Yesterday, WarnerMedia gutted the DC Comics and DC Universe staff like Killer Croc tearing open a wayward sewer rat. It was disgusting and messy, yet expected, as massive layoffs are now part of the norm whenever a major company purchases a smaller brand or undergoes a merger. According to one source commenting on the layoffs, "DC Universe was DOA as soon as the AT&T merger happened."
Reports indicate that almost one-third of the editorial staff has been laid off at DC Comics, and nearly the entirety of the team at DC Universe has been laid off as well. Even the company's in-house toy manufacturer, DC Direct, has been wholly shuttered, possibly signaling a complete refocus to other aspects of the business, or maybe just as a giant middle finger to our collective inner-child. It's a bummer for comic book fans everywhere, but we think it's gonna be a bummer for the head honchos at WarnerMedia because, from a pure business standpoint, this seems dumb.
I mean, possibly in the short term it works. Comic book sales are probably not going to pay for WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar's underground vacation bunker, but that doesn't mean a comic book division isn't a smart investment. For example, Disney is aware that anything they lose in the cost of printing comics is made up tenfold by using Marvel Comics as research and development for new intellectual property. Guardians of the Galaxy should earn Marvel Comics keep until the sun collapses, but consider all of the new comics and characters they're still cranking out, paving the way for new Marvel movie storylines. Do you think Into The Spiderverse could have made $375.5 million if not for Marvel Comics laying the groundwork with Miles Morales? Or Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, who is set to star in the upcoming Avengers game everyone is drooling over?
To think too that this news comes only two weeks before DC FanDome, the 24-hour live stream event designed to celebrate DC Comics and properties. It's gonna be pretty hard for fans to get amped about Wonder Woman 1984 or Dark Nights: Death Metal.
But this is what happens when a telecommunications company like AT&T buys into a creative company that sells stories about costumed crimefighters. They either don't understand it or don't care about it because it's not a shitty internet connection that they can throttle when you're late paying your bill (or even if you're on time). And, when you think about it that way, it's no surprise AT&T is in this mess, to begin with.
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Top Image: DC Entertainment