If you came to love DC comics first in some faraway place, say a thankful farewell to Phyllis Hume today. Phyllis had one of those jobs invisible to the general public, unacknowledged on any masthead, but vital to changing the world’s comics culture. She began her involvement with DC as a paralegal in the corporate trademark department, but really made her impact in long decades managing DC’s international rights. She travelled relentlessly for decades, building partnerships and true friendships across the globe, and working to get comics published by people who loved comics.
A tough little woman from Brooklyn Heights, Phyllis helped make possible some of the first truly beautiful editions of American comics, long before DC (or any American comics publisher) was ready to produce oversize hardcovers, or art book-quality volumes. Titles from WATCHMEN to ancient classics like CAPTAIN MARVEL AND THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL happened on her watch, and with her support.
Sadly, she had a rough parting from DC when the international markets changed and she and her then-supervisor saw different paths ahead for the company. One of my regrets as an executive was the occasions like this when I couldn’t bridge gaps between good people and manage to keep both on the team. But those circumstances didn’t detract from my great respect for Phyllis, or appreciation for the work she’d done.
The world of comics is better for the efforts of many largely anonymous people behind the scenes, connecting the creative talents with their audience. We’ve been lucky to have folks doing this who don’t treat it as a job, but as a responsibility to both the talent and the audience. Phyllis Hume was one who made the world of comics larger by making distances, cultures and languages smaller gaps, and for that I’m grateful.