With the flood of interviews with Ron Perazza and Richard Bruning yesterday inaugurating the announcement of DC’s Zudacomics site, only one thing was missing — an interview with DC prexy Paul Levitz, and Newsarama comes through with an interview that should satisfy veteran Kremlinologists Levitz-watchers, as he warily embraces the new tehcnology.

PL: Should we have done this a year earlier? Three years earlier? Maybe. I think there is certainly not a well-developed stage or platform for the typical creator to perform on, and I don’t think there should be one platform. I don’t think we’ll supply the only one out there. The fact that there are guys that have succeeded with this is terrific, because it demonstrates that the model can work.

I certainly think that DC’s not always the first to move in the industry. We like to move when there’s a clear opportunity, and when we’re convinced we’re bringing something to the table.

One could read this as subtly distancing himself from Zuda:

PL: Well, I can’t speak directly to it, because Zuda wasn’t “my plan” from the beginning. This is an evolution from a bunch of people sitting around and saying, “There’s something going on, how do we fit with it?” There was no Moses comes down with the tablets moment in all of this. A lot of this started in discussions where we were talking about what’s going on on the web. I think community is very clearly one of the interesting things going on on the web. User-generated content is clearly one of the hallmarks of what the wise people are calling Internet 2.0 and is tied up in the emerging Internet 3.0 that they keep looking towards.

While Levitz is far from a luddite, it’s fair to say DC has been slow to embrace new technologies, as he himself admits, and while it’s thrilling to hear him name check Fred Gallagher and Scott Kurtz, there’s still this:

PL: I haven’t seen a lot of evidence yet that people want to read 20 pages of a comic book on their computer screen, so I don’t think the form of what we mostly do has yet found a home there.

I guess Levitz never read this:

Almost 100,000 people have downloaded Frank Miller’s Sin City comics.

The second most downloaded comic series from this torrent site: Lost Girls with 65,000 downloads…

Also, from the same tracker, there are several DCP torrents that have crept into the 40k range of downloads.


  1. i’m not sure that 100k downloads number for sin city can be read as a barometer of anything. considering how the film was marketed – it looks like the original comics, frank miller’s name all over everything etc – the torrent-savvy were likely to be curious to see those comics without necessarily having the interest to read anything else.

    looking at it from another angle, if it takes the marketing power of a big budget comic-creator-led blockbuster just to get 100k of completely free (and terribly copyright infringing) downloads, levitz might be correct in his scepticism.

  2. I do a lot of consulting on business strategy for future technologies and had a chance to talk to Paul Levitz about this (informally) several years ago where I presented him with exactly those kinds of statistics (then followed up with a proposal to help draft a business plan, which was politely declined). The issue of digital downloads from Torrent sites seemed and still seems troublesome for the industry and creators, especially with smaller form-factor notebooks and tablets coming out that make it more comfortable and convenient to read digital comics. I am really pleased to see they are finally moving on this.

  3. I don’t know about anyone else but reading an entire comic online is not only awkward but uncomfortable. There’s nothing like having a book (comic or otherwise) in your hand and turning a page back or forth. Art on a page looks better on paper. I-Pod (or now I-phone) screens are just too small and computer screens on a laptop are just too bulky.

    And as far as downloads are concerned – I wonder how many people downloaded a comic and then printed it out on paper.

    Digital is nice but paper is better.

  4. I’ll have to put myself down as one of the people who can’t read more then 4 pages of a comic on line. When I pick up a paper comic, I like to take it with me, so it’s right there, where ever I go. I can flip through it in a waiting room, outdoors at the park, and where ever else I happen to find a few spare seconds. I can take it to work and show my students, without having to sit them in front of a computer monitor and pull up a site. Not only that, but I spend so much time in front of the computer as it is, it’s nice to get a way and into a comic.

  5. Okay, I think we all know by now that there are people who prefer comics as a paper product.

    That’s great.

    You’re children, however, will have no such qualms about reading comics on their pc tablets.

  6. “You’re children, however, will have no such qualms about reading comics on their pc tablets.”

    No, I think there’s more to it then that. I have a little baby girl who loves her little bored books, but will only look at a computer monitor for a few seconds before becoming bored. Hee hee… a little word play there. TV didn’t kill books, and although the computer is an even bigger zombie box then television, I don’t think it can ether.

  7. Can you help me? I’m trying to subscribe to your RSS feed, but can’t seem to figure it out. Did you have that option in your blog? Really like it, BTW.

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