It’s never really a good time for comics journalism, but this might be one of the worst times. CBR – aka Comic Book Resources – has been going through a reorganization behind the scenes that has seen most of its editorial staff either laid off or quitting in support.

While social media has been hinting at the BTS drama at CBR for days, the doors got blown wide open yesterday when the official CBR Twitter account posted:


Despite rumors to the contrary, we have not eliminated our News section.

We simply fired all the news editors who didn’t resign in protest and have been slowly gutting our other departments as Valnet continues CBR’s shift to an AI-driven, clickbait-focused content mill.

While the post was only up for a few minutes, it was widely screenshotted and shared by former CBR contributor Dan McMahon:

“Whoever posted this to the CBR Twitter, you deserve the best,” McMahon wrote.  “I wish you the brightest of days. CBR burns through its writers and editors like they aren’t even human. Valnet is a truly evil corporation.”

The tweet was evidently a response to an earlier tweet by current CBR managing editor Jon Arvedon: “No, CBR has not eliminated its news section.”

Some backstory before the tea party: Valnet is a Canadian media company which owns a suite of pop culture/gaming sites including CBR, Screen Rant, Collider, Movie Web, The Gamer, Games Rant and many more. CBR was founded in the 20th century by Jonah Weiland, and the site was an incubator for not only comics news, but comics careers, with comics pros including Arune Singh, Andy Khouri and Albert Ching (to name but a few) passing through its doors. Along the way CBR even won an Eisner award. Weiland sold CBR to Valnet in 2016.

Since then, Weiland started and left a job running marketing for DC comics, before returning to a peaceful lifestyle shown on his FB page.

Meanwhile, CBR rebranded, re-logoed, and weathered the churning storms that are content creation on the Internet in the 2020s. We make a lot of jokes here about CBR’s heel turn to click bait headlines – five reasons to like them, and five reason to hate them – but up until recently it was anchored by a strong veteran news team that still managed to get stories about actual comics in there once in a while, as well as beloved columnist Brian Cronin still hanging in there.

That ended in May, with the news that EIC Adam Swiderski, senior new editor Stephen Gerding, and senior features editor Christopher Baggett had all been let go, with the site reorganization going even further towards traffic-driven content farm stories.

The pay for editors and writers was also slashed, according to social media postings by former CBR staffers, leading many to quit. (According to insiders, at one point even a human resources staffer at Valnet quit over the changes.)

Arvedon pushed back against the negative tweet with a few of his own:

“Someone did this with an old third-party login. And the info in the tweet is 100% false,”  he wrote. 

In response to another post that suggsted Valnet was turning to AI, Arvedon wrote “Absolutely not. I created our current AI policy myself, which stipulates that anyone found using AI to generate articles will be subject to termination.”

Former Screen Rant writer Liam McGuire responded “sadly, that’s not the case with all Valnet properties.”

A barrage of negative reactions to the changes from former Valnet staffers continued following the rogue post.

Samantha Puc: Sending this person love and solidarity. When I was at CBR, I worked a minimum of 50hrs a week and got paid $2k a month. When I asked for better compensation, I was fired.

Math Erao: after 4 years editing and writing for CBR, my position & department were eliminated by parent company Valnet today in their pivot away from news and towards being a content mill they’ve spent months firing people and restructuring, so it wasn’t a huge surprise, but still a blow

Math Erao: since sdcc, my editor @emilyrosezombie & i were essentially running the entire news dept at cbr

2 weeks ago, i was demoted & told the new scheme would actually benefit me & was part of a new structure for the site

two weeks later, we were both fired

my firing came in the form of an hr email that morning

the head of cbr, who i’d worked with in the news dept for many years prior, didn’t message me, nor did any other higher ups

that’s what i got for 4 years of work with cbr, and two previous years at valnet-owned screenrant

Siddhant Adlakha: When Valnet took over Collider, their freelance rate plummeted from $250 to $40

Bill Bria:  I’ve been to a couple events with people who write for Valnet recently. One time I overheard this writer say they couldn’t hang after because they had to “go home and make their quota of 7 articles for the day.” This was on a Sunday evening. I thought they were exaggerating, but
Ant Gramuglia: On the topic of CBR: i haven’t written an article for them in over a year by this point, yet i keep seeing new articles appear in my byline. I believe they are old articles being reposted for views. Strangely, though, they haven’t sent me a check for the new views i earned ’em.

Justin Grandfield: They truly are. Freelancers are paid so little for all the work they do. $10 per game guide, which usually takes three hours to research and write. $20 if the guide is more than 1000 words

Brandon Schreur: One time, a few months back right after a wave of firings, all the CBR editors had a meeting with some higher ups. We were told nobody else was going to be let go. When we got out of the call, we learned someone had been fired during the meeting.


Sean Gribben: There were 10 News Editors at CBR when the area’s amazing Editor-in-Chief and Senior Editor were laid off in May. Since then, 8 of that original 10 have resigned from their editor roles of their own accord, and the last 2 were laid off today. Hire @emilyrosezombie and@mytherror
Jonah Weiland: Sounds like a full mutiny has taken place. This is a serious shame.

Given the low rates, there was also some pushback for former staffers about an ad for Valnet properties that was flashed at Times Square, a marketing purchase that is believed to cost at least $5000.


All the well-earned shade from former employees aside, what is going on at CBR? Details are vague, but we’re hearing that all the “verticals” (topics) are being merged into one, so that comics will no longer be its own news department. Things such as lists, news and features will all be one giant team. According to one post, comics coverage may be drastically reduced to as little as five stories per day.
UPDATE: and here’s that tweet:, from ex-CBR staffer Sean Gribbin.
It sure would’ve been crazy if a business with “comic book” in the name limited the number of comic news stories to about 5 per day. Right, @brandonschreur?
While Valnet is widely believed to be heading towards AI content creation, no former or current CBR staffer has confirmed that AI is being used to write stories, and Google and legal issues – and not to mention accuracy – are still holding many media entities from going whole hog into AI-written material. Valnet has been using AI to generate summaries of stories, however.

There’s also the question of WHY all this is happening. We’re told that Valnet properties are profitable, including CBR. There has been a rather drastic shift in the online news economy of late, however. Twitter/X is no longer a reliable traffic driver (and it’s about to get even worse) and Facebook has been actively removing outside media from its feeds for a while. In addition, online advertising revenue has been in a slump along with everything else in the economy. (Marketing budgets are the first thing to go in belt tightening rounds.)

All of this might explain why Valnet was cutting costs….but not why they seem to be dismantling CBR entirely.

When the Beat started (20 years ago next June) the two biggest comics news sites were Newsarama and Comic Book Resources. Nothing else came close and they were huge powers in the industry.

Today, Newsarama doesn’t exist, its archives have been erased, and its current version as GamesRadar shows only a trickle of stories per day. CBR still covers comics, for the moment, but to find relevant news you have to squint to see between the inane space fillers.

Other sites have arisen since then, but perhaps a proper survey of the landscape should be undertaken.

At any rate, if you’re a comics creator trying to get the news out about your projects, it’s getting harder all the time.

Just a reminder! The Beat has a Patreon where you can support our independent comics coverage directly.


  1. I seriously doubt there are more than five stories per day worth telling to a mainstream audience about comics.
    Journalism, any kind of, is about reporting facts of significance and explaining their meaning, not “stories”. Storytelling has very little to do with information.
    Also, an information well written can be summed up in 2 or 3 phrases, no need to write 2000 words about it.

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