After months of swirling relocation rumors, DC Comics on Tuesday clarified the big picture for us all:
DC the comics media empire will geographically divide its operations and go bicoastal. It will also shutter its WildStorm imprint.
DC Entertainment, in its effort to integrate its "business, brand and characters into Warner Bros. Entertainment content and distribution operations," will move its multimedia and digital-content operations to Southern California. Specifically: good ol' Burbank, USA.
DCE's publishing, though, will stay in New York -- continuing, the company said, its "75-plus year legacy of leadership in the comic book arena."
"These organizational changes reinforce the strengths of DC's greatest legacies - most importantly its people and its creative talent - and offer greater opportunity for maximum growth, success and efficiency in the future," DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson said in announcing the realignment Tuesday.
Nelson's statement emphasized DC's aim to work yet more closely with Warner Bros.
Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said that the realignment "allows us to fully integrate and expand the DC brand in feature films as well as across multiple distribution platforms of Warner Bros. and Time Warner," according to the news release, which noted that Nelson reports to Robinov.
The Burbank relocation -- which is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year -- will involve DCE businesses involved with "feature films, television, digital media, video games and consumer products as well as the company's administrative functions," the news release said.
The next major feature film based on a DC character is "The Green Lantern," starring the in-hyper-demand Ryan Reynolds (right); the movie is scheduled for release in June.
DC's biggest box-office success has been 2008's "The Dark Knight," which grossed $533-million domestically, according to boxofficemojo.com.
Some Hollywood observers cite fierce competition between DC and Marvel. Marvel's two "Iron Man" films have grossed more than $600-million combined domestically and its "Spider-Man" trilogy has grossed more than $1.1-billion. A little more than a year ago, Disney announced it had acquired Marvel for $4-billion.
Tuesday's news release noted that besides Nelson, the management team responsible for guiding the DCE realignment is Geoff Johns, chief creative officer; John Rood, executive vice president, sales, marketing and business development; and DC Comics' co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio.
DC's David Hyde, whom Comic Riffs contacted Tuesday, says the WildStorm imprint will disappear, though not all its characters will.
"After taking the comics scene by storm nearly 20 years ago, the WildStorm Universe titles will end this December," Hyde writes on DC's website. "In this soft marketplace, these characters need a break to regroup and redefine what made them once unique and cutting edge. While these will be the final issues published under the WildStorm imprint, it will not be the last we will see of many of these heroes."
Hyde also says that come next week, DC "will cease to publish new material under the ZUDA banner."
Nelson said about 20 percent of DC's roughly 250 employees will be laid off, reported Ben Fritz, who writes for The Los Angeles Times blog Company Town,
Reached earlier Tuesday about the likely impending move, comics legend Joe Kubert told Comic Riffs: "In today's world, distance is not a deterrent, especially for artists in the business of comic books. The Internet is now the source of communication and delivery.
"It's a far cry from having to do an all-nighter, then getting into the car and driving into the city to deliver," Kubert said.
Of the prospect of DC relocating entirely to California, creator Dean Haspiel told Comic Riffs on Tuesday: "It would be unwise for DC to move all of its offices to California. The heart of the comic-book business lives in NYC and to lose that face-to-face access would greatly harm their output."