Last week brought us big news in the comics world when Marvel Comics was bought by Disney [Read: Disney To Acquire Marvel Entertainment], and today has brought us big news from the other member of the Big 2 as Warner Bros Entertainment announced that they are restructuring and renaming the DC Comic brand as DC Entertainment. Along with the restructuring comes word that long-time DC President and Publisher Paul Levitz will step down and take on more of a consulting job, as well as returning to writing.
The announcement describes the newly formed DC Entertainment Inc as “a new company founded to fully realize the power and value of the DC Comics brand.” The rest of the press release tends to go on in a lot of corporate double speak, but what it means is that Warner Brothers and DC have seen what Marvel has done with its studio and realized that they desperately need to catch up.
What does this mean for comics fans? Probably very little. There will be a new name on the indicia as Diane Nelson steps in to replace Levitz. Nelson has worked for Warner Brothers for 20 years, and she has recently overseen the franchise management of the Harry Potter property, and I’d say that has turned out pretty well for the creator, studio, and the fans, so that’s a good sign. The odds are that the restructuring will be more about producing more films and TV shows, and that the publishing division will continue to do its own thing, same as it has done in the past.
Levitz’s first writing assignment will be to take over the writing duties of Adventure Comics, which just recently relaunched under the pen of Geoff Johns, so one has to assume that Levitz’s run won’t start until next year. This will be sure to please fans of DC’s Legion of Super-heroes, as Levitz made his name with a long run on the title throughout most of the ’80s. Levitz will also continue to work in on the editorial side of the publishing arm as well as consulting on various projects. An open letter from Levitz says that he will “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.”
Levitz has had a major role, both at DC Comics, and in the larger comics world. He was one of the first people to champion the Direct Market as a viable means of distribution, and he also made sure that DC had plenty of stories that exploited that market. The comics world would not be the same without his influence, and I hope that this change of pace suits him well.