(December 11, 2000 – New York, NY) - DC Comics regrets to announce that Jack S. Liebowitz, founding co-publisher of DC Comics, passed away from natural causes on December 11, 2000 in Great Neck, NY. Born on October 10, 1900 in Russia, Liebowitz is survived by his wife Shirley and two daughters Joan Levy and Linda Stillman. Along with business partner Harry Donenfeld, Jack Liebowitz invested in the first-ever comic books published by DC Comics founding father Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicolson. Donenfeld and Liebowitz distributed the comics through their Independent News Company (later to become Warner Publisher Services, one of the country’s largest distributors of magazines and paperbacks.) In 1937, they bought out Wheeler-Nicolson and launched “Detective Comics,” which was the first successful comic book with original stories around a single theme and the one which gave the company the name by which it has been known ever since. Not only did Liebowitz finance the early days of comics and foster the creation of the world’s most beloved super heroes, he established comic book publishing as a legitimate, viable and profitable business. So fervent in his belief of the future of comics that in 1939, Liebowitz invested and created another company called All-American Comics with M.C. Gaines, a printing salesman who was also an early pioneer for the comic book industry. The two companies shared DC’s distribution system, and eventually merged in 1946. Liebowitz went on to serve as President of National Periodical Publications, Inc. (the public company that included DC, Independent News, MAD Magazine and Licensing Corporation of America) until it merged into Kinney Services. From 1967-1991, Liebowitz served on the board of directors for Kinney Services and subsequently Warner Communications, which later became Time Warner. Profiled in the publication, “Making Comics A Business” Jack Liebowitz showed an undying support for the medium when he said: “Some people viewed comics as just a passing fad. Not me. From the beginning, I felt that comics could be a vital part of the publishing field. They had a broad appeal and a great potential for telling stories.” For fifty years, Liebowitz was a founding trustee and board member of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Jenette Kahn, President and Editor-in-Chief of DC Comics said, “Jack Liebowitz was the best of his generation, one of the extraordinary entrepreneurs who not only helped found DC Comics but the comics industry itself. In addition, he was the most successful of his generation, taking DC public in 1961 under the title of National Periodical Publications. Mr. Liebowitz later pulled off his most foresighted coup, selling DC Comics to Steven J. Ross as one of the building blocks of his fledgling corporation, Warner Communications, Inc. He remained continuously active, coming into his office at Warner Communications every day and serving on the Warner board until he was past 90. We are forever grateful to Mr. Liebowitz for his risk-taking and prescience and will miss his life long commitment to the companies he helped launch.” Private services will be held in Great Neck, NY on Wednesday, December 13, 2000.
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