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Superman Publisher Liebowitz Passes

Jack S. Liebowitz, the comic book publisher who first brought Superman to the page, passed away on Monday, December 11 at his home in Great Neck, New York. He was 100 years old. Liebowitz immigrated to New York in 1910 from his birthplace in Proskurov, Ukraine. He and his partner, former pulp magazine publisher Harry Donenfeld, started publishing the series DETECTIVE COMICS in 1937. This title was the first successful comic centering on one theme. The series later provided the name for the company DC Comics. Liebowitz later published ACTION COMICS, in which he acquired the Superman character from two Cleveland cartoonists Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster. The first issue of ACTION COMICS, showing Superman hoisting a car over his head debuted in June 1938 with a run of 200,000 but soon climbed to 1 million per month after fans couldn't get enough. Liebowitz engineered DC Comics' merger with All American Comics in 1944, which added the characters The Flash, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern into the DC family. Liebowitz steered DC Comics through its copyright lawsuit against Fawcett Publications and its character Captain Marvel. The battle went on for years finally ending with the Fawcett family deciding to settle the suit and stop publishing the comic, which featured a young newsboy who could change into a caped superhero by saying "Shazam!" In the early 1960s DC Comics turned into National Periodical Publications, which merged with Kinney National Services in 1967. The next year Kinney bought Warner Bros. creating Warner Communications, which grew into Time Warner. Liebowitz served on the board and came into the office every day well into his 90s.

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