How Pace Students Can Learn from New York Comic Con

The New York Comic Con (NYCC) is one of the largest and most exciting conventions in the country. NYCC is an annual event that showcases all things comics and graphic novels, wscreen-shot-2016-10-19-at-12-04-02-pmith everything from screening rooms showing sneak-peaks at film adaptations of well-known comic titles to panels with leading industry players. 2016 was especially notable for NYCC since it produced the largest crowd ever, with reports of as many as 180,000 tickets sold and about 167,000 fans in attendance.

3539f694-80e6-4510-a63b-dbbc65662b6eThis year, thanks to Professor Paul Levitz, fellow classmate and the Student  Aide for the MS in Publishing department Anna Bailey and I were given the chance to volunteer for Boom! Studios and assist with sales at their booth. Boom! Studios is, as per Professor Levitz, “a mid-size comic company and movie producer (such as TWO GUNS with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg and EMPTY MAN currently in production at Fox)” situated in Los Angeles, CA. The Boom! Studios team are all charged with natural charm and charisma, and it made for a fun and enlightening learning experience tolumberjanes02 watch such passionate and zealous people engage with others and each other about comics. Some of their notable works include two-time Eisner Award winner Lumberjanes (one of the writers/cover artists for the series, the talented and supremely chill Kat Leyh, did signings and cover art commissions the whole convention at the Boom! booth), Adventure Time, Over the Garden Wall, Mouse Guard, Rust, and Joyride among so many other titles across genres.

Besides teaching the Publishing Comics and Graphic Novels course at Pace and having an extensive history working in the business of comics, Professor Levtiz also currently holds a position as board member of Boom! Studios. When asked about his position and the relationship Boom! has with Pace, Professor Levitz said, “I’ve been on their board for the past few years, and have had the opportunity to connect a number of my Pace students with them to work at New York Comic Con, giving the students a first hand experience of the publisher experience at the convention.”

“One of the real pluses of Pace’s approach in the MS in Publishing program,” Professor Levitz continued, “is the practical connections we teachers can provide. I’ve seen my students intern at New York-based comic companiesscreen-shot-2016-10-19-at-12-14-20-pm as well as in unusual opportunities like this one.  These first tastes of publishing are invaluable for the students deciding which branches of publishing really interest them, and making contacts that can lead to long term career paths.”

As publishing students, this volunteer opportunity provided a great peek at how truly experienced and knowledgeable those who work in the comic industry have to be, which would have been more difficult to grasp otherwise. Comic Con is a great place to meet artistic people with similar interests and share fan culture in a way that isn’t recreated in many other places or for any other artistic mediums.

End of 2015 Roundup

Pace logo 2The Spring 2015 semester has been a very busy one for the MS in Publishing program.

The first event was a Student Appreciation Dinner held on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 163 Williams St.  The event’s purpose was reflective of its name: an evening dedicated to celebrating the success and hard work of the MS in Publishing students.  It was an evening of celebration and good food and conversation.

In attendance were many Pace University officials including Uday Sukhatme, Provost and Executive VP of Academic Affairs, Nira Herrmann, the Dean of Dyson College, Eugenia Hayes, the Director of Development for Dyson College, Maria Iacullo-Bird, the Assistant Dean of Grad Programs, Susan Ford, the University Director of Graduate Admissions, and Professor Sherman Raskin, the Chair of the MS in Publishing program. Faculty members Manuela Soares, Jodylynn Bachiman, Xiao-Chaun Lian, Andrea Baron, and  Paul Levitz were also in attendance alongside some new faculty including Rich Johnson and Kevin CallahanClick here to view MS in Publishing Faculty bios!

Both David Delano and Kathy Sandler spoke about their experiences teaching in the program and their dedicated work in the publishing industry. To the students and young professionals in attendance who are getting ready to make their debuts, they offered words of advice and encouragement. Harry Wang and Ram Katri, recipients of the 2015 Edgell and Littleford scholarships, spoke about the opportunities that the Publishing program has provided for them, and Melanie Mitzman, Imprint Marketing Manager at Gallery/Pocket Books, shared with attendees her role in the industry and how her education in the program prepared her for that role.

Student Appreciation Dinner
Students at the dinner.

