Two Great Events feat. Professor Paul Levitz

You may have taken his Comic Books or Transmedia classes, but have you ever seen Professor Levitz in action? With over 30 years at DC Comics, ending as President and Publisher, Professor Levitz truly knows his stuff. He’s even written his own mega-book, 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Check out his full bio on the Faculty and Staff Spotlight page here.

March 1 – 7 is Will Eisner Week, and on Monday, March 3 at 7 p.m., Professor Levitz will be reading from his upcoming book on Will Eisner, Champion of The Graphic Novel. He will also be discussing Eisner during “Will Eisner Week.”  The event will take place at Parsons School of Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room.

On Tuesday, March 4 at 7 p.m., Professor Levitz will be moderating a panel titled “Celebrating Al Jaffree.” The panel will feature Jaffee, the inventor of MAD Magazine’s Fold-In, Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, and who started his career working for Will Eisner. MAD cartoonist Peter Kuper (SPY VS. SPY, WORLD WAR III) will be joining the panel, as well as MAD art director and Ruben Award winning cartoonist, Sam Viviano. This panel will take place in the Butler Library at Columbia University. See more information about the event here.

Check out all of the “Will Eisner Week” events here.

China Publishing Group Training: Week 1

Executives of the China Publishing Group completed their first week of professional development at Pace University. One of the week’s guest speakers was Mike Shatzkin (pictured left), founder and CEO of the Idea Logical Company and co-founder of Publishers Launch Conferences.

Mr. Shatzkin overviewed what he sees as drivers of industry change, among them the unbundling of the value chain, the diffusion of publishing capabilities into organizations of all kinds, and the emergence of businesses that specialize in a particular genre, market, or capability.

Those themes echoed in the presentations of other speakers–Paul Levitz of DC Comics, Clare Toohey of CriminalElement.com, Rick Joyce of Perseus Books Group,  Dan Blank of We Grow Media, Boris Hughes of HP, and Jason Epstein of On Demand Books.

The week ended with a lively tour of DC Comics (including the offices of MAD magazine) led by Pace M.S. in Publishing alumnus and professor, Thomas Di Mascio.

 

By: Prof. Kirsten Sandberg

Faculty in the Spotlight

Faculty in the Spotlight: Prof. Paul Levitz

 

Seemed like a good idea—start the new class on Transmedia and the Future of Publishing with eight dirty words.  Okay, it’s one more than it took George Carlin, but there’s been some inflation since 1972, hasn’t there?

 

It’s educational; unlike Carlin’s selection, these are words that at least some of the students don’t have in their vocabulary.  It’s on point to the theme of the course; these are words that describe the changes that are wracking publishing and will play a role in its future.  And like any effective use of a dirty word or two, it rachets up the stakes of the conversation.

 

Eight dirty words:

 

Decentralization, Distintermediation, Fragmentation, Branding, Curation,

Gatekeepers, Transmedia and Transcreation.

 

The underlying lesson is that students working on their M.S. in Publishing in this fine twenty-first century need to think about their fundamental skills more than the fixed form which is the end product containing their work.  Skills like discovering, nurturing and shaping the work of creative people; managing the process by which work is created and made accessible to an audience; motivating and connecting an audience; and ultimately doing it all within financial disciplines that enable it to be done for the benefit of all concerned.  These skills will survive and thrive, even if the jobs they’re performed in won’t necessarily be labeled editor, production manager, publicist, or accountant (okay, odds are the accountant label will continue long after all the others, I concede).  People may choose to get their entertainment and information on screens, or even holographic glasses, rather than paper neatly bound in a printing plant, but they’ll still need us along the way.

 

So let’s look at some words rarely heard in the halls of book and magazine publishers, where the worst dirty word used to be “Returns.”  Let’s explore the forces changing around us, and avoid the textbook error long taught in M.B.A. programs down the hall: the moment when railroads decided they were in the railroad business, not the transportation business.  Welcome to the future, complete with a new set of dirty words.