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Creative Director Mike Carlin Retires From DC Comics After 37 Years

Mike Carlin has changed his status on his Facebook page to "Former Creative Director Mike Carlin Retires From DC Comics After 37 Years at DC Entertainment" as well as "Former Editor/Group Editor/Senior Group Editor/VP-Executive Editor at DC". His Facebook page is currently full of people congratulating him on his retirement after 37 years at DC. His retirement message is as follows:

Mike Carlin has changed his status on his Facebook page to "Former Creative Director/Animation at DC Entertainment". His Facebook page is full of people congratulating him on his retirement after 37 years in DC. His retirement message is as follows:

After nearly 37 years I literally have seen hundreds come and go. Alas, dear Reader, I didn't know them all well… but what I did know was that each and every one of them was here at DC for the same reason I was: We loved comics… and, in particular, DC Comics (oh, and other jobs were probably beyond our ken, anyways). If an employee didn't love comics or DC Comics when they got here… they did by the time they were writing their Farewell Note… originally with Carbon Copies and now with a *DCE – Burbank All e-mail address.

My earliest memory is waking up on a Gurney at 2 years old having just had my tonsils out, I was being wheeled into my Mother's room as she had her tonsils out that day, too. Part of the memory was that I had a bunch of SUPERMAN Comics on my lap. Mom had arranged that I'd get them when I woke up… because she loved SUPERMAN and WONDER WOMAN Comics when she was a kid (she also loved EC Comics but they were harder to come by in 1960– and the pictures probably too much for a 2 year-old who was only "reading" the pictures at that point).

I first visted DC's offices in a dream. Late one Christmas Eve when I thought I'd never fall asleep from excitement– I finally did, and I found myself at DC's offices. I knew it was DC because the printing presses were there and running and they were printing a BATMAN Comic. I woke up and it was literally Christmas morning.

I wanted to draw comics so my mother arranged for me to take the entrance exam to New York's HIGH SCHOOL OF ART & DESIGN. I got in, and there I studied Animation and Cartooning… and one Saturday famed DC Editor DICK GIORDANO gave a lecture about doing comic book art. He gave out a packet and said that if we did sample pages and they were selected, the "winner" could come up to DC's offices at 75 Rockefeller Plaza for a private (well with 8 other kids) lesson from Dick… I was selected and invited up to DC's headquarters . (P.S. There were no Printing Presses in that Manhattan office building.)

The next time I was at DC was in 1974 when I was selected to be an Intern at DC by my High School Art teacher. I sat outside Julie Schwartz's office and listened to him plot comics with Cary Bates and Eliot S! Maggin. I mostly Xeroxed art (having copied Kirby's KAMANDI and Simonson's MANHUNTER/BATMAN pages I quickly decided I probably was NOT going to be a comic artist and I should stick to humorous cartooning) and sorted color separations… and a few production artists talked to me… but rarely Carmine Infantino or the Editors. I learned alot. Best part of this internship was the day Burt Ward came in to the office in his TV Show ROBIN costume! No stockings… shaved legs… but a hearty handshake and "Hello, Citizen."
Finished High School… and then College at the SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS. No real DC connections there– except the creator of MAD Magazine, Harvey Kurtzman, was one of my teachers. Will Eisner, too (thanks for the award 15 years later, Will)!

Anyways… after a small detour through Marvel Comics where I wrote and drew for their version of MAD, CRAZY Magazine… and writing some CAPTAIN AMERICA and HE-MAN Comics I was fired. That was 1986.

Luckily lots of Marvel folks were leaving… and landing at DC (George Pérez and John Byrne and Denny O'Neil)… and they helped me get seen by Dick Giordano, once again.
Somehow I got hired and on my birthday in 1986 the attached Company I.D. was created… and then almost 37 years passed. The only thing different is that now they don't print your Social Security number on your I.D.s! >Whew!<

Anyways… I've worked at a bunch of DC offices in those years… and put out a bunch of comics… and for the last 13 years worked on some animated cartoons. The job always being "make good stories"… so I tried. I think DC tried, too, and now I​ have a good story.

Yeah… Intern to Editor to Group Editor to V.P. Executive Editor to Senior Group Editor again (not a fan of the V.P. part of the job!) and lastly Creative Director of Animation in Beautiful Downtown Burbank! Thanks DC… no more Winter fer me!

$@%$!, I swore I'd make mine Shorter than everyone else's… oh well… I was at DC longer!

The short version: I dreamed of being at DC… my dream came true… now it's your turn!

I am available on my regular old person e-mail if anyone wants/needs help– because no matter what I'm a Company Man!

My next "adventure" will sound dull… I'll be reading all the books I've been buying for 40 years with no time to read 'em… and, since I haven't ever done a Resumé on a computer, I'll leave the job hunting to the young folk. At the same time if jobs hunt me… I'll do 'em 'cause I wanna… not 'cause I hafta!

I look forward to not setting my alarm on Monday and expect all of you left behind to HAVE FUN WITHOUT ME™!

Carlini Awaaaaaaaaaaay!

Mike Carlin Retires From DC Comics After 37 Years
Screenshot from YouTube

Mike Carlin attended the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan, graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cartooning from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 198o. He was a high school intern at DC Comics at age fifteen in 1974, wrote and edited Crazy Magazine for Marvel Comics in 1980 and became an assistant editor at Marvel under Mark Gruenwald. He wrote several stories in Captain America and Ka-Zar, as well as the much-remembered Assistant Editors' Month issue of Marvel Team-Up that saw Aunt May become the Herald of Galactus who, with Franklin Richards' help, discovers that Galactus' hunger can be sated with Twinkies, in a parody of the Hostess ads that used to run in Marvel and DC Comics.

Mike Carlin moved to DC Comics in 1986 when he was 28. He edited Hawk & Dove in 1988, which caused him to come into conflict with its artist Rob Liefeld. Eventually became Group Editor of the Superman titles, including The Death of Superman storyline in 1993, which became DC Comics' best-selling comic book in years – and since. From 1996 to 2002, he was executive editor at DC Comics, working on notable event books at the publisher, including Identity Crisis. It was during this time he was accused of harassment by former DC editorial employee Valerie D'Orazio. Then-assistant editor Harvey Richards also accused him of racially-biased promotion decisions. When Marvel was planning to abandon the Comics Code for its own ratings, Mike Carlin was invited to a meeting between then-publisher Paul Levitz and Marvel Comics, who were represented by Bill Jemas and former DC editors who had just moved to Marvel, including Steve Wacker and Axel Alonso. Reports of Carlin's bogging-out eyes at this choice, and the events of the meeting, were much repeated.

Mike Carlin moved from New York to Burbank to become Director of Animation at Warner Bros. shortly before everyone else was forced to move or resign, As Creative Director of Animation for the DC Comics line and related lines at Warner Bros, Carlin has kept his head down, and out of the public eye, has not participated visibly on social media, while building a line of direct-to-video animated treatments of DC Comics' most notable comic books.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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