Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

December 12, 2006

Newsarama: Paul Levitz Interviewed

The comics news site Newsarama is running a two part interview with DC Comics President and Publisher Paul Levitz. It's very polite and as broad as I can remember this type of talk ever getting, so it's hard to find any detail to dig into.

I imagine some people may react to Levitz's benign take on the state of the market as pollyannish thinking, or even purposefully evasive, and I certainly see the argument that the way DC uses the direct market -- as a rallying point for hardcore customers where market share is more valuable than growth -- doesn't really speak to problems like saturation, in-market penetration, and increasing the overall customer base. But you have to remember this is Paul Levitz, perhaps the best manager a couple steps behind front-runner status in industry history. His positive attitude towards all markets right now mirrors his attitude once upon a time towards the more restrictive Direct Market, as an opportunity for DC to make hay, to follow and fill (or flood, if you're cynical) without the pressure of public top dog status. As far as the DM stuff goes, the most important point he makes is the continued growth of DC's backlist sales, which is really the only figure he can offer up that indicates something other than the same people buying more comics for more money, unless 1) comics fans really do buy multiple copies of Watchmen; 2) the shape of the back list has rapidly expanded in recent months for a temporary bump in acquisition by hardcore fans.

Anyway, where this might be additionally valuable for some people is in contrast to a recent Dan Buckley talk at In comparison to recent years, where representatives of each company came across as measured if not clipped, both Buckley and Levitz sound kind of serene.
posted 2:06 am PST | Permalink

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