Jenette Kahn rebranded National Periodical Publications as DC Comics, reviving the failing company as a proving ground for both experimental titles and reboots of iconic characters like Batman and Superman. Kahn graduated from Harvard and founded an independent magazine, Kids, which quickly folded. She then created the wildly successful Dynamite for Scholastic before leaving to create a third magazine, Smash. In 1976 she became publisher of DC Comics (which she renamed after Detective Comics, where Batman first appeared), becoming president in 1981 and editor-in-chief in 1989. At DC, she pushed the boundaries of mainstream comics, publishing one of the first graphic novels, Watchmen, hiring Frank Miller to shift Batman from 1970s camp to the grittier Dark Knight Returns, and launching the experimental Vertigo line in 1993. She grew the company from 35 employees to 200 (half of them women) and instituted policies for creators to keep the rights to their characters and ideas. In 2000 the Library of Congress honored her as a Living Legend for her contributions to America’s cultural heritage. In 2002 she left DC to create her own film production company, Double Nickel, which produced The Flock in 2007 and Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino in 2008.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Jenette Kahn." (Viewed on October 1, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/kahn-jenette>.