I present to you, Paul Levitz, an authority and a well-known name in the field of American comic and graphic novel. ‘Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel,’ a biography of comic book creator, is his recent work. Prof. Levitz has written some 400 graphic stories that feature DC characters including Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Over 25 million copies of his works have been sold in the US and translated into more than 20 languages. He was the President & Publisher of DC Comics between 2002 and 2009, and at the expiration of his tenure, Prof. Levitz has been more involved in his role as a writer and an educator. He teaches courses in Comics, Graphic Novels, Transmedia, and of course, The Future of Publishing.
Mr. Ram: Hello Professor Levitz, thank you for accepting to do this interview! After your exciting roles as the Editor, Executive Vice President & Publisher, and the President & Publisher at DC Comics, you are more focused on writing and educating. Can you tell me about your current activities?
Prof. Levitz: About half my time goes to teaching, which is something I always wanted to do. The other half is a mixture of writing comics, books and short pieces, and consulting or board work. I serve on the boards of Boom!, a mid-size comics publisher, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Mr. Ram: It is a fact that publishing industry has witnessed a big change in recent times, especially at the emergence of digital revolution. There is even one saying: Go Digital or Die. In this context, where do you see the future of publishing, especially those involving the traditional and print publishing?
Prof. Levitz: I think books will long outlive me, but we’re in an increasingly visual world (😝). That bodes well for websites, graphic novels and other visually rich forms.
Mr. Ram: I discovered that you have taught interesting and timely courses on Transmedia and Future of Publishing. Can you please explain why transmedia is so important in publishing? Also, what genre (such as the novel, graphic novel, memoir, non-fiction, translated literature) will thrive in the future?
Prof. Levitz: Transmedia is important for publishing students and aspirants because at the pace the world is changing, they need to be ready to work in diverse media firms. I’m no more prescient about the future than anyone, but I’m delighted to see how many graphic novels are being adapted in such different forms. FUN HOME as a Broadway musical–who’d a thunk it!
Prof. Levitz: I think publishers need to invest in creators early in their careers, trying to establish long relationships.
Mr. Ram: According to a record, there are as much as 1,000,000 books (including self-published books) published annually in the US alone and more than 99 percent of these publications go unnoticed. What future/scope of diverse and translated stories from around the world do you see in the mainstream publishing?
Prof. Levitz: The good news is the marketplace is more open than ever before; the bad news is the flood gates are open to many things few want to read. Hopefully we’ll find easier paths through the crowded ‘shelves.
Mr. Ram: And finally, who do you think will rule the publishing business in the future? Publishing Startups with innovative business models? Traditional publishers? Or the companies, which are in content business?
Prof. Levitz: If I knew, I’d invest wisely. But only time will tell.