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Thread: Layoffs at DC?

  1. #91
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I've only skimmed the articles so I may have missed details, and while I have a business degree, I don't deal with corporations and they have a different set of rules for some things. That said, my knee-jerk reaction (having not taken any time to deeply consider anything) is this;

    All the print stuff is being rolled into a single production arm, so the people who make the kid books, the YA novels and OGN's, and monthly floppies will all be under the same chain of command. That's not a bad thing, in and of itself. We're being told the floppy line will be cut down, so the monthly books featuring the Big Names will stick around while most everything else gets cut. So books like Action, Flash, 'Tec, and Wonder Woman will remain while titles like Outsiders and Hawkman will be cut. Titles like Superman/Batman, Supergirl, and Nightwing might survive on a case-by-case basis.

    So that basically means we won't have more Batman books on the shelf, but there will be less of everything else. Hell, if I read it right and they cut 40% of the line, it likely means less Batman too, though Bat books and books with Batman in them will likely end up as a larger percentage of DC's output than what we have already.

    DC's creator bullpen is going to shrink, and only the best selling creators or those who get in good with the boss will remain. So people like Snyder and Taylor and Bendis are probably sticking around, but lesser known creators are likely gonna be left behind.

    When the dust settles, this might mean more DC focused OGN's, novels, and kids books, and while the usual suspects like the Trinity will still see plenty of action here, the loss of the floppies likely means we'll see a little extra effort put into secondary characters; the company won't want to leave these characters in limbo for too long and many IP's have already proven they have value in these non-LCS markets, like Raven who had a OGN that sold quite well in bookstores. So, we might lose (for example) Nightwing's monthly book but may get a Nightwing OGN instead.

    For the immediate future, we'll see less of everything. In my level of business you don't make cuts like this and then launch a big new initiative or keep the same number of products in the system, and I imagine it's the same with the big corporations. But once the economy stops falling apart, DC/WB/AT&T will likely push out as much new content as they can get away with, with a wider range of characters and IP's so they can start recovering their bank accounts.

    Doyle being let go likely means the end of Black Label, but we may still see some books *like* Black Label in the bookstores, as OGN's.

    Jim Lee's new position sounds like a consultation to me, I feel like he'll be there to help ensure the bookstore people understand what the LCS audience wants.

    I suspect we'll see a push into digital books, as there are a lot of cost saving measures there and you can potentially reach a much wider audience. At a guess, they'll handle this differently than they have their previous digital-first books; that's a market that plateaued quickly and remains well below floppy and bookstore sales, so if DC wants to succeed here they need to change their game a lot.

    I think the next year or two (maybe longer) will have fewer books on the shelf at both the LCS and bookstore levels. We'll probably see a spike in digital first/only titles in 8-12 months, but still fewer comics than we've been used to.

    It won't be the end of the world, or the end of comics. Not even the end of DC. They've survived implosions before and will survive this one, if only because they're so valuable as larger media adaptations. But the next year or more is gonna be pretty lean with less to pick from. This may be a massive blow to the LCS, but that'll depend on what other publishers do and whether or not DC fans keep spending money at their shops. The LCS is already in a tough position after quarantine, but if we keep spending as much money as we normally do, the LCS will probably manage to muddle on. If we don't replace our DC pull with other titles then the LCS likely won't survive.

    And....I dunno. This isn't my kind of business and I need time to consider all the possible ramifications. But I wouldn't say the sky is falling. DC is not about to be bought by Disney, they're not going to stop making comics completely. They're just going to make a lot fewer comics, likely try to branch into healthier markets with better profit margins, and put more work on fewer shoulders. Focus will continue to shift from the floppy market to digital and bookstores. Basically, this is just the next phase of the trajectory we've been on this year.
    Hope you're right, I mostly buy the classics, minis, Black Label, YA, Kids, OGN stuff, so if more focus goes into those kinds of stories done as OGNs at bookstores/Amazon, I'll be okay. I don't follow the monthlies. And it is a healthier market with a larger audience.

