Now That Makes Sense

Posted by on September 21st, 2010 at 9:11 PM

The transfer of a portion of DC Comics business to Los Angeles provides a case study in the folk process of rumor formation.  Or more precisely, the way in which the portion of the business that wasn’t moving, the publishing portion, became the center of the rumor.  (The portion that’s moving is the multi-media and digital content production.)  The process worked as follows:

(A)  The corporation formulates a plan to move its media and digital content business to Los Angeles, with the intention of keeping the plan secret until it is finalized and ready to go forward.

(B)  Fragmentary bits and pieces leak out through the cracks, most notably the bits “moving” and “Los Angeles.”  Working from limited information, the folk process constructs the most spectacular scenario possible from them, i.e., that the comics publishing operations in their entirety will be moved across the continent.

(C)  As the actual plans are still confidential, no one with any accurate information is in a position to deny the incorrect story, and indeed those with accurate information will be told that if any further information leaks out the last thing their rolling heads will see is their testicles bouncing down the hallway.  Rather, the only official information is a blanket denial that no one believes.

Back during the San Diego Comic Con the “DC is moving” rumor was all-pervasive, and its very ubiquity tended to obscure the fact that it made no sense.  With the entire infrastructure of publishing being centered in New York there is no practical advantage to having a print publication business based in Los Angeles.  To the contrary, with print publishing contracting the industry is being consolidated in New York all the more.  National magazines that had been based in Los Angeles, few as they are, are being transferred back east, notably Architectural Digest and Bon Appetit.  The idea becomes all the more senseless when you consider that DC and Marvel tend to share a talent base.  It would have made more sense if the rumor had been Marvel moving its operations.  Not that that would make sense either, but given Marvel’s dominant market position it could have been seen as the proverbial whim of iron.  If it had been the case that talent had been moving west for some reason, then perhaps DC as the smaller company would be in a better position to follow it, but that’s not the case.  In reality DC moved the parts of the company that it made some sense to move, and left the parts that would best stay where they are stay where they were.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.