Last week the Twitter-verse was all a twitter about Marvel laying off 15 staffers. I found one news blog about the financial situation of Marvel and the working conditions there.
To tell the truth I was shocked of what I read.
Here are some of the crazy ones.
“Marvel’s new offices have only one restroom for each gender. In a company of hundreds of people”.
“Editors have to purchase copies of the books they worked on.”
“When something absolutely positively has to be purchased, it’s half of what was asked for.”
In regards to Marvel’s booths at conventions “one year at San Diego, a cookie giveaway was used to mask a barebones signing table.”
I know that companies have to be fiscally responsible, especially in these economically bleak times, but is this the best course of action for Marvel? Some things are easy to cut back. For example does every employee in the company need “ITEM X”? If your employees are able to share “ITEM X” then you don’t have to buy as many “ITEM Xs” (and we all know that ITEM X’s are going up in price). Other items, for example Washrooms, are not only essential but they can be a luxury item. Cut backs on these essential items don’t save you money, they will only cost you productivity in the long run. How can you release a book on time when your Editor is standing in line trying to go the washroom?
What do these cutbacks mean to us comic book collectors?
That is a tough call. Cut backs means your company is smaller. Sometimes “lean and mean” is the way to go. A smaller organization works harder, but it rarely works happier in the beginning. Working for a company that restricts your materials, makes you buy comics that you created and makes you stand in line to go to the washroom, will also lead to unhappiness. It would be a tough time to be a Marvel employee right now, especially when you look at their “Distinguished Competition” who is enjoying record sales right now (with some of the #1’s going to 3rd printing).
I think we will see a couple of books dropped from the Marvel line. With less people, not all projects can be completed. Marvel will focus on their strengths, work on those, and have a better product coming out of this cut back. It will take some time but Marvel Comics will be dominant again. It does make you think did Marvel make a mistake this summer with Fear Itself. Should Spider Island have been this years big Marvel event?