Thursday, September 10, 2009

Warner Makeover: When Diane Met Paul

After harping on the Marvel Mouseketeers Club for a minute (sorry folks, I had to get it out of my system), PLANET GRIFFIN turns its attention to another shocker, this time coming from DC COMICS and it's parent studio, WARNER BROS. Yesterday, WB Pictures President JEFF ROBINOV announced that the comic company will get a massive makeover, as well as his making DC his top priority... Working alongside Robinov would be DIANE NELSON, the woman that managed the mega successful HARRY POTTER franchise for the WB. Everything seemed to be in working order... And then, this letter from DC President PAUL LEVITZ floated across the press room table:

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your efforts, your support, and your contributions to DC Comics over the long years that I’ve had the honor of serving as part of DC’s leadership team. Together, our staff, creative contributors, readers, retailers and business partners have helped bring us to the beginning of what looks to be a new golden age for comics in the United States, and one that will bring more respect for the talent and the medium.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s heard me answer a comic convention request, “When are you going to do more LEGION stories?” that I’m going to step away from my executive desk in coming months to resume my writing career, in comics and hopefully other forms as well. One of the lessons I learned from my many great teachers, from Frank McCourt through Joe Orlando and Jenette Kahn, is that creative work is more enduring than executive acts, and I look forward to adding to the stories I’ve told. Expect to see my byline at DC, as it has appeared for almost 37 years, adding what I can to a mythology and company that has my enduring affection, and expect to see me around the world of comics, which I hope never to leave. I already hear Karen and Dan sharpening their blue pencils with glee, waiting for my first pages.

DC will remain in the hands of the people who have had ultimate responsibility for its success throughout the past two decades, the management team of Warner Bros., headed by Barry Meyer and Alan Horn. They have encouraged our growth as a creative enterprise, and I have confindence that the people they will select to join the DC team, beginning with Diane Nelson, will do their best to make DC a success. While that transition process is taking place, I’ll continue to run DC until the baton can be carefully passed, and afterwards will have a role in which I can provide my advice and help.

On a personal note, I deeply appreciate the warmth and friendship I have found in these halls since my first visit, as a 13 year old comics fan. The relationships I have made here, including one that began in a DC circulation meeting and developed into the first DC marriage in four decades (thereby rebooting a grand tradition?), have been and will remain central to my life.

And now, if you forgive me, the future is calling.

With that done, Paul Levitz steps down from the office, paving the way for Diane Nelson to now step into the role of acting president of the company. Of course, it seems that Paul wants to devote more of his energy to writing, starting his new tenure on ADVENTURE COMICS. It seems that radical changes are happening everywhere in the business lately--- First Marvel, now DC (not to mention the upcoming Olive Branch lawsuit pending against Diamond ), and the questions abound--- What will happen under the reformation? Will DC begin upping their comic-to-film adaptations ? (Well, they're already doing that) What will happen to the Direct Market with such shakeups? (Ask Ellis, he's got an interesting theory on that one)

The only thing we can hope for now is Diane reducing the cover price on Wednesday comics...


Jay Potts said...


Actually, I think this has more serious implications for the publishing side of the business than the Marvel/Disney merger.

I think it's the corporate equivalent of being told to do something about your mess in the garage. DC Comics was the mess in the Time-Warner corporate garage. Sure the mess sat there for a long time, but nobody SAID anything about it. Now Diane's got to do something, and even though the garage will be clean, sparkly and finally able to comfortably fit two cars, I predict that Diane's gonna end up throughing out a lot of stuff to make that bottom line nice and shiny. If that means scaling down on comics or dumbing them down, so be it. Personally, I don't think she gives a rat's ass about the content of the comics, or even selling them, because the real money is licensing out the intellectual property for Happy Meals and electric toothbrushes.

Jay Potts said...

Second Paragraph, Line 9, should be "throwing," not "throughing."


RodBuddah said...

Considering her mad dog campaign/promotion of the Harry Potter franchise, I can believe she may 'commercialize' DC far more than it needs to be... Kinda makes you wonder what will happen to the Vertigo line...

John Aston said...

Given the convoluted mess DC-proper has been in the last five years, maybe dumbing it down to coherent is a good thing.