Dorothy Woolfolk née Roubicek (October 1, 1913 - November 27, 2000) was a pioneering woman in the American comic book industry. The first female editor at DC Comics, she is credited with helping to create the fictional metal kryptonite in the Superman mythos.

Life and CareerEdit

Dorothy Woolfolk, a New York City high school graduate who never attended college, was an editor at DC Comics during the of Comics. She served from 1942 to 1944 as an editor at All-American Publications, one of the three companies that would merge to form the present-day DC, then spent the next two years at Timely Comics, the 1940s predecessor to Marvel Comics, and in 1948 was an editor at EC Comics (before its metamorphosis into "Entertaining Comics") . She also occasionally scripted comics, including an unknown number of Wonder Woman stories in the 1940s — making Woolfolk one of the first female writers of that series.

She met her husband, novelist William Woolfolk, during her stint at DC, when she rejected a script he had submitted for a Superman comic book. Woolfolk told the Florida newspaper Today in August 1993 that she had found Superman's invulnerability dull, and that DC's flagship hero might be more interesting with an Achilles' heel such as adverse reactions to a fragment of his home planet. This gave rise to the famous fictional metal kryptonite.

After raising children Donald and Donna, the latter of whom would become an author, Woolfolk briefly returned to comics in the 1970s, editing Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane, Young Romance, and other DC superhero and romance titles from 1971 to 1974. Woolfolk also wrote for the science fiction magazine Orbit during the 1950s, and in the 1970s and early 1980s was the author of the 10-book Scholastic Press young-adult novel series about teen detective Donna Rockford. Woolfolk's daughter, Donna Woolfolk Cross, is also an author; her work includes the historical novel Pope Joan.

Comics artist Alan Kupperberg, who worked with her at DC Comics in the 1970s, said in 2001, "Dorothy Woolfolk really was something... Tallulah Bankhead, the Auntie Mame of comics. I thought her books looked good and she got them out on time. People like Liz Safian got breaks through Dorothy. Not to mention Sal Amendola, Howard Chaykin, Mary Skrenes, and Alan Weiss." [1]

She was nominated every year from 2001-2004 for induction into the Women Cartoonists Hall of Fame. Woolfolk, who lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan while working in comics and as an author, moved to Norfolk, Virginia, in 1996. Two years later, she began to reside at the St. Francis Nursing Center in Newport News, Virginia, where she died in 2000.


  1. Kupperberg, Alan. "Dorothy Woolfolk Remembered", Comic Book Artist #12, March 2001, pp. 5–6, via
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