With Geoff Johns stepping down from his role as Chief Creative Officer at DC Entertainment in order to focus on writing and producing comics, TV shows, and movies, the CCO job will go to DC co-publisher Jim Lee.
Lee, one of comics' most beloved artists for almost 30 years, first found himself in a management role when he and six other popular artists left Marvel in the early '90s to found Image Comics. Most of the founders had their own studios to run and books to put out, and Lee's WildStorm was among the most successful.
So successful, in fact, that when the marketplace got rough and Lee found himself trapped behind a desk too often and unable to draw, he sold WildStorm to DC in 1999.
With Johns's departure -- superficial though it seems, since he will retain an active role with Warner Bros. focusing on DC properties -- Lee will expand his role to include the Chief Creative Officer title and responsibilities, and will continue to act as Publisher together with Dan DiDio.
The announcements were made today by Thomas Gewecke, Chief Digital Officer and Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, who is serving as DC’s interim head following the exit of DC president Diane Nelson, who left Warner Bros. this week. Nelson had been on hiatus since March.
Lee is a friendly and popular public face for DC, with both fans and retailers. His presentations at retailer summits helped pave the way for an ambivalent marketplace to embrace DC's 2016 Rebirth initiative, which kicked off with Johns's DC Universe: Rebirth #1. That issue planted the seeds for stories still playing out now, and some which will come as part of a planned pop-up imprint for Johns.
Lee's most recent comics work was a short story in Action Comics #1000, which introduced Rogol Zaar and set the stage for The Man of Steel. The short, written by veteran Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis, represented Bendis's first DC work as part of a new, exclusive deal with the company, and was marketed as the crown jewel of Action #1000, an anthology issue stuffed to the gills with top-tier talent.