Paul Levitz
5.22.10PaulLevitzByLuigiNovi1.jpg
Levitz at Midtown Comics in Manhattan
Born (1956-10-21) October 21, 1956 (age 65)
NationalityAmerican
Area(s)Writer, Editor, Publisher
Notable works
Legion of Super-Heroes,
Batman
AwardsInkpot Award 2002

Paul Levitz (/ˈlɛvɪts/; born October 21, 1956)[1] is an American comic book writer, editor and executive. The president of DC Comics from 2002–2009, he worked for the company for over 35 years in a wide variety of roles. Along with publisher Jenette Kahn and managing editor Dick Giordano, Levitz was responsible for hiring such writers as Marv Wolfman and Alan Moore, artists such as George Pérez, Keith Giffen, and John Byrne, and editor Karen Berger, who contributed to the 1980s revitalization of the company's line of comic book heroes.

Early life

Levitz was raised in Brooklyn, New York.[2] during which time he revived the defunct comic news fanzine, The Comic Reader, which according to Levitz, was the first regularly published comics industry news fanzine. Under Levitz's editorship The Comic Reader won two Best Fanzine Comic Art Fan Awards.[3] One of Levitz's teachers, Frank McCourt,[4] was impressed enough with Levitz's work that he arranged for Levitz to appear on McCourt's brother Malachy's radio show.[5]

Career

During the course of his research for The Comic Reader, Levitz became well known at the offices of DC Comics, where in December 1972, editor Joe Orlando gave him his first freelance work, initially writing text pages and letter pages, and later working as a per diem assistant editor before writing stories. Levitz later studied business at New York University but had taken no formal education in writing, other than a journalism course. He dropped out after three years in order to concentrate on his writing career.[5]

Levitz at a May 22, 2010, signing for Legion of Superheroes vol. 6 #1 at Midtown Comics Times Square in Manhattan
Levitz at a May 22, 2010, signing for Legion of Superheroes vol. 6 #1 at Midtown Comics Times Square in Manhattan

After serving as Joe Orlando's assistant editor, in 1976 Levitz "fulfilled a lifelong dream" by becoming the editor of Adventure Comics on the eve of his 20th birthday.[6] In 1978, he succeeded Julius Schwartz as the editor of the Batman line of comics.[7]

As a writer, Levitz is best known for his work on the title The Legion of Super-Heroes, which he wrote from 1977–1979 and 1981–1989. Levitz wrote All-New Collectors' Edition #C-55 (1978), a treasury-sized special drawn by Mike Grell, in which longtime Legion members Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad were married.[8][9] Levitz and artists James Sherman and Joe Staton crafted "Earthwar" a five-issue storyline in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #241–245 (July–Nov. 1978).[10] He and Keith Giffen produced "The Great Darkness Saga", one of the best known Legion stories, in Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2, #290–294.[11] Comics historian Les Daniels observed that "Working with artist Keith Giffen, Levitz completed the transformation of Legion into a science-fiction saga of considerable scope and depth."[12] In August 1984, a new Legion of Super-Heroes series was launched by Levitz and Giffen.[13]

With artist Steve Ditko, Levitz co-created the characters Stalker[14] and the Prince Gavyn version of Starman.[15] He wrote the Justice Society series in All Star Comics during the late 1970s and co-created the Earth-2 Huntress with artist Joe Staton.[16] He and Staton provided the JSA with an origin story in DC Special #29.[17] Lucien the Librarian, a character later used in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series, was created by Levitz and artist Nestor Redondo. Levitz was one of the contributors to the DC Challenge limited series in 1986.[18]

Levitz eventually became an editor, and served as vice president and executive vice president, before assuming the role of president and publisher in 2002. Levitz consciously chose the combined title instead of "editor-in-chief", citing the negative results of the title he'd seen during Jim Shooter's tenure at Marvel and his desire to stay connected to the publishing arm of DC which he had help create.[19] In 2006, Levitz returned to writing the Justice Society with issue #82 of JSA, completing that volume before writer Geoff Johns' relaunch.

