With the news this week about Walt Disney purchasing Marvel Comics, an interesting misconception was often repeated, and reader Paul Blanshard wrote in to suggest that I address said misconception, and I think he's got a good point, so here goes.
It is often said that DC Comics was purchased by Warner Brothers. After all, DC is currently a subsidiary of Warner Communications, Inc. which is, itself, a subsidiary of Time Warner, Inc., a massive media conglomerate.
However, that's not how it actually happened.
It really all began with, of all things, a funeral home.
In 1953, when he was 26 years old, Steve Ross married Carol Rosenthal, whose father, Edward Rosenthal, owned a funeral home. Ross went to work with Rosenthal, and soon the pair got involved in small business entrepreneurship.
In the late 50s, Ross took out a loan from the bank to start a rental car business, Abbey Rent a Car.
Ross eventually partnered with a garage Business called Kinney. The new company was called Kinney Parking Company.
During the 1960s, Kinney Parking Company merged with an office cleaning company owned by a relative of Ross' father-in-law, the National Cleaning Company.
The new company was called Kinney National Company.
When it went public in the early 1960s, it was worth about $12 million.
In 1967, the company purchased National Periodical Publications (better known as DC Comics).
That same year, it bought Ashley-Famous, a talent agency.
So in 1967, DC was part of the Kinney National Company, not Warner Brothers.
And in fact, National was basically kept its own company, just part of the larger Kinney National Company (as seen on this indica...
Then, in 1969, Kinney purchased Warner Bros.-Seven Arts., which was extremely cash-poor at the time.
Still, though, the company was called Kinney National Company, not Warner.
Warner was just a "Kinney Leisure Service," as seen in this movie poster from this period...
That changed in 1972.
A parking scandal (the parking industry has not always been the most honest of industries) forced Kinney to separate its other industries from its burgeoning entertainment empire, so it split off all of its non-entertainment businesses and and continued under a NEW name, Warner Communications, Inc.
And it was only THEN that DC Comic was officially part of Warner (and even then, it took DC a long time before acknowledging Warner Communications, Inc. in the indicas).
So, this is basically a long way of saying that no, DC Comics was not purchased by Warner Brothers.
Still, it's fun to know the history, right?
Thanks to Paul for the suggestion!
Okay, that's it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you likely know by now, at the end of April, my book finally came out!
Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)...
If you'd like to order it, you can use the following code if you'd like to send me a bit of a referral fee...
See you next week!