Yesterday, the world learned that DC Comics would be moving its offices from New York City to Burbank, California, first from an article on Bleeding Cool, and then from an official confirmation sent to more "reputable" (read: more willing to do the bidding of publishers) websites in the form of an email sent out to DC staff. Bleeding Cool's publishing of the news before DC got to announce it has ruffled some feathers on Twitter, where creator Ron Marz had some choice words for Bleeding Cool head honcho Rich Johnston:
If I understand correctly, Bleeding Cool ran DC relocation story before employees had been informed. Incredibly shitty thing for BC to do.— Ron Marz (@ronmarz) October 30, 2013
@DublDownDrew Because you let people find out from their employer, officially, not some rumor-mongering shithead.— Ron Marz (@ronmarz) October 30, 2013
@Mascole07 Yeah, I CAN blame a new site. All it takes is simple, human decency to do the right thing.— Ron Marz (@ronmarz) October 30, 2013
So Rich should have waited before running the story until DC decided to tell employees, according to Marz. But then again, would DC have told employees this soon if Rich didn't let the cat out of the bag? We have our doubts. Uncle Rich was quick to defend himself, in any case:
@ronmarz We did wait until a DC exec told me it would be wise to run the story now. So I did.— Wretch Gravestone (@richjohnston) October 30, 2013
@ronmarz It was done several hours after talking to DC and at the recommendation of a DC exec.— Wretch Gravestone (@richjohnston) October 30, 2013
So wait, is Rich a badass rebel who publishes what he wants, or does he get permission from DC executives before running the story? This is hard to follow. Heidi MacDonald at The Beat had her own take:
@knallkultur even if running the story was okay, Rich's whining that he wouldn't get credit for a scoop afterwards was pathetic— Heidi MacGhoul (@Comixace) October 30, 2013
.@knallkultur it's a story about people's lives not who got the 'scoop.'— Heidi MacGhoul (@Comixace) October 30, 2013
Oh shit! Burn! Heidi also complained about Rich's self-congratulations on breaking the story, which, let's be honest, is like the story of the old lady who nurses a snake back to health and then gets bitten by it. "I'm a snake, lady! It's what I do!"
@FranklinH3000 it was his tour of every website that had the ACTUAL MEMO saying he had the story first that I found unseemly.— Heidi MacGhoul (@Comixace) October 30, 2013
One of the industry's only actual journalists and large, bony saltwater fish Tom Spurgeon got in on the action too, explaining the difference between news and gossip:
But Heidi had a different perspective:
Reality check: the important news is scores of people having to choose their home or their job and not "who got there first."— Heidi MacGhoul (@Comixace) October 30, 2013
All in all, this is a banner week for Johnston. He got to break a big story, then he got to run around the internet boasting about it, and on top of it all, he got to play the persecuted victim on Twitter. These are a few of his favorite things.
He also got to play the "I do sit on stories for the good of the industry" card, which we all remember from the time Twitter was mad at him for using the plight of a nine year old cancer patient to burn Dan Slott in an article, resulting in Johnston claiming that he sits, to this day, on a story, worse than the Jimmy Savile controversy (which involved something like 50 counts of child molestation), because it would destroy one of the Big Two publishers forever. No, really. That's a true story.
Folks, here's our take on it. Rich Johnston may not be the hero you want, but he's the hero you need right now. Would DC have liked to have told their employees they were moving eventually? Sure. Would they have done it yesterday? Who knows. It's very easy to believe that the only reason the company put out that memo was because Johnston broke the story. DC doesn't have a great track record of treating their employees with respect.
And if some employees did find out about the move from Bleeding Cool instead of a corporate memo, five minutes earlier than they would have... so what? Does hearing it from a corporate memo make it better? If so, why? It's not like finding out your wife is leaving you from the swarthy UPS deliveryman she's cheating on you with. The news sucks, if you have to uproot your family and move across the country or lose your job, no matter where you hear it from, but in this case, the report from Bleeding Cool is probably actually more personal than the cold corporate memo.
The Outhouse is sad for any New York based DC employees that will have a hard time because of this, but Ol' Jude Terror will say this: I moved my family (wife and three kids) from New Jersey to San Francisco in 2011 for a work transfer, and it's the best thing I've ever done. Really, it's much nicer out here. The East Coast kind of sucks, except for your far superior pizza, bagels, and donut shops. Out here, we've got practically legal pot.
So we wish you the best, and we'll leave you with this, which seems quite relevant once again: