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This is the forty-third in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous forty-two.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Julie Schwartz once had to write a comic story in a day because of an mistaken cover instruction
STATUS: True, just that it was Bob Kanigher, not Julie Schwartz
Reader Dave Lartigue dropped me a line about a possible urban legend he was curious about,
I was fortunate enough to hear Julius Schwarz speak at a comics con. He basically reminisced about old times, and it was a very entertaining talk. He told one anecdote that has stuck with me.
He said that during his days at DC he was looking at the proof for a cover to a war comic. He felt that some element on it needed to be moved down, so he wrote on the proof “Drop One Inch”. Someone misinterpreted his instruction, thinking there was a story called “Drop One Inch” in the book and changed the cover to announce this. The cover was then printed and Schwarz was alarmed because now it was announcing a story that wasn’t inside. Consequently, he had to quickly write a story called “Drop One Inch” to cover the goof.
After doing some checking, I found that Julie Schwartz told this same story a few years back, but when speaking of the recently departed Robert Kanigher.
Said Schwartz then (in a press release DC Comics issues upon Kanigher’s passing),
Longtime officemate Julie Schwartz considered Kanigher a fast and versatile talent. “There was one day when he was looking at a cover,” Schwartz recalls, “and it didn’t look right, so he wrote a note on the side that said, ‘drop an inch,’ meaning to adjust the art somehow. Anyway, the page came back with a caption added that read ‘Drop an Inch!’ So Kanigher immediately sat down and wrote a story called ‘Drop an Inch.’ I think he did it over his lunch hour.”
Looking into the matter, I discovered the following.
July 1958’s G.I. Combat.
Right there on the cover, “Drop an Inch.”
The first story? A nine-page Robert Kanigher story titled “Drop an Inch.”
I think we can safely say that this one is true.
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