‘Paul is dead’ and other reactions to the DC Comics restructuring
It’s ironic that on a day that many people in the world are talking about the Beatles in one form or another, people in the comics industry are asking if Paul is dead.
Certainly, you don’t see this amount of coverage of a man’s life until his funeral. It reminds one of Twain: “They say such nice things at a man’s funeral that it’s a shame I’m going to miss mine by only a couple of days.” Paul Levitz has had many, many nice things said about him. Mark Evanier may have the best post placing Paul’s place in historical context so far:
DC and Marvel could not now interface with Time-Warner and — assuming the deal goes through — Disney if they had not evolved from hot dog joints into real businesses.
Many have taken credit for that evolution, including some who fought it until it became inevitable and a few who resisted even after that time. Among those who honestly do deserve great credit is Paul Levitz.
Kurt Busiek also sums up:
Paul has been at the forefront of just about every industry
development of the last couple of decades, and has been key to how the
industry’s shaped itself over those years. Shifting from a
periodicals-only business to a strong backlist-oriented business with
trade paperbacks and hardcovers, adding imprints like Vertigo, creating
new opportunities for creators and for creator ownership, seeing that
DC gave a fair (or at least fairer) deal to the creators who originated
the concepts that turned up in DC-based movies, from Arkham Asylum and
Lucius Fox to Robin’s motorcycles (yeah, because they called Chris
O’Donnell’s ride the “Redbird” in one of the movies, Paul Levitz saw to
it that Chuck Dixon got money) and more, Paul was an important part of
a huge number of changes that DC’s seen, and that the whole industry’s
seen. Some of them big changes everyone’s noticed, some of them
behind-the-scenes stuff few people know about.
Heidi MacDonald, another one of us who toiled in the vineyards under Paul, said: “Paul is one of the smartest, kindest people I’ve ever worked with. He changed comics for the better in such vast ways that it’s hard to imagine where the industry would be without his stewardship. I wish him all the best.”
Marv Wolfman said: For years now, Paul has talked about retiring someday soon and
returning to writing, his first love. For that reason alone I am so
happy for him because I know that’s what he deeply cares about and has
been wanting. As readers, we are in for some major treats. I
can also say, without fear of rebuttal by anyone who is in the know,
Paul is probably the best, the smartest, the most creative and the most
moral Publisher the business has ever seen. Most fans have no idea how
important Paul is, not only to DC, but to the entire industry. I have
often said, and mean, that without Paul there very well might not be a
comics industry today. I am not speaking in hyperbole. I am being
literal; I mean exactly what I wrote.
And I’m fond of Rich Johnston’s comment: I asked Keith Giffen what was up with Ambush Bug. He told me “He’s taking Paul’s job.”
One more thing that I’ve been told that I haven’t seen mentioned: Paul contributed tremendous numbers of comics to Len Wein when he lost his collection in the recent fire. Huge numbers.
So now what? Me, I’m just waiting for those great Legion stories… hey, and what is it with guys who write Legion going on to become head honchos at comics companies? Paul Levitz, Jim Shooter with Marvel, Valiant and Defiant, Mark Waid at BOOM!… what makes it such a prerequisite?