In a letter to staff obtained by CBR, DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson confirmed what most industry watchers have been waiting for ever since a Burbank head for the division was announced: DC Comics is moving lock, stock, and barrel to Burbank. All employees will be offered relocation, which will not take place for a year or so. Here’s the text of Nelson’s letter:
Dear DCE Team,
As I hope you know, I and the entire DCE exec team work hard to offer transparency about as much of our business plans and results as we possibly and responsibly can. In an effort to continue to do that where possible and to ensure you are hearing news from us, rather than a third party, I am proactively reaching out to you this afternoon to share news about our business.
I can confirm that plans are in the works to centralize DCE’s operations in 2015. Next week, the Exec Team will be in New York for a series of meetings to walk everyone through the plans to relocate the New York operations to Burbank. The move is not imminent and we will have more than a year to work with the entire company on a smooth transition for all of us, personally and professionally.
Everyone on the New York staff will be offered an opportunity to join their Burbank colleagues and those details will be shared with you individually, comprehensively and thoughtfully next week. Meeting notifications will be sent tomorrow to ensure the roll out of this information and how it affects the company and you personally.
We know this will be a big change for people and we will work diligently to make this as smooth and seamless a transition as possible.
About two years ago, DC’s staff was lessened by more than a hundred layoffs when digital and other support staffs were moved to Burbank. Co-editor Jim Lee and CCO Geoff Johns are already Burbank-based, and as has often been reported, DC has already created a complete office in Burbank that was just sitting there waiting to be filled up.
Warners has long wished to move DC to Burbank. It was former publisher Paul Levitz’s lifelong Dumbledore-like task to guard against that. It’s believed that his final act to avoid it was signing a very expensive long-term lease on the DC offices that would have cost more to break than to move. I guess the lease is up—or else the offices were simply subleased out.
What it does mean is that the “Big Two” publishing era is officially over—which has been true for a long time, but will now be official. For 50 years, freelancers ran from one side of town to another, from Marvel to DC, looking for work, finding safe haven when they got on the bad side of one editor, and running back when things looked better. That freelance culture hasn’t existed in a while except as a romantic notion, but it did still exist.
Disney has been more adamant about keeping the Marvel Office in New York a separate entity, one bathroom or no—although we’ve recently confirmed the existence of a separate “secret” bathroom for VIPs—and the notion of the Bullpen has more currency in Marvel’s mythology than DC’s copier room did in its own.
Still, we’re likely to see a huge changing of the guard as a bunch of long-timers decide not to take the move.
As an aside, for everyone who wished that controversial co-editor Dan DiDio would be removed, most observers thought that hypothetical event would hasten the moment that the New York Office became unnecessary. Evidently, the hastening wasn’t even necessary, as DiDio abides but the history of comics in New York City is changed forever.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.