25 Years Is a Pretty Good Run… Is Anyone Left at Oni?
Two weeks ago, news broke that Oni Press stalwarts James Lucas Jones (company publisher) and Charlie Chu (VP of Creative & Business Development) were no longer at the company. Today came word that four more high-level staffers are gone. Popverse reports that
“Senior VP of sales and marketing Alex Segura, Sales Manager Henry Barajas, Senior Editor Amanda Meadows, and Editor Jasmine Amiri are no longer with the company.”
These were apparently layoffs. Additionally, head of publicity Tara Lehmann left the company last night, and Heidi MacDonald summed up additional departures earlier this year.
Oni was celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, as it was founded in 1997, but with no panels and no booth at San Diego Comic Con — not surprising, since it’s unclear who’s left to run them — this may be a farewell instead. Or a fading away.
Three years ago, Oni was acquired by publisher Lion Forge/Polarity, but their attention seems to be elsewhere. Creators are wondering what this means for their works, with former employees cautioning them to attempt to get their rights back and ensure payments are up to date. Knowledgeable observers are speculating that there’s hope someone wants to buy the company, but with so many of their works creator-owned, and so much of the company knowledge now gone, what is left to acquire?
Regardless of what happens, here’s a list of Oni Press titles I’ve covered over the years. Some good reading there.
Update: Oni/Lion Forge has released a rather tone-deaf statement decrying “wildly sensationalistic rumors circulating and false information spreading” (which is what happens when no one knows who to contact for information when they’re writing about your company news because your PR department is gone). They claim they are attempting to position the “company and brand … for long-term success” and that they “remain committed to publishing groundbreaking content, embracing pioneering creators, and advancing authentic diversity and inclusion.”
The statement ends, “We see an incredibly exciting future not just for the company but for our fans and content consumers worldwide.” Not readers, but consumers — interesting phrasing.