"Think of a shared superhero universe as something that generates inertia. At the core of the universe, very little will ever change or even bother with the illusion of change: Superman will always be Big Blue, Batman will always mourn his parents, Wolverine will always have claws and be gruff. As you get further and further away from that core, though, you get more and more freedom to do whatever you want."
Your Super Team
is really popular! So popular, in fact, that The Powers That Be
have decided it deserves a Spin-Off
. What to do?
Make a West Coast Team, of course! Take all the offbeat, second-string, and popular guest characters and have them start their own
team, in a separate setting.
A West Coast Team is typically composed of characters with totally different worldviews from their East Coast counterparts, but with a similar team dynamic. They are so named because most American comic books take place in the Northeast, specifically New York
or a No Communities Were Harmed
version thereof (Metropolis
, Gotham City
). Thus, the West Coast Team tends to relocate to the second-biggest US population area — California
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Anime and Manga
- The secondary trio in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch are scattered across the world, but when together, make a backup (and, for some reason, much less effective) team.
- Subverted in Digimon Adventure 02; while we're introduced to kids around the world, there are no spinoffs for these children.
- In Samurai Pizza Cats, there are the New York Pizza Cats (Himitsu Ninja Tai Yankee in the Japanese version), the American equivalent of the original Japanese Pizza Cats.
- The original Teen Titans had the Teen Titans West (pictured) and later the Titans L.A. Later volumes had the main team set in California, with the spin-off group now being the Titans East. There were even plans for a solo Titans East series drawn by Rob Liefeld, but it never saw the light of day.
In the decade of the 2000's, the main Teen Titans team (comprised mostly of former members of Young Justice) had relocated to the West Coast (San Francisco), so when a group of former Titans (mostly members from the 1980's) briefly reassembled in 2008 as another Titans team (headquartered in New York), they were humorously referred to (by fans) as "Titans East". There was another group actually named "Titans East", just one year before that, but they were a villain team composed of enemies/counterparts to the actual Teen Titans.
- West Coast Avengers is the other modern originator of this, as the counterpart of The Avengers. There is also a third team, the Great Lakes Avengers. Based in Wisconsin and made of all Fun Personified characters with powers of apparently dubious value, they are a joke team,note seemingly playing off the stereotype that "Flyover Country" is a boring place in which nothing good and interesting happens. They've also been known as the Lightning Rods, the Great Lakes X-Men, the Great Lakes Champions, and the Great Lakes Initiative.note
- The Teen Titans' Seniors, the Justice League, had their fair share of branch offices:
- Justice League Europe was a West Coast Team that, rather than the West Coast, relocated to another continent.
- Taking the "Great Lakes Avengers" gag up a level, there was a one-shot Justice League Antarctica title. The team was mostly supervillains briefly attempting to reform.
- In the New 52 continuity Justice League is the main League, while the Justice League of America is their spin-off. This is notable since despite being a spin-off, the JLA are at odds with the main Justice League.
- Many a West Coast Team exists in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic.
- Runaways is sort of a West Coast Team to the entire Marvel Universe; they're very specifically placed in Los Angeles, where there wasn't much super-anything activity. In Secret Invasion, the Skrull empire actually lampshades this, thinking that conquering the West Coast will be a cake-walk compared to the hero dense East Coast. Unfortunately for them the X-Men had recently relocated to San Francisco. And Speak of the Devil...
- The X-Men have several examples. Moving to San Francisco after their mansion got destroyed one time too many, while not this trope at first (see below), may be considered a Fandom Nod towards the term.
- First were the now-defunct X-Corporations, which handled the X-Men's functions in several locations abroad.
- There was also the short-lived Champions Of Los Angeles team in the '70s, which was a hodgepodge of solo heroes and castoffs from the Avengers and X-Men, and is treated as a joke team nowadays. For the record, the original line-up was Angel, Iceman, Hercules, Ghost Rider and Black Widow. The creators of the book literally used whoever wasn't doing anything, even though they made absolutely no sense together.
- Excalibur was, for all intents and purposes, X-Men Europe.
- Also, the 'side-characters get their own team' idea is found in X-Factor, first consisting of the original five X-Men after they hadn't been with the team for a while, and later (and ever since) consisting of second-stringers.
- When Wolverine took half the X-Men back east with him, Cyclops and his team (most of whom are former foes of the X-Men) became a West Coast Team by default.
- Another Marvel West team that was actually on the West Coast was the Californian Initiative team, a.k.a. The Order. It was made up of washed up TV personalities and crippled professional athletes augmented with StarkTech has even had their own series (that was cancelled after 10 issues...) Originally, the group was going to be called the Champions in tribute to the 70's team, but Marvel found they no longer held the trademark.
- Rob Liefeld's Youngblood had a "Home" team and an "Away" team. Their premiere issue infamously featured stories concerning both teams, but... how to put this... One story is upside-down relative to the other? The "Away" team's story is read by flipping the book over and reading from what would normally be the back cover.
- There were so many Titans characters in DC Nation at one point that there are three Titans teams - Titans East (led by Nightwing and Troia), Titans West (led by Cyborg and Starfire), and Titans South (nominally led by Jamie Reyes and Raven, but functioning more democratically).
