Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 12, 2005

Jake Tarbox Resigns From CMX

Newsarama had it first: Jake Tarbox is leaving his group editorship position at DC Comics' manga imprint CMX. It was an undistinguished run. After an initial product launch interesting mostly in that DC seemed willing to delve into older material that other companes shied away from, Tarbox felt the brunt of fan outrage when DC decided to prune some of the more outrageous sections of the rape romp Tenjho Tenge. The line in general has thus far performed in decent but not spectacular or even above-average fashion.

With listings at for a vice president of marketing (a natural outcome of the reorganization of the DC sales and marketing department, and one that's been up recently) and a national sales director (which is not only new to me, but I don't quite get it given the stacking of personnel in the sales division), you can see DC start to refashion itself as a more prominent and perhaps more focused business within the Time Warner umbrella. There are 14 positions listed if you search through here.

I don't think this latest move makes CMX's survival any less likely than before. Tarbox was a veteran hired to fill a role, not a star around which a line was built. Any decision to cut and run on CMX or keep it seems to me will ultimately depend on different criteria than whether or not Tarbox is around to run things, perhaps more to do with general strategies of the kind that may have made easier decisions on the recently cut-loose Humanoids and 2000 AD lines. I will be surprised if there isn't a bit more shuffling of positions to make up for the loss of the other two lines or to better utilize the company's manpower, and I look forward to more occasional confusing job openings in the next 24 months or so.

As for the Tarbox decision itself, looking back on the Tenjho Tenge thing makes me want to reconsider the conventional wisdom about manga audiences. The kind of focused effort to shun or to comment on a company's policy as talked about in the Newsarama piece indicates a focused, rabid fandom far more than it does random 14-year-olds casually picking up this stuff at the bookstore on a whim. Not that it has to be one or the other, but still.
posted 6:47 am PST | Permalink

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