Newsarama co-founder makes a surprise exit from the comics journalism outlet
Doran co-founded Newsarama in 1998
It’s the end of a very particular era, with Popverse learning that Michael Doran, comics journalism veteran and co-founder of Newsarama, has parted ways with GamesRadar+ and Newsarama after more than a quarter of a century.
Doran started writing about comics online in a series of postings on the Prodigy message boards in 1995, eventually titling the posts 'Prodigy Comic Book Newswire'; as his posts started being shared in different locations online, the posts were retitled The Comics Newswire, then The Newswire, and eventually, Newsarama — a brand co-created with Popverse contributor Matt Brady.
Moving from message boards to the wider internet, Doran and Brady’s Newsarama columns would appear on early genre entertainment sites like AnotherUniverse.com, Mania.com, and Comicon.com between 1998 and 2002, at which point Newsarama would become a website in its own rigt thanks to early funding from Kevin Smith. Doran would temporarily leave the site to become Marvel Comics’ marketing communications director just months after Newsarama.com’s launch, returning three years later.
Doran would continue to operate as Newsarama’s senior editor as the site was purchased by the Imaginova network in 2007, and then again by TopTenREVIEWS in 2009; Future PLC purchased the site as part of a larger deal in 2018, with the Newsarama.com site becoming part of the general pop culture entertainment site GamesRadar+ as a comics-specific vertical. Under this new status quo, Doran and his two-person team focused more exclusively on comics. In November, Newsarama editor Samantha Puc was quietly laid off as part of larger layoffs within the Future plc company, reducing the team to Doran and long-time staff writer George Marston.
In October 2022, ComicBook.com alum Rollin Bishop was hired as GamesRadar+'s managing editor (US), with him stating one of his focuses would be on comic book content for the site — which would overlap with Doran's longstanding role. It’s unknown if this played into the departure of Doran from GamesRadar+.
Newsarama is one of the few comic journalism sites that is unionized, although management such as Doran and Bishop were exclusded from the WGAE-recognized union. Currently it appears that staff writer George Marston is the sole remaining employee working under the Newsarama banner, which raises questions about the longterm viability of Newsarama as a brand on its own.
While neither Doran nor GamesRadar+ have commented on, or even confirmed, Doran's departure, any email sent to his GamesRadar+ email address prompts an auto-response that reads, "I am no longer at Newsarama. Please contact George Marston [email redacted] or Rollin Bishop [email redacted]."
Doran’s departure is one that impacts a couple of Popverse staff; editor Chris Arrant was a longterm staff member and contributor to Newsarama before launching this site last year, and, speaking personally, Newsarama was one of the first sites I wrote professionally for way back when, and I’ve worked with Doran on many an occasion across the years since. He’s been doing this for longer than most, and has shaped what the comics internet — itself a phrase that few use with any regularity these days — was, and is today. He’ll be missed; it’ll also be interesting to see what he does next.[Editor's note: This article has been updated to list Rollin Bishop's hiring in October 2022.]
Revisit this roundtable with 2022’s Eisner nominees for Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism from last summer.