DC Comics Organization Changes – Levitz Out?

As if dealing with the Marvel/Disney acquisition news last week wasn’t enough, the ball got knocked over across the court to DC Comics, as Deadline Hollywood broke the news of the rumored organizational changes that would be occurring as Time Warner restructures DC Comics by having it report into to Jeff Robinov of Warner Brothers. Then Rich Johnston chimed in over at Bleeding Cool, stating that Paul Levitz would be stepping down from his post as Publisher and President of DC Comics. 

And now it’s confirmed, over at Newsarama that Paul Levitz is indeed stepping down in his role, taking on a creative role as a “
Writer, Contributing Editor and Overall Consultant to DC Entertainment.”

In case you need to have this translated from corporate speak into “What does this mean for my comics” speak – here it is:

This is a big deal.  This is Time Warner finally making a move and accepting the fact that they own DC Comics and are possibly making a move to have greater control to further mine the characters and intellectual property to help drive movies and other media.

Paul Levitz has been a driving force in the comic book industry, paving the way for so many of the good things about comics. However, many people have questioned or criticized some of his decisions, both business-wise and creatively.  But no matter how you shake it, Paul Levitz has been a key cog in the modern comic book industry, responsible for not only many of the comics you read, but how you buy them. 

Dan DiDio has posted on the DC Comics Blog that Levitz’ first writing gig will be taking over Adventure Comics from Geoff Johns

Paul Levitz’s resignation letter:

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your efforts, your support, and your contributions to DC Comics over the long years that I’ve had the honor of serving as part of DC’s leadership team. Together, our staff, creative contributors, readers, retailers and business partners have helped bring us to the beginning of what looks to be a new golden age for comics in the United States, and one that will bring more respect for the talent and the medium.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s heard me answer a comic convention request, “When are you going to do more Legion stories?” that I’m going to step away from my executive desk in coming months to resume my writing career, in comics and hopefully other forms as well. One of the lessons I learned from my many great teachers, from Frank McCourt through Joe Orlando and Jenette Kahn, is that creative work is more enduring than executive acts, and I look forward to adding to the stories I’ve told. Expect to see my byline at DC, as it has appeared for almost 37 years, adding what I can to a mythology and company that has my enduring affection, and expect to see me around the world of comics, which I hope never to leave. I already hear Karen and Dan sharpening their blue pencils with glee, waiting for my first pages.

DC will remain in the hands of the people who have had ultimate responsibility for its success throughout the past two decades, the management team of Warner Bros., headed by Barry Meyer and Alan Horn. They have encouraged our growth as a creative enterprise, and I have confidence that the people they will select to join the DC team, beginning with Diane Nelson, will do their best to make DC a success. While that transition process is taking place, I’ll continue to run DC until the baton can be carefully passed, and afterwards will have a
role in which I can provide my advice and help.

On a personal note, I deeply appreciate the warmth and friendship I have found in these halls since my first visit, as a 13 year old comics fan. The relationships I have made here, including one that began in a DC circulation meeting and developed into the first DC marriage in four decades (thereby rebooting a grand tradition?), have been and will remain central to my life.

And now, if you forgive me, the future is calling.

Diane Nelson, the new President of DC Entertainment, releases a statement to DC staff

Dear DC Colleagues and Friends,

As hopefully each of you now know, this morning Warner Bros. announced the formation of DC entertainment, and I’ve been entrusted with the honor of heading up this exciting new venture, reporting to Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

DC Entertainment’s mission is to deeply integrate the DC brand and characters into all of Warner Bros.’ creative production and distribution businesses, while maintaining the integrity of the properties and DC’s longstanding commitment to and respect for writers, creators and artists. The founding of DC Entertainment is about Warner Bros. taking DC to the next level and giving DC an even greater degree of focus and prioritization in all the businesses in which we operate—films, television, home entertainment, digital, consumer products and videogames.

You are all an integral part of the success DC has achieved to date and your expertise and support will be essential moving forward – as we raise this brand and collection of characters to even greater heights. Together we can make the next 75 years even more successful and productive than DC’s illustrious 75-year history.

Jeff and I will be in the DC offices next week and will say hello personally at that time. Until then, thank you in advance for your support and continued contributions to DC Comics and the new DC Entertainment.

Best regards,


  1. Oh my.  This is going to be interesting.  I’m not sure if it will be good or bad that Time Warner wants to get more involved in DC comics.  Guess we have to wait and see.

  2. I’m hopeful with this. Jeff Robinov has proven to be a studio head that takes chances (perhaps the only studio head to do so now a days) and seems big on giving creative minds the resources they need to make great products. (It’s arguable that many studios would not have made a "Dark Knight", a "Watchmen", or be making a film called "A couple of Dicks" without a lot of tinkering). Robinov is rather well known for letting creative minds be creative, so I’ll continue to trust that he’ll let DC do the same. I look at this as an upside, if WB is looking through their product and really paying attention to what they have, we can get some really exciting films/tv shows/ or who knows what. 

    It may take a while to see the fruit of the Disney/Marvel deal. But with this deal, we might start hearing alot of things alot quicker. I’m going to remain optimistic.  

