Remember When Marvel Had Multiple Editor-In-Chiefs?

After a tumultuous week, DC Comics has just appointed Marie Javins and Michele Wells as interim Editor-In-Chiefs. Or Editors-In-Chief. I am not sure which is the correct term. And while this may be the first time, that DC Comics has had multiple EICs, Marvel has been there and done that.

In 1994, Tom DeFalco was editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. And then, in a bizarre publisher shake-up which was pretty common at the time, Tom DeFalco was removed and Marvel named five individuals as the new Editor-in-Chiefs, each with their own fiefdom to manage. Bob Harras was EIC for the X-Men books, Bob Budiansky was EIC for the Spider-Man books, Mark Gruenwald was EIC for the rest of the Avengers-related Marvel Heroes line, Carl Potts was EIC for the Licensed Books, Epic Comics and Alternaverse books, and Bobbie Chase was EIC for the older Marvel Edge line.

Marvel logo
Marvel logo

In effect, each team started competing with the other for talent, for promotion, for characters, an internecine rivalry within the publisher the likes of which it had never seen before. Also, around that time, Marvel Comics left Diamond Comic Distributors, Capital Distribution and others to set up its own comic book distribution system to the direct market through a distributor it had bought, Heroes World (called the Marvelution).

Everything tanked, comic books were cancelled, many staff were made redundant (called the Marvel-cution) the industry folded in on itself, Marvel went back to Diamond with its tail between its legs and Bob Harras became sole Editor-In-Chief of Marvel Comics.

It does seem rather ironic that Bob Harras is now being laid off as Editor-In-Chief of DC Comics and is replaced by multiple editor-in-chiefs. All at a time where DC Comics has left Diamond Comic Distributors and is pursuing its own distribution plan with two new distributors it has set up. And is now going through a rapid reduction in titles and staff.

Marie Javins will remember this well, she was a Marvel editor at the time working under Bobbie Chase's Marvel Edge editor-in-chiefship. And yes, Bobbie Chase has just been made redundant at DC Comics this week too.

Plus ca change

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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