Marvel Lays Off Staff, Points To Larger Problems Within Company

The initial reports from all the sites linked-to above have settled in on cost-cutting measures rather than performance issues with those let go. This may put Marvel in the position of having to explain to some super-involved fans and the professional community… why cost-cutting had to come for what by most rational measures is a very successful publishing enterprise that serves as a powerful R&D arm for movies and licensing. Marvel saw three movies with its characters out this summer, two from Marvel proper, and has at least two major movies (one from Marvel itself) coming out in Summer 2012. All of those films anchor significant licensing campaigns, and the company in general has moved far past the more confused days of the 1980s and early 1990s with that era’s hat-in-hand licensing deals and is partnered up seemingly across the board with major players in dozens of fields. Ironically, another piece of Marvel news Thursday was that they sold a Punisher TV show, which underlines the continuing potency of Marvel’s characters in terms of securing such deals and selling related material. – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

The current problem seems to stem from a publishing forecast that didn’t get hit when the actual numbers came in. It doesn’t matter that Marvel is still a very profitable company. This is not a matter of losing money. It just wasn’t as profitable as it thought it might be. The shortfall in the margins wasn’t huge — it was less than 5% in an economy where that’s practically considered stable. But whatever the shortfall was, instead of looking at ways to build the business or bolster areas with huge potential — books, anyone? — Ike’s only reaction is to slash, slash, slash. – Heidi MacDonald, The Comics Beat

My best wishes go out to the folks who lost their jobs yesterday. I hope you manage to land on your feet.

– Christopher

One thought on “Marvel Lays Off Staff, Points To Larger Problems Within Company”

  1. That sucks. These comments you excerpted could not be more spot-on.

    About the only good thing I can think of is that this kind of thing is 1) being noticed and 2) being noticed, and objected to, well beyond this specific context. (Though of course there’s a large gathering of people which has helped to focus these objections, recently, which happens to be not too far from Marvel’s NY offices.)

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