Thursday, September 10, 2009

Industry Reacts to Levitz, DC Entertainment

From Comic Book Resources, Kurt Busiek and other comment on the DC changes. Click through for some of the other comments

I heard the news in pieces. 'Hey, DC is reorganizing! Hey, this is going to be the new person! Hey, it's going to be a new entity called DC Entertainment! Hey, Paul Levitz is stepping down and going back to being a writer and consultant!' I was reacting to it as each piece hit, and I've got to say...Warner Bros. is reorganizing DC to make better use of the DC characters across media platforms? Yeah, fine, sure. That's movie stuff. I don't care. Paul Levitz stepping down? That's huge. That's a bigger story for comics than Disney/Marvel, than DC Entertainment, than any of this. Paul not being in that chair, in that office at DC doing that job is going to change comics in ways that there's no way to predict.

The industry has grown from what it was in the '70s to what it is now largely because of the things that Paul's been involved in. Having gone from a newsstand-oriented periodicals business to a backlist-oriented, multimedia library with royalties and creator's rights and all of these things... there are a number of people who were significant players in making all of that happen, but no one was more significant long term in making that happen [than Paul Levitz]. I'm very excited that I'm going to see more Paul Levtiz writing, because Paul is a terrific writer. But I'm just amazed at the prospect of an American comic book industry without Paul Levitz being one of the guiding forces.

I think the system we've got right now will continue the way it is, but what's the next big change, and how will that be handled? Paul not only was an innovator, but there have been people over the years who have complained that Paul won't move fast enough for their taste. Paul has always been someone who moves forward deliberately but carefully. And where other companies would move forward and rush into something – committing a whole lot of money to a trade paperback program without building up a backlist to support that program like Paul did – that created financial instabilities that were absorbed by the fact that DC was always there to backstop the system and keep things moving in the right direction. Various developments that could have been created by rushing into the new thing only to watch it flame out and collapse – Paul was the one who kept that from happening.

What challenges are we going to face next? I don't know who DC Entertainment is going to put into Paul's job. Diane Nelson is going to be the President of DC Entertainment but not the President of DC Comics. Whoever is in that role is going to report to her, and whoever that is is going to have different instincts and different priorities from what Paul had. That's going to be a big change. I don't know what that's going to be. I can't say it'll be a great thing or it'll be a bad thing. It's going to be different. That's all I can say. Five years from now, I think the comic industry is going to be different in a huge number of ways, and it's going to be that way because Paul's not in that chair anymore.