On September 9, 2009, it was announced that Levitz would step down as president and publisher of DC Comics to serve as the Contributing Editor and Overall Consultant for the newly formed DC Entertainment,[20] and become the writer of both Adventure Comics vol. 2[21] and Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 6.[22]

Levitz mentioned in an August 2010 interview that he was working on "my first genuine book."[23] His 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking (ISBN 9783836519816) was published by Taschen America, LLC, in November 2010.[24]

In addition to Legion of Super-Heroes, Levitz wrote the Worlds' Finest series, which was initially drawn by George Pérez and Kevin Maguire.[25] Levitz and Keith Giffen collaborated on the Legion of Super-Heroes issues #17 and 18 in 2013.[26][27] In 2015, Levitz wrote Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel, an oversized, illustrated biography/art book on Eisner’s work for Abrams ComicArts. The book would garner Levitz a nomination in the 2016 Eisner Awards for “Best Comics-Related Book.” [28][29] He joined the board of directors of Boom! Studios in February 2014.[30] He wrote a new five-page story titled "The Game", which was drawn by Neal Adams, for the Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman hardcover collection.[31]

In 2004, Levitz joined the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization founded in 1986 chartered to protect the First Amendment rights of the comics community.[32] He retired from the board in 2020.[33]

The Library of Congress hosting a discussion with Dan Jurgens and Levitz for Superman's 80th anniversary and the 1,000th issue of Action Comics.
The Library of Congress hosting a discussion with Dan Jurgens and Levitz for Superman's 80th anniversary and the 1,000th issue of Action Comics.

On December 31, 2020, Levitz announced his retirement from DC via a posting on Facebook, saying it's “the end of an era for me personally, as I go off the payroll of Warner/DC after so many decades: over 47 years on 'staff', 36 of them on employment contracts.”[34]

Awards

Levitz received an Inkpot Award at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2002,[35] the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2008,[36] and the "Dick Giordano Hero Initiative Humanitarian of the Year Award" in September 2013 at the Baltimore Comic-Con.[37] He was inducted into The Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2019 at the San Diego Comic-Con.[38]

Personal life

Levitz has three children: Nicole, a public health executive; Philip, a lawyer; and Garret, who works in the entertainment industry.[39]

Levitz has named the run of All-Star Comics featuring the Justice Society of America as his favorite. He names Roger Zelazny as his favorite science fiction writer, J. R. R. Tolkien as his favorite fantasy writer, David McCullough as his favorite history writer and Agatha Christie as his favorite mystery writer.[23]

