Marvel has filled its publisher position – vacated when Don Buckley ascended to President – by hiring John Nee, a former DC VP and currently CEO of the company he co-founded, Cryptozoic.

Comicbook.com has the news and EIC CB Cebulski confirmed in a tweet.

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Nee’s has long deep background in comics, starting as the president of Wildstorm. At DC he was VP of business development before leaving to start Cryptozoic Etertainment which quickly rose to become a top player in the licensing game with such  the DC Comics Deck-Building Gameand and other licensing deals with  Adventure TimeGhostbustersThe Walking Dead, and Rick and Morty and other top brands.  He’s a well seasoned exec with a strong background for the position.

CB.com also has an exclusive interview with Buckley about the ongoing structure of Marvel. Since Buckley rarely gives interviews, Kremlinologists will want to scour  his words for how Marvel has weathered the massive fan revolt from both the progressive and anti-diversity ends of the comics industry

Nee will lead Marvel’s business side, with a focus on growing both the comics and prose busines, Buckley says. CCO Joe Quesada and  Cebulski will continue to oversee the creative end of things.

“This was more of the right time than the ‘best.’ Our comics and prose businesses have many opportunities in front of them, and each of those opportunities require a certain amount of expertise. We feel John can provide us with that expertise for each of these opportunities.” Buckley told CB.com. “John’s has a comprehensive background that makes uniquely qualified for this role. He has a depth and breadth of experience in gaming, consumer products, prose publishing, collectibles, and most importantly comics.”

Buckley did address Marvel’s disappointing  2017 indirectly:

“‘Ebbs and flows’ are the only constant in any business. Our job is to recognize the nuances and trends of this constant. This is usually addressed with shifts in talent assignments, tone of content, pricing or even changes in the physical product.” Buckley told ComicBook.com “Every now and then you need to address the ebbs and flows by adjusting internal personnel assignments. Bringing in new perspectives to specific roles is at times the best way to resolve the changes that are occurring the marketplace.”

 He continued, “With that said, we still saw a lot of support from fans for the year. We were still the top publisher in the industry in terms of dollar and market share, and four of the top five selling books for 2017 were Marvel. But we need to keep listening, change what doesn’t work, and bring in the best talent to make our stories a reality. This year, we think we can do better.”

“We are simply focused on delivering great stories and content for Marvel fans around the world. By focusing on the story, we find we do our best work with the best results. Our competition produces some great comics – and we are always keeping a pulse on the industry – but we are less concentrated on what the competition is doing. We’re concentrated on how Marvel tells its story.”

Interestingly, CB.com mentions Nee’s deep licensing knowledge as a boon to the company. Marvel has been out of the licensed comics game for a while, with the pick-up of the Conan license something of a surprise. Of late, Marvel’s been better at licensing out their books, as deals at IDW and Archie show. If that’s the direction Marvel wnats to go in, Nee has the connections and expertise.

Having worked directly with Nee in various capacities over the years, I can tell you first hand that he’s a creative thinker with deep knowledge of the industry on all levels.

On the larger scale Marvel has now replaced two of its top positions with new personnel. As Buckley indicated, it’s a sign that the people on staff needed a fresh perspective in order to respond better to industry challenges.

To those wondering what changes will come at Marvel, I can see quite a few already, even in dealings with the press. I don’t expect either side of the social media wars to stop scrutinizing Marvel’s actions and tweeting or you tubing about it, but for those who are more interested in industry evolution, this is going to be a very interesting time.

 

14 COMMENTS

  1. “ebbs and flows”

    It’s pretty obvious Marvel lost a larger chunk of its comics business which could possibly be hand-waved by an oblivious comment like that. We all know what the problem was (is) at Marvel: far-left politics and bad stories. Creators who sit on social media all day arguing with fans instead of concentrating their energy on delivering a decent product, leftists who just want a platform to espouse their one-sided ideologies, and diversity hires who have never read comics before (gabby riviera) and aren’t interested in the medium AT ALL.

    Until they remove the cancer, low sales and loss of value on their IP is the only future Marvel has. Screw these lefties who have destroyed a great company.

  2. The people here who loathe Marvel should try ignoring Marvel, and find something they DO like.

    That beats the endless venting about Marvel “disrespecting” its supposed core audience of conservative, middle-aged white guys. These “fans” should stick to Mallard Fillmore, where their right-wing views are reinforced daily. I don’t think the “old white guy” audience for comics is really that large. It’s just very vocal online.

    It’s been long time since I’ve cared what Marvel (or DC) publishes or doesn’t publish. Comics don’t begin and end with Marvel and DC superheroes.

  3. I’ve read a lot about Marvels about face on diversity but I’m not seeing too much on the smaller publishers and how the number one draw to comics shop(marvel) making attempts to become centrists now will effect small publisher sales. They all feed off the big twos scraps and I think without a healthy Marvel that’s bad business all around. In a way
    Marvel acts as a feeding bed for future Image or even fantagraphics buyers.

  4. I’ve been critical of Marvel’s content for years and I’m a right leaning political thinker (as well as the dreaded online boogeyman, A 40-SOMETHING WHITE MALE!!!!) and while I agree with some of the criticisms that the YouTubers have, Marvel has never been just for white conservative males. I don’t think that Chris Claremont, Roger Stern, John Byrne, Walt Simonson, etc…could ever be perceived as Reaganites back in the 80s but they realized that they were making comics to sell to the general public so they were professionals.

