As private social media posts have indicated over the past month or so, DC Comics is moving out of its purpose-built offices in the building known as The Point in Burbank and into new facilities. The new building was designed by the world-famous architect Frank Gehry It is already a prominent landmark looming over I134 – earning it the nickname “The Iceberg.” Although some have stated that DC will be moving into the Warner Media territory, that is not the case at all, although the territory proper is not too far away, and Iceberg is located in the heart of the WB/Disney Media District in Burbank, not as far away as the crow flies from The Point.
Sources close to DC have told me that this planned move actually predates the pandemic, and involves other departments besides DC. But the big change is that the new office will be the popular “open office – hot desk” model that more and more companies are turning to post-coronavirus. This means that no more than 30% of the workforce will be present at any given time. I have no idea how many people work at DC these days, but when the company decided to move to the West Coast, it was about 250 people, 20% of the staff was laid off at the time, and more have been laid off since then. But there are still probably more than 100 people left.
It is not known whether high-level executives will have their own offices. At the very least, CCO Jim Lee It needs a drawing tablet for visual purposes, so I hope so.
The transition and new office plan aren’t really revolutionary — as most companies have discovered over the past couple of years, work can continue just fine remotely, and most people don’t want to go back to the office.
In fact, while trying to learn more about the move, I was told that Marvel Comics in New York had moved to an open plan/hot desk model some time ago in the midst of the coronavirus. Given their historical lack of office space, this makes a lot of sense.
However, the capital’s move was not met with joy by the workers. “It’s bad,” someone told me. There are several reasons for this, as far as I can understand.
First, DC has been going through a rough patch over the past couple of years, with massive layoffs, an entirely new business model, volatile management, and its last CEO, Daniel Cherry III, suddenly jumping ship (although the move was welcomed with Cheers internally.) Plus, add to the complete uncertainty of Discovery taking over. So more change puts more pressure on survivors.
Second, this step is awkward at first. The new building project was initially scheduled to be completed in 2023, so it appears to be a little ahead of schedule. However, no one will actually be able to “move in” until June. So everyone should carry all their waste home and keep it there.
Which brings me to my final point – DC employees in general have a lot of bullshit. In the past, when people generally had offices, people in creative fields would transform desks (or even cubicles) into small environments or real-life installations. The tour of the DC offices was a tour of games, comics, history, art and cool stuff.
Now, all that is gone, swept away by corporate apathy. The old DC offices at 1700 Broadway were a legendary temple to comics history, hidden in the fading world of New York publishing. First envisioned by Janet Kahn and Paul Levitz, and built up with murals, statues, and posters, each editor’s desk with solid doors became a personal sanctuary dedicated to this or that line. Hot desking gets rid of all that.
While Point’s capital offices didn’t quite have that history, it’s worth noting that they were a source of great pride for the company’s then-management team. Diane Nelson and Geoff Johns. The offices were designed specifically for DC and its operations, and on my one visit, although they didn’t have the flair of 1700, they had great offices and character, as you can see in this video from 2015. Everything from the bullpen to the library was included!
And if you want to get the full Magnificent Ambersons sad tracking vibe, here’s a post where I detailed a tour that went everywhere from the lobby to the men’s room.
There was so much corporate pride in the offices that new management started treating DC Comics like their least favorite stepchildren.
Then there’s the DC Library, a historical and, if not invaluable, very valuable resource for older issues. This library was so valuable that at one point an entire press release was issued about moving it from the East Coast to the West Coast. This story contains a very hurtful quote from the former president Diane Nelson:
“There’s a happiness that comes from being close to the studio — seeing people they don’t see on a regular basis — and being in a creative space that feels like a comedy company.”
Painful in many ways looking back on the past two years!
I’ve been told the library is safe, but it won’t be stored in the DC offices – which is completely stupid, but so are a lot of these things.
Looking back, former D.C. President Paul Levitz He fought throughout his career to keep D.C. from moving to the West Coast — and he succeeded. Former Associate Publisher And Didio I also opposed the move, but it was overturned, something I’m told policymakers regret to this day.
Going back to the macro lens, real estate is the thing that leads to a lot of regret. The location of the new iceberg, Burbank Studios, is a part of cinematic history. According to the Los Angeles Times, it was owned by the World Bank and then sold to NBC in 1951, which then offloaded it to a developer in 2007 (a move they later regretted according to scuttlebutt).
On the plus side, Los Angeles has a wonderful new Frank Gehry building, and I’m sure DC residents will enjoy saying they’ve worked in a building designed by one of the iconic artists of the last 100 years.
On the positive side too, although there is a lot of uncertainty about what’s new David ZaslavThe regime he leads will make the capital, I’m told, everyone is very happy that Cherry and Darling are gone Anne Debes inside.
And who knows, with Batman looking to become a zeitgeist-defining hit, maybe DC executives will decide that DC Comics should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, and they could even reclaim their library. We’ve learned that office space is a changeable thing, especially in the post-pandemic/WW3 era, where we’re still figuring out everything about the way we live now.