In a move that marks a huge change to the comics publishing landscape in New York, DC Entertainment announced to its employees that New York operations will be moved to Burbank in 2015, joining several divisions already located there, including digital publishing and administration. The news was announced in an internal memo from president Diane Nelson later released to news outlets.
The announcement is the culmination of the evolution of DC Comics—the 70 year old publishing company known for its monthly superhero periodicals— to DC Entertainment, a more diverse division created in 2009. Since Nelson was hired to run the division in early 2010, Jim Lee and Dan Didio were installed as bi-coastal co publishers. Later that year, a significant portion of the company was relocated to Burbank, following a sizable layoff and more attrition due to employees turning down relocation. At the time a press release reassured staffers that the New York offices would stay open, but since then guessing when DC would move in its entirety to Burbank, where parent company Warner Bros is located, became a popular topic of industry speculation.
It’s long been thought that bringing the DCE offices closer to the WB in Burbank would aid in the movie division—although Warner Bros has been making movies successfully without the comics division nearby for a while. Warner Bros has other New York real estate decisions to make, with a planned move of their New York City offices to Hudson Yards when it opens.
In her statement Nelson said that next week the DC executive team would be in the New York offices to explain more about the move, including its benefits. A DC spokesperson declined to make any further statements until after next weeks meetings.
All New York staff—which includes the offices of both the MAD and Vertigo imprints—will be offered relocation. With the move so far away, a smooth transition and keeping employees informed is the current priority.
DCs’s current executive geography left only co-publisher Dan DiDio, editorial, and the sales and marketing staff, in the New York offices. Nelson, co-publisher Jim Lee, CCO Geoff Johns and executive v-p of sales and marketing John Rood are all based in the Burbank offices, along with the rapidly growing digital publishing division.
Industry reactions on Twitter were at first a lack of surprise, since the move had been long rumored, but it was followed by a wave of nostalgia for a world where freelancers actually delivered art in person and not via FTP.
DC had been in its current address at 1700 Broadway for many years, and located in New York for 80 years in total. Along with Marvel Comics, currently located a few blocks away from DC’s offices, the two biggest superhero publishers formed a legendary duo where dreams were dashed and careers made. Freelancers seeking work would often hit both companies in a day, and creators and editors would often jump between companies depending on the prevailing politics.
The entire text of Nelson’s memo is below:
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.