  2. #92
    Extraordinary Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeb View Post
    It might be as simple as hitting a specific cost-reduction figure. Sometimes there’s no more strategy than that.

    I feel terrible for the folks affected.
    You mean so they can focus on the core titles, the experimental lines are cut?

  3. #93
    Astonishing Member Gaastra's Avatar
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    The ya books are some of their trade best sellers. The ya raven and wonder woman trades were huge hits. So getting rid of it's head sound really dumb. Plus dogman and guts stepped on batman like a bug in sales.

    One piece is on the verge of passing batman in world sales also. (and if you count it's weekly mag it did pass him!)

    This thing is just a big mess.

    As cold as that wounds-TRUE.

    How many have bought a book that they HATED to just whine about here? Or Twitter? Or Youtube?

    While books like Wonder Twins or Far Sector got ignored?
    The "flash is a killer" story was hated. Everyone yelled about how awful it was and screamed about all the deaths and wally as a killer. But they ran out and got the next issue anyways every month.

    The sales were great for it. If you hate it don't buy it or you will get more of it. It's that simple.
    Last edited by Gaastra; 08-10-2020 at 07:39 PM.

  4. #94
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeb View Post
    It might be as simple as hitting a specific cost-reduction figure. Sometimes there’s no more strategy than that.

    I feel terrible for the folks affected.
    Could be. Which is a dumb way to do it, but corporations aren't that smart.

  5. #95
    Extraordinary Member Holt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    You mean so they can focus on the core titles, the experimental lines are cut?
    Probably. Back when Marvel almost got the DC license in the 80s, they were gonna whittle down the output to a select few big guns like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Teen Titans. Would not be surprised if DC's monthly line (if there is one at all) ends up looking similar.

  6. #96
    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Somebody a while back said that DC's sales numbers were almost down to pre-Crisis levels. That's not good. Unless there is some major COIE style reboot on the horizon, I don't see how they survive on their own.
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  7. #97
    Incredible Member Jadeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    You mean so they can focus on the core titles, the experimental lines are cut?
    With the pandemic, it may not even be that well thought out. They may just be cutting whatever isn’t making enough money and demanding $X in cost reductions. Long-term strategy may be taking a backseat to short-term savings.

  8. #98
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeb View Post
    With the pandemic, it may not even be that well thought out. They may just be cutting whatever isn’t making enough money and demanding $X in cost reductions. Long-term strategy may be taking a backseat to short-term savings.
    That's my main fear in this. No plan, no strategy, just cuts to line some shareholders' pockets in the short term during a time of financial recession.

  9. #99
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I've only skimmed the articles so I may have missed details, and while I have a business degree, I don't deal with corporations and they have a different set of rules for some things. That said, my knee-jerk reaction (having not taken any time to deeply consider anything) is this;

    All the print stuff is being rolled into a single production arm, so the people who make the kid books, the YA novels and OGN's, and monthly floppies will all be under the same chain of command. That's not a bad thing, in and of itself. We're being told the floppy line will be cut down, so the monthly books featuring the Big Names will stick around while most everything else gets cut. So books like Action, Flash, 'Tec, and Wonder Woman will remain while titles like Outsiders and Hawkman will be cut. Titles like Superman/Batman, Supergirl, and Nightwing might survive on a case-by-case basis.

    So that basically means we won't have more Batman books on the shelf, but there will be less of everything else. Hell, if I read it right and they cut 40% of the line, it likely means less Batman too, though Bat books and books with Batman in them will likely end up as a larger percentage of DC's output than what we have already.

    DC's creator bullpen is going to shrink, and only the best selling creators or those who get in good with the boss will remain. So people like Snyder and Taylor and Bendis are probably sticking around, but lesser known creators are likely gonna be left behind.

