Looking Back at the DC Offices Part 5

At the retirement party with Terri Cunningham and Paul Levitz.

At the retirement party with Terri Cunningham and Paul Levitz.

If the company was so wonderful, why on Earth would I want to leave it?

I had known Paul since I was 13, and his perceptions of me as the kid were transferred to Jenette. The editorial structure began to change under Dick with Mike Gold as a Senior Editor so Barbara and I were seen as the junior editors. Our options appeared limited which is why I wound up changing jobs with Editorial Coordinator Jonathan Peterson in the late 1980s. My organizational skills would do my career a world of good. I also really hit it off with Managing Editor Terri Cunningham, so that helped tremendously. We grew Editorial Administration into what Paul later called “the secret engine” of DC.

My Dynamic Duo: Eddie Berganza & Frank Pittarese

My Dynamic Duo: Eddie Berganza & Frank Pittarese

For the next decade I worked with Terri, overseeing Editorial’s move to 1325 Avenue of the Americas, and having custom scheduling software written just for comics, which was a major step. Once in place, I began a wave of hiring, bringing in eager, young talent who didn’t mind being the ones to do the copying and grunt work, the very sort of thing I did back in 1980. I inherited Dan Thorsland as the sole copy guy but very quickly we were growing and Dan moved into editorial. I brought in Eddie Berganza, Mike McAvennie, Ali Morales, Harvey Richards, and Frank Pittarese who all moved up the ladder with Eddie still there, having the time of his life. I helped hire interns such as artist Jamal Igle and musician/writer Gerard Way. I had my own assistant to oversee and coordinate lettering and coloring assignments starting with Liz Seward, then Anne Forenecker, and finally Christine Norrie (who has since gone on to a fine graphic arts career). I was overseeing as many as five people and we had a separate shipping and copying operation going that felt sometimes like a zoo. Not every hire worked out but my batting average turned out to be pretty good.

With my assistant Anne Forenecker on her final day

With my assistant Anne Forenecker on her final day

I was pushing 40 in 2000 and wasn’t sure where I could grow at DC. I knew by then that if I didn’t explore my options, I would wind up trapped there. This was also a time when the prevailing thinking shifted from working at the same company for life to multiple jobs (and/or careers) during a working life. At an alumni event, an old pal, Jonathan Greenberg, told me about his startup, The Gist, designed to offer news and television listings to internet users. We kept in touch and as he grew he needed producers and offered me a post.

Maureen McTeague, Mike McAvennie, and Eddie Berganza pile on to say farewell

Maureen McTeague, Mike McAvennie, and Eddie Berganza pile on to say farewell

I was at a career crossroads and with Deb’s support, took the plunge. I walked in to Terri’s office to break the news and before I knew it, my 16 year tenure was coming to a close with a blowout retirement party in March 2000. I was given several gifts such as the Key to Hell prop and a Tiffany silver key ring in the shape of the key to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. It was a celebration but a bittersweet one.

When I left, I truly thought my comics career was done. Apparently, comics had another idea.

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