With the Western comic book industry struggling to survive under the weigh of its own hubris, so follows one of its most prominent news outlet, as the widely-recognized Comic Book Resources recently underwent a major staffing upheaval in service of parent company Valnet Inc.’s new vision for the site’s future.
The outlet’s shake-up began on May 30th when, as first reported by The Popverse’s Graeme McMillan, the site’s now-former Editor-in-Chief Adam Swiderski announced via Linkedin that “my time at CBR has come to a close, as I was laid off by Valnet this morning.”
“I’ll reflect later, but for now: I need work,” he then admitted, proceeding to briefly list a number of his personal credentials. “I know it’s a tough time in our business right now, but I would so appreciate any leads, so if you know of anything, or know of anyone with whom it might behoove me to connect, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thanks, all.”
Notably, having just joined the site as it’s EiC in July 2022, Swiderski’s departure caps off his time in the role at less than a year.
A short while later, McMillan learned that Valnet Inc. – whose other holdings notably include such similar pop-culture and entertainment news sites as ScreenRant, Collider, Game Rant, and TheGamer – had also pink slipped CBR’s senior news editor Stephen Gerding and senior features editor Christopher Baggett.
While Gerding, who first joined the outlet as a freelancer in 2005, has yet to offer a public comment on his departure, Baggett has since revealed via Twitter that he was completely blindsided by Valnet Inc.’s decision.
“I’m still honestly trying to parse it, but I was laid off from CBR a little bit ago,” tweeted Baggett. “I won’t go into too much detail as I’ve no desire at this time to air my grievances.”
“I will say that I am so, so proud of the team I had and the work we did, and I am so, so grateful for every one of you who ever read anything we wrote,” he added. “No clue what’s next, but I am available to work. Let’s make cool stuff together. <3”
In a statement shared via the company’s internal slack and later obtained by McMillan, Valnet Inc. content director George Edelman explained that these staffing changes occurred because ” “CBR will be undergoing major structural changes related to turning the corner on both culture and performance.”
“As a result certain roles no longer exist, and we are focusing on individuals who can create a more positive culture going forward,” he added. Edelman further informed remaining employees that the CBR would now be under the direction of the site’s current managing editor, Jon Arvedon.
“We have the utmost confidence in him and his abilities,” said the Valnet Inc. representative, “and we will be setting up calls to discuss the restructuring and the future with editors throughout the day and the week.”
Notably, these layoffs come hot on the heels of the site’s former ‘exclusive content & PR manager’ Gregg Katzman’s voluntary exit from the company in favor of a new position as IDW Publishing’s senior public relations manager.
“Big personal news: I’ll be joining the @IDWPublishing team as Senior Manager, Public Relations at the end of the month!” Katzman announced on May 15th. “I’ve enjoyed my time at @CBR but the opportunity to return to passionately promoting comics, including TMNT, is too good to pass up. Thrilled to join the team.”
As of writing, Valnet Inc. has yet to offer public comment on Swiderski, Baggett, and Gerding’s depature.
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