Ever since the news about mass layoffs at a senior level at DC Comics leaked, and was then confirmed, there have been questions about what happens next. In what was intended to be an interview about the upcoming DC FanDome event with Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter, DC Publisher, and CCO Jim Lee talked about the cuts to the staff and to the comic books.
Borys states that the layoffs number 20% of staff which is lover than the 30% rumored elsewhere. But those 20% are heavily weighted to the senior staff within the publisher, so the years-experience loss will be far higher. Which may explain a larger cut to the comic book numbers. Jim Lee states,
"That said, we will be reducing the size of the slate. But it's about looking at everything and looking at the bottom 20 percent, 25 percent of the line that wasn't breaking even or was losing money. It's about more punch for the pound, so to speak, and increasing the margins of the books that we are doing. It was about aligning the books to the franchise brand content we've developed and making sure that every book we put out, we put out for a reason."
DC Comics has a famously high overhead, paying for its Burbank headquarters built especially for them, so that sales figures that would be fine at another publisher clearly are not when it comes to DC. But without those senior figures, taking up less space within Warners, might bring those profitability numbers up a bit.
But it is also likely to be a decision divorced from today's announced cancellations of comic books, as those decisions were taken long before the staff cuts of this week. However, it was also leading up to a Crisis event and a big relaunch of a number of those titles as 5G or Generation Five comic books that seems to have been taken away – well, almost.
Also, at 20-25% that is a smaller cut that DC Comics underwent in 1976, where they dropped 40% of their line – of course, that was a smaller line to cut from.