A lot of think pieces are beginning to come out about the DC upheaval — it’s beginning to be clear that the initial feelings of relief after the first press release were about as accurate as the “We dodged that one!” feelings right after Katrina passed through. As expected, Tom Spurgeon lays out Twelve Initial Questions I Have About DC’s Publishing Moves Announcements and it’s very thorough. Tom writes from the distinct perspective of someone who isn’t immersed in day-to-day DC Kremlinology and yet comes to many of the same conclusions.
When a company spokesman suggested that the LA Times story stating that 20 percent of DC’s 250 or 50 employees would be laid off, was incorrect, he was perhaps half right. Bloomberg News uncovered a NY State Dept. of Labor WARN filing (Worker Adjustment and Retraining) which says that 80 employees will be laid off or relocate. Layoffs will begin on 12/27/2010 and continue through 8/27/2011, according to filer June Martin, SVP Human Resources. A DC spokesman told Bloomberg:
As we head into Day 3 of the Bi-Coastal Era of DC Comics, even bigger organizational changes were announced at Warner Bros. Short version: Time Warner head Jeff Bewkes announced that Warner Bros Chairman/CEO Barry Meyer would be staying on for two years (he had been rumored to be retiring before that) but studio head Alan Horn will be moving along in April 2011. Three men will fill a three-headed president role to replace Horn: Jeff Robinov, the movie guy, Bruce Rosenblum, the TV guy, and Kevin Tsujihara the multimedia/home entertainment guy.
Although this all seems far distant from the traditional comics business, it is all tied in, of course.
With the announcement of the closure of WildStorm imprint at DC and the retiring of the WildStorm name, it isn’t just another in a long list of comics imprints that have ended over the years. In its 18 year run WildStorm has been a vital part of several revolutions in commercial comics, and changed the game in many ways — Rob Liefeld’s post below gives a succinet run down of some of the highlights.
Founded by Jim Lee as one of the original six Image Studios (along with Marc Sillvestri’s Top Cow, Todd McFarlane’s McFarlane Productions, Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios, Jim Valentino’s ShadowLine and Erik Larsen’s Highbrow Entertainment), WildStorm immediately established itself as one of the most commercial, with huge sellers like WildCATS and Gen 13. A series of developing fan favorite artists, including of course Lee himself, but also J. Scott Campbell, Joe Madureira and Humberto Ramos, kept popularity up, while the creator owned Homage imprint delivered such strong properties as Astro City and Leave it To Chance.
Although known first for their art, by the end of the decade, WildStorm was really becoming known for some of the most daring mainstream writing of the period, with genre-defining work by Warren Ellis and Mark Millar, strong adventure material by Jimmy Palmiotti and Ed Brubaker, as well as daring experiments like Automatic Kafka, a book by Joe Casey and Ashley Wood that people are still figuring out.
And then there was America’s Best Comics, an new line of comics written by Alan Moore that would introduce the world to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tom Strong, Promethea and Top Ten, the superhero police procedural. And our favorite, Jack B. Quick, the boy inventor who solved science’s greatest non problems.
Of course, there are dark parts to the legacy as well, all of which will be trotted out and discussed at length, we’re sure. But for now, we asked creators and staff for some of their good memories, and this is what they came back with.
Well, a very very looong week continues for employees of DC Entertainment as each and every person undergoes an interview to explain whether they are staying, going, or getting laid off. Ugh. There is certainly a lot of information and speculation floating around, but it seems unnecessary to play this out on the internet while staff is still being informed.
In the meantime, for observers, this IGN interview with Diane Nelson, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio includes as much information as we’re likely to get for now. While as many questions remain today as there were yesterday, at least there is a plan in place, says Nelson:
Okay, now we know why there’s still unease over all outposts of the DC Entertainment empire today: In the first interview we’ve seen with DC head Diane Nelson, she explains that DC’s staff will be cut by 20%:
Well now, didn’t exactly see this one coming: while everyone has been wondering if WildStorm would become the new DC since they were already on the West Coast…turns out that as of December, WildStorm will be no more. WildStorm titles, licensing and kids comics, all recently coming out of La Jolla, will be turned over to the DC banner.
The Zuda brand is also done for.
Ever since the Big Shake-up last year, both Marvel and DC have been the subject of much speculation regarding moves, with some guessing that Marvel might move to Disney’s offices in White Plains…or to Burbank. However it seems that preserving the Pixar-like independence for Marvel is still a priority, as they are staying in town and merely moving a few blocks uptown.
While an announcement of some kind is expected today about DC’s possible West Coast move, the NY Observer confirms that Marvel is moving to newer uptown offices, , 135 West 50th Street, the same address as Sports Illustrated and EW. The House of Ideas will take over the 60,000 sq. ft. office on October 1 — or…next Friday.
DC Entertainment head Diane Nelson pledged a “no fear” era at DC since announcing changes earlier this year, everyone has been plenty nervous ever since she took over. The reason? DC’s proposed move to the West Coast. Will it happen and when? That’s been the question on everyone’s mind.
Word on the street is that next week, the answer to “Will DC be moving to the West Coast?” will finally be revealed, and an article in The Hollywood Reporter seems to back that up.
The business news website ICv2 isn’t known for being hyperbolic. So when Milton Griepp said that this month’s comics sales had “plummeted” everyone leaped up, screaming, knocking over chairs and spilling drinks everywhere.
Sales of comics and graphic novels through Diamond Comic Distributors dropped substantially in August with periodical comics falling 17% and graphic novels down 21%. There wasn’t a single comic title even close to the 100,000 in August.
If it weren’t for the continued strength of SCOTT PILGRIM trades, the GN drop would have been even more grisly. On the periodical side, there was no big book, but, said ICv2, Certainly “the lack of one big title can’t account for everything.”
The grim details immediately set the punditocracy to arms, perhaps sniffing the hint of burning smoke in Tom Spurgeon’s Doomapocalyptigeddon which he descried from his aerie high in the Misty Mountains, the same distant smell of charring paper and brimstone that we’ve been picking up for the last few weeks.
ICv2 has its first comprehensive interview with DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio since the publisher restructured in February. The interview runs in three parts. There’s a hint that some of the CMX titles that weren’t finished may get picked up by a different publisher, perhaps Dark Horse, and an acknowledgment of the need to keep prices down from DiDio:
TweetIts no secret that newly installed DC Co-publisher Jim Lee and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns are two of the more charismatic and popular comics creators out there, and there is every reason to believe they will continue to be charismatic comics creators-turned-executives. Sean T. Collins has a roundup of Johns’ “charm offensive” twitter hatchet […]
TweetIt was a busy day for DC Entertainment’s new executive team, and they were made available to many press outlets. Although a few key themes emerged (digital, digital, digital) various questions were asked in various places. Here are, perhaps some of the ones on everyone’s mind. So now, how is this all going to work? […]