Some excitement here at HeroesCon, as Dan DiDio couldn’t even go jogging without people wondering if he was losing his job. A cryptic Bad Signal from Warren Ellis referring to comics news fanned the flames:

If what I just heard is true, then it’s going to be a really interesting day in the comics news business.

If it is true, it’ll probably break on first, so curious parties might want to keep an eye on that during the day.

While rumors on the floor of the con were running to Didio, the story was the resignation of DC senior vice president of business development John Nee, which took place last week. Nee has been at DC since 1998, when he joined as part of DC’s acquisition of Wildstorm. At DC Nee has been responsible for such things as developing the Lego Batman game, the upcoming DC MMO, the CMX line and investing in the Flex technology for cell phones. In addition, Nee greatly expanded DC’s international publishing operations.

The reasons for Nee’s departure remain unconfirmed, but its short term effect on DC are likely to be less apparent than the long-term effects. As an experienced executive with a wide ranging interest in new technologies and business units, Nee certainly had a a large, if largely invisible to the general public, influence. As far as the future goes, the big question would be what areas Nee’s replacement is most well versed in.

Based on the two panels we attended at HeroesCon today, that area will probably be webcomics. Both the journalism panel and the state of the industry panel eventually morphed into discussions of webcomics and other effects of the internet era.

If nothing else, the news capped off what had to be considered a week of bad news and turmoil for DC.

[Above photo: from left: Nee, Gene Simmons, Paul Levitz and Bob Wayne.]


  1. You don’t suppose Nee’s taking a bullet on behalf of the Senior Veep, do you? Seems like releasing this info late on a Friday is sure to fan flames of speculation and draw attention away from the vultures circling over Didio.

  2. In any organization there will always be one person who knows what is going on – This person must be fired.
    Sorry to see J. Nee go regardless of the circumstances. Good lord when will they kick Levitz and Wayne to the curb? DC need to regain their credibility.

  3. You know what sucks? That so many are looking at this to decide where it fits in the Didio soap opera or how it fits the Warren Ellis Nostradamus effort, rather than just seeing someone who appears to be a good guy and appears to have done good work. Poor guy has to have people wondering if he knew too much, fell on his sword to distract from Didio, or is important enough to rate a broadcast e-mail from Warren Ellis.

  4. Actually, looking a that photo, I was wondering if John and Gene Simmons were shaking the other two little guys down for their lunch money.

  5. So, in other words, the only person at DC who’s remotely interested in expanding their audience is leaving the company.

  6. I’m not sure what you think you’re with me on, Derek. I doubt this was related to the Dixon thing, or that there’s any particular set of dominos being toppled. If Nee has handed in his two weeks’, but is still working there, the split was probably quite amicable; I suspect he simply received a better offer from someone else, or is taking some kind of personal business sabbatical.

  7. John Nee’s departure could mean anything, which is why it will be interesting to see how things shake out and if this is related to anything else. One would hope that it’s of his own volition and that he won’t be frog-marched out the door, of course, and the fact that he’s still working, as Michael notes, is a “good” sign.

    If you missed Ellis’ follow-up, here ’tis:
    “Also: yes, the news story earlier changed versions a
    couple of times. What eventually came out was
    that John Nee, a VP at DC and a legacy hire from
    the Wildstorm takeover, has resigned — although,
    naturally, the circumstances reported aren’t matching
    the various stories circulating through back channels.

    I’m trying to beat a script to death, so I can’t get into
    this as deeply as I’d like, but this is interesting for a
    lot of reasons, none of them good.

    Heidi Mac at the Beat says: ‘If nothing else, the news
    capped off what had to be considered a week of bad
    news and turmoil for DC.’ Sadly, I don’t think that
    does cap off the week for DC. I don’t think they’re going
    to have a very good day at all, tomorrow. I hate this,

    So, what happens next is anyone’s guess, in spite of Warren’s understandably ambiguous foreshadowing.

  8. If Paul Levitz and/or Bob Wayne leave DC, then I would fear for the future of both DC and the Comicbook Industry.
    DC’s problems are editorial, as titles and events are not selling as well as expected.
    According to the job listing site,, there are two VP positions listed.
    Whether Wildstorm?

  9. Every organization of any size goes through periods of turmoil. Keep in mind that Marvel’s future looked awfully bleak when it filed for Chapter 11 in 1996.

    Regardless of who comes and goes, DC still has a bank of great characters, so I think it will survive its current personnel issues.

  10. Great characters don’t automatically equate with success. Cross Gen had great character concepts and creators as well, and look how well that turned out.

    Granted, none of them had the long-term legs of DC’s usual character stable, but when ineptness rules the day, simply having great characters won’t save them as a company. Especially if the suits at WB are merely looking at exploiting DC’s characters from a licensing standpoint, and forgoing comics publication altogether. One should keep in mind that WB has already gutted other, formerly more successful subsidiaries in order to shore up it’s stock price.

  11. There’s no comparison between DC and Cross Gen. If you walked up to 1,000 people on the street and gave them a list of the top three Cross Gen characters, I’ll wager less than one percent would have heard of any of them. On the other hand, what percentage of those same 1,000 people do you think would be familiar with, say, DC’s Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman?

    This brand recognition is critical for any company to survive — especially if the brand has crossover marketing potential.

    Cross Gen did not have the market share, the infrastructure, nor the character brand strength it needed to survive its business crises. Marvel did, and DC definitely does.

  12. All people leave jobs and go on to somewhere else. It is the natural cycle of the employment world. It can be argued at DC the cycle is broken. People stay there, stagnant. DC is filled with staffers of all levels who have been coasting for years, drinking the Kool aid. Stagnant, and amazing as they produce nothing new or stand on the backs or ideas of others to hold their position on the ladder. DC is filled with so many VPs that the title is meaningless and unimportant. Top Heavy does not even describe it.

    Maybe John Nee was tired of the same old, same old struggles and patterns of every day work life at a job he has been at for 10 years. Maybe he wanted to no longer be associated with the stigma of VP at DC has come to reflect: Old ways, stagnant ideas and coasting on past achievements or the blood of fresher ideas. May be he wanted a challenge, for once instead of banging the the drum to the same beat. What ever reason, God Speed John Nee! Best of luck on your new adventure, we are watching with interest and curiosity. and God Speed DC, I still read you with interest and excitement.