When Paul Levitz Was A Gossip-Hungry Rumour Monger Just Like Me

When Paul Levitz was Publisher and President of DC Comics, we had a few contretemps, he and I. Well, there were some examples of micromanagement in the comics being published by the recently-purchased Wildstorm imprint that I saw as dulling the comics being published and losing the uniqueness in the line they had bought. A peck on the cheek between Midnighter and Apollo being removed, specific details of countries and politicians in Authority being changed, The Boys being canned, and all fingers pointed to Levitz. Then there was the pulping of the Elseworlds Eighty Page Giant and Tomorrow Stories that saw me give him the nickname The Mad Pulper. In retaliation, DC employees were forbidden from contacting me or forwarding any emails to me (I discovered this from an email forwarded to me) and that’s the way it was. I was fighting the man! Wooo!

When the big change at DC happened, and Paul Levitz was deposed, I found people at DC Comics reaching out to mend bridges with me. Initially with DC’s PR guy David Hyde (who told me that he didn’t want to talk to me at all but had been ordered to) and Diane Nelson told me it was proof that DC was changing, that they wanted to talk to me. This lasted, on and off, until I ran the Before Watchmen artwork, (at which point the new DC PR person Courtney Simmons called me up to tell me that I was a pirate.)

But today, I get forwarded copies of an old comics fanzine, The Comic Reader, written and edited by Paul Levitz in the seventies, shortly before he joined DC Comics.

In the issue below, he breaks the news of a serious rift between Jack Kirby and DC Comics/National in late 1972 – and that Kirby could be going back to Marvel.

This didn’t happen at that time, Kirby would in fact continue at DC for a couple more years.

In this and two other issues from the time, he also successively named three different artists as doing the then-upcoming and now-legendary 1973 DC Comics Shadow series. But none of the three artists, Bernie Wrightson, Jim Steranko and his final, definite naming of Alex Toth actually launched this incarnation of the comic, it was Mike Kaluta.

Then, as now, information changes and remains fluid in the gossip sphere and published articles can be very unforgiving in hindsight.

I just never realised I had such a soulmate in Paul Levitz!

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