    Flash forward to today and many creative people that work for Marvel draw a line in the sand as to who they want to buy their product. A white supremacist should never consider Captain America or the Punisher to be a hero who represents them (and I doubt they read many comics) but calling people who just have different political philosophies Nazis because you don’t like the guy in office isn’t professional.

    Marvel has been producing comics where they think the name attached to the book is more important than the book. They’ve been doing that since Joe Quesada took over when Grant Morrison was allowed to change up the X-Men, Brian Bendis changed the formula of the Avengers, Ed Brubaker brought back Bucky, and Mark Millar did what he did with Civil War. Those were all successes and can be argued that Marvel needed those kinds of shakeups but it also led to the characters becoming unrecognizable to many longtime fans. The comic book message boards can hate on those long time fans but many of those long time fans help turn new fans on to comics. The fickle nature of the buying audience may see the Avengers or Justice League and buy some comics but many who do, don’t return. Many long time fans who want their niece or nephew, son or daughter, or younger sibling to get into reading comics can’t always convince them to join in on the fun. But the combination of the new fan coming in “cold” and the fan who knew someone who loves comics is how you get fans and hopefully, longtime readers. Marvel used to be for all fans and initiatives were in place to try and keep as many buying Marvel as long as they could. Hopefully, Cebulski and Nee can make that happen. Of course, David Gabriel is still in his position….

  5. “The people here who loathe Marvel should try ignoring Marvel, and find something they DO like.

    That beats the endless venting about Marvel “disrespecting” its supposed core audience of conservative, middle-aged white guys. These “fans” should stick to Mallard Fillmore, where their right-wing views are reinforced daily. I don’t think the “old white guy” audience for comics is really that large. It’s just very vocal online.

    It’s been long time since I’ve cared what Marvel (or DC) publishes or doesn’t publish. Comics don’t begin and end with Marvel and DC superheroes.”

    The lack of self-awareness on display here is staggering. It goes beyond the tired, old “complaining about others complaining” and enters a new frontier of insulting people for caring about something the author claims not to care about.

    Aging fanboys like me get blasted for being bitter at the state of modern comics (which is not entirely undeserved) but the real bitterness comes from people like George who’ve been forced to realize that fanboys like him are neither as numerous nor as important and they believed.

    Mike

  6. Shawn: John Byrne was VERY much a Reaganite. So was John Romita Jr.

    Mike Bunge: I think I’ll start calling you Sidney Mellon. In case you’re too young to get the reference, Google it.

  7. “John Byrne was VERY much a Reaganite.”

    Uh…the guy who created the first gay super-hero in American comics? They guy who killed off his male lead and made a woman the leader of a super-team? The guy who made She-Hulk a relevant character? Are you confusing the comic guy with John V. Byrne, whom Reagan appointed to head NOAA?

    Mike

  8. George,
    If I’m wrong and you’re right then you make my point for me. Being a member of John Byrne’s Byrne Robotics site (and I assume Mike is the same Mike Bunge there), no one would confuse him for a Reaganite these days. I might add Byrne also changed Sue Storm’s name to the Invisible Woman. Even better that I don’t know JRjr’s political affiliation but he was involved in Dazzler’s creation and used Grace Jones as his original model so once again if he was a conservative Republican, he didn’t make it part of his public identity. I assume they knew that choosing a side to make comics for cuts out half of your intended audience.

  9. I guess you missed the controversy a few years back where Byrne compared transgendered people to pedophiles and the severely mentally ill. And I remember a Comics Journal interview (or panel) in the ’80s, where he complained that Bob McLeod’s inking made all the characters look gay, and said he didn’t mind having gay people around, “as long as they don’t frighten the horses.”

    And there were his Ann Coulter-like comments after 9/11:

    “The only acceptable response, now that we are officially in a new world, is for the American government to go Old Testament on these motherfuckers. Operation Flaming Sword. Find them and kill them. And kill their wives, their children, their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers. Go Super-Israel, and let them know what it feels like to be “at war” with the United States.” (2001)

  10. “I assume they knew that choosing a side to make comics for cuts out half of your intended audience.”

    I can’t go along with this current attitude — which I only see among superhero fans, and nobody else — that comics should not take sides. That they should be bland and inoffensive, lest they alienate anyone.

    Comics have a long history of taking sides. They opposed fascism and depicted Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo as villains BEFORE the U.S. entered World War II, at a time when most Americans wanted us to stay out of “foreign disputes.”

    They supported civil rights at a time when that was a VERY controversial stand. In the ’60s, much of the country had trouble accepting that a black person could be equal to a white person. And by the early ’70s, comics were depicting the Vietnam War as a tragic mistake. Hollywood didn’t make a movie critical of that war until it was over.

    Of course, comics weren’t always on the right side of history. In the ’50s and early ’60s, they indulged in heavy-handed Commie-bashing that would have pleased Joe McCarthy.

    It seems today’s superhero fans want their comics to take place in a total fantasy world, where the concerns of the real world don’t exist. Which is a rejection of the kind of comics that Marvel made in the ’60s and ’70s.

  11. Byrne is also an anti-gun atheist so I still don’t think he fits with the Reagan Republican ideology that you’re trying to put him in. We’re not going to agree because you’ve already stated that you don’t care about Marvel or DC. We have different viewpoints and we can leave it at that.

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