Mr. Grooism

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February 08, 2004 - 4:43 p.m.

Julie Schwartz Forever

May The Schwartz Be With You

Go to Mark Evanier’s News from M.E. for the first of many, many memorials to the legendary Sci-Fi and Comic Book guru, Julius Schwartz, who passed away earlier this morning.

My own reminiscence about this charming, wonderful National Treasure starts with this brief overview of his career that I posted last week, so check that out next if you haven’t already read it. Hell, even if you have, read it again!

My Favorite Julie Schwartz Moment

Forgive my feeble attempt at organizing my memories with actual dates, but this anecdote goes waaay back to my very first meeting with Julie somewhere around summer 1986 or so. I had a meeting with then JLA editor Andy Helfer to show him my lame attempts at comic book scripting. Thank you Andy for your kindness, tolerance and patience in dealing with an amateur such as myself.

To help cement the time frame (and help me see how far off I am in my reckoning), a mock-up of the famous but as-yet unprinted cover to John Byrne’s Man of Steel miniseries cover, featuring a close-up of Clark tearing open his shirt to reveal the Superman logo on his chest, was thumb-tacked to his bulletin board.

Andy gave me a copy of an as-yet unpublished Gerry Conway JLA script to read for future guidance, one of his last before the revamp took out Vibe and Crew, and gave me some great pointers. He never talked down to me, even though I was clearly out of my League.

During this talk Julie Schwartz walked in, Mr. Helfer introduced me to The Living Legend and warm, sincere pleasantries were exchanged. Wow! Julie Schwartz himself, this was like meeting Perry White!!!

It was then that I got to witness quite an incredible exchange, it was all I could do to keep a straight face!

Julie was editing Superman at the time, as well as other projects, and he handed Andy a script that I believe must have been the work of Keith Giffen, as I’m sure you’ll deduce for yourself in a moment. He said something to the effect of:

I don’t understand this reference, what does this word mean? ” pointing to the script.

Poontang?” said Mr. Helfer. “He knows he’s not allowed to use the word Poontang! From now on I want to see every script he gives you, okay Julie? ”

I was delighted to have met Julie Schwartz at many Comic Conventions since that time, and always he was available to fans and eager to talk to us on our level. After all, as one of the Great Founding Fathers of Modern Fandom, he was One of Us and will be sorely missed!

Rest Well, Julie, in the Peace, Love and Respect you so richly deserve!


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