Ever since the news about mass layoffs at a senior level at DC Comics leaked, and was then confirmed, there have been many questions asked about what is happening with the publisher. There has been very little information coming out of DC officially and only slightly more unofficially. With the title of Chief Creative Officer and Publisher at DC Comics, all that DC Comics would confirm when questioned was that he was Cheif Creative Officer – and they wouldn't mention the title of Publisher. Understandably this led some (like me) to believe that Jim Lee would stay CCO but that the publisher role would be split between Marie Javins and Michele Wells.
But today, a week before the online DC Fandome event, DC Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee was interviewed by Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter. What was to have been a promotional interview rapidly changed into something else. There's lots to unpack but Jim Lee confirmed that he is still DC Publisher. That Marie Javins and Michele Wells are the new interim Editors-In-Chief – or Editor-In-Chiefs – of DC Comics, replacing Bob Harras.
Jim Lee states "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."
As to his own role, he states "I have more responsibilities and more expectations than ever before. In conversations with (WarnerMedia CEO) Jason Kilar and (Warner Bros. CEO) Ann Sarnoff and my boss, (Warner Bros. global brands and experiences president) Pam Lifford, they have some very ambitious goals for DC and I'm excited to be a part of that. In that respect, there is more on our plate than ever before."
He also confirmed news about a general manager being brought in from outside, but no further details. "We are bringing in a general manager to the organization. My role, the way it was envisioned 10 years ago, was that I would always have a partner that would focus on the operational side. The general manager we're bringing in has a wealth of marketing experience, global partnership experience, general business development experience. That person will start in September."
The announcement of Marie Javins and Michele Wells being given leading publishing roles, while reporting into Jim Lee as CCO, is what most people are currently talking about. They are well known for having different creative focuses and entirely different business goals
Executive Editor of Global Publishing Initiatives & Digital Strategy Marie Javins is seen more as a comic book industry lifer – with a big world-travelling sabbatical in the middle when Marvel went through what DC are going through right now. If anyone is there to preserve much of the old spirit of DC Comics – and American comic books in general, it is her. She also has a reputation for just getting things done on deadline against impossible odds.
Executive Editor, DC Children's/Young Adult, Michele Wells has more of a children's book background at Disney, First Book and DK, and has been at DC for coming up to four years, headlining the Children's and Young Adult books at DC. Michele is also closer to Warner Bros President, Global Brands, Franchises, and Experiences Pamela Lifford, and has a reputation for scheduling work long into the future – so deadlines are less of an issue.
DC Comics has had a habit of hiring figures at odds with one another's priorities in senior roles – recently once might consider Dan DiDio and Geoff Johns for example. Could this be continuing that game place, create division to inspire and to focus creative thought and solutions?