Hot on the tail of last week’s Marvel / Disney merger comes news of a major shake-up at DC.

[Newsarama]: The news today that a major restructuring at DC Comics would bring the company under direct control of Warner Bros. Pictures has the comic book industry almost as astounded as they were after Disney announced last week that it was acquiring Marvel Comics…

…The restructuring of DC Comics creates a new division called “DC Entertainment,” overseen by Warner Bros. executive Diane Nelson. The move was explicitly described as giving Warner the ability to market the DC characters across many platforms, although most in the comics industry simply see it as bringing the comic book side of DC’s characters into a closer synergy with Hollywood. (continued)

Read the entire post.

Along with the news comes another bombshell. Paul Levitz will be stepping down from his role as publisher and president, a role he’s had since 2002.

CBR has his resignation letter:

[CBR]: Dear Friends,
Thank you for your efforts, your support, and your contributions to DC Comics over the long years that I’ve had the honor of serving as part of DC’s leadership team. Together, our staff, creative contributors, readers, retailers and business partners have helped bring us to the beginning of what looks to be a new golden age for comics in the United States, and one that will bring more respect for the talent and the medium. (continued)

Also, on CBR, more details of the restructuring:

[CBR]: Deadline.com’s Nikki Finke reported Wednesday that DC Comics will undergo a restructuring as parent company Warner Bros. takes a more active interest in the traditionally autonomous comic book publisher.

According to Finke, Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov will make DC his top priority. Reporting directly to Robinov will be Diane Nelson, a WB marketer who most famously managed the Harry Potter franchise for the media giant. It seems she is to do the same for DC Comics. Nelson is familiar with DC Comics from her time at Warner Premiere, the company behind the DC-based direct-to-DVD films released since 2006. (continued)

Incidentally, yesterday, Brian Cronin had a fascinating piece on the history of the relationship between DC and Warner Bros.:

[CBR]: It is often said that DC Comics was purchased by Warner Brothers. After all, DC is currently a subsidiary of Warner Communications, Inc. which is, itself, a subsidiary of Time Warner, Inc., a massive media conglomerate.

However, that’s not how it actually happened.

It really all began with, of all things, a funeral home. (continued)

Newsarama had a very nice wrap-up of Levitz’s career.

[NEWSARAMA]:Paul Levitz was one of the first in the industry to get his start through the winding roads of fandom. Levitz, along with writer Paul Kupperberg, assumed editorship of the fan-zine The Comic Reader. While 3,500 readers wasn’t huge back in the early 1970s, it was enough to gain some necessary connections to the business — which soon paid off in a big way, as he became a freelancer for DC at the end of 1972. Of course, it wasn’t the most glamorous job in the world — he was working the letters page for Joe Orlando — but he worked his way up the ladder, even creating DC’s own in-house fan-zine, Amazing World of DC Comics. By his 20th birthday, Levitz had become the editor of Adventure Comics, the home of the Legion of Super-Heroes. (continued)

Levitz and Nelson discuss the new DC Entertainment:

[Newsarama]: If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that DC characters like Superman and Batman are getting more attention from Warner Bros. these days. But Diane Nelson, the president of the newly formed DC Entertainment, said attention does not necessarily translate to creative control.

“There is a reason that I am not, nor could I, take on the role of publisher moving forward, nor do I intend to,” Nelson told Newsarama Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not looking to stick my nose into an area where I’m not needed. What I’m hoping to do, and what this move by the company is about is taking DC as an entity and as a holder of wonderful stories and characters and focusing on it, prioritizing it, and working more effectively with it throughout Warner Bros. and Time-Warner.” (continued)

DC properties in development and/or production at Warner Bros. Entertainment include:

“Human Target” for a mid-season debut on Fox.

“Midnight Mass” for consideration for the 2010-11 TV season.

“Jonah Hex,” starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich.

“The Losers,” starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans.

“The Green Lantern,” recently cast Ryan Reynolds as the titular character. Scheduled for 2011.

“Lobo,” to be directed by Guy Ritchie.

“Green Lantern: First Flight” debuted July 28 as a direct-to DVD release.

“Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” which airs on Cartoon Network.

“Batman: Arkham Asylum” released on August 25 for Xbox 360, PlayStation3 and Games for Windows.