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DC Entertainment shake-up leads to executive departures

DC Comics

Three top executives are leaving DC Entertainment as part of the company’s massive restructuring, according to multiple reports: Senior Vice President & Creative Director Richard Bruning, Senior Vice President-Marketing and Sales Steve Rotterdam, and Senior Vice President-Brand Management Cheryl Rubin.

The news was first reported on Friday in a since-removed post at The Beat, and then on Sunday by Bleeding Cool before being confirmed this morning by Deadline. It’s unclear whether the executives were laid off or turned down relocation offers.

The three departures follow that of Senior Vice President-Creative Affairs Gregory Noveck in August. In addition, longtime DC employee Patrick Caldon, who was promoted in February to executive vice president-finance and administration — part of the five-person executive team — reportedly will retire. That may explain why his name has been absent from the latest press releases.

Announced on Sept. 21, the reorganization leaves DC’s comics-publishing division in New York City while moving the company’s administrative/business and digital and multimedia operations — including, presumably, the WildStorm offices now based in La Jolla, Calif. — to a Warner Bros.-managed property in Burbank, Calif. As many as 80 of DC’s estimated 250 employees are expected to be fired or relocated.

Bruning, who as part of his wide-ranging duties oversaw the recently closed Zuda imprint, joined DC in 1985 as art director, and was responsible for the original design of the landmark titles Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns and the logo and branding of the Vertigo imprint. He left the company in 1990 to form his own design and corporate-communications firm, but returned in 1996. Bruning is married to Karen Berger, executive editor of Vertigo.

A relatively new hire, Rotterdam was chief creative officer of Eastwest Marketing Group before joining DC in 2007. He oversaw the publisher’s direct and book-trade sales divisions, advertising sales and custom publishing.

Rubin had been with DC since 1987, beginning as licensing sales manager. As head of brand management, she supervised the creative and merchandising activities of the DC Comics and MAD Magazine libraries, and served as a liaison to Warner Bros. Consumer Products. Rubin also oversaw DC Direct, the company’s collectibles division.

In other restructuring news, DC Entertainment is advertising for two new senior positions: a New York-based manager-international sales, and a Burbank-based senior vice president-publicity.

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24 Comments

Just please stay away from Karen Berger, Vertigo won’t survive without her.

This California move shows the world how much DC’s new owners value their comic book publishing branch and DC’s New York heritage. Not very much! It’s all about Hollywood, baby! Movies!

Paul Levitz was smart to bail out.

Have you even been keeping up with this? DC Comics is NOT moving out west, just the “Entertainment” division and some admin functions.

And what new owners? DC is still a division of Warner Bros, just like it has been for over 40 years.

And so it begins…

Seriously, who else will be gone from DC in one or two months? I really fear for Karen Berger and Vertigo.

>>>>>>>>Paul Levitz was smart to bail out.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

That implies Levitz had a choice in the matter. His and Dan Didio's mishandling of the company is well known. The only difference is that the latter can blame Levitz for the dickheaded moves that alienated Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis and Mark Millar while the former has no one to blame. He literally did himself in with his conservative approaching to DC COmics

Vertigo’s days are numbered, they’ll be next on the chopping block.

Even if the publishing arm moved to CA, what would the big deal be? Everything’s done via the Internet nowadays. All the scripts and art are digital files. Most of the writers don’t live near NY, and a lot of artists don’t even live in the US. So what are the benefits of keeping DC in NY?

The only positive I can think of is that the world will be flooded with a lot of content creators with know-how and a limited job market, who might take to the net, mobile devices to make/sell some great stuff themselves. All the stuff they wanted to do for DC etc. AT some point the internet has to produce something like Image Comics was to the industry back in the 90’s, right?

So does this mean DCDirect will be the next to fall?

DC is gonna ‘restructure’ itself right outta the game.

My sympathies to these people if they were fired or forced out by undesirable relocation orders. I wish them the best in their new jobs. Losing Bruning especially will be a blow to the company…

“Even if the publishing arm moved to CA, what would the big deal be? Everything’s done via the Internet nowadays. All the scripts and art are digital files. Most of the writers don’t live near NY, and a lot of artists don’t even live in the US. So what are the benefits of keeping DC in NY?”

People whine about face to face meetings and talk about the internet shift a lot, but the reality is that if there was no difference everyone would just remote-in to work.

Why would Vertigo be in danger? They’re the source of half of what gets put on screen and probably cost very little to run.

