In a move that we'll tell you up front is resulting in an INSTANT resetting of the Has DC Done Something Stupid Today counter, DC Comics has decided to "restructure" its Vertigo imprint and release Vertigo Vice President and Executive Editor Shelly Bond. The move comes as a shock for multiple reasons, including Bond's long tenure with the company and the widespread respect of her peers, and also the fact that Vertigo is the only part of DC that people actually like. Vertigo's editorial staff will now report directly to Dan Didio and Jim Lee, because that's worked out so well for DC Comics proper for the past several years. Here's a statement DC sent to CBR about the changes:
STATEMENT RE VERTIGO RESTRUCTURING - April 2016
· DC Entertainment is reexamining the direction and focus of the Vertigo imprint of comic books and graphic novels. The goal is to keep competitive and stay relevant in the changing marketplace, and to set the business up for future success.
The updated business structure will result for some employees in a change of reporting relationship, new job descriptions, and expanded roles and responsibilities.
Unfortunately, as part of the restructuring, the position of Vice President & Executive Editor has been eliminated. This was a very challenging process, and we made every effort to ensure all decisions were made with great care and consideration.
· We are extremely grateful for Shelly Bond's commitment and dedication to Vertigo, its books and its incredibly talented team of staff and creators.
· In Vertigo she leaves a legacy to which we remain committed and on which we intend to build for the future. She will always be a deeply valued and respected member of the DC family.
· We have the utmost confidence in the current editorial staff and look forward to the team leaving their mark on the Vertigo line knowing this new alignment creates a stronger organization that is well positioned for maximum potential.
Of course, the reaction to the news was swift and harsh, with Survivors Club artist Ryan Kelly tweeting:
Others, however, saw it as an opportunity to point out a certain hypocrisy in DC Comics' hiring and firing practices, as this tweet from Jennifer de Guzman illustrates:
Ah, yes, that thing we've all been beating around the bush about for a long time. Well, it looks like Bond's unceremonious ousting from Vertigo was enough to push people over the edge, because journalist Nick Hanover broke the seal and tweeted:
Of course, Hanover is referring to what's considered an open secret in comics, and something we've discussed second hand with dozens of journalists and industry insiders. When Alex de Campi talked about a senior DC editor with multiple sexual harassment reports on his HR record, she was, we believe, talking about Eddie Berganza. Let's revisit her statements:
Sensation is edited in a special projects/digital office, an office which is sadly under-utilized in the internal turf wars of DC and faces shutdown/restructuring as a senior male staff member finds it unnecessary... despite the plaudits its books (including Sensation) have achieved.
The main Wonder Woman comic is part of the Superman office. Now, the Superman office allegedly employs no women, and a cursory glance over the mastheads of several Superman titles and Wonder Woman seems to confirm that allegation. The reason, I've been told by several people who work or used to work at DC, is because one of the most senior editors is a sexual harasser with multiple incidents on his HR file. I don't use "alleged" here because at least one incident (grabbing a woman's breasts) happened publicly at a corporate social gathering with multiple witnesses. There was also something about sticking his tongue down an artist's girlfriend's throat when the artist was in the bathroom. Again, public gathering.
It is not known to me whether the no-chicks-in-Supes-office diktat is the preference of the harasser, or whether it's the HR department crossing its fingers and hoping to Jesus they don't get hit with a liability lawsuit so big it's visible from space. This guy was kept in the move to Burbank despite his record – allegedly because he has blackmail on one of DC's most senior staff members.
We knew who she was talking about. You all knew it. Everyone knew it. Bleeding Cool even talked about one incident as far back as 2012, though Eddie escaped with a slap on the writst. But now... it's out there in the open for everyone to see in the age of prolific social media.
So what happens next? Will major comics outlets pick the story up, or will it continue to be swept under the rug? Will Nick Hanover receive a call from DC's lawyers? Will we? Will Valnet, Inc. hire us both if we get shut down? The next few days should be interesting, to say the least. Stay tuned.
Late last night, Eisner nominated comic publisher Janelle Asselin made her way onto Twitter to find that this news had broken. Asselin stated that she had been trying to get the Berganza story run for some time, but was never successful because most victims were just wanting to move on and live their lives in peace. This, however, did not stop the Eisner winning comics journalist from sharing her personal experiences:
You can read all of Janelle's tweets here.
It's getting harder and harder to not just leave that counter at 0 every day until DC does something about this.