Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Former Editor of Batman Comics Teaches at Manhattanville

Paul LevitzBefore splitting his time between writing and teaching Paul Levitz, an adjunct professor in the Creative and Professional Writing program at Manhattanville College, spent close to 40 years in various roles at DC Comics.

“I would walk in everyday and not know what is on the call sheet,” Levitz, who served as publisher and president from 2002 to 2009, said. He explained that his calls could range from Christopher Nolan to different distributors to toy companies.

He began with the comics company as a freelancer to help pay his way through New York University and despite being a fan of comics never envisioned a future in it. At the time the comics industry was at a low point and he expected to get a job in technology, but once it turned around he decided to stay, Levitz said.

During his time there he got to work with what he considers to be about half of the pantheon of comics figures, including editing the “Batman” line and writing the “Superman” newspaper comic strip. 

After leaving DC in 2009 he decided to pursue teaching because writing forces you to stay locked in a room, he said. “That’s not how I want to spend all of my days,” he said, joking about being like a vampire sucking up the energy of his students.

He also said that he finds the direction that the Creative and Professional Writing program at Manhattanville is headed interesting, having professors with experience in the field rather than just the classroom. He doesn’t know if it makes them better professors than formal educators, “but we do know an awful lot about writing and are sort of battle proven in it.”

“It gives the kids a different set of perspectives and I think it is an interesting path for Manhattanville to have chosen,” Levitz said.

Levitz is still connected to DC Comics writing “75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking,” in 2010 and is now working on breaking it up into five separate volumes. The new volumes, two of which have already been released, will include new copy, fresh illustrations, and a new interview in addition to what is included in the original.

He is also in the draft stages of a book on Will Eisner, who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the graphic novel. Levitz credits Eisner as being the guy who “triggered” the graphic novel and was an evangelist for it.