- The Justice Society of Japan, though not officially affiliated with the Justice Society of America, was made with this trope in mind.
Live Action TV
- Angel went into self-exile on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, later turning up in Los Angeles (just south of his old haunt) with a new crew. A total of five Buffy regulars eventually migrated to the spinoff. Despite this, the two factions do not see eye-to-eye; Angel got in hot water for granting sanctuary to Buffy's enemies, and Giles is flagrant in his lack of regard for them. Andrew officially declared them enemies in the last season.
- Las Vegas-based CSI: Crime Scene Investigation spun-off CSI: Miami and CSI: New York.
- Washington, DC-based NCIS spun-off NCIS: Los Angeles.
- Regarding NC Is' Precursor Series: back in 2005 there were plans for a JAG: San Diego. The concept was introduced in a season ten backdoor pilot episode, but the series never got made.
- Law & Order (New York) versus spin-offs Law & Order: LA and UK
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the closest the franchise came to having one. The series takes place during the events of late-season TNG and the films that followed. Star Trek: Voyager also took place during this time, but that ship was stranded on the opposite ends of the universe; as such, there is very little crossover with mainstream Trek (although the crew eventually reestablished contact with Starfleet, and even accepted a mission in Season 7). The crew of DS9, conversely, existed at once within the Federation and outside it, laboring on a stationary space station on the border world of Bajor. Captain Ben Sisko frequently butts heads with Starfleet hardliners like Admiral Nechayev, who have little patience for Sisko's advice. He also feuded with Picard in the pilot, although the two mended fences by the end.
"On Earth, there is no poverty, no crime, no war. You look out the window of Starfleet Headquarters and you see paradise. Well, it's easy to be a saint in paradise
, but the Maquis do not live in paradise. Out there in the Demilitarized Zone, all the problems haven't been solved yet. Out there, there are no saints — just people. Angry, scared, determined people who are going to do whatever it takes to survive, whether it meets with Federation approval or not!"
- Stargate SG-1 had its West Coast Team in another galaxy in Stargate Atlantis. This was lampooned in SG-1's "200", when Puppet Hammond complains that the chevrons aren't spinning. (Atlantis' stargate was rooted to the floor and did not spin.)
- Warhammer's two Undead armies fit this trope well. Originally all the Warhammer World's Undead creatures shared one, generic, "Undead" army list between them, containing Old World zombies, ghouls and wraiths alongside the skeleton legions and mummies of ancient Nehekhara. In 1998 the book was split into two factions - the Vampire Counts of Sylvania, which included all the "gothic horror" undead of the Old World in the north, and the Tomb Kings of Khemri, which included all the egyptian-style undead of the Nehekharan kingdoms.
- Subverted in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. The original Global Guardians campaign was located in New York City, as expected. When a second campaign began, it was naturally based out of... London, England. However, it was later revealed that not only was there a Global Guardians team in Los Angeles, there was also one in Alcapulco, San Francisco, and Vancouver. They were, after all, the Global Guardians.
- There's even a West Coast League in the Whateley Universe. They're apparently based near Sacramento. The heroes on the team include the California-esque names Hollywood, Beach Bunny, and Valley Girl.
- Titans West was a West Coast wing of the Teen Titans, and one of the main originators of this trope. In the Teen Titans animated series, with the main team on the West Coast, the B-team is Titans East.
- Long before Major League Baseball uprooted excess teams from the New York Metro to California, there was (and still is) the Pacific Coast League. There was talk in the late 40's/early 50's of promoting it to be a third "major" league, but it ended up being the uppermost minor league (and today is one of three leagues classed as AAA, one step below the majors).
- Before the National Hockey League, there was the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, and later the Western Canada Hockey League; the two merged in 1924 before folding in 1926, dispersing their players eastward to the NHL. The PCHA produced the first American teams to compete for the Stanley Cup, the Portland Rosebuds and the Seattle Metropolitans (the latter won the Cup in 1917). The NHL would not expand west of Chicago (save for a one-season experiment in St. Louis) until 1967. By then, the Western Hockey Leaguenote was considered a threat to become a rival major league, but it never happened (instead the World Hockey Association sprung up a few years later).
- Any organization that gets expansive enough will usually split off into easier to manage chunks. One historic example is the Roman Empire, which became so expansive that they briefly experimented with having four Emperors at once, with two (a senior Augustus and a junior Caesar) serving in the Eastern and Western halves of the Empire. While the Tetrarchy didn't last, the Empire was eventually split into the Western Roman Empire (centered on Rome) and the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire, centered on Constantinople.
- Further, many large militaries were known to organize themselves along geographic commands, originally the result of slow lines of communication. For example, during World War II, the US Navy was largely made up of the United States Pacific Fleet and the United States Atlantic Fleet, which only rarely had any reason to cooperate in any tactical or operational way. At the outset of the war, there was also the United States Asiatic Fleet, but it suffered heavy losses in the first months in which the US participated in the war and the remaining ships absorbed into the Pacific Fleet.