Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Why Did Mort Weisinger Do It?

Mort Weisinger is beloved in the world of comics for having been the editor of the Superman family of titles through the 1950s and 1960s. He was responsible for many silly and fun stories as the 1961 Curt Swan cover above makes clear. Mr. Weisinger retired from comics in 1970 at age 55, thereafter writing for Parade Magazine and other outlets.

He also wrote a novel. It was entitled "The Contest" and I first told you back here that I had ordered a copy of that 1970 book and that I would get back to you about it. Well, I've read it. No, actually I didn't read it. I tried. I started reading it. I read the first twenty pages and then spot-read after that. That was enough, and I'll tell you why.

The book is horrible, just horrible. After having shepherded the wholesome intellectual property of Superman for decades, the gentleman apparently had quite a bit of unwholesomeness pent up and needed an outlet for it. I wonder what Mrs. Weisinger thought of this horrid, horrid book. I may have the time-frame slightly off-kilter in that "The Contest" may have been published while Mr. W was still in the employ of DC Comics because it has been suggested elsewhere that the book's publication led to DC asking Weisinger to leave the company.

There's a comparison I can't help making. In the early 1970s Mr. Jack Kirby was in his early 50s and was weaving his wonderful Fourth World tapestry, creating some of the best comic books I have read in my entire life. In those same early 1970s Mr. Mort Weisinger was in his 50s and capped off a wonderful career in comic books by trawling the sewer with his authoring of "The Contest."

Why did he do it?


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