Former DC publisher Jenette Kahn isn’t mentioned too much around comics these days, but was undoubtedly a pioneering force in comics, helping shepherd in royalties, creator owned comics, Vertigo, Watchmen and many other important things. These days she’s making movies, but here’s a hour long interview with her that was conducted recently at the Chicago Humanities Festival. I haven’t watched the whole thing, but Sean Kleefeld has a write up here and reports an anecdote that “Joe Orlando threw up in the men’s room when he heard that a woman had been put in charge of the company back in 1976.”
Kleefeld wished that Kahn has talked more about the whole “women in comics” thing, but I always got the sense that Kahn wanted to be an important person in publishing, not an important woman in publishing. Anyway, we probably won’t see her likes again.
Nor her sequins.
Did they talk about Dynamite magazine? Her creation of that alone made her “important person in publishing,” at least in my child of the 70s eyes.
Gotta listen to this later.
What movies has she been involved with making?
Kahn/Schwartz/Levitz/Berger : MY DC! How I miss them now!
Snikt – her biggest success so far as been the Clint Eastwood film GRAN TORINO.
Shortly after she became publisher, she, and an entourage of DC suits, stopped by the Charles Levy Circulating Company in Chicago where I worked to meet with CLCC executives and tour their distribution facility on Goose Island. At the time, CLCC had a monopoly on periodical distribution in Chicago and the surrounding area, so since Chicago was then the second largest market in the country, it made sense that DC brass would want to reach out and be on good terms with then.
At the time, I was a lowly union order-filler working in the re-order section of CLCC, but I was also the resident comic book nut, and everyone knew it. I had absolutely no idea the DC folks were coming until my boss came walking up to me with Ms. Kahn and the others and introduced us. My boss, however, knew nothing about comic books himself and had no idea I was a Marvel Zombie. So when a beaming Kahn said, with about a half-dozen suits intently listening to every word of our exchange, “What’s your favorite DC comic?” my head almost exploded. But thinking fast, I blurted out, “Jonah Hex.” To which she responded excitedly, “That’s my favorite too!”
Score one for comic book bipartisan diplomacy!
My biggest take-away that day is that she was a charming, disarming Lady.
If people want to hear Janette talk about comics for almost a full hour I recorded that panel where she won the Inkpot award she’s holding. The moderator is Paul Levitz too!
She gave me a chance and I appreciate that.
She told me that she had a screenplay by Donald Goines but she never showed me that.
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