Paul Levitz

Paul Levitz

Levitz at Butler Library in October 2014
Born (1956-10-21) October 21, 1956
Brooklyn, New York, US
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Editor, Publisher
Notable works
Legion of Super-Heroes,

Paul Levitz (born October 21, 1956)[1] is an American comic book writer, editor and executive. The president of DC Comics from 2002–2009, he has worked for the company for over 35 years in a wide variety of roles. Along with publisher Jenette Kahn and managing editor Dick Giordano, Levitz was responsible for hiring such writers as Marv Wolfman and Alan Moore, artists such as George Pérez, Keith Giffen, and John Byrne, and editor Karen Berger, who contributed to the 1980s revitalization of the company's line of comic book heroes.

Early life and education

Levitz was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Hannah and Alfred Levitz. He attended Stuyvesant High School[2] during which time he revived the defunct comic news fanzine, The Comic Reader, which according to Levitz, was the first regularly published comics industry news fanzine. Under Levitz's editorship The Comic Reader won two Best Fanzine Comic Art Fan Awards.[3] One of Levitz's teachers, the future Pulitzer Prize winner Frank McCourt,[4] was impressed enough with Levitz's work that he arranged for Levitz to appear on McCourt's brother's radio show.[5]


During the course of his research for The Comic Reader, Levitz became well known at the offices of DC Comics, where in December 1972, editor Joe Orlando gave him his first freelance work, initially writing text pages and letter pages, and later working as a per diem assistant editor before writing stories. Levitz later studied business at New York University but had taken no formal education in writing, other than a journalism course. He dropped out after three years in order to concentrate on his writing career.[5]

Levitz at a May 22, 2010 signing for Legion of Superheroes vol. 6 #1 at Midtown Comics Times Square in Manhattan.

After serving as Joe Orlando's assistant editor, in 1976 Levitz "fulfilled a lifelong dream" by becoming the editor of Adventure Comics on the eve of his 20th birthday.[6] He notably served as editor for the Batman line of comics.

As a writer, Levitz is best known for his work on the title The Legion of Super-Heroes, which he wrote from 1977–1979 and 1981–1989. Levitz wrote All-New Collectors' Edition #C-55 (1978), a treasury-sized special drawn by Mike Grell, in which longtime Legion members Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad were married.[7][8] Levitz and artists James Sherman and Joe Staton crafted "Earthwar" a five-issue storyline in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #241–245 (July–Nov. 1978).[9] He and Keith Giffen produced "The Great Darkness Saga", one of the best known Legion stories, in Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2, #290–294.[10] Comics historian Les Daniels observed that "Working with artist Keith Giffen, Levitz completed the transformation of Legion into a science-fiction saga of considerable scope and depth."[11] In August 1984, a new Legion of Super-Heroes series was launched by Levitz and Giffen.[12]

With artist Steve Ditko, Levitz co-created the characters Stalker[13] and the Prince Gavyn version of Starman.[14] He wrote the Justice Society series in All Star Comics during the late 1970s and co-created the Earth-2 Huntress with artist Joe Staton.[15] He and Staton provided the JSA with an origin story in DC Special #29.[16] Lucien the Librarian, a character later used in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series, was created by Levitz and artist Nestor Redondo.

Levitz eventually became an editor, and served as vice president and executive vice president, before assuming the role of President in 2002. In 2006, Levitz returned to writing the Justice Society with issue #82 of JSA, completing that volume before writer Geoff Johns' relaunch.

On September 9, 2009, it was announced that Levitz would step down as President and Publisher of DC Comics to serve as the Contributing Editor and Overall Consultant for the newly formed DC Entertainment,[17] and become the writer of both Adventure Comics vol. 2[18] and Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 6.[19]

Levitz mentioned in an August 2010 interview that he was working on "my first genuine book."[20] His 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking (ISBN 9783836519816) was published by Taschen America, LLC in November 2010.[21]

In addition to Legion of Super-Heroes, Levitz wrote the Worlds' Finest series, which was initially drawn by George Pérez and Kevin Maguire.[22] Levitz and Keith Giffen collaborated on the Legion of Super-Heroes issues #17 and 18 in 2013.[23][24] Levitz wrote a biography of comics creator Will Eisner which was scheduled for release in 2014.[25] Levitz received the "Dick Giordano Hero Initiative Humanitarian of the Year Award" in September 2013 at the Baltimore Comic-Con.[26] He joined the board of directors of Boom! Studios in February 2014.[27]

Techniques and materials

Levitz is a Mac computer user.[20]

Personal life

Levitz has three children: Nicole, a public health executive; Philip, a lawyer; and Garret, who works in the entertainment industry.[28]

