Reports emerged late on Monday of numerous layoffs at Warner Media, which encompasses Warner Bros. and comics giant DC Entertainment. Up to 600 employees are reported to have been hit by the latest wave of restructuring, with AT&T's axe arguably falling most hard on DC Comics itself.
Rumours of the impact of the layoffs on DC began circulate on social media Monday night, with one reporter describing the situation as an "absolute bloodbath".
Among the casualties of the cutbacks is DC Direct, aka DC Collectibles, which served as DC's own in-house merchandising wing. The company handled action figures, statues, prop replicas and countless other pieces of merchandise. Its demise brings to an its 22-year presence in the industry.
Employees of the DC Universe streaming service have also been hit hard, with one insider mentioning to The Hollywood Reporter that it was "DOA as soon as the AT&T merger happened". It is likely that all DC Universe projects will now find a home at HBO Max.
In regards to DC Comics specifically, Editor in Chief Bob Harras is now no longer with the company. Others reported to have lost their jobs include editors Andy Khouri and Mark Doyle - key influences behind DC's Black Label imprint - and Brian Cunningham, while the likes of Jonah Weiland, Hank Kanalz and Bobbie Chase have also been let go. The Beat is also reporting that "many other long-term DC employees" have lost their jobs too.
The move comes just a few weeks before DC Fandome is due to start on August 22, a major event set to unveil new looks at upcoming DC films, video games, TV shows and comics. It certainly takes a shine off things, and one does have to question in light of these moves whether or not AT&T and WarnerMedia understand the value of DC Comics as a publisher, or indeed of the comics industry as a whole.
For now, it remains to be seen just how much these layoffs will affect DC, and how the publisher will bounce back in a year already fraught with plenty of perils.
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