Bibliography

Dark Horse

DC Comics

Valiant

See also

References

  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  2. ^ Gustines, George Gene (February 7, 2006). "DC Comics' Man Upstairs Readjusts His Writer's Cap". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  3. ^ "Comic-Con International Special Guests," Comic-Con Magazine (Winter 2010), p. 42.
  4. ^ O'Shea, Tim (September 20, 2010). "Talking Comics With Tim". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 30, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Interview with Paul Levitz at Midtown Comics Times Square; YouTube; May 22, 2010
  6. ^ "Dateline: Adventure," Adventure Comics #449 (Jan./Feb. 1977).
  7. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dougall, Alastair, ed. (2014). "1970s". Batman: A Visual History. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 130. ISBN 978-1465424563. As the decade drew to a close, longtime Batman editor Julius Schwartz finally passed the torch on to Paul Levitz, marking the end of an era. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)
  8. ^ Ford, Jim (December 2012). "Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (61): 55–58.
  9. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Only an oversized treasury edition could have contained Superboy and the entire Legion of Super-Heroes' battle with the Time Trapper...and the long-awaited wedding of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl...Legion favorites Paul Levitz and Mike Grell were up to the enormous challenge with the popular tale 'The Millennium Massacre'. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 178: "[Paul Levitz] demonstrated his great affinity for the Legion...when he and artist James Sherman waged "Earthwar".
  11. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 198 "When [Levitz] wrote "The Great Darkness Saga", a five-issue epic that pitted the Legion against one of the most notorious villains of DC's long history, he and artist Keith Giffen crafted the most famous Legion story of all time and became fast fan favorites."
  12. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). "The Legion of Super-Heroes Teenagers from Outer Space". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. New York, New York: Bulfinch Press. p. 123. ISBN 0821220764.
  13. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 208: "As DC began to toy with the idea of relaunching some of their more popular titles using high-quality Baxter paper, the Legion of Super-Heroes was an obvious chioice. Utilizing the talents of writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffen...the Legion was off and running in their own new title with a major new storyline...the Legion's other monthly comic changed its moniker to Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes with issue #314."
  14. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 164: "This sword and sorcery title by scripter Paul Levitz and artist Steve Ditko epitomized the credo 'Be careful what you wish for.' The series' anti-hero was a nameless wanderer whose dreams of becoming a warrior brought him first slavery, then worse."
  15. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 186: "The second [feature in Adventure Comics #467] debuted a new version of Starman by writer Paul Levitz and illustrator Steve Ditko."
  16. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 175: "DC Super-Stars #17 (December 1977) While writer Paul Levitz and artist Joe Staton introduced the Huntress to the JSA in this month's All Star Comics #69, they concurrently shaped her origin in DC Super-Stars."
  17. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 175: "The genesis of comics' first superhero team...had been a mystery since the JSA's debut...Writer Paul Levitz and artist Joe Staton decided to present the definitive origin story."
  18. ^ Greenberger, Robert (August 2017). "It Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time: A Look at the DC Challenge!". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (98): 37–38.
  19. ^ Paul Levitz Biographical Video Interview by 2019 Alex Grand & Jim Thompson, archived from the original on December 22, 2021, retrieved March 26, 2021
  20. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (September 9, 2009). "Warner Bros. Creates DC Entertainment To Maximize DC Brands". Newsarama. Archived from the original on June 26, 2013.
  21. ^ "Levitz Releases Letter of Resignation, Announced As Adventure Writer". Comic Book Resources. September 9, 2009. Archived from the original on April 20, 2013.
  22. ^ McMillan, Graeme (January 14, 2010). "Paul Levitz Returns to the Future With Legion of Super-Heroes". io9. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2010.
  23. ^ a b Comics Buyer's Guide #1668, August 2010, page 80
  24. ^ Gustines, George Gene (November 18, 2010). "Book Shelf 75 Years of DC Comics". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  25. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (January 13, 2012). "Paul Levitz Explains More About Worlds' Finest, Earth 2". Newsarama. Archived from the original on January 16, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  26. ^ Gerding, Stephen (November 9, 2012). "Exclusive: Levitz, Giffen Reunite on Legion of Super-Heroes". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2013. Arguably the most popular creative team the 31st century has ever seen, Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen are reuniting once again to tell the tales of DC Comics' teenage heroes from the future.
  27. ^ Johnston, Rich (January 25, 2013). "Keith Giffen Leaves Legion of Superheroes After Two Issues?". BleedingCool.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  28. ^ Funk, Matthew (April 21, 2016). "2016 Eisner Award nominees showcase the year's best comic books". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  29. ^ "REVIEW: Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel". ComicMix. January 22, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  30. ^ Wilson, Matt D. (February 28, 2014). "BOOM! Studios Brings Former DC Comics President Paul Levitz Onto Board Of Directors". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016. Boom! Studios announced...that the former DC Publisher and President would be joining its board of directors, where he'll serve as a consultant and adviser for the nine-year-old publisher.
  31. ^ Arrant, Chris (January 23, 2018). "What's Inside Action Comics #1000 Hardcover Companion". Newsarama. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018.
  32. ^ "Levitz Named to CBLDF Board". ICv2.com. September 13, 2004. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  33. ^ McMillan, Graeme (June 29, 2020). "3 Directors Exit Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Amid Industry Pressure". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  34. ^ Levitz, Paul. "Today's the end of a year we're all happy to see vanish into infamy". Facebook. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  35. ^ "Comic-Con International's Newest Inkpot Award Winners!". San Diego Comic-Con International. 2013. Archived from the original on May 8, 2015.
  36. ^ "DC COMICS Creators and Projects Honored by 2008 Eisner Awards". Comic List. July 30, 2008.
  37. ^ Spurgeon, Tom (September 8, 2013). "Your 2013 Harvey Awards Winners". The Comics Reporter. Archived from the original on February 20, 2014.
  38. ^ "Ed Brubaker, Tom King Shine at 2019 Eisner Awards". Publishers Weekly. 2019.
  39. ^ "Backstory: Paul Levitz". PaulLevitz.com. n.d. Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
Preceded byJenette Kahn Publisher of DC Comics 1989–2009 Succeeded byDan DiDio and Jim Lee Preceded byJenette Kahn President of DC Comics 2002–2009 Succeeded byDiane Nelson Preceded byJoe Orlando Adventure Comics editor 1977–1979 Succeeded byRoss Andru Preceded byJim Shooter Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes writer 1977–1979 Succeeded byGerry Conway Preceded byDennis O'Neil The Brave and the Bold editor 1978–1981 Succeeded byDick Giordano Preceded byJulius Schwartz Detective Comics editor 1979–1981 Succeeded byDick Giordano Preceded byJulius Schwartz Batman editor 1979–1981 Succeeded byDick Giordano Preceded byRoy Thomas Legion of Super-Heroes writer 1981–1989 Succeeded byKeith Giffen and Tom and Mary Bierbaum Preceded byMarv Wolfman The New Teen Titans writer 1987 Succeeded byMarv Wolfman