In 2012, Bleeding Cool reported the story that a sexual assault had taken place in a hotel lobby at WonderCon.
It was so public that, by the time I woke up in the UK, I had received multiple reports. The assailant was named as DC Comics then-Executive Editor Eddie Berganza and the person assaulted was a comic book creator in her own right, a partner of a regular DC creator, and an occasional convention reporter for Bleeding Cool.
She did not want to be named back then – she was afraid it might damage her work prospects, and wanted to move on, and we respected that. But Bleeding Cool did later name Eddie Berganza as the man responsible.
A number of sexual harassment complaints against Berganza had been made over previous years, including this one, and as a result he was demoted from Executive Editor to Group Editor, and banned from attending comic conventions for DC Comics.
He underwent a number of sanctions and behavioural modification programmes mandated by Warner Bros Human Resources department – with a reputation for their stringency. I understand that initially, he told colleagues that he was a closeted gay man and that these actions had been as a result of overcompensation. But that didn’t last long. After completing the sanctions to Warner’s approval, Berganza was later given the Superman titles back, was allowed to attend comic conventions again, and I understand there have been no such offences reported since.
However, the secrecy around this situation has fueled much anger. When Berganza started returning to conventions I was aware of a plan of action to plaster the DC Comics booth with his face and a NOT WANTED label. It came to naught.
We also reported last year on comics creator and innovator Alex De Campi writing about how no women were allowed to work with Eddie in the Superman offices over these allegations – DC reps when quizzed by me about this saw this as happenstance and pointed out there were other departments at DC without any women as well.
Recently, I understand that Greg Rucka took the Wonder Woman job with the express understanding that Eddie Berganza would no longer be editor on the title.
And now the letting go of DC Vertigo Exec Editor Shelly Bond, has brought the issue to light, with people asking why Shelly and not Eddie? There is no connection between the two decisions, but some people see an injustice.
Eddie Berganza continues to survive restructuring at DC (except restructuring that put him in all male quarantine) https://t.co/0zAMIsFNm1
— Nick Hanover (@Nick_Hanover) April 21, 2016
And ex-DC Comics editor, and now comics publisher Janelle Asselin being far more explicit.
The answer, unpalatable as it is, is that Shelly’s operations cost DC Entertainment money – the Vertigo line has been losing money for the publisher. Shelly was seen as too expensive, blamed for the failure and DC were rolling back the line. Eddie, however, makes money for DC. The Superman comics do okay (if not great) and remain a profit centre for the publisher. The sexual harassment complaints were (eventually) dealt with by Warners strict HR guidelines and I understand that there has been no repetition in the four years since.
However, as a result of the recent publicity, and the likelihood of questions being asked at panels, I get the feeling that he may choose not to attend San Diego Comic Con this year all by himself.