Current students and alumni of the program also made up most of the audience, which included over 70 people.  We are very fortunate to have such a dynamic and successful group of alumni (see our alumni interviews here), who frequently contribute to the Publishing program by attending events, teaching in the program, mentoring students and assisting them in their job and internship searches.  This event provided students with a wonderful opportunity to network and to learn more about opportunities for employment within the publishing industry.

On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, students, faculty, and friends of the MS in Publishing program were invited to the Spring 2015 David Pecker Lecture. It was an honor to have Professor Paul Levitz serve as the David Pecker Distinguished Professor for the 2014-2015 academic year. Formerly president and publisher of DC Comics and presently teaching Publishing Comics and Graphic Novels and Publishing Transmedia at Pace University, Professor Levitz is a comic fan, editor, writer, and executive. He is currently working on a book on Will Eisner and the birth of the graphic novel for Abrams Comic Arts.
Professor Levitz has been in the comic book business as a writer and editor for more than 35 years, and has been in part responsible for the discovery of writers like Marv Wolfman and Alan Moore, and artists like George PérezKeith Giffen, and John Byrne.

Titlecomp
Titles by Paul Levitz

Professor Levitz presented a lecture titled, The Era of Visual Information. Professor Raskin, the Chair of the MS in Publishing program, gave Professor Levitz a warm welcome and thanked him for his support of the program.

“We expect everything to be visual now,” said Levitz, detailing the rise of a visually driven society. “We are living in the era of visual information and visual communication, and as publishers we need to acknowledge that. More, we need to be prepared to accomplish that. Further, we need to advocate that.” Professor Levitz reminded attendees that the growing interest in visual content is not going to go away any time soon, and as such, publishers need to consider how to approach their field in a way that draws newer generations to storytelling.

Sherman Raskin (L) and Paul Levitz (R)
Sherman Raskin (L) and Paul Levitz (R)

The tools that allow laymen to create content are readily available, and as they continue to develop, more opportunities become available to a wider range of people. New avenues for curating and publishing content are emerging, and Professor Levitz presented a challenge to those in the industry: “We are obliged, as publishers, to find the best ways to connect our creators with the community that is interested in their work. We are obliged, as publishers, to be effective in presenting their work with the widest variety of forms and tools possible.”

The words of Professor Levitz are an urgent reminder to both those just starting in publishing and those who are already an active part to embrace the challenges that the changing publishing and media landscape are presenting. It is our responsibility to engage and present the work of authors and artists in a way that is most meaningful to our audiences and culture.

Interview with Paul Levitz, David Pecker Distinguished Visiting Professor for the 2014-2015 Academic Year

paullevitzIt is an honor to have Paul Levitz serving as the David Pecker Distinguished Professor for the 2014-2015 academic year.  Mr. Levitz is a comic fan, editor, writer, and executive.  He formerly was president and publisher of DC Comics and presently teaches Publishing Comics and Graphic Novels and Publishing Transmedia at Pace University.  He is currently working on a book on Will Eisner and the birth of the graphic novel for Abrams Comic Arts.

To read Professor Levitz full biography, click here.

His first lecture will take place tomorrow, Thursday, October 30, 2014 at Pace University, 163 Williams St, 18th floor, from 6-8p.m., where he will be discussing how we as publishers define our mission in an era when our own audiences are constantly connected: to each other and to the flow of raw data, old and new.

Professor Jane Denning had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Levitz as he assumes his new role.   The pair discussed what he hopes to accomplish as the David Pecker Distinguished Professor as well as some advice he has to offer to current Pace M.S. in Publishing students.

Prof. Denning:  Hi Paul, thank you for agreeing to do this interview!  Congratulations on being named the Visiting David Pecker Distinguished Professor for the 2014-2015 academic year.  What do you hope to accomplish this year at Pace?

Prof. Levitz:  Thanks, Jane.  I’d like to extend my reach to the students who aren’t able to take my two courses.  I haven’t had the courage to do online teaching, so I miss out on a fair number of the program’s students, and hopefully the lectures will be available to them.

Legion of SuperheroesProf. Denning: As the Visiting David Pecker Distinguished Professor, you are expected to give two lectures throughout the course of the year.  What do you want students to take away from these lectures?  Any pearls of wisdom you can impart for us now?