  3. What else has he written? I’m just getting nervous for Adventure comics with the creative team being jumbled around.

  4. I am very eager to see what the long term consequences of these changes in the industry will be.  I’m thinking the focus has now shifted (almost entirely) to films and away from comics.

  5. @Anson17. He’s considered THE Legion writer (like how Claremont is THE X-men writer). I’m not 100% sure if the collection of Levits’ work is in or out of print. But it’s out there. 

  6. @Anson17-Honestly, that’s the last thing most people are worried about.  The editorial shift is much bigger news than him taking over one book.

  7. @drakedangerz  Is he not allowed to be worried about the book? I have no insight into how DC works so this is all just wait and see for me. But I do know for a fact I like the way Johns wrote Adventure Comics #1 and I like Levitz as a writer so for me this the onlynewsI have an opinion on at the moment.

  8. hoo-boy. This makes me nervous. I think DC got a lot done by being sort of "unnoticed" by Time Warner. This more active interest and the creation of DC Entertainment, suggests to me that there will be even more chefs in the kitchen, more fingers in the pie, and a much sharper look at what each character/property can and should be doing — not from a comic book reader’s perspective, but from a global branding perspective.

    We’ll see what this means. 

  9. @Roi: Sure he’s allowed, but in the grand scheme of this announcement, the future of one book (that’s only had one issue) is very, very minor.

  10. Curious and curiouser. I’m guessing TW is getting worried about Disney/Marvel. Not sure this is the right direction to do. They’ll be smart to completely ignore Vertigo, though. "Overall consultant" sounds like legalese for "Time Warner Execs have no flipping clue what they’re doing with DC, so we’ll keep him on retainer." It will be interesting to see where this goes. Much as I like Didio, I was expecting his head to be the one on the chopping block and not Levitz.

    @Anson Actually, Levitz being placed on the book fills me with hope. His Legion stuff is legend, fear not. (I wonder if this will become Superboy and the Legion like we’ve been hearing rumor of…) 

  11. @jurassicalien: I think DC has started reprinting Levitz’s run on Legion from the mid-80’s.  Two trades collecting the early issues are out now:



  12. @Roi-What Conor said

  13. @Prax Are you suggesting this was done because of Marvel/Disney? Cause I’d think a move like this would take a lot more time then a week (And if some sources are to be believed this has been in the work for a bit of time)

  14. @Conor @Drake   Well yeah, but as I said I have no knowledge of how DC works now so I have no idea what this change means, not gonna clog the thread with meanderings that are baseless.

  15. "a third Christopher Nolan Batman film is nowhere in sight." -Comic Book Resources


    Also, " film division botched the “Watchmen” rights deal with 20th Century Fox, costing the corporation quite a bit of money. Horn has also demonstrated an inability to create film franchises for DC’s biggest icons like Superman, Wonder Woman and the Justice League, and a third Christopher Nolan Batman film is nowhere in sight."

    This NEW lady, "Diane Nelson, a WB marketer who most famously managed the Harry Potter franchise for the media giant. It seems she is to do the same for DC Comics." So holy crap, if she could do THAT, pretty much the biggest film franchise of the new millenium, she’s probably going to continue to succeed.

    Also, "Robinov’s plans for DC, the executive is “calling back” high profile DC properties currently in development with other entities, such as The Flash and Wonder Woman – the latter of which has been in development with producer Joel Silver for ten years."  Dun, dun, DUN!  

  16. With any luck, they’ll leave DC alone creatively from a comics perspective… but who knows how much tinkering the studio will do to the individual titles if/when they move through the development cycles in Hollywood.  As a consumer of comics, the business side is interesting but at the end of the day I’m not sure how this changes my reading habits.

  17. @Jurassicalien I’m sure it’s been in the works. However, rumors of a massive DC reorganization within in TW are very old. How often have we heard Didio is being fired? Or plans to better integrate DC into WB? Hell, Levitz has been rumored to have been fired at least twice before (Remember when he wrote the JSA OYL arc?) So, while I’m not suggesting this entire plan was based off of Disney/Marvel, it seems a bit like a rush job. I think Marvel/Disney has caused them to step up their game.

  18. The man just could not fight with the big dogs. He’s a nerd, not a Gordon Gecko. He had to go with Disney taking over Marvel.

  19. I’ll not prentend to know all the ins and outs of this move, but all the competion between the big two has to be a good thing.  DC, or rather WB knows that the Disney/Marvel is going to be huge.  If that causes WB and DC to step up their game, who wins?  We do.

  20. Meh. This seems like a move for a tighter leash and heavier hand in aggressive brand protection and development by Warner Brothers, and maybe as a reaction to Disney’s acquisition and inevitable harvesting of Marvel. I anticipate DC Comics getting more homogenized while Vertigo, Wildstorm and Co. remaining relatively untouched.

    I’m looking forward to a Disney-Warner Brothers merger, when we finally get what we all secretly, desperately long for; Amalgam Comics: The Movie.

  21. This seems to be a more controlling role than what happened in the Disney/Marvel action.  But news is still breaking, so hopefully this is not the case.

