Saturday 26 January 2008

Lew Sayre Schwartz

Last week, blogger 'Sivercat17' (found via JLRoberson at the TCJ board) did us the favour of scanning a whole 1953 Batman story (minus the title page) from Detective #193, March 1953: The Joker's Journal

It's one of some 120 Batman stories ghosted for Bob Kane by Lew Sayre Schwartz, one of my favourite artists from way back long before I ever knew his name. I've been fond of his work since when I was ten or eleven and used to colour it with crayons in some black and white reprints that i still keep. I wrote a long essay on the subject, though note that the crayon coloured pages shown there are by Moldoff. In 2001 I interviewed Lew for the first issue of my magazine Egomania (still avalable for five bucks) and he identified The Joker's Journal as his, recalling that he put himself in one panel (see left smoking pipe).
The most recent volume (#6, 2005) of Batman Archives, reprinting all the Batman stories from Detective Comics, have the first ones (six of them) that Schwartz drew (always uncredited), but in my opinion have failed to correctly identify the very first (#122, April 1947):

Both DC and the Grand Comicbook Database give the art to Kane, but that would be the default position anyway. The work is too good to possibly have been drawn by Kane; i'm particularly enamored of this charming circus scene:

The trouble is that the job also looks superior to the immediately subsequent stories that Schwartz drew. The first time I saw this cinematic sweep of the Statue of Liberty I was baffled as to who the artist could possibly be and as late as ten years ago I still had it filed it under 'not yet identifiable'.

But don't we all try much harder on the first outing, in the hope of securing regular employment?



Blogger drjon said...

That's really nice work on the Statue of Liberty, I can see that even at this resolution.

Oh, and Welcome Back! :}D>

26 January 2008 at 20:15:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't we all try much harder on the first outing

so hard that in most cases - at least here, with comics albums and magazines - the work discontinues after about three publications. mostly due to a wrong management of energy and resources.

nice to see you around, btw :)

26 January 2008 at 22:32:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

When I first learned what a corrupt capitalist Bob Kane was, I used to constantly wonder about the nameless artists who had to let him put his name to their work.

27 January 2008 at 09:25:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

That would be a problem with the deadlines of periodical work. The work is bound to be irregular in a small or big way.

28 January 2008 at 04:16:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Is Lew going to be in SD this year? Another panel talk with you two would be fun to see...


30 January 2008 at 11:14:00 GMT-5  
Blogger ASchwartz said...

Dear Eddie,

My name is Andrew Schwartz, son of Lew Sayre Schwartz. I've been trying to find a way of contacting you directly regarding my father's passing away, and this is the only one I can currently find. Please feel free to contact me at for more information. My Mother wanted me to let you know as Lew was so fond of his relationship with you. I do hope you are still monitoring this blog post. Regards, Andrew.

20 June 2011 at 08:39:00 GMT-5  

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