1. The Beat has a depressing look inside Marvel Comics, which laid off 15 employees just before the weekend:
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? — [Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter]’s only reaction is to slash, slash, slash.
It gets downright messy. Marvel’s new offices have only one restroom for each gender. In a company of hundreds of people. The post-lunch hour piddle line is said to be especially long and people actually stagger their lunches so as not to wait in it. There’s a human resources staff of one for the whole company. Review copies? You’ve got to be kidding. Editors have to purchase copies of the books they worked on. The precious archives of assets have dwindled over the years due to not spending any money to save them.
If Marvel Comics isn't going to lay out the cash to invest in bookstore and technology markets and increase comics sales, they are basically just an intellectual property farm that keeps harvesting cash out of the same, increasingly fallow fields.
2. Bleeding Cool broke and confirmed the news over the weekend that DC Comics is actively working on a sequel to Watchmen.