Monday, May 16, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 16: Happy birthday, Jenette Kahn!

Born on this day: Jenette Kahn, former publisher, president, and editor-in-chief of DC Comics, and visible editorial face of the company for much of the '80s and '90s.

cover of Savvy (January 1984)

Don't know much about her? I highly recommend her Wikipedia page; she was instrumental in a lot of things I wasn't aware she initiated. Good stuff: the modernization of National to DC, including Milton Glazer's DC Bullet!

from DC Comics cover-dated (top) March 1977; artwork by Neal Adams; and (bottom) April 1977

On the minus side, the ambitious but ill-timed "DC Explosion" that turned into the infamous "DC Implosion."

from DC Comics cover-dated September 1978

But she also met Christopher Reeve, which is a plus in my book!

from DC comics cover-dated January 1978

How revolutionary were Jenette's ideas for DC? So forward-thinking that even The Comics Journal praised her! (Granted, that was a much different TCJ in a much different time!)

from The Comics Journal #37 (Fantagraphics, December 1977), interview by Stan Timmons

Don't know who wrote this DC text page, but it's a great overall summary of and salute to Jenette Kahn. Mind you, this looks like it was published right before the DC Implosion!

from DC Comics cover-dated October 1978

Like other comics people I've spotlighted in this feature, she's appeared in DC Comics as an Earth-1 (or –Prime) character! (Here, with Len Wein!)

from Wonder Woman (1942 series) #286 (DC, December 1981), script by Robert Kanigher, pencils by Jose Delbo, inks by Dave Hunt, colors by Jerry Serpe, letters by Ben Oda

Preparing (with Joe Orlando) to flip the House of Secrets on the market!

from "The House of Secrets Speaks... Out" in House of Mystery #252 (DC, May 1977), script by Jack C. Harris, pencils by John Calnan, inks by Jack Abel

Chairing a DC business meeting, and goofin' around on the letters pages of Plop!

from Plop! #24 (DC, November 1976), script by Marty Pasko, pencils and inks by Sergio Aragonés

Plop! was immediately cancelled after that issue.

But luckily Jenette took a temp job at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory!

from "The Deadly Treasure of Mars" in The Superman Family #182 (DC, March 1977), script by Jack C. Harris, pencils by Mike Vosburg, inks by Al Milgrom

And again with Wonder Woman and Len Wein (and (the late great) George Pérez and Karen Berger!) in the Post-Crisis era:

from Wonder Woman (1987 series) #8 (DC, September 1987), co-script and pencils by George Pérez, co-script by Len Wein, inks by Bruce Patterson, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by John Costanza;

How popular was Jenette Kahn? So popular that she even appeared in Marvel Comics, pokin' a li'l fun at the very late Superman/Muhammand Ali team-up treasury! (A special tip of my li'l stuffed hat to the always-helpful Rob London for reminding me about this one!)

from Amazing Spider-Man #186 (Marvel, November 1978), script by Marv Wolfman, layouts by Keith Pollard, finishes by Mike Esposito, colors by Marie Severin, letters by Jim Novak

Jenette Kahn even tried to do right by Jack Kirby by bringing back The New Gods, but Jack has already returned to Marvel.

from Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics (Ten Speed, July 2020), script and art by Tom Scioli

Jenette gets parodied (along with Paul Levitz and the beginning of comics' "Dark Age") in a Jim Valentino/Don Simpson comic.

from normalman/Megaton Man Special #1 one-shot (Image, August 1994), script, letters, pencils and inks by by Jim Valentino; Megaton Man pencils and inks by Don Simpson, colors by Gloria Vasquez; color separations by Rob Schwaeger

Now to slip into our "Where's Waldo" mode: WHERE'S JENETTE?!? the Superman/Ali prize fight?

cover of All-New Collectors' Edition #C-56 (DC, March 1978), layout by Joe Kubert, pencils by Neal Adams, inks by Neal Adams (?) and/or Cory Adams (?), logo design by John Workman
(Click top picture to GOAT-size)

And of course Superman invited her to his wedding...but where's she sitting?

from Superman: The Wedding Album one-shot (DC, December 1996), pencils by Dan Jurgens, inks by Jerry Ordway, colors by Glenn Whitmore, letters by Bill Oakley
Click top picture to honeymoon-size

Hey, I just found a new page to play this game on: where is Kahn on the back cover of this DC Digest? (Hint: she's only half there!)

back cover of The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #5 (DC, May 1980), pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Dick Giordano

"So long, Superman!" calls Jenette Kahn. "Write if you get work!"

cover of Action Comics #583 (DC, September 1986), layouts by Ed Hannigan, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Murphy Anderson

Jenette's "Publishtorials" were almost as ubiquitous as Stan Lee's Bullpen Bulletins when I was first reading comics during the '80s, and I'll always fondly value her open, optimistic notes to the readers.

from DC comics cover-dated May 1988

Want to read more about Jenette Kahn? Sure, we all do! That's why I highly recommend TwoMorrow's Back Issue #57, featuring a huge interview with Jenette! Get it here!

from Back Issue #57 (TwoMorrows, July 2012)

I raise my frosty mug o' root beer in a birthday salute to Jenette Kahn! A very happy birthday to you, Ms. K!

from Superman #411 (September 1985), script by Elliot S! Maggin, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Murphy Anderson, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by John Costanza

1 comment:

Pj Perez said...

"The Path of Kahn" is such a great pun headline.