  22. iFanboy crew – this is a real bad time for y’all to take a video hiatus.  There is more industry news happening right now that would make for some good web vids.

  23. I just hope and pray that this will get us one step closer to digital DC comics.

  24. Seems like Warner Bros is poised to try to exploit the DC characters.  Obviously Levitz not reporting directly to the Warner CEO would be a great disservice to the work that he has done and having to report to a former peer would not be good for the morale of a company.  This move does seem like Warner just turned DC into a field that they will harvest movies from.

  25. Met Levitz a few times. Just on a personal comic book loving level, he’s a great guy.

  26. Wow 2009!  We are witnessing the beginnings of the future of comics! With Digital comics and the shakeups! Heres hoping that is a bright future and not one shrouded in corporate bullshit.

    Also, it would appear that what people, last week, feared would happen with Marvel (ie Disney having ALOT of creative control and input) is actually going to be happing at DC. Interesting times we live in…

  27. So what does this really mean?  Somebody is finally gonna light a fire up a couple asses to get more DC inspired films in the works? More cartoons? More video games?

    DC already has its hand in all those big things at the moment anyway.

  28. If this means we are getting more films and maye a few animated series on other characters(Im still hoping we get a Flash animated series one day) then Im totally happy with this but if they are going to control DC comics itself this makes me nervous. Im glad Warners is finally taking more interesting in the goldmine of DC but please leave the comics themselves to those who are in the know

  29. This could be really good, or really bad…I guess we can only speculate and then wait and see. 

  30. As they say in San Jose, CA "DOOOOOOO MAAAAAAAA"

  31. Now we got ourselves a battle gentlemen! One corner has DC/Time Warner the other corner has Marvel/Disney. Who will win!? Who will die!? When will this turn into an epic parody comic!?

    But just like the Disney merger; this probably means more toughness for the films and tv shows of the DCU. I’m sure comics will stay perfectly fine.

  32. I can’t help but think about all of this in sports terminology. When the gm goes, usually the new gm wants his or her coach of choice in. I have a feeling that Dan’s days may be numbered. Not that Dan and Diane won’t get along, they could. But for Diane to have DCE achieve best in what she would identify as in the best interest of the company (for her boss Jeff/WB), she is going to need a "coach" in place that executes her vision.

  33. I could sit here and say "Bout fucking time."  But I won’t.  The problem wasn’t DC it was Warner Bros.  Now DC has input and focus.  Still I believe we’re going to see quality over quanity. 

  34. Hey, if this gets me another season of BIRDS OF PREY, I’ll be happy. 😉

  35. "Who says this isn’t the Multinational Conglomorate Age of Comics!?"

  36. Dark Horse, Oni, Image, Top Shelf, Archaia, Viper, Ape Entertainment, Adhouse, Desperado, Arcana, and so on.

  37. Now we all know what this means….

    Dick Grayson now has no one to save his butt from being killed off….

    Levitz would never let Didio kill Dick now Didio is all clear to order this kill…..


  38. Only time will really tell what happens.  My hopes are that it ushers in a new golden age at DC.  Maybe the new boss can crack some heads in the trade department and get them to go with a policy more fitting today’s trade paperback market.

  39. Well, at least it’s not called "Detective Comics Comics" anymore.

  40. Or, more likely, it is and I skimmed the article too quickly and misjudged a new company as a renaming of the old one…

  41. Business/corporate-speak is like trying to read Chinese for me — I don’t understand what any of this means in real terms.

  42. I seriously doubt this was done as a response to Disney/Marvel, a corporation doesn’t move swiftly when reorganizing an arm of its industry, chances are they had this going for a while and finally finished all the paper work for it before they could announce it.

    I have mixed feelings about this, could be good, could be bad. Once again I doubt it will have any drastic effects on the comics besides the writer swap up. 

  43. I’m fine with them harvesting the DCU for films, animated series, or games as long as they leave the actual comics side of it alone.

    We’ll just have to wait and see. All of this corporate-talk is very vague.

    I still have hopes for a possible JLU revival, however unrealistic this seems.

  44. The decision probably wasn’t a response to Disney/Marvel but the announcement defintitely was. As far as news goes this announcement doesn’t have the same sizzle the Disney/Marvel one did, not on Wall Street anyway.

    Over/Under: We see a Gotham Central TV Show on TNT in 5 years?

  45. Essentially, the big two are no longer DC and Marvel but WB and Disney. 

    *cough* http://www.revision3.com/forum/showpost.php?p=414272&postcount=63 *cough*

  46. Note that Diane Nelson did not help the success of the Harry Potter movies by telling J.K. Rowling how to write the books.  


  47. @Tad-but she did oversee the development of a tight and twisting mythology/continuity into a VERY palatable product that could be enjoyed by the masses both separately and cohesively.  Which does relate.  So I would say that ‘she has that going for her, which is nice.’

    Man, I could do that reference all day and it never gets old 🙂

  48. Adventure Comics just got all kinds of awesome.

  49. A shameless plug for my superhero related webcomic regarding the news;



  50. @smeeee: if Dick dies and Tim becomes the next Batman then would that become a new DC tradition much like the deaths of The Flashes?