It’s becoming less and less enticing to work at WarnerMedia. All they do is lay people off. Case in point, the many employees of DC Comics who were shown the door today. Way to stay classy during the worst epidemic of our lifetime Warner Bros.
DC Comics has reportedly experienced a major shake-up, with editor-in-chief Bob Harras and several other editors among the employees laid off and Jim Lee demoted from his publishing role. ComicBook.com has learned that several employees including Harras, Mark Doyle, Brian Cunningham, and Andy Khouri are all out of the publisher. Lee remains at the company, but ComicBook.com has learned that he no longer holds the title of publisher. Lee’s new role will be to act as a liaison between DC and other brands of Warner Media. ComicBook.com has also learned that a new general manager “from the world of esports” is being brought in to lead the division. More cuts are also expected.
The layoffs are part of a wider restructuring at parent company Warner Bros., caused by the entertainment company experiencing huge dips in profits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Warner Bros. has allegedly laid off approximately 600 employees including CFO Kim Williams. As part of this restructure, Warner Bros. is expected to “elevate” HBO Max and expanding its scope globally, which is expected to lead to a shuttering of the DC Universe streaming service.
Two things about this stand out. One we finally have a confirmation that DC Universe is indeed dead and going away. And two, HBO Max’s launch was a total bust. COVID-19 sidelined a lot of shows and specials that were filming and the fact that the streaming service was not available on several streaming platforms (still to this day) hurt the launches’ overall sales.
This news comes on the heels of DC Comics biggest fan event ever, DC Fandome, that is set to take place at the end of August.
COVID-19 might not be the main reason why WarnerMedia is suffering but it did shut down comic book stores and distribution centers which directly effected DC Comics. The epidemic also shut down productions on several DC film and television projects as well as pushed the highly anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 out of its Summer release due to theater being closed.
While DC has announced several high-profile projects like Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Rohrshach, other longterm plans for the company have seemingly been on hold for months, even before the pandemic temporarily shut down the comics direct market.
DC has faced several challenges in recent years, ranging from the unsuccessful launch of a planned Generation event meant to unify the various eras of the DC Universe into a more cohesive continuity to the poor PR related to the company’s Black Label, a “mature” line of comics featuring a mix of in-continuity and out-of-continuity stories. As the company lost market share to rival Marvel Comics, Warner Bros. fired longtime DC Comics publisher Dan DiDio earlier this year. DC has also suffered from mixed performances at the box office, with underperforming movies leading to Geoff Johns, whose career was built on the success of his comics, stepping down as an executive from DC Entertainment. Johns remains a producer for Warner Bros. and co-wrote the screenplay for Wonder Woman 1984.
Hopefully DC Fandome will be a light in the darkness for WB and DC comics…