Thursday, September 10, 2009

Levitz's Leaving: What Does The Future Hold?

While all the Marvel/Disney news has been dominating the news early in the week, the DC?Warner restructuring has been having a far bigger impact to the comics community, specifically the resignation of Paul Levitz from the Publisher's post at DC Comics.

As far back as 2006 I was discussing Levitz's role in the development of the graphic novel, and not in the most favorable terms. (While I don't know Levitz personally, I've been following comics since the days that he decided to not keep Marshall Rogers on Detective Comics with the line: "Believe it or not, a Marshall Rogers Batman does not sell better than an Irv Novick Batman.") It seems that Levitz leaving is one of those things that will upset some of the old guard who knew him, but I also finally see a chance to get DC to get things a lot more right. They have made multiple mistakes over the last 20 years, mistakes that have clearly shown a "don't change too much" mentality which has hamstrung them horribly for two decades.

In the prior post back in 2006, i referenced an interview with Levitz where he talks about the reprints that DC put out (and I'm making the assumption, which could easily be wrong, that the movement to try these other formats was with Levitz and then-publisher Jeanette Kahn) and how they failed. What was so obvious to everyone else, which is why they didn't sell, is that none of the reprints with the crappy flexo coloring passed the smell test to anyone except those so intrenched in the halls at DC.

While it may be true that Levitz lobbied hard for creator rights on the back end, which is admirable, he also has to be considered behind the disaster that has been the recent DC initiaitives such as Minx. Basically, almost anything that would have stretched beyond the normal bounds of comics "as we knew them" has been scuttled behind the scenes. And it didn't have to be. Perhaps trying to keep DC from being sucked into the Time/Warner monolith was a noble but misguided intention. Perhaps trying to keep their little small world small wasn't a good idea. In fact, I'm sure it wasn't.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the new DC will accomplish. Because the last time we had a new DC, when Kahn had taken over, we saw actual growth and ingenuity. And that was 20 years ago.

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