Various news sites, including Comics Alliance, Comic Book Resources and The Beat are reporting that seven members of staff from publisher Dark Horse Comics have been laid off this afternoon, including editors Shawna Gore, Dave Land and Tim Erwin. CBR broke the news first, with The Beat and CA adding and confirming information as it came available. Of most interest, CA quotes occasional contributor Aaron Colter, who was fired by the publisher last month, as suggesting that the one-two punch of Borders’ bankruptcy and “toxic” licensed projects – The much-hyped Janet Evanovich Troublemaker graphic novels and Jim Shooter-written revival of Gold Key characters like Doctor Solar, Man of The Atom and Magnus, Robot Fighter are both mentioned – led to the company’s current financial trouble:
I have sat in several meetings going over numbers and plans for books like Troublemaker and have seen voices of dissent point out the obvious: that Dark Horse is spending too much money on projects that the majority of modern comic readers do not want to purchase… And the answer was always the same, get on board because this is the direction the train is heading.
Over at the Beat, Heidi quotes Shawna Gore from her Facebook page, sounding surprisingly not-depressed:
I’m indeed still going to Stumptown [Comics Fest, this weekend in Portland, OR]. I’m even still moderating the Axe Cop panel AND doing the horror comics panel! The events of the day may suck, but my attitude remains set on “awesome.”
Dark Horse have confirmed the number of employees laid off, but is refusing to comment beyond that beyond saying that more layoffs are not expected. What this means for the company’s output – with three editors gone, will their books be reassigned or canceled? – remains to be seen. Developing, as they say.