The WarnerMedia branch of Warner Bros. was hit with a ton of layoffs today, and things seem especially dire this evening for the Warner-owned DC Comics. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a number of high-ranking people at DC are now out, including editor-in-chief Bob Harris, several senior VPs, and some editors (including executive editor Mark Doyle, who was in charge of the publisher’s edgy new Black Label graphic novels). Furthermore, THR’s sources say the layoffs have come for “roughly one third” of DC’s entire editorial staff as well as “the majority” of the people working on the DC Universe streaming service, and the DC Direct merchandise brand has been completely shut down after 22 years of selling Batman toys.
The DC Universe layoffs seem particularly noteworthy, at least as far as tangible chance for the general public goes, since they almost certainly portend some bad news for DC Universe itself. The platform has been on shaky ground for a while now, going back to when Warner Bros. decided to air Stargirl on The CW despite it initially being one of DCU’s high-profile exclusives, and since then HBO Max has swallowed up Doom Patrol and Harley Quinn, picked up a bunch of DC superhero movies, and decided to throw a ton of money at the Justice League Snyder Cut—the Holy Grail of dedicated DC fans. DC Universe has looked increasingly redundant while all of that was going on, and now “the majority” of the people working there seem like they’re being sacrificed for the benefit of HBO Max.
And just in case this couldn’t get a bit darker: The DC Fandome, Warner’s replacement for its usual Comic-Con announcement events, is happening on August 22. We know the studio behind the Arkham Batman games is going to formally announce a new Suicide Squad game there, which should be interesting, but let’s not forget that AT&T is supposedly still looking to dump Warner’s entire video game division. A big celebration and announcement-heavy event could be exactly what DC fans need during the pandemic, but it could be a much more grim celebration than anyone expected now that so many people associated with the company are either losing their jobs or being left to wonder if there’s even a place for them at Warner Bros. going forward.