Earlier this week, Oni Press formally canceled their planned programming for San Diego Comic Con 2022 and yesterday it was revealed that they’d let go of numerous senior staff members. This news follows the recent firings of Charlie Chu, vice president of creative and business development, and their publisher, James Lucas Jones.
Today is my last day at Oni Press. I worked with some fantastic folks, creators, and retailers. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in the ever-changing comic book business.
— Henry Barajas 🔜 SDCC (@HenryBarajas) July 14, 2022
Oni’s sales manager Henry Barajas, who joined Oni Press less than a year ago, as well as senior editors Jasmine Amiri and Amanda Meadows tweeted about being laid off.
Hey y’all, I just got laid off from Oni Press today. Hit me on my personal line.
— Amanda Meadows 🌸 (@amandonium) July 14, 2022
Hi folks, I was just laid off and am no longer with Oni Press. If you need me, DMs are open. 🖤
— Jasmine Amiri (@JasAmiri) July 14, 2022
Both Amiri and Meadows were able to survive the last round of layoffs in the wake of the 2019 merger with Lion Forge after being purchased by Polarity. Back then, founder David Steward II said in a New York Times interview, : “We’re going to take a look at efficiencies and identify a number of avenues of growth as well.”
But none of those avenues of growth were apparently very popular.
And much like the current trend, a number of ex-workers from Lion Forge and Oni took to their Twitter accounts during that last round of lay-offs to publicly complain and declare their separation from the company.
I, the only black person at Oni, just got sacked. So if you want to know if Oni cares about marginalized and POC folx, there’s you’re answer. https://t.co/cvFMcJdTyI
— desiree — queries closed, updates only (@swindlesoiree) May 8, 2019
Maybe they haven’t been hiring quality people at Oni? Or the opposite could be true, and the corporate culture is toxic.
Bob Schreck and Joe Nozemack started Oni Press in 1997. The indie publisher is arguably most recognized for Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim graphic novels from 2004 through 2010. But since then, they’ve not had the same success with original content and have continued to pursue a brand that spotlights mostly identity-politics content, which have not improved the comic company’s fortunes, even after the 2019 merger with Lion Forge Comics merger, which followed earlier layoffs during a company-wide restructuring in 2018.
Now the future looks grim for the Portland-based publisher. The comics industry is already tough enough. We wish the publisher and these creators well.