Back in November, all-star comics writer Brian Michael Bendis announced that he would be ending his nearly two-decade tenure at Marvel Comics and moving across the street (well, “across the country” these days) to DC. Once fans and professionals alike managed to scrape their collective jaws off the floor, one overriding question came to the fore: “Which books is DC going to put him on?” Based on some of Bendis’s past works (think ‘Powers’ or ‘Daredevil’) the Batman office might’ve seemed like an obvious guess. But as it turns out, that couldn’t have been further from the mark.
Nope, rather than the mean streets of Gotham, it turns out that Bendis is headed for the cerulean skies of Metropolis! Of course, this isn’t entirely out of left field. Between the earlier announcement that Bendis would be among those contributing to April’s landmark ‘Action Comics #1000‘ and his statement that the move to DC was partly motivated by a visit to a Superman exhibit at the Cleveland Library. Though it wasn’t outright stated at the time, the popular assumption following this announcement was that Bendis would be taking over one of the monthly Superman titles. But would it be ‘Superman’ or ‘Action Comics’?
The answer, it turns out, is “both of them.” But this is bigger than just a new writer taking over one or even two monthly titles. As Forbes revealed in an exclusive profile, DC is positioning Bendis’s takeover (as has so often been the case in his career) as a sea change for the Man of Tomorrow. As Bendis explains:
“In that first story, it’s not just some random backup or flight of fancy. It is a major chapter in what we’re doing, with some really big bombs we’re dropping in Superman’s life – and two of them happen right there in ‘Action Comics #1000’. So it’s a huge tease of what we’re doing and what’s coming up in Superman’s life.”
That, as you may have gathered, is only the beginning. Following ