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DC Reconstructed: What Does It Mean?

DC Creates new division; Levitz resigns as President and Publisher of DC

DC Creates new division; Levitz resigns as President and Publisher of DC Comics



 
In a tactical business move possibly inspired by the Disney/Marvel buyout last week; Time Warner has created a completely new division to their company, DC Entertainment. DC Entertainment will be responsible for "fully realizing the power and value of DC Comics brand and characters across all media platforms." The new addition to Warner Brothers will be responsible for strategically integrating the "DC Comics business, brand and characters deeply into Warner Brothers." What this means, essentially, is that DC Comics and its characters will become even more deeply rooted into Warner Brothers, essentially allowing Warner to further capitalize on and build more prominent platforms for franchise building in all areas of entertainment.

Paul Levitz, who up until today held the title of President of DC Comics and overlooked all of the DC books has officially resigned and will return to writing for the comic book company. According to a press release from DC Executive Editor Dan Didio, Levitz's first venture into writing will be Adventure Comics, which he will take over for current writer Geoff Johns. Levitz, who has been a staple in DC Comics for over 20 years as both a writer and editor will return to his roots now that a President of DC Comics no longer seems necessary. Levitz will also be called upon as a contributing editor for the comic book company, meaning he will freelance on certain titles for DC Comics.

 
Heading the new division is Diane Nelson, the new President of DC Entertainment who has been working for Warner Brothers for over a decade first as Vice President of Global Brand Management and more recently in 2006 as the President of Warner Premiere; a studio based production company which develops and produces direct to consumer DVD. Nelson is no stranger to working "cross divisionally," either. Her experience is that of a marketing executive, and while she clearly has experience in working "cross divisionally and throughout Warner," to "maximize and optimize all of the various windows and outlets available to the studios' franchises and brands;" she does not necessarily know anything about comic books. What this means is that, while Nelson may have zero knowledge and experience in the understanding of what Superman's weaknesses are; she knows exactly how to profit from him as a marketing tool. As the head of Global Brand Management, Nelson oversaw many highly lucrative and successful properties including Batman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Harry Potter.

What we saw with Marvel last week was a business move  that would hopefully lead toward greater distribution of Marvel characters and its properties through The Walt Disney Company. This deal, however, seems to be removing the President of DC Comics; longtime comic book writer Paul Levitz; and essentially replacing him with a highly successful marketing executive who has experience in making dollar signs for Time Warner. This is the sort of business deal that may put fear into the hearts of comic book fans and readers and is often what happens when a company that thrives on the passion of art and creativity, goes corporate.

 
There is no question that Ms. Nelson has a massive amount of experience in business; but does she actually know anything about comic books? Up until today, Paul Levitz had held the position of DC Comics President and Publisher, with Dan Didio at the helm as Senior Vice President and Executive Editor. With the resignation of Levitz, will Didio become the new President, or will he remain the Senior VP and answer directly to President of DC Entertainment, Diane Nelson? According to the press release, DC Comics publishing division will be the "cornerstone of DC Entertainment." This reads to me as DC being a small part of a larger money-making machine led by Ms. Nelson. Let's take a step back, shall we? If Didio must answer directly to Nelson, how will this change the type of content that readers are exposed to in the actual comic books? Will Nelson have influence and authority on the type of content that we read in DC titles?

The establishment of DC Entertainment could mean a greater amount of exposure and more franchise building for DC as a company. This could mean we might be seeing a Justice League live-action film, maybe? However, I am hesitant to jump for joy so quickly. For a long time, DC had been a division of Time Warner and the content was, for the most part, left alone. If Nelson will be heading this new division, and the executives (Didio) at DC Comics must answer directly to her; then I would imagine that she would have some creative control or influence on what happens in the actual comic books as well as what we could see transcend to all areas of entertainment.

Only time will tell if the reconstruction of the company was a good or bad thing. The good news? We might see a Superman movie after-all. From what you know, what do you think of the deal? 
 
Cited from:
Time Warner
DC Source
46 Comments
Posted by TheBug

I'm a little iffy with this. I don't care what you do with the movies, but when these companies start influencing the actual content of the comics thats when I start to worried, and I don't like that Levitz is gone.

Posted by Justize

I really dont know what to think about this movie and to be honest part of me doesn't care but the thing that sticks out to me is the fear that DC may become too corporate.

Posted by Moomin123

I think this is good. This'll be better than the Disney/Marvel scenario. DC Comics are bound to get more support with business from Warner Bros.
Posted by Scarecrow4

I'm worried

Posted by ryanwh
@TheBug said:
"

I'm a little iffy with this. I don't care what you do with the movies, but when these companies start influencing the actual content of the comics thats when I start to worried, and I don't like that Levitz is gone.

"
That's been happening for years, dude. Several characters invented in the DCAU were worked into the comics later.
Posted by blade hunter

i hope she leaves the comic to the comic people and does'nt go shaking things up.

Posted by TheBug
@ryanwh said:
" @TheBug said:
"

I'm a little iffy with this. I don't care what you do with the movies, but when these companies start influencing the actual content of the comics thats when I start to worried, and I don't like that Levitz is gone.

"
That's been happening for years, dude. Several characters invented in the DCAU were worked into the comics later. "

Good point. But I'm afraid of when they start pulling books. Thats going to suck.
Posted by NightFang

I hope they make this movie's and don't change the comic's.     

Posted by crazed_h3ro

ahh man if they touch a single hair on green lantern i'm going to be pissed     >=(
Posted by spectaculous

seems to me like DC is trying to go toe to toe with marvel, basically on the movie and corporation front. I know that levitz won't be president anymore, but in the article it does say he will be a consultant to DCE, and in Nelson's defense, she did "oversee the franhcise management" of the harry potter films, and they didn't stray TOO much from the source material. i'm hoping that she takes a hands off approach with the comics, DC is producing some kick ass stuff as of late.
Posted by spectaculous

*franchise 
 
and by the way....anyone else excited for Johns and MAnapul on Flash?!?!!? i know i am :-D
Posted by No_Name_
@spectaculous said:
" seems to me like DC is trying to go toe to toe with marvel, basically on the movie and corporation front. I know that levitz won't be president anymore, but in the article it does say he will be a consultant to DCE, and in Nelson's defense, she did "oversee the franhcise management" of the harry potter films, and they didn't stray TOO much from the source material. i'm hoping that she takes a hands off approach with the comics, DC is producing some kick ass stuff as of late. "
A consultant doesn't really mean anything, though. You know?
Posted by RaptorFratBoy

Removing Levitz and replacing him with a marketing exec, while a great business move (probably), SCREAMS corporate interference and hopefully Paul was shown total respect and it was something he was able to agree on 100% mutually, rather than a "Here's your new boss, the ol' gold watch (he gets to write "Adventure" again), and a hearty handshake. Good luck!" type of thing. 
 
Again, so long as everything settles nicely and there's no dissenting amongst the ranks over Levitz getting removed, it should only be beneficial. DC's been corporate for decades now, this was just another notch because I'm sure everyone's hitting the nearest Panic Button since the Disney/Marvel deal was announced. More focus on (quality) live-action movies, the continued output of awesome direct-to-DVD animated features, and maybe getting at least ONE more good video game on the market is what this new DC Entertainment needs to focus on, and as said, leave the paper-and-ink to the professionals. 
 
On a personal note, Harry Potter can come and play, but he has to stay in "The Books of Magic", or I'll make sure DC's offices know the hatred that runs through my veins for that insepid franchise. I'm talking suicide bombers wearing mouse ears, people. They'd better not screw around...

Posted by inferiorego

This could be a great thing or a horrible thing. It's too early to tell in my opinion.

Staff
Posted by No_Name_
@RaptorFratBoy said:
" Removing Levitz and replacing him with a marketing exec, while a great business move (probably), SCREAMS corporate interference and hopefully Paul was shown total respect and it was something he was able to agree on 100% mutually, rather than a "Here's your new boss, the ol' gold watch (he gets to write "Adventure" again), and a hearty handshake. Good luck!" type of thing.   Again, so long as everything settles nicely and there's no dissenting amongst the ranks over Levitz getting removed, it should only be beneficial. DC's been corporate for decades now, this was just another notch because I'm sure everyone's hitting the nearest Panic Button since the Disney/Marvel deal was announced. More focus on (quality) live-action movies, the continued output of awesome direct-to-DVD animated features, and maybe getting at least ONE more good video game on the market is what this new DC Entertainment needs to focus on, and as said, leave the paper-and-ink to the professionals.   On a personal note, Harry Potter can come and play, but he has to stay in "The Books of Magic", or I'll make sure DC's offices know the hatred that runs through my veins for that insepid franchise. I'm talking suicide bombers wearing mouse ears, people. They'd better not screw around... "
Everyone should read this.
Posted by goldenkey

Same as Disney/Marvel.  could be good or bad.  Only time will tell.  Lets at least enjoy the good stories coming out lately. 
Posted by RaptorFratBoy
@Babs: Thanks! I do try to make my ranting coherent and helpful...Hehheh...
Posted by spectaculous
@RaptorFratBoy:
*standing and applauding* well done, sir.
Posted by RaptorFratBoy
@spectaculous: *Bows* And thank YOU, sir...
Posted by Kirax20a

i just hope the nelson just do brand stuff and leave comics alone and trust the didio on the comics that why she can focus on avertisment, toys, clothes, movies, tv shows, and more base on the comics and trust in didio as her partner i mean if she is a bussiness womana and know how to do marketing i think she would trust in the veterans in comic making to do her job and not start pulling things out this CAN BE a good move for DC to make a branch just them means they will have more freedom maybe. i want to see how this go as long as they keep things and make that teen titan live action movie and a justice league live action movie and start working on projects they couldn't do then i'll be happy also if they trust in the writers and the experiance people
Posted by dondasch

This seems a pure business move and frankly, a bit concerning.  It has been noted that Ms. Nelson has experience with business, which is fine, as the entire reason for Warner Bros is to make money.  However, I find it disturbing to even have her venture into DC Comics as far as the characters or creative development go.  It's better to have someone already established, who knows what to do, rather than a pure dollar sign focused entity, which Ms. Nelson has the potential to be.

Posted by Av0ndale

Look, you guys are getting all bent out of shape again. This is a good thing, just like the Disney/Marvel.
 
The ultimate goal is to make money, do you think that they are going to ruin their money making comics, when most of us spend anywhere between $20-$100 a month on them? Nono, that would be the oposite of making money.

Posted by Chocolate Lantern

This was a great article babs! This deal is the typical stuff you see in the corporate world (for those of you that work for a large company you know exactly what I am talking about). Restructuring DC and adding a new branch "DC Entertainment" is just going to make people who work for the company more stressed. There is no guarantee this will help make DC/Warners more money. It seems like this is just a made up division to get DC/Warners in the news to counter the actions of Marvel/Disney. However, I do agree that we need to see more DC characters making it on the big screen and TV, but I just hope they do not mess with the actual comic books themselves. DC is very popular right now (especially with the Blackest Night series going on) and it would be a shame to see this "new division" that is based on making more money ruin the one aspect of the company that is succeeding. It already seems to be a bad idea being that Levitz resigned from his position as President. Lets all hope this turns out to not ruin the comics, the movies or any thing else that any DC fan loves about DC and only increases the amount of movies/TV shows/character exposure that we want to see.    

Posted by Chocolate Lantern
@Av0ndale:
This could be good thing if it is done for the right reasons. When a major company restructures and creates new divisions it is hell for anyone who works there. There will be a lot of confusion and stress for all the workers at "DC Entertainment" which could end up messing with the successful products they currently have. BUT after some time I do agree that this could increase the exposure of DC and increase the amount of movies and TV shows based on Batman, Superman, Green Lantern ETC.
Posted by NightFang
@RaptorFratBoy:  My hat is off to you sir, well said.
Posted by Decept-O

Babs, you asked some great speculative questions regarding this whole topic and you really nailed the essence of what this whole thing could possibly portend for DC as a whole and for fans in general.   G-Man should give you a gold star today!
 
  Plenty of great insights and opinions by everyone on this topic, this is fascinating stuff to me, even if its the business end of things.   I think this news may lead Warner Bros./DC to a dead end street when compared to Disney/Marvel's business end of things.  I hope I am wrong, I just want to see the DC properties handled correctly.
Posted by RaptorFratBoy
@NightFang: Thanks!
Posted by FoxxFireArt

This is a sort of thing that us as fans tend to have knee jerk reactions to. Much like the uproar of the now in question merger between Marvel and Disney.
Like Babs wrote, these kind of mergers and acquisitions happen all the time in companies. We can't get too fired up because of a behind the scenes change as long as the books remain good. If we also get better quality in movies in the deal. More's the better.
 
I'd just be more concerned if they start trying to associate the comics too closely with the movies.
To use an example of something that means a lot to me. I really enjoy the Japanese manga series Detective Conan. It's a murder mystery series in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes. I love to read the proper translations of the Japanese series.
It came to the US first through the anime version. The FUNimation company decided to alter the names of the characters to all European style names.  The manga came out soon after in the US, but the publisher VIZ followed the example of the FUNimation and altered the names. Despite not altering the names of other series they publish. It's just been terrible. The altered names ruin some jokes and create continuity errors. The series is also filled with poor translations.

Posted by #1ElderScrollsFan

I hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Posted by Dane

Being the President of DC Comics should require some knowledge and experience in the industry.

Posted by RaptorFratBoy
@Dane said:

" Being the President of DC Comics should require some knowledge and experience in the industry. "

 That's what she has advisers and an entire team of creative people at her disposal; all that should really be required is, you know, an ability to manage a huge multi-million dollar business. Which she has in spades, it appears.
 
Just keep repeating yourself, "Everything will be fine...Batman will be there tomorrow...Everything will be fine...Batman will be there tomorrow..."
Posted by Dane

rofl, but Batman isn't there today Raptor.

Edited by RaptorFratBoy
@Dane:
Sure he is...the guy in your avatar just dresses like him these days...
Edited by Bruce Vain

Not really happy that Paul Levitz was releaved from his postition. it just seems like they're saying hey we're demoting you cause we feel that you're not making enough money for us so we're gonna have someone else take your postition that you've had for 20 years. Because she's made alot more money for us even though she's never been on the other side of the comic book industry like you've had been. 
 
Not saying it's a bad move but not saying it's a great move. I can understand DC/WBs making this move since they need to step it into 5 gear now that Marvel having been slightly more dominant on the movie side & making the partnership with Disney. So I guess we'll have to wait and see what this Ms.Nelson will do.
Posted by mona lisa's smile

i only have questions that can only be speculated on 
-ok, so what happens to comics, characters and such when they aren't considered marketable? and to what extent are they considered a failure or a success? what is being shelved (let alone fears of changes being made) because something else is considered more marketable? 
obviously this isn't a 'new move' for D.C./warner but does raise questions again - what about 'core fans'??? who are you marketing to? 
 with someone who doesn't 'know' comics...this is my concern with Ms. Nelsons new position. 

Posted by Media_Master

gonna wait and see how this all plays out

Posted by RaptorFratBoy
@mona lisa's smile said:
"

i only have questions that can only be speculated on 
-ok, so what happens to comics, characters and such when they aren't considered marketable? and to what extent are they considered a failure or a success? what is being shelved (let alone fears of changes being made) because something else is considered more marketable? 
obviously this isn't a 'new move' for D.C./warner but does raise questions again - what about 'core fans'??? who are you marketing to? 
 with someone who doesn't 'know' comics...this is my concern with Ms. Nelsons new position. 

"
These are a few tidbits I've gathered from reading various comments from various creators over at DC...
 
First, it seems as though the understanding is that Diane Nelson realizes DC's only mainstream characters are Batman, Superman, Robin, and Wonder Woman. She knows this is a problem, and from the sounds of things there's going to be a huge effort to bring more focus onto existing characters within the DC Universe. However, that doesn't necessarily mean changes will be made to anyone's books; rather, the consensus is that more attention will be paid to putting those characters into movies, cartoons, video games, etc. 
 
If things go as smoothly as some people are making it sound, and really there's no reason they shouldn't, these multi-media ventures will bring more attention directly to the comics that are already there, since obviously more people go to the movies than read the books. The feeling is that if a character is placed in a higher-profile role in say a cartoon, if the cartoon is a hit but the comic sales don't match-up, than yeah...that book is probably going bye-bye. Other than that, business as usual...if sales meet normal expectations, they'll be fine. If not, it's outta here. The biggest change is that rather than DC's four or five big stars, that same attention will be paid to ten, fifteen, or twenty characters, simultaniously. We've already seen slight hints of this with the announcements/developments of "Green Lantern", "Jonah Hex", and "Lobo" amongst others...All of these new, potential money-making franchises, appearing all at the same time, all under one roof. DC stands to make boatloads of cash if their new marketing plan (the same one behind "Harry Potter") is as good at comics as it is at magic. 
 
As for who they're marketing to...Everybody. Warner Bros. wants your money, your family's money, and the money out of each and every pocket in the world. They are a business, after all, and a very, very, large one. They want to see everyone from Hal Jordan to Ambush Bug on t-shirts, lunch boxes, tennis shoes, and ESPECIALLY on your TV screen and DVD shelf. They want you to be as familiar with Snapper Carr as you are with Sarah Palin. DC doesn't want you to just read their comics...They now want to completely and totally ENTERTAIN you, by any means necessary. You'd better believe they'll try, too.
 
One last thing, according to a comment from Marv Wolfman who is very close with Paul Levitz, the change-in-guard was a very ammicable and harmonious agreement...
 
