Monday, September 21, 2020

DC Comics has Two Female [Interim] Editors in Chief Right Now

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Mary Anne Butler
Mary Anne Butler (Mab) has been part of the fast-paced world of journalism since she was 15, getting her start in album reviews and live concert coverage for a nationally published (print) music magazine. She eventually transitioned to online media, writing for such sites as UGO/IGN, ComicsOnline, Geek Magazine, Ace of Geeks, Aggressive Comix (where she is still Editor-in-Chief), Bleeding Cool (where she was News Editor), and now NerdBot as News Editor. Over the past 10 years, she’s built a reputation at conventions across the globe as a cosplayer (occasionally), photographer (constantly), panelist and moderator (mostly), and reporter (always). Interviews, reviews, observations, breaking news, and objective reporting are the name of the game for the founder of Harkonnen Knife Fight, a Dune-themed band with an international presence. Though she be but little, she is fierce.

If you’ll recall, there was a recent culling by WarnerMedia that hit pretty much every single division under the company’s banner. This included Warner Bros. Pictures, Television, merchandising, and DC Comics.

These were just lower positions being cleared, either. We’re talking all the way up to DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harris, Senior Vice President of publishing strategy and support services Hank Kanalz, Vice President of marketing and creative services Jonah Weiland, Vice President global publishing initiatives and digital strategy Bobbie Chase, senior story editor Brian Cunningham, and executive editor Mark Doyle.

You can read more about that entire bloodbath here.

It’s worth mentioning that Jim Lee, longtime mainstay at DC Comics, remains in his position as CCO.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter the day after the layoffs hit, Lee answered some questions about what exactly the reasons behind the mass firings were, and where things stand for the company currently.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things he shared is the fact that right now, there are two interim Editors-In-Chief, and- they’re both women. This isn’t the first time DC has had a woman in the big chair as Jenette Kahn held that distinction in 1989, after holding the position of both publisher and president of DC Comics.

But, considering what a boys’ club the majority of the large comics houses are, this is really interesting news.


THR: You now have two interim editors-in-chiefs, Marie Javins, who headed digital strategy, and Michele Wells, who headed the YA imprint. How is that going to work?

Jim Lee: We thought it would be a great pairing to bring them together to help draft and organize the content we’re doing along these lines. Across digital, across global, we want to make sure we have diversity and inclusivity, and making it in a way that we have authenticity to the storytelling that we’re doing.

It’s really about consolidating all of our efforts and having every editors involved in all these directives and also organizing, broadly speaking, in content that is for kids 6 to 11 and then 12 to 45. It’s about consolidating format and oversight to a smaller, more concentrated editorial group.


THR also asked Lee about the possibility of the comics portion of WarnerMedia going away, citing a “rumor that AT&T doesn’t like comics,” which we really haven’t seen any evidence of, to be honest.


THR: Do the layoffs or reorganization mean that planned comics are still happening? Are the comics that would have been announced at FanDome still happening?

Jim Lee: There is no pencils down notice. Everyone has been notified to keep working on all the projects that we’ve already greenlit and started. To that extent, there is no change.

THR: What about the rumor that AT&T hates comics and wants to get out of the comic business?

Jim Lee: I don’t think they want to stop us from publishing comics. Comics serve a lot of different purposes and one of them is it’s a great way to incubate ideas and creating the next great franchises. We want to continue that. Why would you want to stop that? Why would you want to stop creating great content that could be used across the greater enterprise?


We will of course be keeping an eye on this situation as it develops. As it stands right now, these layoffs don’t seem to be effecting DC FanDome, which is happening next weekend.

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