Levitz has named the run of All-Star Comics featuring the Justice Society of America as his favorite. He names Roger Zelazny as his favorite science fiction writer, J. R. R. Tolkien as his favorite fantasy writer, David McCullough as his favorite history writer and Agatha Christie as his favorite mystery writer.[20]



  1. Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  2. Gustines, George Gene (February 7, 2006). "DC Comics' Man Upstairs Readjusts His Writer's Cap". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  3. "Comic-Con International Special Guests," Comic-Con Magazine (Winter 2010), p. 42.
  4. O'Shea, Tim (September 20, 2010). "Talking Comics With Tim". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013.
  5. 1 2 Interview with Paul Levitz at Midtown Comics Times Square; YouTube; May 22, 2010
  6. "Dateline: Adventure," Adventure Comics #449 (Jan./Feb. 1977).
  7. Ford, Jim (December 2012). "Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (61): 55–58.
  8. McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Only an oversized treasury edition could have contained Superboy and the entire Legion of Super-Heroes' battle with the Time Trapper...and the long-awaited wedding of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl...Legion favorites Paul Levitz and Mike Grell were up to the enormous challenge with the popular tale 'The Millennium Massacre'.
  9. McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 178: "[Paul Levitz] demonstrated his great affinity for the Legion...when he and artist James Sherman waged "Earthwar".
  10. Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 198 "When [Levitz] wrote "The Great Darkness Saga", a five-issue epic that pitted the Legion against one of the most notorious villains of DC's long history, he and artist Keith Giffen crafted the most famous Legion story of all time and became fast fan favorites."
  11. Daniels, Les (1995). "The Legion of Super-Heroes Teenagers from Outer Space". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. New York, New York: Bulfinch Press. p. 123. ISBN 0821220764.
  12. Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 208: "As DC began to toy with the idea of relaunching some of their more popular titles using high-quality Baxter paper, the Legion of Super-Heroes was an obvious chioice. Utilizing the talents of writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffen...the Legion was off and running in their own new title with a major new storyline...the Legion's other monthly comic changed its moniker to Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes with issue #314."
  13. McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 164: "This sword and sorcery title by scripter Paul Levitz and artist Steve Ditko epitomized the credo 'Be careful what you wish for.' The series' anti-hero was a nameless wanderer whose dreams of becoming a warrior brought him first slavery, then worse."
  14. Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 186: "The second [feature in Adventure Comics #467] debuted a new version of Starman by writer Paul Levitz and illustrator Steve Ditko."
  15. McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 175: "DC Super-Stars #17 (December 1977) While writer Paul Levitz and artist Joe Staton introduced the Huntress to the JSA in this month's All Star Comics #69, they concurrently shaped her origin in DC Super-Stars."
  16. McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 175: "The genesis of comics' first superhero team...had been a mystery since the JSA's debut...Writer Paul Levitz and artist Joe Staton decided to present the definitive origin story."
  17. Rogers, Vaneta (September 9, 2009). "Warner Bros. Creates DC Entertainment To Maximize DC Brands". Newsarama. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013.
  18. "Levitz Releases Letter of Resignation, Announced As Adventure Writer". Comic Book Resources. September 9, 2009. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013.
  19. McMillan, Graeme (January 14, 2010). "Paul Levitz Returns to the Future With Legion of Super-Heroes". io9. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2010.
  20. 1 2 3 Comics Buyer's Guide #1668, August 2010, page 80
  21. Gustines, George Gene (November 18, 2010). "Book Shelf '75 Years of DC Comics". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  22. Rogers, Vaneta (January 13, 2012). "Paul Levitz Explains More About Worlds' Finest, Earth 2". Newsarama. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  23. Gerding, Stephen (November 9, 2012). "Exclusive: Levitz, Giffen Reunite on Legion of Super-Heroes". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2013. Arguably the most popular creative team the 31st century has ever seen, Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen are reuniting once again to tell the tales of DC Comics' teenage heroes from the future.
  24. Johnston, Rich (January 25, 2013). "Keith Giffen Leaves Legion of Superheroes After Two Issues?". Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  25. Rogers, Vaneta (August 27, 2013). "Paul Levitz Examines Will Eisner's Life & Work for New Book". Newsarama. Archived from the original on August 28, 2013.
  26. Spurgeon, Tom (September 8, 2013). "Your 2013 Harvey Awards Winners". The Comics Reporter. Archived from the original on February 20, 2014.
  27. Wilson, Matt D. (February 28, 2014). "BOOM! Studios Brings Former DC Comics President Paul Levitz Onto Board Of Directors". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016. Boom! Studios announced...that the former DC Publisher and President would be joining its board of directors, where he'll serve as a consultant and adviser for the nine-year-old publisher.
  28. "Backstory: Paul Levitz". n.d. Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paul Levitz.
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