Prof. Levitz:  I don’t know if they count as pearls of wisdom, but I’m exploring the future of publishing models in my first lecture, since the world around us is changing so rapidly.  One of the points I make is that publishing has to move from a banking model to more of a venture capital approach…but to make sense out of that you probably have to listen to the whole talk.
Prof. Denning: Many of our students here at Pace have varied interests within the world of publishing.  When you were first starting out in the industry, what prompted you to pursue the publishing of comics and graphic novels?

Prof. Levitz: Comics is a very unusual field in its accessibility, and even more so when I was a kid.  Because of the structure of comic conventions and the zine world, I was able to get to know most of the industry’s creative people while I was in high school.  That’s not possible today, and would have been impossible in the ‘70s if I had made a similar effort in other publishing worlds that I loved, from sf to mysteries to the magazine field.

The Golden Age of DC ComicsProf. Denning:  As the President and Publisher of DC Comics for eight years you have a unique perspective on the industry, are there any recent developments/trends in the comic book industry that you’ve noticed?  Where do you think comics and graphic novels are headed given that so many beloved characters are being brought to life on the big screen (i.e. The Amazing Spider-man, Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World)?
Prof. Levitz: The movies bring a lot of fresh capital to the comics field and its creators, but it’s much more interesting to me to watch the explosion of new subjects and genres that are being explored in graphic novels.  In Japan, the manga market is about a third of their publishing industry, compared to the 2% of ours that is comics-driven.  The wide range of subjects for manga is part of that, and I’m hopeful that as our subject range continues to increase, so will our share of publishing.

Prof. Denning:  If a student is interested in the comic book industry, what is the best way to break in?  Should they be attending Comic Con?

Prof. Levitz: Comic conventions are great places to learn about the field, and you don’t have to start with the giant shows.  Smaller events like MoCCA Fest, here in New York, or Comic Art Brooklyn, are great ways to get a taste of the avant garde of comics…and full of young people with so much in common with our students.  The energy is amazing.   And another approach is simply to hit a great comic shop, and start talking to the folks behind the counter.  Even more than indie bookstores, comic shops tend to have passionate fans of the field working there.

Prof. Denning:  As our students gear up to enter the workforce, what sort of skills should they really develop while in the program so they can embark upon a successful career in publishing, whether in editorial, marketing, sales, or production or any other aspect of the business?

World's FinestProf. Levitz: Learn all the technical skills they can: photoshop, in design, programs for e-book creation, and enough accounting for self-defense.  Use your social media time to see how publishers and authors function in that space, and think about how it can be done better—so many of our students’ first jobs are social media-related now.  Learn how publishing companies think: that’s one of the virtues of having professors who have functioned in the industry.  Develop the habits of a publishing person: don’t browse looking for books you like, stalk a bookstore for knowledge, paying attention to which companies are publishing which titles, what seems to be selling, and watch how people make their selections.   And develop networking skills: the people you meet in this program will include folks whose career paths will intertwine with yours.

Attention Students and Alumni–Please Mark Your Calendars

September 10, 2014

Dear Students and Colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to invite you to the David Pecker lecture presented by Paul Levitz, David Pecker Distinguished Visiting Professor of Publishing for the 2014-2015 academic year.  The title of his lecture is “The Era of Constant Connection.”  Mr. Levitz will explore how we as publishers define our mission in an era when our own audiences are constantly connected: to each other and to the flow of raw data, old and new.

paullevitzMr. Levitz is a comic fan, editor, writer, and executive.  He formerly was president and publisher of DC Comics and presently teaches Publishing Comics and Graphic Novels and Publishing Transmedia at Pace University.  He is currently working on a book on Will Eisner and the birth of the graphic novel for Abrams Comic Arts.  It is an honor to have Mr. Levitz serving as the David Pecker Distinguished Professor for the 2014-2015 academic year.

His first lecture will take place on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at Pace University, 163 Williams St, 18th floor, from 6-8p.m.  We would appreciate your response as early as possible to assure you a place at this important event.  Please RSVP to puboffice@pace.edu no later than Monday, October 13, 2014.

 

David Pecker Lecture

Thursday, October 30, 2014, 6 to 8 pm

163 William St, 18th floor

RSVP puboffice@pace.edu by October 13, 2014

 

I look forward to seeing you on October 30, 2014.

 

Sincerely,

Sherman Raskin, Director MS in Publishing