Vertigo may be in danger so far as it looks more and more like the parent company wants to bring them into the DCU proper…Death visiting in Action Comics is proof positive of this…I doubt Berger would be fired/downsized/favourite euphemism here.

Wow. All the employees probably did excellent work but as as reader, Richard Brunning’s designs really gave the books he worked on that special kind of ‘POP’!

What a loss for DC and consumers.

Am I the only one who realizes this company shake up is not about DC Comics but is all about the restructuring of DC Entertainment which was only created a year ago? The shutting down of the other imprints of DC Comics like Wildstorm and the restructuring of Vertigo are a separate part of a whole different story. But honestly when this same thing happened at Marvel a few years ago we got a vastly restructured toy line, several new cartoons and finally they ended up cranking out blockbuster movies. This is a good thing; unless you happen to be losing your job.

and Shawn is right. AT some point the internet has to produce something like Image Comics was to the industry back in the 90′s, right?
ABSOLUTELY; simply because print is too costly. But if any company takes away the printing and distribution costs… $1.99 comics could turn a profit again.

DC marches to the grave.

Sinking Ship

The Internet makes me laugh. All these people with no clue about business making all these complaints. When a company is a bout to make some major power moves (the likes we’ve only seen so far by Marvel) this is the sort of things that occur. I applaud DC Entertainment for trimming the fat. The bumped off Levits and Didio from any major power decisions. Nuff said.

DC has been in rough shape creativly for a while. They havent been cuting edge with ANYTHING in over a decade.
This current “shake-up” is just the final nail in the coffin.
Cutting entire lines of books and replacing them with 21 BATMAN titles in one month………….
Hiring the IEC who helped run MARVEL into the ground during its lowest point in history……………….

D(superman & batman) C is a joke of itself now. They only have faith in producing two characters to death.
The rest of their conviluted line of books is just rehashes of what they did not even 8 yrs ago.

I hope and pray DCs sales go so far down in the charts that the NEW hires get fired and the right people get in there to return this company to what it was in the 80s & 90s

Pooh what vitriol. DC was only good in the mid 90’s because marvel was so bad (Tom de Falco as EIC). Now the tables have turned. And let’s not forget bob harras made the marvel knights deal happen with quesada. So one can always hope he’ll do something similar with someone else at DC.
Vertigo is well past its bedtime IMHO. Time to shake that tree methinks. Karen Berger never chose a title in her life so she wouldn’t be a great loss.

in all honesty it seems like dc is trying to make the workload easier on the creators of most of their titles most comic creators live on the pacific coast so it seems like the smart thing to do while marvel can still miss deadlines and even image can too image united issue 3 was delayed over a snowstorm and marvel siege was too if you look at the solicits for blackest night and siege dc had a skip month planned where as marvel for some god damned reason decided to push siege back a month and publish the heroic age bullshit in the same month dc is the more reliable of the two and is ballsy enough to let books still continue to sell even though their only selling 5000 copies or less they under stand that people will read it if they want to and they will put a decent team on new books unlike marvel i was at the baltimore comic con and tom brevort is the biggest full of shit guy out there i listened to him do an interview saying marvel is the premium brand because the artist they use are marvel quality guys i wanted to smack him in the face with issue one of leanord mancos war machine baically as i come back from my tangent i say this after all is said and done if somebody actually did a census of the comic stocking in stores i bet youd see that marvel really doesnt sell out as much as they say!!!!!!

To the dude above me. Have your ever heard of punctuation? Seriously, it’s called a period. Use it!

DC is smart on this one.To beat Disney to the punch.If anyone on here knows the actual print runs of comic books these days they would know that in about 5 years there will not be much of a comic book industry left if any.Can you imagine when Disney gets the print run #’s for the 40 mini series a month Marvel prints?I would like to hear what will be said in that meeting.DC is cutting first because Time Warner knows what is going on here.The fact is-is that more free tickets are probably given away as promo to the average “comic” movie than the number people who actually read the new issue.The money is in the movies not the new issues.Hopefully DC direct does not go as well-however-they have barely fshipped any action figures from this years orders.The growth in this business is on Amazon and in bookstores(if there are any left in your area) in the Graphic Novel-not in the traditional comic book store itself.

“AT some point the internet has to produce something like Image Comics was to the industry back in the 90′s, right?”

Shawn: http://www.comicspipeline.com It launches November 1st with an original series created by Tyler Kirkham, and an original webcomic from Ben Templesmith, plus a lot more! :) Go check it out, it’s exactly what you just described.

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