DC Comics is Under New Leadership

This is very interesting news especially with Marvel and Disney still negotiating a possible merger. The Disney deal is something I'm a little nervous about. It is partially about not messing with something that works. But a major part of it is just fear that Disney's other interests will bury the Marvel Properties. Disney has not been very interested in the Comic Book business is quite a while.

But I am excited by this news for DC Comics. I have long felt that their properties were not being allowed to meet their full potential. Here is the news I'm most excited about:

1) Many of the movies in development have been pulled back so that they can be made in-house under the Warners/DC Entertainment Banner. This is good stuff. This is how Marvel transformed their movies into must see theater. In-House, in addition to making good business sense for a company like Warner Brothers also allows them more control over the direction so you don't get the wild spin-offs from the comic-book legends as we used to see lots of in the past. Though DC has always been better than Marvel at controlling what happens to their properties on the big screen.

2) DC is shopping around for a new Publisher. This should do tons to freshen up what has become (with a few great exceptions) a rather stuffy and uninteresting line of comics. I would be looking very intently at the talent behind Boom Comics, Dynamite Comics, and IDW Publishing. These companies have been putting out the type of fresh and exciting comics that first attracted Marvel to Joe Quesada what seems like an age ago.

3) A new publisher means new relationships can be built with talented writers and artists that have stayed away from DC Comics in recent years. This is not to say anything bad about Paul Levitz. But Marvel artists and writers with expiring exclusive contracts will be forced to do some thinking before re-upping.

Check out these articles which are more interesting reads than the Press Release re-produced below.

Warner Bros' Jeff Robinov Restructures DC Comics; Diane Nelson Put In Charge Of DC Business; DC Titles In Development Pulled From Producers

Who Watches DC Comics – Diane Nelson To Take Watchman Job At Warner?

Press Release:

BURBANK, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (WBEI) has created DC Entertainment Inc., a new
company founded to fully realize the power and value of the DC Comics brand and
characters across all media and platforms, to be run by Diane Nelson, it was
announced today by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, and Alan Horn, President & COO,
Warner Bros.

DC Entertainment, a separate division of WBEI, will be charged with
strategically integrating the DC Comics business, brand and characters deeply
into Warner Bros. Entertainment and all its content and distribution businesses.
DC Entertainment, which will work with each of the Warner Bros. divisions, will
also tap into the tremendous expertise the Studio has in building and sustaining
franchises and prioritize DC properties as key titles and growth drivers across
all of the Studio, including feature films, television, interactive
entertainment, direct-to-consumer platforms and consumer products. The DC Comics
publishing business will remain the cornerstone of DC Entertainment, releasing
approximately 90 comic books through its various imprints and 30 graphic novels
a month and continuing to build on its creative leadership in the comic book

In her new role, Nelson will report to Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros.
Pictures Group, in order to best capitalize on DC Entertainment`s theatrical
development and production activities and their importance to drive its overall
business with each of the divisions of Warner Bros.

Nelson will bring her expertise and more than 20 years` experience in creative
brand management, strategic marketing and content development and production to
ensuring DC Entertainment`s dual mission of marshalling Warner Bros.` resources
to maximize the potential of the DC brand while remaining respectful of and
collaborative with creators, talent, fans and source material. Additionally,
Nelson will continue to oversee the franchise management of the Harry Potter
property, which she has done since 2000, and also continue to represent the
Studio's interests with the author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling.
Nelson will segue from her post as President, Warner Premiere but maintain
oversight responsibilities of that division. (An executive succession plan for
Warner Premiere will be announced shortly.)

Paul Levitz, who has served as President & Publisher of DC Comics since 2002,
will segue from that role to return to his roots as a writer for DC and become a
contributing editor and overall consultant to DCE. This transition will take
place as expeditiously as possible without disrupting DC`s business operations.

In his new role, Levitz will be called upon for his deep knowledge and more than
three-decade history with DC Comics, both as a comic creator and an executive.
Besides serving as a writer on a number of DC Comics titles, he will be a
contributing editor and consultant to DC Entertainment on projects in various
media. Additionally, he will consult as needed on the transition and integration
of the DC Comics organization into DC Entertainment and will utilize his unique
experience, knowledge and relationships with the comics industry`s creative
community to help achieve DC Entertainment`s goal of maximizing the value of DC
properties. Further, Levitz will advise DC Entertainment on creative and
rights-holder relationships, in particular regarding the legacy relationships
that have been a part of DC Comics for decades.

Widely recognized and respected for his support of writers, artists and creators
in the comics industry, Levitz is best known creatively for his work with DC
Comics, having written most of the classic DC characters, including Batman,
Wonder Woman and the Superman newspaper strip. At Comicon International in 2008,
Levitz was awarded the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award as part of the Will
Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the only industry executive ever so honored.

"DC Comics and its super hero characters are truly touchstones of popular
culture, and the formation of DC Entertainment is a major step in our company`s
efforts to realize the full potential of this incredible wellspring of creative
properties," said Meyer. "Diane knows our studio as a creative executive, a
marketer and a senior manager, and this varied background will help her
effectively and creatively integrate the DC brand and properties across all our
businesses. We`re also thrilled that Paul will remain involved with DC and we`ll
be able to tap his expertise to help us reach our goals for this new business."

