Marvel Comics has reportedly fired publisher John Nee, who had been furloughed earlier this year with scores of other Disney employees.
Marvel Comics has officially fired its publisher, John Nee, according to industry reports. Nee had been with the company since 2018 and is the latest causality of the fallout that hit the comics world following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Nee is a veteran of the comic book world. He headed up Wildstorm Productions – before the imprint was sold by Jim Lee to DC – and would eventually serve as Vice President of DC Comics from 1998 to 2010, at which point Nee left the company to co-found the tabletop and board game company Cryptozoic Entertainment, where he also served as CEO. Cryptozoic found resounding success, licensing titles like Rick and Morty, The Walking Dead and Adventure Time. At the time of his joining the company nearly three years ago, President of Marvel Entertainment Dan Buckley, who had previously held the publisher role, said of Nee, “John has a comprehensive background that makes (him) uniquely qualified for this role. He has a depth and breadth of experience in gaming, consumer products, prose publishing, collectibles, and most importantly comics.“
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Nee was amongst the many Marvel employees furloughed earlier this year due to the ongoing pandemic and its impact on the comic book industry. Now, ComicBook.com confirms, his furlough has become a termination. Beyond Marvel, both Lucasfilm and Pixar – all Disney properties – were forced to furlough workers in April. As of the time of this writing, no replacement has been named for Nee’s role as publisher. ComicBook.com reports additional previously-furloughed employees have also been terminated, but did not offer any further details. As publisher, Nee oversaw the quality control, marketing, and budget-management of Marvel Comics’ print and digital offerings. In 2019, Nee was granted an Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International, which celebrates creators for, “their contributions to the worlds of comics, science fiction/fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom services.”
According to Buckley, “as the publisher, John will lead our business strategy for publishing as a whole and focus on growing the comics and prose business. All business aspects of publishing report up to John. Creative and editorial planning will still have oversight from C.B. Cebulski, Joe Quesada, and myself.”
While the Coronavirus has impacted countless industries, the comic book industry may have taken one of the hardest hits. Besides local comic stores needing to shutter – either temporarily or permanently – to keep both employees and patrons safe, the problems were compounded when Diamond Comics Distributors – the largest distributor in the business – announced it would cease shipments in March amid virus concerns. Distribution has since reopened, but the ensuing months that left store shelves empty was just another blow to an already struggling industry. And Marvel wasn’t alone in its cutting back on employees. Just days before its FanDome event, which was meant as a sort of online Comic-Con, DC Entertainment laid off about a third of its staffers in a restructuring effort by its parent company, AT&T. So things have been tough all over for the comics industry.
Time will tell who Disney will choose to replace Knee’s role as publisher, but he seems to be just the latest victim to the havoc that’s plagued the comic book industry for the better part of a year now, and hopefully Marvel Comics will be quick to bounce back.
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