New York City has been historically the center of publishing forever. I've heard it's because of Southern District Courts being business friendly when it comes to contract law and stuff, but whatever the case, if you wanted to work in publishing NYC was where you went. It added to the city's feeling of being an intellectual mecca; all the pretty people went to Hollywood while all the smart people went to New York.
That centrality extended to periodicals, and eventually to comic books. Both Marvel and DC Comics were, from time immemorial, headquartered in New York City - it's one of the reasons why most comic book superheroes lived in New York of a thinly veiled version of that town. New York City's energy worked well for the pacing of monthly publication, and the town served as the official social hub of all comic creators. When I was growing up you just assumed almost everybody working in comics was living in New York or coming out there all the time for business.
No more. Today it was announced that DC Comics would be packing up its entire office and heading out west to Burbank, California, where parent company Warner Bros has its home. The comic publishing biz will sit under the same roof as the rest of DC Entertainment, the folks making the cartoons and the movies and stuff. It's a big deal, a huge historic change in the geography of comic books.
What does it mean? Well, as Marvel writer Jonathan Hickman noted on Twitter this is a good opportunity to shake up DC's editorial staff. The company has been undergoing a very public implosion the last few years, with the editorial staff alienating creator after creator, and being responsible for stories that are not thrilling fans (who, it should be noted, keep buying the shit anyway). Moving across the country is definitely one way to get rid of the editorial types who are forcing last minute rewrites and nixing previously-okayed storylines. I doubt that'll happen, but who knows.
Otherwise? There probably won't be much of a change, all things considered. Like many creative industries, comic book creating is now a satellite business - you can do it from anywhere. That said, the fact that the publishing side is now going to live with the cartoon and movie side might mean we'll see more of a connection and more influence back and forth. Hopefully whatever the change, it's a positive one. DC Comics has been selling, but there's been a sense of ill-will hovering over the whole enterprise the last few years. That needs to change.
The headline on this piece is a joke, I guess, but it is weird to see New York City continue to slide away from being the New York City it once was. The fleeing of DC Comics feels like an actual moment in the continuing evolution of that town I used to love.