As we reported earlier, layoffs were announced throughout Warner Bros today, with as many as 600 people getting laid off.
While I don’t have all the names of DC staffers who were let go confirmed, two people have separately told me it was “a bloodbath.”
Reports are that a large number of senior staffers were let go, including many senior editorial, marketing and administrative personnel.
Among those we’ve heard are gone: Editor in Chief Bob Harras, SVP Publishing Strategy and Support Services Hank Kanalz, VP Bobbie Chase, and editors Brian Cunningham, Mark Doyle and Andy Khouri. The latter two were key to the Black Label initiative that seemed to be making money, so a bit of a shock.
In addition, VP of Marketing & Creative Services Jonah Weiland has been laid off, I’m told. Word of the layoffs first surfaced publicly in this tweet.
Amid massive layoffs at Warner Bros, I’m getting word of an absolute bloodbath at DC Comics. Bob Harras is apparently gone; so are editors Mark Doyle, Brian Cunningham and Andy Khouri. Jim Lee still with the company, but no longer publisher. DC Collectibles gone entirely.
— Asher Elbein (@asher_elbein) August 10, 2020
While Lee’s position isn’t clear to me yet, his new role may be more of a creative one than a business one, so it could be a title change more in line with his skill set.
Please bear in mind these are just the names I’ve heard multiple times. Many other long term – I’m talking VERY long term – DC employees have also been let go, I’m hearing.
Who is left? Besides Lee, Marie Javins, Michelle Wells and Nancy Spears, among the more prominent names. Fans of Marie Javins – of whom there are many – will undoubtedly be happy to see her ascend in editorial but…not like this, not like this.
It’s also evident that those who had large titles and big salaries are also gone, but such is the way of business in the world.
The end of DC Collectibles, if true, is also huge and telling. While I’m not going to run any more names until I have more concrete information, from everything I’m hearing this is a huge and significant downsizing of DC’s publishing operations that will have huge ripple effects across the entire COVID-scarred comics industry landscape. It’s impossible to see this as anything but a huge sign of disinterest in the comics publishing business by AT&T, WarnerMedia and the Global Brands division. While other WB divisions also faced severe layoffs, losing such a huge swath of the executive leadership at DC is a lot more than just more layoffs.
Among other things, there is also the horrible irony of the timing – in only two weeks Warners will hold DC Fandome, a huge 24 hour “mega, 24-hour, immersive virtual fan experience.” While a lot of DC freelancers were teased for the event, one can grimly picture the crew of surviving DC staffers trying to act happy for this event, while DC’s film and media efforts are promoted…and the comics, the lifeblood of the universe, are left behind.
Business is business, but the ripples of The DC Bloodbath are going to be felt for a while.
We have reached out to DC for comment and will update the story with any further details.
Update: Diane Nelson, former president of DC, has posted the following. It’s kind of how a lot of people are feeling right now.