It was expected news, but shocking news at the same time.
Yesterday, Warner Bros. announced that it will move the entire comics operations of DC Comics from New York City to Burbank, California. The move will become effective by 2015.
As I said above, this move was expected. Most of the four members of DC Entertainment’s top management (Diane Nelson, President; both Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio; and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns) are all based out of southern California. By moving the entire operation out west, it cuts down on trips to the East Coast for oversight and so on. But by doing so, it ends 80 years of DC Comics being made in New York City; first as “National Publications,” then as “Detective Comics,” until finally settling on “DC Comics” in the 70s after a few years as “National Comics.”
But the move is a loss to New York and the rivalry between DC and Marvel. So much so, that Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada felt the need to write his thoughts on the move. After expressing his heartfelt concern over how agonizing it is going to be for a number of DC Comics employees to uproot their lives, their families, and so much more to move 3,000 miles west and wished them all the best; he said this about how the loss of DC from New York, is a loss for comics in general.
“While I can’t comment as to the business side of Warner Bros. decision to move DC publishing to Burbank, from a strictly historical point of view and as a born and bred, dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, I have to honestly say that it breaks my heart. I know most people probably wouldn’t expect that kind of a response from me, as I’ve never shied away from poking at our distinguished competition—or, as we like to say in New York, bustin’ their chops. But that’s because at the end of the day we are competitors and lets face it…it’s kind of a Marvel tradition. But at the very core of it, we’re also partners in this industry that I love with every ounce of my being, and we fight in the same trenches.
“To me, comics are New York City and New York City is comics. We all know that the first character to put his underwear on over his pants was created in Cleveland, but it was New York City that gave him his start. It was New York City that provided the spotlight and it was here that he and all those that followed in his footsteps became famous. So to see a piece of that publishing tradition shift to the West coast saddens me, because it’s the end of an era and yes, while I’ve always loved to tweak our crosstown pals, New York City will admittedly be a little diminished by DC’s absence.”
In a way, he’s right. New York City is where publishing is still done whether you want to admit it or not. Be it books, magazines, comic books, and so on, all that came through the Big Apple.
While on a business sense, having everything under one roof out in L.A. makes the most sense for DC Comics / Warner Bros., it feels like a little of history is dying with it. Then again, maybe the comic book publisher best known for fake cities can flourish in the land of fake boobs, inflated egos, and false die-job blonds.