Marvel Comics have laid off their Chief Operating Officer Jim "Ski" Sokolowski, effective immediately. While the publisher offered no official comment or confirmation of the move, CBR News understands that the change was not based on job performance but in basic economic realities.
Sokolowski had held the COO title since the fall of 2008, however his association with the company and comics stretches long before that. The executive started working with Marvel in the '70s on newsstand sales -- initially with a sister company and then as a Marvel employee himself. Over the coming decades, he would hold many various positions across the periodical publishing industry including several sales and distribution related positions at Marvel, jobs at Curtis Publishing and "High Times" magazine and a run as DC Comics' director of publishing operations and circulation before his most recent Marvel return.
As COO, Sokolowski oversaw a number of business functions not often discussed amongst fans, including production and circulation concerns as well as talent management. An occasional fixture of Marvel's convention presence, Ski has a strong reputation amongst readers, creators and co-workers, and is one of a handful of Marvel staffers to have a character created in their likeness.
With the layoff coming as a surprise to many, the fact that even a comics powerhouse like Marvel's publishing devision is looking to cut costs serves as a sobering reminder of the United States' recession's continuing impact on comics as a whole.
CBR will have more on the story as it develops.