When Disney bought Marvel a couple of years ago, people were hoping for change. After all, majority owner and world class micromanager Isaac Perlmutter wouldn't be the end all be all, it would be Disney. Disney understands characters, branding, and market edge. Surely, the pressure would ease up.
What pressure? A lot of people think comics is just funny books. Nothing to it. But it is actually a very cutthroat environment, with the Big Two and Diamond fighting not only over who controls who but who controls all avenues talent can operate in. Pencilers. Inkers. Writers. Marketers. Sales. Everybody has done nothing and sand filled in, making the pond smaller and some fishies just had to be offed.
Recently, a lot of rumblings started that people were taking their inflated resumes from the DCnU launch and floating them around to find better work without DiDio's micromanagement. Those plans, I guessing, have been put on hold.
Marvel has just dumped a shitload of editorial and marketing people. A lot of comic companies are scrambling to see if they can land this world class talent that also has an inside track on how the market is working now (IDW and Dynamite are really really interested). And there are no replacements planned, Perlmutter is expecting everyone to just spread it around and do more with less. Some divisions like the ones that handle newsstand and bookstore operations got the axe. Keep in mind no positions have been filled from the last time he did a purge back in 2009. Alex Alonso is the new EIC, and his old position as a line editor is still unfilled and won't be filled in the foreseeable future. The new talent program is history, too.
On the creative side? Pencilers and writers are fine for the moment. But inkers, letterers, and colorists are now being asked to operate under a two-tier structure for pay. There' an A rate and a B rate. The A rate is what they usually command, but if sales numbers drop below a certain point, they'll get the B rate. I will remind those out there thinking they don't care because that won't apply to them, it will. Read your next contracts very very carefully.
Disney has remained pretty hands-off. Disney likes bargains. The reason Jon Favreau won't be directing Iron Man 3 is because the success of the movies pushed his asking price up, and Disney just didn't feel like paying it. Their movie division is notoriously stingy and will not bankroll things where the above the line goes up too high. As long as you give them a good deal, they'll continue to play ball with you (Bruckheimer).
Now, staffers at Marvel are saying they want Disney to get involved, Perlmutter is being worse than ever. He doesn't officially run the company, but he's COO, and he's acting like he does. Since all communication goes through him, he can enhance what he wants and downplay what he wants. And they feel that means Disney is not seeing him running the company as his own little fiefdom like he always has.
Sooner or later, something is going to break. Editorial quality is already shaky. I'm thinking of Fear Itself where a character beats someone with another character's left arm in one panel, but in the next, it's a right arm. Stories are becoming more derivative. Now, Marvel is betting the house on Point One in hopes of getting marketshare back from DC. For all its faults, DC is at least bringing in new readers. Marvel is just trying to chase readers that were there, but went away due to event fatigue. And they are doing this with another event. The very thing chasing people off.
It's times like these I'm actually glad I haven't made it to the Bigs yet. A lot of people, this is their livelihood, what will they do if their jobs are gone for whatever reason? Me? I have a job with benefits and stuff, and I'll just keep working towards my goal. The people that this is all they have? These are very dark, very dangerous days for them. Please say a prayer for them that whatever comes crashing down misses them.