Big Shifts At Comics Publishers As PR And Editors Leave Valiant, IDW, Marvel

by Hannah Means Shannon

There’s an old adage that when it rains, it pours, and often seemingly unconnected events appear to bring about an overall pattern. This time it’s change on a pretty big level for publishers such as Valiant, IDW, and Marvel.

Starting off with the news that IDW’s PR officer, Steven Scott, was stepping away from the publisher in order to pursue a career in writing (and look out for his already scheduled work coming out), this news was followed by another big PR-related departure of VP of Marketing and Communications, Hunter Gorinson, from Valiant Entertainment.

Those watching the comics industry might not have been totally surprised to learn this after the company DMG Entertainment exercised its rights to take over Valiant Entertainment, ousting rather beloved CEO Dinesh Shamdasani. Shamdasani, while weathering this big development, is still someone fans are hoping will continue to contribute to comics in some way. There has been plenty of speculation that more departures would follow at Valiant, and Gorinson’s move away from the publisher confirms that pattern.

But the exodus this week was not over by a long shot. In a move that few seem to have expected, IDW CCO and EIC Chris Ryall, another very well-liked figure in comics, announced that he’d be leaving IDW after 14 years. Ryall had proven to be a major part of establishing IDW’s editorial credentials, and ushered in many of the well-known projects that have contributed to the publisher’s success with both licensed and creator-owned properties over the years. Ryall had previously stepped away from the EIC role and then returned to it in recent years, suggesting a desire for change in his role.

Last, but very much not least, prominent Marvel editor Heather Antos, who has been the focus of a flood of attacks loosely referred to as “Comicsgate”, and whose name you might recognize from the supportive #MakeMineMilkshake movement on social media, has announced her departure from Marvel to take up a position as EIC at Esports betting site Unikrn. Which is a great loss for comics.

And yes, all this happened in one week, rocking the comics industry. And at least on an emotional level, making pros and fans feel like they are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will things stabilize for awhile, hopefully?

Nevertheless, this list is full of supremely talented people who have contributed greatly to comics, so we wish them all the best in their future endeavors, whether in comics, or beyond.

On the silver lining side for those wishing to get into the comics industry, or make a move, IDW at least are hiring, and we may hear more to follow from other publishers.