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Saturday, November 03, 2012 

How can I pity Paul Levitz for what Bill Jemas did to him if his approach to marketing was no better?

At the most recent NYCC, former Marvel CEO Bill Jemas, who became notorious for making defamatory remarks about DC and Paul Levitz when he was in charge and was eventually booted from the company after he tried to force his tabloid visions on the Fantastic Four, met with Levitz again at the convention, and it didn't go over well:
...at a meet-and-greet for New York Comic Con I attended (but arrived too late for this moment), Bill Jemas and Paul Levitz met once more, a decade on. Bill decided to be magnanamous and go for it, very loudly and very publicly, telling Paul that after everything, after so long, it was good to see him again. Paul, in a very measured fashion replied "I wish... I could say the same." And that was that for the evening, they stayed at separate ends of the room...
And I wish I could sympathise with him for any and all trouble Jemas caused him and his staff at the time...but as I've been well aware for several years now, Levitz is no less guilty of doing everything to harm his own outfit, like letting DiDio get the keys to the kingdom, or failing to do anything on his part to prevent the publicity stunts DC coughed out from being greenlighted. Identity Crisis and the crossovers that followed, among other ghastly embarrassments, those are just some of the mishandlings that took place under his watch as a senior executive, and he did nothing on his part to stop them, which I honestly think he could have at least tried, if he'd wanted to. How can I feel sorry for him when much of what took place at the time was little different - and possibly worse - than what Marvel under Jemas/Quesada's leadership was cranking out, including metaphors for anti-Americanism and other negative views of heroism?

Sure, there was once a time when Levitz began as a pretty good writer in the Bronze Age, and his most famous work was on the Legion of Super-Heroes. But by the 90s he was fast adding himself to the list of stumbling fools, and he may have had some blame to shoulder for Emerald Twilight. It was after he became more of a publisher that he faltered. I'm not sure why I should feel sorry for a man who otherwise betrayed much of the good he once contributed for the sake of PC madness in an era when the major publishers were cowering at the perceived ability of Image to burgle away their audience, not to mention the incredibly dumb impression they gave that they were anti-competition, something Jemas certainly did in his time.

As for Jemas, from what this suggests, he never actually apologized to Levitz for making disparaging statements, and as much as I've come to be disillusioned with Levitz, if Jemas failed to say he's sorry for setting such a horrific example, that was still getting off on the wrong foot for a remeet. I'm not sorry that Jemas was pushed out of Marvel, I just think it's a shame that a man who supposedly helped them out of bankruptcy would abuse his welcome so badly and that Quesada, who's no less guilty, is still connected to the company, even if he's no longer EIC. And that's why today, not only is their influence still tangible, it's why they're still losing sales.

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Levitz betrayed us all.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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