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CSBG Archive

Paul Levitz’s Back Pages

Every day this month I will share with you the first (at least as far as I know) U.S. professional work by a notable comic book creator. Here is an archive of the creators who have been featured so far.

Today’s featured creator is Paul Levitz!


Paul Levitz is best known for his work behind the scenes for DC Comics, where he was the Publisher from 1989 through 2009 and the President from 2002 through 2009. He is also well known for his tremendous work on the Legion of Super-Heroes, which he recently returned to work on as the writer of their current ongoing series.

Levitz got his start at DC Comics when he was just a teenager in the early 1970s. He was a popular writer for a fanzine, The Comic Reader, and through his work on the magazine he started up relationships with the folks at DC. Eventually, Joe Orlando began to give him freelance work. Mostly low key stuff, like a text page here, an introduction there (I’m not sharing those with you because, well, that’s not particularly fun) plus some mystery stories that I don’t know about (what issues, etc.) until eventually, at the end of 1974, Levitz got a break writing superhero comics.

He wrote a story for Adventure Comics #437…

and then the beginning of a run of stories in Weird Mystery Tales, beginning with #15…

Once he begun at DC, he never stopped, and nearly 40 years later, Levitz is still there, still putting out quality comics!


How did the Weird Mystery Tale end???

Dang, I hate it when there’s no denouement! I wanted to see how Henry’s plan turned out.

Those 70’s Aquaman stories would later define the character for me. Great stuff! Paul has had one heck of a career in the biz.

I was wondering if anyone knew what bill sienkiewicz did before comics. I bought a frame at a thrift store that had an awful picture of a Teddy bear riding a wooden horse. The artist signature was b. Sienkiewicz. I thought it was funny. I found a listing on eBay for a similar piece by the same artist: http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Picture-Bear-Enjoying-His-Honey-B-Sienkiewicz-/200581420657?pt=Art_Prints&hash=item2eb3959671#ht_2008wt_689
Could this be Comic book artist, bill sienkiewicz, or just some artist who happens to have the same last name? I don’t know how common that name is, but I figure it can’t be THAT common.

Good choice Brian!

That Aquaman story was also one of Mike Grell’s earliest assignments.

The Aquaman story brings to mind something that would make a good Legend Revealed: When did they start using concentric circles emanating from Aquaman to denote he was using his telepathic power to communicate with sea life? Was it a result of the ’60s Filmation cartoons?

The poisoning works as planned. Dude buries his wife in a swamp. Next day, he goes out to a nice restaurant to celebrate, discovers he can’t taste the food. He panics, figures his wife suspected something and shared the sauce. He can’t discover an antidote, so he goes to the doctor, who forces him to confess before saving his life.

Turns out, he just had a head cold from being in the swamp at night.

Here’s a quote from Paul, via the GCD page for that issue (Adventure 437) at http://www.comics.org/issue/28193/#184934:
Paul Levitz, in an interview with Rik Offenberger published at ComicsBulletin on August 20, 2003, talks about this story; his first solo super-hero writer assignment: “My first stories were actually in Weird Mystery and Ghost Castle; I only “graduated” to Aquaman in Adventure thanks to Bill Finger. Bill had come in on a Friday to deliver, and was supposed to have two scripts, but only had one done. The check he wanted to pick up was for both, and although Joe [Orlando] wasn’t in, I wasn’t going to hold back a paycheck for Batman’s co-creator… even though Bill was legendary for delivering late and having excuses. But Bill never delivered that story because he died, and by the rules of the time, I was responsible for making up the pages. I asked Joe to let me do something more fun than a mystery story since I had to do it free, and he let me have the Aquaman assignment, and I got to work with Mike Grell. What fun!”

@TNT: I think Sienkiewicz is a common Polish name, but the teddy bear artist is not the same as the comic book artist.

Is this authors name – B. Sienkiewicz … is he the same as who paints the Bear riding on horse / holding Honey pictures? I have an original and cant’ find any more information on him.

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