The world was shaken when a fading superpower moved into disputed territory over the weekend, days after being condemned by a leader seeking a different direction for his people. DC Comics shocked the comic industry when it moved several employees into the utility closet at Image's Berkeley, CA offices, in what Image officials are calling an illegal and unlawful occupation of Image controlled office space. The invasion was unexpected as DC had recently undergone an aggressive PR campaign to suppress its many blunders and editorial snafus in an attempt to promote itself as a viable force in the comics world.
Early Saturday morning, several pro-DC employees entered Image's offices and set up desks in the utility closet, all the while claiming that the utility closet was an independent office that Image had no rights to control. The employees then quickly used the circuit breaker in the utility closet to shut off power to the rest of the office, leaving Image's offices powerless as of Monday morning. The move came several days after Image publisher Eric Stephenson condemned DC for practices that he considered damaging to the comic industry in a fiery speech to retailers. While many expected some sort of response from DC, no one expected the company to march in and occupy foreign space so quickly.
"This is an outrage," said Eric Stephenson, speaking from his darkened office at Image's headquarters. "DC has overstepped its authority and has illegally taken control of key Image space. This aggression shall not go unpunished, and we encourage the comic industry to force DC to back out immediately." Stephenson has mobilized Image's janitorial staff in an attempt to clear out the utility closet, but the pro-DC employees have locked the door, barring Image from entering. Image lacks the crowbars or battering rams needed to forcefully enter the utility closet, bringing the confrontation to a stand still.
DC claims that the move was done to secure pro-DC interests in the utility closet, and promised that it had no plans to leave the utility closet alone. "As long as Image is controlled by extreme radicals, DC will act to protect its employees and its interests," said Dan Didio, speaking from atop a horse while wrestling a bear bare-chested. "This is the DC way, it has always been the DC way. Long live Soviet DC." Didio also claimed that the move was seen as a necessary precursor to the company moving its operations to California next year, and had nothing to do with Stephenson's speech.
Reaction to DC's occupation was mixed. Many condemned the move as overly aggressive and unnecessary. "Listen, I'm as pissed as anybody about Stephenson's speech," said Dark Horse editor in chief Chris Allie. "But you can't just go into somebody's office and take it over. That's not the way business works." Allie then announced that he and several other publishers, including IDW, Archie, and Oni Press would be pulling out of a planned publisher summit that was to be held at DC's offices. Marvel also condemned DC for its actions, while drawing attention away from its past invasions of office space formerly occupied by Valiant and Fantagraphics in the early 2000s.
However, not everyone is condemning DC for its actions. CBR, long considered to be a pro-DC propaganda tool, ran several articles this morning praising DC for its actions and suggesting that Marvel, DC's chief rival in the comics industry, was behind Image's recent comments. In an editorial titled "Glorious DC Strikes Back at Marvel with Legal Occupation of Critical Office Space", the website denounced Image for its Marvel ties, noting the number of creators working at both Marvel and Image, while claiming that the occupation was done to prevent Scott Snyder, DC's top creator, from defecting to Marvel. "DC should do anything to protect its most valuable asset from switching sides," read the editorial. "Even if it means kneecapping Image employees with shotguns."
Several demonstrators appeared outside Image's office this morning to offer support for DC. "Dan Didio and DC have done nothing but amazing things to the comic industry," claimed one fan. "I say we allow DC to occupy Image's office so that they can share their wisdom and lenticular process with all." Several Image employees said the demonstrators were dropped off by large buses emblazoned with DC's logo, but those allegations have yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile, several Image fans turned up outside of DC's New York offices to protest against the company's occupation, but fled when an unknown assailant, believed to be Bob Harras, peed on them from a seventeenth story office window.
It is unknown exactly what will happen next. DC announced via CBR that Image had until tomorrow morning to stop trying to enter the utility closet, or face an "editorial storm". Image has vowed it will never give up the closet, and has promised it will fight to the last man. Stephenson was last seen walking through Image's offices demonstrating how to effectively cripple a person using guerilla war tactics, while Didio prepared hundreds of unpaid interns and fans to storm the office should the crisis escalate, all the while giving out hugs and assuring people of his good natured intent.
The Outhouse will continue to report on this crisis as new details emerge.