Marvel has hired a new publisher to oversee its print and digital comics line: John Nee, a former executive at DC Comics and co-founder and co-CEO of games and cards company Cryptozoic Entertainment.
Nee succeeds Dan Buckley, who had held the position of Marvel publisher since 2003, and in Jan. 2017 was promoted to President of Marvel Entertainment. Buckley will now focus full-time on his duties as president. The news was first reported on Tuesday by ComicBook.com.
Nee's position is described in the article as overseeing the "health" of the print and digital comics line, ensuring quality, managing budgets and guiding marketing strategy. Nee is the former President of Jim Lee's WildStorm imprint, which was acquired by DC Comics in 1998. Nee remained with DC as VP, General Manager of WildStorm, and also oversaw the CMX imprint, DC's line of translated manga. In 2007, Nee was promoted to Senior Vice President of Business Development, DC Comics. He left DC in 2008.
Cryptozoic was founded in 2010, and has produced licensed card games of properties including DC Comics superheroes, Rick and Morty, Attack on Titan, The Hobbit and Adventure Time.
"As the publisher, John will lead our business strategy for publishing as a whole and focus on growing the comics and prose business," Buckley told ComicBook.com. "All business aspects of publishing report up to John. Creative and editorial planning will still have oversight from C.B. Cebulski, Joe Quesada, and myself."
Nee joins Marvel after what was, by many accounts, a tough 2017 for the publisher. While Marvel ended the year as the the direct market leader in both unit and dollar shares -- along with scoring the top-selling comic of 2017, the $5.99 Marvel Legacy one-shot -- the gap between Marvel and DC has decreased. In 2015, Marvel ended the year with 41.82 percent of the direct market's unit share, compared to DC's 27.35 percent; in 2017, that divide narrowed to Marvel's 38.30 percent versus DC's 33.93 percent. Additionally, Marvel has seen recent public relations stumbles, including the revelation that recently hired Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski used the penname "Akira Yoshida" in the mid-2000s, purporting to be a writer of Japanese descent.
Buckley addressed Marvel's up and down year in the ComicBook.com article.
"We need to keep listening, change what doesn’t work, and bring in the best talent to make our stories a reality," Buckley said. "This year, we think we can do better."
As President of Marvel Entertainment, Buckley oversees nearly every aspect of the company's business except for its film division, Marvel Studios, which is headed by Kevin Feige. Buckley's current job is said to include "brand management, oversight of animation, digital media and brand/franchise planning."
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