Paul Levitz has been named President & Publisher, DC Comics, it was announced on Wednesday by Barry M. Meyer, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Warner Bros.
Levitz, who moves up from his 12-year post as Executive Vice President & Publisher, assumes the responsibilities of DC Comics' longtime President & Editor-in-Chief Jenette Kahn.
Kahn will be stepping down by the end of the year to focus on new creative pursuits, including the publishing of her first book.
Levitz, a 29-year DC Comics veteran, will not replace himself; instead he will add Kahn's responsibilities to his current duties following a transition period. In addition to overseeing all the business and editorial operations of DC Comics and MAD MAGAZINE, Levitz will also be charged with serving as a liaison across all Warner Bros. divisions and outside third-parties to aggressively and effectively extend and exploit DC Comics' iconic characters and brands in all arenas, including feature films, television, home video, consumer products, online and specialty publishing.
"Today is a momentous day in the comic book world; the 'first lady' is passing the torch to the dean," Meyer says. "Jenette and Paul have been making comic book history for more than a quarter of a century. I know of no one more capable, more talented or more fitting than Paul Levitz to take over the reins from the extraordinary Jenette Kahn."
"DC Comics has been an important part of my life since I learned how to read, and even more so during the almost 30 years I've gotten to play with the greatest fantasy characters of all," Levitz says. "I'm honored that Barry Meyer selected me to replace my longtime colleague and friend, Jenette Kahn, and I look forward to building on the wonderful traditions of this very special company."
In his nearly three decades with the company, Levitz has written comic-book stories featuring the majority of the classic DC characters, including Batman, Wonder Woman and the SUPERMAN newspaper strip. His most popular titles were scripted during his 13 years of writing THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, including a story entitled "The Great Darkness Saga" selected by the readers of COMIC BUYERS' GUIDE as one of The Top 12 Comic Book Stories of the 20th Century. He also supervised the brand management of Batman licensing during a record-breaking decade for DC Comics and was key in the company's acquisition of WildStorm Productions.
Levitz rose through the ranks. Prior to being Executive Vice President & Publisher, Levitz served as Executive Vice President, DC Comics from 1984-89. This post was preceded by a two-year stint as Vice President, Operations; two years as Manager, Business Affairs, and four years as Editor and Editorial Coordinator. Levitz joined DC Comics in 1973 as an assistant editor, after spending a year as a freelance writer of text features for the company.
Kahn celebrated her 26th year at DC on Feb. 2. She joined DC in 1976 as Publisher and five years later was promoted to President and Editor-in-Chief, a post she has held since that time.
"After more than a quarter of a century at DC Comics, we completely understand Jenette's desire for a new venue to focus her boundless energy and visionary leadership," Meyer says. "While we will deeply miss her and her extraordinary contributions, we wish her only the best."
"I feel I've accomplished almost all of the things I set out to do at DC Comics," Kahn says. "While I am eager to embark on new creative challenges, I do not leave DC without leaving behind a large part of myself. I love DC with all my heart, the values on which it stands, the medium it has pioneered, reinvented and helped transform into a legitimate art form, and, most of all, the people who are and have been members of the family. Luckily, my departure is lightened by knowing DC Comics will be in the hands of Paul Levitz, the most gifted of colleagues, and the best of allies and friends."