"It`s no secret that DC has myriad rich and untapped possibilities from its deep
library of iconic and lesser-known characters," said Horn. "While we`ve had
great success in films and television, the formation of DC Entertainment will
help us to bring more DC properties across additional platforms to fans around
the world, while maintaining brand integrity and authenticity. Diane is a
terrific choice to lead DC Entertainment, and with Paul in his new role as a
valued consultant and contributing editor, both our company and comic fans win."

"Based on the great success we`ve had working with DC Comics to create some of
the most popular and successful super hero films of all time, I`ve long believed
that there was much more we could do across all of Warner Bros.` businesses with
this great body of characters and stories," said Robinov. "The prioritization of
DC and the creation of DC Entertainment is a great opportunity that reaches far
beyond the film group. There are endless creative possibilities to build upon
the many significant successes already achieved by my colleagues Kevin Tsujihara
and the Home Entertainment Group in the videogame, home video and
direct-to-platform arenas and Bruce Rosenblum and the Television Group in
live-action, animated and digital series. Collectively, we have the ability to
grow a body of properties highlighting the iconic characters and the diversity
of the creative output of DC Comics."

"The founding of DC Entertainment fully recognizes our desire to provide both
the DC properties and fans the type of content that is only possible through a
concerted cross-company, multi-platform effort," said Nelson. "DC Entertainment
will help us to formally take the great working relationships between DC Comics
and various Warner Bros. businesses to the next level in order to maximize every
opportunity to bring DC`s unrivalled collection of titles and characters to

"After so many roles at DC, it`s exciting to look forward to focusing on my
writing and being able to remain a part of the company I love as it grows into
its next stage," said Levitz. "It`s a new golden age for comics and DC`s great
characters, and I hope my new position will allow me to contribute to that magic

DC Comics will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2010 (NEW FUN COMICS #1, the
first DC comic, began publishing in 1935), at which time more explicit details
regarding DC Entertainment`s corporate and management structure, film and
content release slate, creative roster and business objectives will be unveiled
at a multi-faceted anniversary celebration and press conference in the first
quarter of the year.

Current DC properties in development and/or production at Warner Bros.
Entertainment include:

-- "Human Target" is being produced by Warner Bros. Television for a mid-season
debut on Fox.

-- "Midnight Mass" is in series development at Warner Bros. Television for
consideration for the 2010-11 season.

-- "Jonah Hex," Warner Bros. Pictures` supernatural Western starring Josh
Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich, recently wrapped production in Louisiana.

-- "The Losers," Dark Castle/Warner Bros. Pictures` action-adventure drama
starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans, began principal
photography mid-July in Puerto Rico.

-- "The Green Lantern," Warner Bros. Pictures` next big superhero tentpole
release, recently cast Ryan Reynolds as the titular character. The film has a
projected second quarter 2011 release date.

-- "Lobo," based on the DC Comics anti-hero, has Guy Ritchie attached as a
director; Joel Silver, Akiva Goldsman and Andrew Rona are producing for Silver
Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures.

-- Warner Premiere`s direct-to-platform DVD animated release of "Green Lantern:
First Flight" debuted July 28.

-- Warner Bros. Animation currently produces "Batman: The Brave and the Bold,"
which airs on Cartoon Network.

-- Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released "Batman: Arkham Asylum" on
August 25, a dark, action packed videogame adventure for Xbox 360 videogame and
entertainment system, PlayStation3 computer entertainment system and Games for

Prior to being named President, DC Entertainment, Nelson most recently served as
President, Warner Premiere since its founding in 2006. Warner Premiere is a
Studio-based production company which develops and produces high-quality,
direct-to-DVD and short-form digital content, including the highly successful
line of DC Universe animated DVD titles, and also pioneered the development of
the motion comics category. Under Nelson`s leadership, Warner Premiere functions
as a full-service production entity with its own resources and release schedule,
furthering the Studio's mandate of being a destination for both established and
up-and-coming talent to create stand-alone properties as well as experiment in
new media.

Before that, Nelson served as Executive Vice President, Global Brand Management,
Warner Bros. Entertainment, with the primary responsibility of working
cross-divisionally and throughout Time Warner to maximize and optimize all the
various windows and outlets available to the Studio`s signature franchises,
brands and event properties on a global basis. In this post, Nelson`s primary
focus was the management of the Harry Potter brand, which she has overseen since
the brand`s launch at the Studio in 1999. These efforts have helped drive the
success of the brand to become the most successful film franchise of all time,
as well as a respected consumer property that has generated billions of dollars
for the Studio.

At Global Brand Management, Nelson and her team of more than 15 employees worked
in all media and platforms to support a number of other key franchise
properties, including "The Matrix Reloaded," "The Matrix Revolutions," "Batman
Begins," "The Dark Knight," "Happy Feet," "Polar Express" and "Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory," among others.

Prior to overseeing Global Brand Management, Nelson had served as Executive Vice
President, Domestic Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures. Nelson rose quickly
through the ranks, having also served as Senior Vice President, Domestic
Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures and prior to that, Senior Vice President,
Family Entertainment, Warner Bros. Corporate Worldwide Marketing and Planning.
She was also Vice President, Worldwide Corporate Promotions, a post to which she
was promoted in March 1998, after joining the Studio in September 1996 as
Director of Worldwide Corporate Promotions.

Nelson came to the Studio from Walt Disney Records, where she served as Director
of National Promotions. She is a graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse
School of Communications.

Warner Bros. Entertainment
Susan Fleishman, 818-954-1919
Scott Rowe, 818-954-5806
DC Comics
David Hyde, 212-636-5450

Copyright Business Wire 2009

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