MAN OF TWO WORLDS
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Man of Two Worlds is a chatty, informal autobiography by Julius Schwartz, a man who has been involved in science fiction fandom and comic books practically since they were invented. In this book, Schwartz presents his own role in the growth of science fiction and, more importantly, comic books, where he spent several decades working for DC on several of their most famous titles and with many of their most recognizable characters.
Schwartz, and co-author Brian M. Thomsen, employ a style which instantly grabs the reader. The autobiography is written in a manner that it can either be read straight through or dipped into to spotlight incidents in Schwartz’s life and the development of the industry. Asides appear throughout the book, usually set apart by being printed superimposed over a light gray oval. These sections can (and probably should) be read completely separately from the general text of the book.
As Schwartz progresses from a young reader through his various professions until he became an editor at DC Comics, the book reads like a Who’s Who of science fiction and comics. He drops names and stories right and left. The style and stories he tells allows the reader to feel an intimacy with both Schwartz and the people who form the support cast of his life, whether it is Alfie Bester or Bob Kane.
The book is illustrated with pictures of Schwartz and drawing both of him and the books he worked on. These pictures help add to the feeling that Schwartz has invited the reader to a personal party to share his life and stories.
There is little real depth to Schwartz’s book. He doesn’t try to analyze his decisions or to learn why he turned out the way he did. This is a book of light reading with the intention of giving the reader an insight into the world of fantasy which Schwartz managed to successfully turn into a lifelong career. He doesn’t try to push his agenda on the reader or make any political statements. Instead, he simply says that he managed to find a way to make a fun hobby he loved into a paying job that he loved.
Man of Two Worlds is a successful glimpse into Julius Schwartz’s life which is a fun and interesting book for anyone interested in comics or science fiction, even if the specific comics Schwartz worked on are not of particular interest to the reader.
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