 

"For the last number of years, Paul's talked about retiring and returning to writing. This is something he's wanted to do for a long, long time. He was just waiting for the proper time for this to happen". 


 So if that's indeed the case, good for Paul. I hope he's happy writing "Adventure", as it seems as though his fellow writers are pretty stoked to have him back, too.

Posted by Grim

this seems like it just means there will be more superhero's outside of comics, with no change to the comics themselves. More movies, more tv shows, and more integration into theme parks and businesses. 
 its the marvel/Disney merger minus the danger of comics interference. becuase really, No ownership has changed. 
 I like it. at worst, things stay the same. at best, we start getting a slew of extra DC crap out there.

Posted by LastSon1027

This is just a way for them to fully utilize all of their assets, I have faith this will absolutely not change the content what so ever.

Posted by Green ankh

Lets remember DC isnt the one that bust a few years ago. I dobt the content of the books will change. I think big picture it means DC is more protected in the market. I am sure we will see more toys and t-shirts and the like.
Posted by AirDave817

Part of me thinks that this is more of a reactionary than proactionary step. DC has been shuffling a lot of paper and feet lately with a lot of press releases for films on their properties. DC Animated seems to be the only success story so far. That same part of me thinks that I'll be a little more selective in what I read from DC. I have a feeling that someone looked at all the coverage of the Disney / Marvel deal and saw the fertile field of thousands and thousands of characters and realized a potential untapped resource. My question is and has always been - why hasn't there been more of DC characters in film and television. Marvel has always been making an effort to bring their characters from comics to animation, television and film. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Smallville. That's one hand; and Smallville has only been making an effort since what - season four or five to bring familiar characters to live action. It's only been over the last couple of years that the DC Animated has been making an effort as well. I would love to see The Flash, Green Lantern, and the rest move from the page to the screen - 'bout time! Slack @$$es!

Posted by bingbangboom

I think this is honestly a good thing but may not be a great thing for many DC fans of the comics. It has always puzzled me why WB could never make as many movies as Marvel considering there is a studio right there. I think part of it is just bad people not really informed about DC making the call. There is no real reason why there isn't as many DC movies being made as Marvel and I am more of a Marvel fan. Another reason is that it maybe too "hard" for studios to really think about how to put these characters in place with the right story, writers, directors, etc.
 
It is the main reason why I don't think we have seen a Wonder Woman movie. There were hints but things just fall apart which has happened with Justice League, Teen Titans, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Captain Marvel, etc... so someone who was really spearheading the animation and understands properties will be assisting moving these to the big screen.
 
The other issue is that if someone were to go and pick up a copy of Superman, Batman, etc... they would be lost. It is just the plain simple fact. Most people don't know that Batman isn't really Batman right now. This is where the comics may change with either the core DC Universe becoming more streamlined or a new imprint for new readers so that things start at square one, similar to what All-Star Comics are. But this way people can start with Batman #1 and get in on the ground floor.
 
It should be interesting but I don't see changes happening for at least two years... possibly with a new movie or just a new "event" to reboot alot of heroes.

Posted by Agnosia

All these major deals are inevitable, people act like MARVEL and DC are not corporate already. They are two most popular comic distributors to date, all this is to be expected. You have to look at it like this…if you want to see major movies with your favorite comic book heroes you are going to need money and this is the perfect move for companies like this. If you could care less about the movies and more about the comics then maybe this is not for you, even then you might just want to get over it and get into some indie comics =)

DC and marvel are not the only thing out there ya know =)    

Posted by speedlgt

this should be a good move..........DC has been a great place for characters and they have a very very deep roster that has been SPAT on by thinking only of the big 3. I dont know if that was levitz fault but for sure what was is that there is no reason at all DC cant be a mainstream as marvel is. They just had to make their comics more accesable to the mass consumer something marvel is great at and DC sucks at.  
 
In general I have always thought Warner was a far better company then Disney. Its very versed in a wide range of medias and has given us a huge range of content. I always knew DC was is good hands with warner and that will continue. Disney scares me a little but I have faith they wont screw things up but things will change. 
 
In all the main thing is that DC & warner are scared that Marvel and Disney are gonna MOP the floor with them and thus this move.
Posted by Dr. Maxwell

Hrmmm this is a comic book company, not a movie studio, if no comic book film was ever made again and the comics were left as they are I wouldnt complain about at all.
 
If they touch Vertigo I'm going to fully stop paying for comics

Posted by LP

It sounds promising.