    When the dust settles, this might mean more DC focused OGN's, novels, and kids books, and while the usual suspects like the Trinity will still see plenty of action here, the loss of the floppies likely means we'll see a little extra effort put into secondary characters; the company won't want to leave these characters in limbo for too long and many IP's have already proven they have value in these non-LCS markets, like Raven who had a OGN that sold quite well in bookstores. So, we might lose (for example) Nightwing's monthly book but may get a Nightwing OGN instead.

    For the immediate future, we'll see less of everything. In my level of business you don't make cuts like this and then launch a big new initiative or keep the same number of products in the system, and I imagine it's the same with the big corporations. But once the economy stops falling apart, DC/WB/AT&T will likely push out as much new content as they can get away with, with a wider range of characters and IP's so they can start recovering their bank accounts.

    Doyle being let go likely means the end of Black Label, but we may still see some books *like* Black Label in the bookstores, as OGN's.

    Jim Lee's new position sounds like a consultation to me, I feel like he'll be there to help ensure the bookstore people understand what the LCS audience wants.

    I suspect we'll see a push into digital books, as there are a lot of cost saving measures there and you can potentially reach a much wider audience. At a guess, they'll handle this differently than they have their previous digital-first books; that's a market that plateaued quickly and remains well below floppy and bookstore sales, so if DC wants to succeed here they need to change their game a lot.

    I think the next year or two (maybe longer) will have fewer books on the shelf at both the LCS and bookstore levels. We'll probably see a spike in digital first/only titles in 8-12 months, but still fewer comics than we've been used to.

    It won't be the end of the world, or the end of comics. Not even the end of DC. They've survived implosions before and will survive this one, if only because they're so valuable as larger media adaptations. But the next year or more is gonna be pretty lean with less to pick from. This may be a massive blow to the LCS, but that'll depend on what other publishers do and whether or not DC fans keep spending money at their shops. The LCS is already in a tough position after quarantine, but if we keep spending as much money as we normally do, the LCS will probably manage to muddle on. If we don't replace our DC pull with other titles then the LCS likely won't survive.

    And....I dunno. This isn't my kind of business and I need time to consider all the possible ramifications. But I wouldn't say the sky is falling. DC is not about to be bought by Disney, they're not going to stop making comics completely. They're just going to make a lot fewer comics, likely try to branch into healthier markets with better profit margins, and put more work on fewer shoulders. Focus will continue to shift from the floppy market to digital and bookstores. Basically, this is just the next phase of the trajectory we've been on this year.
    Good analysis as always Ascended. Do you think DC will continue to rely on their current talent on the main books then, or could we see creative shake-ups coming? Bendis is almost certainly losing one of the Superbooks if not both soon. Tomasi’s Tec sales have been weak so I could see him getting booted off as well. Frankly I’m not even sure who the top selling talent at DC would be right now. Snyder, King, Tynion, and Bendis (maybe)?

  10. #100
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    Good analysis as always Ascended. Do you think DC will continue to rely on their current talent on the main books then, or could we see creative shake-ups coming? Bendis is almost certainly losing one of the Superbooks if not both soon. Tomasi’s Tec sales have been weak so I could see him getting booted off as well. Frankly I’m not even sure who the top selling talent at DC would be right now. Snyder, King, Tynion, and Bendis (maybe)?
    Yang could see a rise to prominence thanks to Superman Smashes the Klan doing so well.

  11. #101
    Extraordinary Member DragonPiece's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    Somebody a while back said that DC's sales numbers were almost down to pre-Crisis levels. That's not good. Unless there is some major COIE style reboot on the horizon, I don't see how they survive on their own.
    Honestly, it seemed clear there was a relaunch already being planned for early next year. I'm surprised WB didn't wait for that to happen before doing these layoffs.

  12. #102
    (Formerly ilash) Ilan Preskovsky's Avatar
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    Man, this really sucks for all the people who are losing their jobs in these already extremely difficult times. Everything else to be said on the subject is of secondary importance to that fact.

    That said, I assume DC Universe will be rolled into HBO Max with these changes (and I certainly welcome a more international scope for HBO Max) but the big thing here is that we might really be looking at the end of DC doing print periodical comics. At least in any significant number and at least for now.

