DC Comics division head Pam Lifford is leaving Warner Bros Discovery, Variety was first to report, part of a shakeup of WBD Consumer Products. It’s all part of a reorganization of their consumer products and franchises division. Bruce Campbell – an indistinguishable business guy not the star of The Evil Dead – will serve as interim head.

Lifford, whose title was President, Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences, is leaving to “focus on a family member’s healthcare needs, the company said Wednesday. This is almost literally the same reason they gave when former DC head Diane Nelson stepped down back in 2018. Be more creative!


In a statement, Lifford told co-workers, “I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve accomplished together. Today, the group is poised to take all of this forward with the new leadership across the studio and company. You will soar and make WBD unrivaled in the industry.”

Campbell, Warner’s chief revenue and strategy officer, will oversee Robert Oberschelp in the role of head of consumer products. Meanwhile a new executive to run the “Franchises” division will be sought. Given WBD’s new interest in its superheroes under DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran, this could be a someone who is more sympathetic to DC and its work than past regimes. On the other hand, given rumors that WBD is on the block yet again, this could just mean more turmoil and change. Variety wrote:

Campbell will recruit a new global head of franchise who will work closely with Campbell and the senior creative leadership team at WBD. The new executive “will be responsible for developing the Company’s global IP portfolio across all businesses at WBD, working closely with the respective leadership of Film, Television, Games, and others,” Warner said in a statement.

The Pam Lifford Era at DC was marked by the publisher slowly, almost surgically being pared down from a robust division with a showcase, bespoke office, to an open plan shared space where no one has an office and there are few signs that a publisher even works there. 

The era began with a bang when Lifford reportedly clashed with then editor-in-chief Dan DiDio over a Black Label Batman Damned in which Batman’s junk was shown.  This was either the beginning of a sour relationship or just a sign of things to come, as Lifford reportedly rankled DC employees with her focus on making “DC” a lifestyle brand. To that end, DC shut down some of it’s most iconic, influential and successful brands, including Vertigo and even Mad Magazine,  their longest running and most revered brand. When DC successfully launched the DC Zoom and DC Ink middle grade and YA lines, those brands were killed as well. 

But killing brands wasn’t all that got cut during the LIfford years. Dan DiDio was removed as editor in chief early in 2020, just before the pandemic changed everything. As Warner Bros. underwent changes under then owner AT&T and then a sale to Discovery, wave after wave of layoffs and downsizings hit the publisher.

In August, 2020 the executive structure was decimated as eic Bob Harras and many more were let go, including  Hank Kanalz, VP Bobbie Chase, editors  Brian Cunningham, Mark Doyle and Andy Khouri and marketing head Jonah Weiland. It was all art of larger layoffs at WB, but just the first of a wave that continually gutted the publisher’s basic functionsincluding the sales and marketing teams.

Update: Oh I forgot one other signature move of The Lifford Era: giving up the standalone DC Comics booth at San Diego. Despite being begged not to do it by everyone inside DC Comics, the decision was made in 2019 to include DC Comics as part of a larger WB booth, far from the comics section of the show, a move that is regretted to this day. The resulting behemoth was hard to approach, offputting, impossible to find comics in, and a disaster.  

How much of this was Lifford’s direct plan and how much was just general upheaval and restructuring at Warners is open to debate but I can tell you one thing: I never heard a single good word about Lifford from a single DC employee. Whether she was just uninterested in publishing (which seems clear from the moves that were made) or had some kind of singular dislike of DC Comics in particular, the difference was almost indistinguishable.

An even more in the weeds theory has Lfford’s primal scene for comics back when she was the head of fashion and home products at Disney, where she and two other black, female executives clashed with….Ike Perlmutter, who came in through Disney’s Marvel purchase and started messing around in Disney Consumer Products. The late Nikki Finke wrote at the time:

Sources now tell me that all three female executives in employments disputes with the Walt Disney Co have settled — including one today. This is many months after the women lost their jobs in a Department Of Consumer Products reorganization set in motion nearly a year ago by Marvel boss Ike Perlmutter who is Disney’s 2nd largest shareholder. Former DCP head of fashion and home products Pam Lifford, former chief financial officer Anne Gates, and former DCP HR  exec Susan Cole Hill were all represented by the same attorney with  the Pasadena law firm Hadsell, Stormer, Keeny, Richardson and Rennick which has sued Disney in other employee rights cases. According to my sources, the three women, who are all African Americans, referred to themselves as “The Help” – a reference to last summer’s hit DreamWorks movie distributed by Disney and set during the civil rights movement about black maids in Mississippi.

It’s s stretch but….

Whatever the past, Lifford was a steady presence at official splashy events, like the unveiling of a Wonder Woman statue earlier this year. Yet as WB/D was rocked by layoffs and cost cutting, it seems no one at the company had any pity to spare for the DC superhero division, the division upon which the billion dollar movie studio had pinned so many of its hopes over the years. And one hates to see a woman of color supplanted by an army of interchangeable wonks, but in this case….suffice to say I’m told there is a pep in the step to many at DC Comics today.

Moving forward, the biggest ally DC has would still seem to be James Gunn, who is not only out there individually marketing DC comics, but respects the creativity and importance of the publisher as a publisher. Hopefully some of that influence will rub off as WBD hires a new head of franchises….and yet another new era for DC Comics Kremlinology begins.

jim lee pam lifford wonder woman
Source: Twitter https://twitter.com/PopverseSays/status/1636047787505713153




Comments are closed.