Seeing Superman / Spying on Alfred E. Newman
by Betsy Bird
When the opportunity arises to take advantage of a free trip deep into the inner circle of an organization like DC Entertainment, one does not pause to think twice about it. So it was that not long ago twenty or so members of the WNBA-NYC found ourselves hanging out in a lobby containing a large statue of Clark Kent, a nearby phone booth, and a piece of Kryptonite on public display.
Beginning our visit in a conference room worthy of Lex Luthor himself, we were greeted by our host Tom DiMascio, Director of Supply Chain Management, who treated us to a little clarification: we were not just visiting DC Comics. The comic enterprise is only a cog in the behemoth known as DC Entertainment, which includes such smaller companies as DC Comics, Vertigo, and MAD Magazine.
Then it was time for the real tour to start. We began our day in the library of DC Entertainment, a place not accessible to the public, and were met by librarian Steve Korte. Steve explained that over the years DC has made an effort to maintain a full collection of comics since the year 1935. Unfortunately, some items have migrated or escaped. However, 99% of the comics are still in the collection.
Leaving the library, we observed a replica of a rooftop in Batman’s Gotham City and a panel-by-panel explanation of how one goes about creating a comic. There was a stop by the poly-resin statues that fan-boys and fan-girls collect of their favorite characters. Then it was off to an office where three men sat behind computers creating the very letters that appear in a comic’s average speech bubble.
The day ended with a spin around the MAD Magazine offices. Aside from the general nuttiness (which did not disappoint), there was a wonderful wall of people posing with celebrities and MAD Magazines. Apparently if you pose with a celeb and a MAD, you get a free yearly subscription to the magazine.
After that we returned to the Lex Luthor-ish conference room for drinks and snacks. A special thank you to Tom and the good people at DC for entertaining our group and giving us a glimpse into a world few ever get to see.
Betsy Bird is a member of the WNBA-NYC and is currently New York Public Library’s Youth Materials Collections Specialist. She has also written the picture book Giant Dance Party, illustrated by Brandon Dorman. You can follow Betsy on Twitter @FuseEight. Visit her blog here: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/.