Does Daniel Ketchum’s Firing Signal Real Problems At Marvel?
Bleeding Cool reported on Friday that Marvel Comics had fired X-Men editor Daniel Ketchum. All things being connected in some small way, this firing could be a sign of real problems at Marvel, as the publisher reels from some very noticeable problems in the past few months.
Comic creator Derf Backderf noted on his Twitter account the horrible timing of the firing. On the heels of the controversial change in direction away from diversifying its heroes, Marvel “sacked it’s only gay non-white editor.” This is most likely a case of bad timing, and not connected, except in the most ancillary of ways. The X-Men line has suffered recently, most likely due to Marvel management not wishing to provide support to film properties that they do not own. However, the prevailing school of thought seems to be Ketchum’s tendency to butt heads with others at Marvel, either due to personality or his penchant for keeping his books on schedule. It is also entirely possible that this is the first of many staff trimmings to come as Marvel switches directions in its publishing schedule.
I hold with the latter being the most likely. Marvel management is most likely looking for reasons away from themselves for the poor performance. It’s human nature to look outward for the source of your problems first. On a personal level, this can be destructive, but when those doing so are in positions of corporate power, it can be the death knell of a company or division. Hard working people, trying to do the right thing, get blamed for the bad decisions of those in charge. If this is indeed the case, then it should be a sign for executives at Marvel’s parent company, Disney, to change the executive leadership at Marvel. I would expect this to happen if the new Marvel direction this fall doesn’t result in higher sales and continued public criticism of Marvel Comics. Of course, that could be true even if Ketchum were fired solely due to his conduct and not a shifting of blame further down the ladder.
Does Ketchum’s firing signal that there are bigger problems at Marvel? They do if he’s been fired for the mistakes of others higher in the food chain. If so, we should probably brace ourselves for a very bumpy 2018 in the comics industry.