As chronicled in the first chapter of this series, DC Comics was sold in 1967. Then, in 1968, longtime DC writers Otto Binder, John Broome, Arnold Drake, Bill Finger, Gardner Fox, Bob Haney, Francis Herron, and Dave Wood confronted DC management in hopes of securing higher page rates, medical insurance, and some sort of retirement plan. The only artist involved was Kurt Schaffenberger, severely limiting the group’s bargaining power. When DC’s Jack Liebowitz reacted by employing stall tactics, the writers attempted to form a union.
“After 25 years of acquiescence,” John Broome wrote in a letter to Julie Schwartz, “the volcano finally exploded.”
DC management reacted by “freezing out” the union agitators, slowly driving the writers who had built their universe right out of the company. By 1969, when Kinney bought Warner Bros., making DC a part of a huge national conglomerate, most of them were gone. “We were out on our necks, and other writers were brought in,” Gardner Fox told Batmania magazine. The “new talent” included Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, who went over to DC in 1970, the same year longtime Superman family editor Mort Weisinger retired. The Silver Age of comics had come to a close.
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