Forty years ago, DC Comics held its one and only Super DC Convention, and we gathered together the greats of the Golden Age for what was the last time. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had just reached the final accommodation of their lives with DC, and were there smiling, along with Bob Kane, Shelly Mayer, Jack Schiff and many others. The then-still active team that was present included Julie Schwartz, Murray Boltinoff, Sol Harrison, Joe Orlando, Jack Adler, Joe Kubert, Curt Swan, Denny O’Neil, and the youngsters like me. Jenette Kahn had just arrived at DC a few weeks before, and the chaos that was the convention provided her first great bonding with the small team that was then the DC staff of about 30 folks. Virtually everyone who was invited attended, with the notable exception of Bob Kanigher, who was nervous to be on the Wonder Woman panel with his old boss, Shelly Mayer.
Chaos? The convention had been scheduled to be at the Commodore (later the Grand Hyatt) Hotel, but they had gone on strike two days before. Hasty arrangements were made to shift to the Americana (now the Sheraton NY Times Square), and I have a vague memory of our needing to carry over a certified check for the deposit because Warner Communications/DC Comics’ credit wasn’t enough to satisfy them in the circumstances. DC folks were on phones trying to get radio stations to announce the new location, and we ended up rolling giant mail bins full of stuff for the con down 52nd Street from the offices to the hotel.
February 29th was Superman’s birthday under Nelson Bridwell’s analysis, so the official peak of the con was a giant birthday cake made of Twinkies (a major advertiser in comics in those days). There were leftover Twinkies to eat at the office for a long time. But the real thrill was meeting the men who had created the world of comics and super heroes, and for most of us, for the first or only time.
Somewhere in DC’s files there are grainy old videotapes of some of the panels, magic moments when the greats of the Golden and Silver Age of Comics met. Maybe technology has reached the point where they can been enhanced, and we can revisit that moment…
A tip of the hat to the departed Phil Seuling and Sol Harrison, who cooked up the event, and to my fellow “manager,” Jonni Levas (who as always, organized Phil) and the other Junior Woodchucks, whose love of comics showed through it all.