Stuff & Nonsense 008: The Streets of Your Town
I don't have a lot to say this week, mostly because the last few days have been derailed by mundane things like jury duty, moving and other stuff. But I do want to say something, as the holidays meant there was no newsletter last week and this one is already a few days late.
Anyway, please humor me for a few paragraphs before I dive into the usual linkage...
DC's closing of their New York office shouldn't have come as a surprise to me - I was there, as an employee, when they announced the move. But I guess I'd put it out of my mind until Friday, when I saw my social media feeds flooded with photos, remembrances and long-form pieces from former coworkers, friends and colleagues. It was a weird feeling. Even today, no longer working at DC, I think of my time there whenever I walk by the mid-fifties and Broadway, and I have many friends who still work there and are now making the trek to the company's new offices in Burbank. It feels like a long time ago and doesn't. If that makes sense.
I feel for the people who have chosen not to go - I had to make the same decision and it was not easy. So many factors come up when determining things like this, from family to health to whatever. It's not easy. I do know, though, that DC was loaded with tons of talent and many of the people not making the move will be just fine in new positions in the industry. Those making the move will continue to do great work and be re-energized by the influx of new talent the company has already begun to collect.
I was reminded Friday that one of my first assignments at DC was talking to legendary Batman artist Neal Adams. I was in awe. Here was THE Batman artist, talking to me. I'd felt like I'd really "made it." I mean, I'd moved up to NY with no apartment, few friends and no idea what I was doing. I put everything on the line for the chance to work at DC Comics. It was a dream. While on the phone with Neal, I allowed myself a brief bit of fanboyish-ness that he quickly dismissed. He was a busy guy. Who was this twentysomething kid talking to him about what to say when? In those early days, I remember being in complete awe of the space - it was special. I was surrounded by people - their offices and names displayed in comic-style "word balloons," of which I still own two, for each DC stint - whose names I recognized from the stacks of comics I had in storage somewhere in Broward, since lost. Paul Levitz. Karen Berger. Mark Chiarello. Mike Carlin, Bob Wayne and so on. I was a kid in a candy store. The list of names got bigger, too. It started to include people I'd met while working there and people I continue to admire today, like Will Dennis, Dan DiDio, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, Bob Harras, Diane Nelson, John Cunningham, Shelly Bond, Fletcher Chu-Fong, Brian Cunningham, Rickey Purdin, Mark Doyle, Mike Marts, Matt Idelson, Bobbie Chase and many more. So many greats. I'm blown away that I can call any of them friends.
I guess this is the part where I tell you it all became very mundane and I got used to the gigantic superhero mural on the sixth floor, the seemingly endless comic book library, or how the third floor lobby was Gotham and the seventh was Metropolis - including a phone booth and giant, life-size Clark Kent. But I never did. It never got old. It got better. I made friends. I learned. I made mistakes. I lived a life. I rode the elevator from Gotham to Metropolis to my own office on the fifth floor a million times. But it was more about the relationships than the window-dressing. For all the cool visuals at the office, it's the people, the work and conversations I'll remember most. I stood alongside a ton of talented colleagues (Courtney! Pamela! Austin! Brandy! Sara! Sierra! David! Clark! Kelly! Shawna and co.!), and had the pleasure of coordinating and communicating with other great departments like editorial and marketing and sales and production. Too many names to list. It was a blast. Even when it was frustrating, like any job, it kept me on my toes.
So, yeah. Thinking about the offices being closed makes me sad, but this is just a stage and companies evolve and shift. I'm not maudlin about it - things change. I'm excited for the adventure some of my friends will be on as they head to Burbank. I'm equally excited for my friends already on the left coast to work more closely with these new arrivals. I'm also curious and proud to see where those that didn't make the move end up - we've seen a few people land nicely, including myself (hello again, Riverdale!). Interesting times. To paraphrase a certain Blue Lantern: "All will be well."
I guess it was fitting that one of my last assignments at DC was to chat with John Romita Jr., who'd just moved over to work on Superman with Geoff. I knew, by then, that I was moving on. Like Neal Adams, Romita was a favorite of mine growing up. So, I allowed myself to break "character" one more time and let him know what an impact his art had on me as a kid. He was gracious and it gave me a chance to reflect on the whole ride. It wasn't that long, especially when compared to people who've spent 20 years at 1700 - but it was a long time for me, and I was leaving as a different person than the one I was when I came in. I owe a lot of that to the people at DC.
It will be weird walking by 1700 and not running into a friend or former coworker. But it'll be fine. Talented people will continue to be talented wherever they are, be it in Burbank or New York. Eager to see what's in store for everyone.
Had a blast reading at Noir at the Bar NYC last night at Shade Bar downtown - really great mix of authors and material.
At Do Some Damage, I talk about celebrating your writing victories - while keeping in mind that it's a marathon, not a sprint. There's always more work to be done.
The lawyer who suggested Serial's Sarah Koenig spotlight the Adnan case is starting her own podcast with a few colleagues.
Delilah S. Dawson has a great post on her site titled "8 Reasons Why Authors Are Assholes." Worth a read. You can also scope out the first chapter of her new book Hit at the S&S site.
Like everyone else on the planet, we're excited Mad Men has returned. I got a kick out of this NYPL Mad Men Reading List on Boing Boing.
The New Tropic explains where some Miami 'hoods got their names.
The great Dana Cameron talks about taking risks with series characters, timed to the release of her latest Fangborn novel, Hellbender.
Denis Kitchen on comix and free speech at the CBLDF site.
An inside look at the sordid Tokyo sex underworld. Of interest if you've read People Who Eat Darkness or Tokyo Vice.
HBO released a True Detective season 2 teaser. I am intrigued.
If you only read one of the links shared here today, make it this one: fellow Polis Books authors Rob Hart and Bryon Quertermous have a "friendly" exchange over at LitReactor, discussing their ever-changing relationship and their respective books. You should read both, too - I very much enjoyed Murder Boy and New Yorked.