DC Comics' California Move - The UPDATED Reaction
CREDIT: DC Comics
First came the news that DC Entertainment plans to move their comic book publishing interests DC Comics from its long-time original home in Gotham ... make that New York City, to Burbank, CA. in 2015. Then, this being the Internet age, came industry reaction.
Newsarama has been asking comic book professionals for their take on the news, as well as compiling social media comments from others.
Here's a look at some of the reactions so far:
[solicited and compiled by Jim McLauchin]
Dan Jurgens, longtime DC writer/artist of Superman, Firestorm and more:
"I think we all saw this as inevitable. I think it's an exciting change for the future of comics, because obviously it will change the overall landscape. But we have not been a centralized industry for a long, long time. Artists and writers are all over the globe. People are working in the ways they're working all over the place anyway. This just reflects what's happening all over the globe in the world economy. Look at me. For 30-some years, I've been in Minnesota working for a variety of publishers, and it's worked fine. It will continue to work fine.
"It's a business about relationships, and the idea is to make sure relationships can withstand a change of locations. I feel sorry for friends I have at DC who may not want to make a move. I really sympathize. But this is something we're seeing all over in business."
Paul Dini, Emmy Award-winning writer and producer of Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series:
"It's interesting. As I sit here right now and hear this, I'm listening to 'Everything Must Change' by Nina Simone. Odd. I don't know. We'll have to wait and see. Hopefully it will mean some good things for the people, the company, the characters."
Peter Gross, artist and co-creator of The Unwritten:
"I totally expected it to happen a few years ago with the split in upper management. When it didn't happen then, I assumed it was off the table. On the publishing side, I don't know that it will affect anything. On the human side, I feel bad for the people who don't want to make the move, relocate their lives.
"I think it's good in some ways. It's kind of crazy to have upper management split in two different places. If more on the digital side and the film development side is happening in Burbank, well, maybe it's good for these people to see each other every day, work together.
Brian Azzarello, writer of 100 Bullets and Before Watchmen:
"Does it make sense to me to move the publishing operation to L.A.? From where I sit in Chicago, it really doesn't affect me. But it does affect a lot of people. I don't know how this is all going to shake out. They could lose a lot of experienced, talented people. But thinking positively, shakeup is good. Tends to energize things. Maybe it's too early to have an opinion on all this."
Chris Burnham, Batman Incorporated artist who, coincidentally, JUST moved to Los Angeles from Chicago one week before the announcement:
"From a personal point-of-view, I guess it's cool that they're moving a literal 10-minute drive from me. Having just moved here myself, I sympathize with people who will make the move. Moving sucks.
"From a purely freelance point-of-view, I don't know that anyone would really notice, other than your deadlines shifting by three hours. Freelancers just gained some time.
"From a purely functional point-of-view…I dunno. I'm not smart enough to know what this all means. I assume the check will still go out on time and we'll all still be drawing men in tights punching down buildings. I'm sure someone smarter than me will have smarter things to say about digital, licensing, and all.”
Stan Lee, father of Marvel Comics, who now appears frequently in cameo roles in Marvel's movies:
"Well now, they won't have to shout as loud when they want me to do a cameo."
[solicited and compiled by Vaneta Rogers]
Dennis O'Neil, former Batman Group Editor, Batman Writer:
"I doubt many are surprised that something we're heard rumors about for decades is finally, for real, happening. I had me some good times at 1700 and so I regret the passing of that scene, but it does seem inevitable. Superheroes are, these days, more about film than paper and melding the print operation into the movie/television group is logical and probably good business. But yeah, us old timers should be allowed a moment of nostalgic regret."
Gerry Conway, Justice League of America writer, Firestorm co-creator:
"Sad news for those New York based employees who won't be asked to join the move. Also sad news for those of us who remember the thrill of visiting DC's offices during their more-or-less 'open door' heyday back in the late '60s and early '70s. Still, given the corporate realities, it isn't surprising. Just sad."
Jonathan Vankin, writer, former Vertigo editor:
"Well, I can't really say it's surprising. My main thoughts are for my erstwhile Vertigo colleagues, Will and Mark and Shelly. They are all such remarkable talents — and remarkable people — I sincerely hope that this move doesn't cause any serious disruption in what they continually accomplish there. But, knowing them, I don't think it will. I wish the best for them, and everyone at DC — and hope to see them on the Left Coast!"
Steve Rotterdam, former Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for DC Comics
"While it was certainly unexpected to hear the news at the end of the day on a Tuesday, I can't imagine anyone really being surprised by it. From a broad business perspective, it makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider what DC Entertainment has been able to accomplish cross-divisionally and among its partners over the first three years of its existence. Of course, none of that diminishes the impact that the reality of this decision is undoubtedly already having among those who are most affected by it. For some, it'll be exhilarating; for others, agonizing. As these sorts of things tend to play out on very public stages, I only hope that those who feel the need to prognosticate will remember that."
