On Paul Levitz.

Paul Levitz caricature by Dave Manak

Since Wednesday’s announcement, there have been a large number of posts looking back on the career of Paul Levitz, and all of them sounding like his career is over.  Throughout the posts, there seems to be an overture of career death when it comes to him.  Though Heidi catches herself,  he’s a guy rejoining the ranks of company he’s most comfortable with.

He’s going back to the universe that he helped build, but not something he’s been directly involved with on a writer level for years now.  Besides a run on Justice Society during Infinite Crisis Mr. Levitz hasn’t written a comic in who knows how long.

I mean, he did a metric ton for comics.  Most importantly, he helped shape the modern method to writing comics.  Denny O’Neil writes in his DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics about how Levitz studied writing, and developed the Levitz Paradigm:

Paul Levitz probably thought about what a comic book writer does more than any of his contemporaries, or mine, and during his dozen-plus-years stint as writer of The Legion of Super-Heroes, systemized what his predecessors did haphazardly, if at all. Then, as an aid to his own work, he created three versions of the Levitz Grid.

O’Neil explains that the procedure involves the writer having two, three or four plots going at once, but yet his editor wants single issue contained stories.  The main plot, Plot A, occupies most of the pages and the character’s energy.  Plot B is a subplot. Plot C and D are given some space, we’re talking a couple of panels.  What happens when Plot A concludes, Plot B takes over at the issue’s conclusion.  You may see something similar in this paradigm–its the base with which most, if not all, serialized dramas are based upon.  In another post I’ll probably talk more about how this paradigm works in comics today.

Heidi puts it very well at the end of her post on Mr. Levitz: “Paul Levitz is One of Us, and he did about as much as One of Us could ever hope to do. And I’m pretty sure we’ll see some more achievements from him before this game is over.

I agree. Looking forward to what he has in store.

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