Numerous Oni Press/Lion Forge Comics Employees Laid Off Following Merger Announcement

Following Oni Press and Lion Forge Comics’ announcement on Wednesday that comic book publishers would be merging into a single entity, the companies have now begun layoffs across both publishers.

In a previous New York Times article announcing the merger, it was noted that Lion Forge Comics co-founder David Steward would be examining staff levels following a combination of their assets:

“The merger will combine assets from both companies and require an examination of staff levels — just over 20 at Lion Forge and just under 20 at Oni. ‘We’re going to take a look at efficiencies and identify a number of areas of growth as well,’ Mr. Steward said.”

The same day, the first results of the ‘examination’ were made public, as numerous employees announced that they had been laid off in the wake of the merger, including Lion Forge Comics Associate Editor Christina “Steenz” Stewart:

VP Editor-in-Chief at Lion Forge Andrea Colvin announced they had left.

Oni Press Associate Editor Desiree Wilson:

Oni Press Warehouse Assistant Scott Sharkey:

And, according to Eternity Girl writer Magdalene Visaggio, Oni Press Director of Publicity Melissa Meszaros:

Others indicated they couldn’t say much about the merger, but would share updates soon.

Lion Forge Comics Senior Editor Amanda Meadows:

Lion Forge Comics Editor Jasmine Amiri:

Speaking with Publisher’s Weekly, Lion Forge Comics publicist Jeremy Atkins confirmed that there had been “staff reductions”:

“Some Lion Forge staff, he said, were offered positions “within the Oni structure” in Portland and others were offered positions “within the Polarity umbrella,” which encompasses a number of companies. In addition, he said “some positions were eliminated outright or consolidated.”

ClownFish TV provides more insight.

These layoffs were highly criticized, as many believed that these layoffs flew counter to Oni Press and Lion Forge Comics’ promotion of their ‘commitment to diversity’:

When asked for comment by The Beat (itself owned by Polarity, the parent company of Lion Forge Comics) Oni/Lion Forge Comics provided a statement regarding this wave of layoffs:

“While we do not comment on personnel matters, we do wish everyone who has worked within our organizations nothing but continued success in their careers.  It is worth noting that Lion Forge and Oni each bring impressive track records of championing under-represented creators and fans with inclusive, authentic content.  By combining our efforts, we get to do that powerful and important work at a whole new level, with a diverse and experienced management team, and with the leadership and ownership team that is a majority people of color. Stay tuned.”

What do you make of the layoffs following the merger? Do you think this is good news for the comic book industry?

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