Peter David, writer of Marvel's X-Factor, former Aquaman writer
"I thought they'd move already."
Kurt Busiek, writer/creator of Astro City
"It doesn't affect me much — I'm guessing it doesn't affect most freelancers. Used to be, we all needed to live in the New York area to be close to the offices, but times changed, and nowadays we live all around the world, often hundreds or thousands of miles away, communicating by phone and e-mail. So the only practical difference for me would be that the company's in the same time zone I am, for a change.
"The people it'll affect most, I think, are the DC staff, many of whom have homes, kids in school, friends, their life rooted in the NYC metropolitan area, who now have to decide whether to pull up stakes and relocate to California.
"I'm sure some will choose to stay, and will have trouble finding new jobs. So that'll be a hassle for them.
"Times change, companies move, it's a fact of life. But I hope the upheaval is minimal, and that everyone winds up somewhere they want to be."
Ron Marz, former Green Lantern writer
"First and foremost, my thoughts are with all the employees who face serious decisions about the future, not only for themselves, but for their families as well. I think too often in this business, we concentrate on what happens to imaginary people, but this is about what happens to real people in the real world. Obviously I hope the best for everyone involved.
"There was probably an inevitability to this move, and consolidating offices makes sense on a number of levels. When I heard the news, I have to admit I got unexpectedly wistful about 1700 Broadway. Those offices were 'home' to me as a freelancer for quite a few years, and I was up there pretty often. It was like visiting family. I have a lot of great memories, and still have good friends up there. DC was very much part of the fabric of New York for me, and it'll be strange when it's gone."
John Ostrander, writer Aquaman Annual #1
“I think it was inevitable but still I'm sorry to see it happen. Lots of history with DC in NY. It's going to be a big change for the staffers and I wish them well.”
Keith Giffen, writer Justice League 3000
“I fail to see what this will change. I'll just be lying to someone on the west coast instead of the east coast.”
Roger Stern, former Superman writer
“I can't say I'm terribly surprised. There had been rumors about such a move for years.
“I just hope that no one loses their job in the relocation.”
Dan Mishkin, writer, Amethyst & Blue Devil co-creator
“Having visited editors at DC Comics over the years in a number of locations in Manhattan, it's a bit strange to imagine them not being in New York at all. Even though my attention has shifted to the book publishing world — my graphic novel/adaptation/investigation of the Warren Report with Ernie Colon will be out next year from Abrams — I've still felt comforted by the thought that the ‘old homestead’ was there whenever I walked past the Broadway office, which is close to where I stay when I'm in New York.
“This has been in the wind for a while, though, and what comes most sharply to mind upon hearing the news is the absolute tizzy that some staff were in when DC was first put under the aegis of Warner Bros. A lot of folks were certain then that a move to California was imminent, and I'm here to tell you that those provincial Gothamites — whose worldview, like that of the famous Saul Steinberg New Yorker cover, barely extends to the Hudson River — seemed to think the bedrock of civilization was crumbling.
“I'm hopeful the current crowd is more open to new possibilities...or that fresh ideas may come from new staff who replace those that stay behind. Much as I appreciate editorial input and acumen, though, the best ideas in comics come from those who draw and write them, and it's good to remember that the people who can offer such ideas are spread all over the country. My advice to editors is not to lose sight of how much talent is out there in Harrisburg and Laredo and Biloxi and Kalispell and, for all I know, Phnom Penh, and not to let distance be a barrier to creating great comics.
“It's also my hope that wherever DC's offices are and whoever occupies them, there are still some higher-ups who can be found — as I once found Paul Levitz in his president-and-publisher digs — arranging and browsing through shelves of lovingly kept comics during their lunch breaks.”
Neal Adams [to the NY Daily News]:
“We all smelled it in the air a long time ago, there’s such a focus on film and television nowadays, why wouldn’t they want the people making the decisions (on the characters) out on the West Coast.
“The actual comics are becoming a smaller and smaller part of the business. I hope they’ll still be around in a few years.
“It may symbolically feel like the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, but it’s not like comic book fans were visiting the DC offices anyway."
[Creators on Twitter]
Burbank's light pollution is going to be hell on the Bat Signal.— Gerry Duggan (@GerryDuggan) October 29, 2013
DC moving to Burbank? THANKS FOR NOTHING, OBAMACARE!!!— Jolly Saint Layman (@themightylayman) October 29, 2013
Never before in the history of comics has a greater opportunity to purge shitty editorial staff existed.
— JONATHAN HICKMAN (@JHickman) October 29, 2013
I'm glad the DC move announcement comes with a long runway for their employees to make choices and plans. That's respectful.— Braaaaains Asmus (@JamesAsmus) October 29, 2013