In what was described internally as a cost-cutting move, Marvel Comics laid off 11 employees last week, including three editors, four in production, two in the collections department and two from digital compositing. Only two weeks ago Jim Sokolowski, Marvel's COO was laid off for similar reasons, and earlier in the summer director of publishing operations Justin Gabrie and two others from the circulation department were let go.

Neither Sokolowski, Gabrie nor Senior Editor Ralph Macchio, who retired earlier in the year, have been replaced.

While Marvel has not commented publicly on the layoffs, they are believed to be part of an overall cost cutting move in the wake of softening sales over the last year. Although Marvel has been the leading publisher for most of the last decade, DC's recent New 52 initiative--a relaunch of DC's entire superhero periodical line--pushed them to the top of the sales charts in September.

Marvel looks to be cautiously trimming their publishing line as well, canceling lower selling periodical mini-series. In September Marvel published about 80 titles; in January the number will be closer to 60.

Despite the belt tightening, Marvel, which is owned by Disney, could have a big 2012 with the release of the Avengers movie in May. On the print side, a recent relaunch of their Ultimate line, led by the introduction of a new half Hispanic, half African American Spider-Man names Miles Morales, has seen success.