Jenette Kahn (b. 1948) is a writer.
Jenette Kahn grew up in Pennsylvania with her parents and brother. She was an avid comics fan, a practice supported by her parents, with particular favorites being Batman, Superman, Little Lulu, Uncle Scrooge, and Archie. After graduating from Harvard with honors in art history, she went on to found three groundbreaking magazines for young people. The original publication, Kids, was entirely written by children for one another. Although published in the early 1970s, Kids tackled subjects that are relevant today: drug abuse, diversity, and animal protection.
Kahn was 28 in 1976 when she became publisher of National Periodical Publications home to over five thousand characters, including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. As it turned out, her first task was to convince the head of Warner Publishing to keep DC going as a publisher of new material as opposed to simply maintaining licensing.
Once in charge, she instituted numerous changes, such as officially changing National Periodical Publications' name to DC Comics, which included changing the company logo to the DC bullet, designed by the hailed graphic designer, Milton Glaser. More substantively, Kahn, although she had to endure failures such as the DC Implosion in which an attempted major publishing expansion had to be severely curtailed due to poor market conditions, instituted significant reforms to the business' publishing practices. These included the creation of the Limited Series concept, which created needed flexibility to publishing arrangements to address the company's habit of creating new titles, only to have them peter out within a dozen issues in part because the talent could not handle the open-ended work commitments. In addition, Kahn introduced a royalty system that paid the talent bonuses based on the sales performance of their titles, giving them a clear incentive to keep with titles to encourage their success.
In the process, Kahn made a point of wooing various talents from Marvel Comics to join DC. As it happens, while she failed to recruit her top priority artist, John Buscema, her goal proved overall easier to achieve than she anticipated. That was because Marvel's current Editor-in-Chief, Jim Shooter, was alienating much of his staff with his heavy-handed management practices and numerous talents were eager to get away from him like Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart and George Pérez and thus accepted Kahn's offer to join her.
Five years later, she became President and Editor-in-Chief. She is one of the most talented and respected women in the entertainment industry, Kahn is renowned for transforming comics from a children's medium to a visually stylish and sophisticated art form for adults. Under Kahn's order, DC broke new ground with comic books and graphic novels, including Ronin (Volume 1), Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Volume 1), Hellblazer (Volume 1), Watchmen (Volume 1), Road to Perdition, A History of Violence, The Books of Magic (Volume 1) and The Books of Magic (Volume 2), V for Vendetta (Volume 1), Sandman (Volume 1).
- She was the youngest person ever to head DC Comics as well as the first woman.