Paul Levitz of Cupcake Digital - Weighs in on Historic Characters and Brands
Paul Levitz (Brooklyn, NY, 1956) has a uniquely multi-faceted background in the worlds of comics, popular culture and the media business.
As an executive, he led the DC Comics division of Time Warner as its senior business officer for three decades, and ultimately as President & Publisher from 2002-2009. During that time, he was intimately involved in growing the company into a cultural force with media successes as diverse as the highest grossing comic book film ever (THE DARK KNIGHT), the longest running comic book television series in live action (SMALLVILLE), establishing the graphic novel as one of print publishing’s few success stories of the new century, and extending the life and reach of its classic franchises in multiple media and industries through licensing, as well as acquiring and building new properties. His responsibilities included interacting with senior executives of the division’s partners, including Hasbro, Mattel, Random House, Hachette, and virtually all divisions of Time Warner.
As a creative figure, he began as an entrepreneur in high school as editor/publisher of The Comic Reader, the first mass-circulation fanzine devoted to comics news, winning two consecutive annual Comic Art Fan Awards for Best Fanzine. He went on to write over 400 stories of iconic characters including Superman and Batman, with sales of over 25 million copies, and translations into over 20 languages. His stories have been compiled in 17 graphic novel editions, two of which have appeared on The New York Times Graphic Books Best Seller list. One of his 9-11 response stories was exhibited at the Library of Congress, and the television series BIRDS OF PREY was partially based on his stories.
His most recent book, 75 YEARS OF DC COMICS: THE ART OF MODERN MYTHMAKING (Taschen, 2010) won the U.K.’s Eagle Award for Favourite Comics-Related Book, Munich’s Peng Pris and the Eisner Awards for Best Comics-Related Book in the U.S. The $200 book went into a second printing, and the first of a five-volume revision and expansion, THE GOLDEN AGE OF DC COMICS, will be published in early 2013.
He received Comic-con International’s Inkpot Award in 2002, the prestigious Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award in 2008, and the first Comics Industry Appreciation Award from ComicsPro (the trade association of comic shop retailers) in 2010. Levitz also serves on the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the industry’s First Amendment not-for-profit. He served on the board of the trade association of comic book publishers for 20 years, and was its President for a decade.
Outside comics, Levitz served as Warner Communications’ representative on the board of VISTA, the Hispanic equivalent of PARADE magazine, and is on the board of Proof:Media For Social Justice.
Levitz retired from his position leading DC Comics in 2009, to concentrate on his writing, and to begin a career as an educator. He has taught courses in Transmedia and the American Graphic Novel at Columbia University, publishing business in Pace University’s graduate school, and writing in Manhattanville. He continues to serve as an advisor to Warner Bros.
As a public speaker, Levitz has delivered keynotes at the places as diverse as the Frankfurt Book Fair, Jupiter’s Digital Kids Conference, and Comic-con International in San Diego, as well as speaking at venues as diverse as Google, M.I.T. and Lucca’s Comics and Games Festival. He has been profiled in The New York Times Arts section, interviewed on NPR’s On Point, and in every media vehicle that covers comics regularly.