Dorothy, I Don’t Think We’re at DC Anymore
This week we’re going to do what the kids are calling a “throwback” to one of the OG’s of the comic book world. I watched Gangland once, so I definitely know I’m using the term “OG” right. We’re getting right to the cream fillin’, right the stuff, the pitbull’s pajamas. This lady has a name we don’t hear all that much, which truly proves what a buncha suckas we can be at times. So put on your specs and learn a bit about Dorothy Woolfolk.
So first and foremost, this lady was the FIRST female editor at DC comics! Born October 1 1913, she is literally a part of history, though if you get all space brain about it, everything is. From 1942 to 1944, she served as an editor at All-American Publications, which was one of the companies who merged into the company we all know as DC Comics. But she didn’t stop there, and was an editor at Marvel’s predecessor, Timely Comics. After that, she went on to work her magic at EC Comics. So let’s just say this lady knew her stuff, and it was the Golden Age, so they didn’t quite have the badass ladies the world does today. Not bad for a person who never went to college. Dorothy returns to editing comics for a brief time in the 70’s, mainly focusing on DC romance titles as well as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Lois Lane titles.
Dorothy was also a bit of writer, no shock because this is one talented spitfire. By a bit, I mean she wrote some spiffy Wonder Woman titles, making her the FIRST female writer of the series, as well as one of the first female comic book writers EVER. Pow pow! She also wrote for the science fiction magazine Orbit in the 1950’s, and wrote the young adult book Donna Rockford.
So, what else did she do? Well uh, for one thing she invented kryptonite. Like, Superman’s only weakness. She had found a superhero with no weakness insanely boring, which I totally agree with because it IS, so she proposed the idea, which turned into the concept of kryptonite. It was also the name of her favorite Three Doors Down song. Haha, just kidding, nobody likes Three Doors Down. The magical weakening space rock first appears in Superman #61.
Obviously she’s quite a lady, but what was she like? According to people who were lucky enough to be graced by her presence, she was awesome. Okay, could have guessed that. But because of her strong personality and the fact that she was a woman making waves, she was often teased and looked down upon at the all-male DC of that time. The sexism she had to face was simply part of the job, and she always did her job and got books out on time. Not much those mysognists could say for a lady who was great at her job with her head held high. Can you say role model? She was also very defensive of the freelancers she hired, and respected them, unlike many of her male counterparts at the time. Her assistant at DC, Ethan Mordden, went on to become an amazing author, focusing quite on bit on LGBT issues. She also met her third husband (respect) when she rejected one of his Superman comic scripts while working at DC. So harsh and so damn adorable at the same time.
There isn’t a lot about this woman out there, which is strange because she is so influential in the comic book world. She was the first of many to come, in a medium in which we are still knocking down walls. She may have passed away in 2000, but that didn’t stop her from being nominated into the Woman Cartoonist Hall of Fame 2001-2004. She’s done more for the comic book lovers, nerds, and collectors of the world than we’ll ever really know. She will forever be the inspiration to really appreciate the Golden Age of comics to the modern age of now, and the history behind it.