Solar Sales eventually represented many prominent SF and fantasy writers, including John Russell Fearn, Alfred Bester, Stanley Weinbaum, H. P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury. But while Schwartz continued the agency into the early 1940s, Weisinger moved on; he took a job with the Standard Magazine chain, publisher of a range of pulp magazines. Standard had acquired writer-publisher Hugo Gernsback's defunct Wonder Stories and added it to Standard series of "Thrilling" publications (Thrilling Detective, Thrilling Western, and others). Weisinger became the editor of Thrilling Wonder Stories,[4] and bought stories by Hamilton and others from his former partner Schwartz. Weisinger was soon editing a range of other pulps by Standard, including Startling Stories and Captain Future, and "was in charge of no fewer than 40 titles" by 1940.[4]

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