WarnerMedia laid off hundreds of workers on Monday, and one of the hardest hit divisions was DC Comics, the intellectual property foundation that much of the company’s other success was based on.
According to multiple published reports at The Hollywood Reporter, The Beat, ComicBook.com and others, Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras, Executive Editor Mark Doyle, Vice President of Global Publishing Initiatives Bobbie Chase, and Senior Story Editor Brian Cunningham were among those who lost their jobs. Doyle oversaw the successful rollout of DC’s Black Label publishing initiative, and Chase headed up DC’s extremely successful young adult graphic novel line, in case you were wondering if there was any rhyme or reason to the layoffs. Jim Lee, who until very recently held the title of publisher, will continue in his duties as Chief Creative Officer (UPDATE: Lee still holds the title of publisher).
Harras had come under renewed scrutiny in recent months for steering the DC ship through multiple questionable creative u-turns and for shielding known harassers and abusers like Eddie Berganza and Scott Lobdell for prolonged periods of time. However, in the words of another company’s famous archer, “not like this.”
Approximately one third of DC’s editorial staff was laid off, along with much of the staff of the DC Universe app, while DC Collectibles was wound down entirely. It’s difficult not to read this as AT&T sending signals that they are no longer interested in the comics DC puts out. Earlier in the month, speculation ran rampant as popular DC Universe shows like Harley Quinn, Doom Patrol, and Titans changed twitter handles to remove references to the streaming service.
Others included in the layoffs are long-time DC staffers like Senior Vice President of Publishing Services Hank Kanalz. Jonah Weiland, founder of Comic Book Resources who had joined the DC team in mid-2019, was also let go. ComicBook is reporting that AT&T’s corporate scrying pool has decreed that eSports are now a thing that the kids like, so they are looking to install a manager from the eSports world to head a comic book publishing company.
AT&T’s disinterest comes amid attempts to drum up fan excitement for DC Fandome, a not-quite-comic con experience coming in two weeks. Already announced was the games-as-service Suicide Squad game that curled one finger on a monkey’s paw. And Injustice 3 was teased in the leadup to Fandome with several Watchmen references to excite the almost nobody who wished for Nite Owl to be in a Mortal Kombat game full of microtransactions. Fandome also promises to delve into the secrets of the Arrowverse, give fans a sneak peak at the cursed Snyder Cut, and set up a line of empty chairs to talk about publishing initiatives, probably.
It’s important to keep the people affected by these corporate actions in mind as events like this unfold. We at Den of Geek would like to extend our sincerest sympathies to the people laid off by AT&T at this horrible time except Bob Harras, and we’d ask that you do the same.