Marvel Comics’ quiet publisher John Nee is no longer with the company, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Following up on reports from Comicbook.com on Friday, THR confirmed the publisher has been let go as part of Disney’s latest round of layoffs. As it happens, Nee was among the many Disney staffers furloughed earlier in the year. At this point, it is unclear when or if Marvel will replace him.
During many times in its history, the publisher role at Marvel has been more of an administrative one with the Editor-in-Chief acting as the ultimate creative authority. This relationship, of course, waxes and wanes across the years. Indeed, Stan Lee was both the face of the company its publisher from 1972 to 1996; though Jim Shooter, the first Marvel editor to be called “Editor-in-Chief,” was definitely the creative director in the 1980s. Earlier this century, Bill Jemas made plenty of waves thanks to his policies as publisher and direct creative input. In more recent days, Dan Buckley and Nee kept the administrative engine of the company going while leaving creative and public relations efforts to the editor-in-chief.
Of course, that engine is now part of the Disney fleet. And as the parent company’s fortunes turn in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, so must Marvel. But considering Nee has been furloughed for months, it seems the duties of the publisher can be fulfilled be a group of people in the office. Well, at least for the moment. It is always possible Marvel will suffer further cuts. Which would also be familiar ground for the company, which nearly went bankrupt in the 1990s following the market implosion half-way through the decade.
Then again, his departure could signal another long-brewing change at Marvel with all creative decisions passing across the desk of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. When that change was announced last year, it was said Marvel Comics would remain the same, but thanks to COVID-19, that intention may have changed.