    As a big monthlies reader for over a quarter of a century, this is very sad news but is, frankly, inevitable. I've personally mostly moved away from collecting monthly books as the exchange rate between the dollar and the South African Rand is making it impossible to financially support this hobby in the same way (I'm still buying trades from cheaper online stores).Putting aside my specific circumstances and it's just hard to see how much longer the comic companies can sustain themselves when we are now looking at more and more books costing $5 for 20 pages of content - though, ironically, DC seems less likely to do this than Marvel. And the sad truth is that in order to afford quality creators and a decent editorial staff, I can't imagine that they actually can make these books cheaper than they are now.

    No, this isn't the end of comics because graphic novels still sell gangbusters in the book market and digital is clearly going to become a greater focus. And, honestly, monthly print comics aren't just going to go away over night, not by a long shot, but I do think that we're well on the way to seeing a major shift in the way comics are produced. More graphic novels, more digital first comics, perhaps even bumper-sized anthologies replacing loads of individual titles. All I know is that DC is such a huge chunk of the market that the other companies, both big and small, will start following in their footsteps. Just look at how veterans like Terry Moore and Brubaker/ Phillips are moving towards original graphic novels/ graphic novellas with their new comics. This is really only the beginning...
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  13. #103

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    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    Somebody a while back said that DC's sales numbers were almost down to pre-Crisis levels. That's not good. Unless there is some major COIE style reboot on the horizon, I don't see how they survive on their own.
    Are we talking relatively speaking? Because pre-Crisis a book selling just below 100K (say 80,000-90,000) was considered to be teetering on the edge of cancellation. Nowadays those numbers would be a cause for immense celebration.

    I think it's hard to argue against ending the model of "Hawkman Vol. 8" or "Aquaman Vol. 12". It's a waste of energy and resources to continually invest monthlies on characters that have never proven to be sustainable. DC can find ways to make relevant, interesting Hawkman stories outside of the monthly format. I guess really that argument can be made towards any comic book character but I digress.

    The counter argument is that it's going to be much more difficult to discover new talent. Guys like Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Alan Moore, Frank Miller, etc. got their respective breaks on taking over lesser-tiered characters or franchises and being given free reign to showcase their talents. Under this new model we're heading towards, the focus will be on big, established names to help market the DC brand.

    To be honest, however, I mainly stick to the staple titles (like Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Justice League, etc.) anyway so for me this isn't going to change much of anything. And while I certainly feel bad for those who lost their jobs and that's not something anyone with a conscience would clamor for, the bottom line is the bottom line. DC has been struggling mightily over the past decade and sometimes you have to break something down completely just so you can rebuild it again. As long as my favorite characters continue to exist in some capacity, I'll figure out a way to make due.
    Last edited by kingaliencracker; 08-10-2020 at 08:24 PM.

  14. #104
    (Formerly ilash) Ilan Preskovsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonPiece View Post
    Honestly, it seemed clear there was a relaunch already being planned for early next year. I'm surprised WB didn't wait for that to happen before doing these layoffs.
    Honestly as well, considering how short-term the sales boost has been from these reboots and relaunches, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the higher ups have just gotten sick and tired of repeating the same broken pattern over and over again. And what really sucks is that they're right. Another relaunch will help things for a few months but it won't make any difference in the long term.
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  15. #105
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    Guy who headed up DC’s YA line is out: https://twitter.com/choffercbus/stat...253161986?s=21

    Christ wtf are they doing? Just cutting everyone who makes a salary over a certain amount it looks like. DC is going to be crippled by this.
    Okay, this really surprises me after how successful DC's YA GN's have been. I hope this doesn't mean less of those.
    Quote Originally Posted by HandofPrometheus View Post
    Wasn't Doyle already kicked from being an editor or something? I'm sure he was reported by Bleeding Cool before.
    Supposedly Tom King had Doyle removed as editor of the Bat-Books over creative differences.

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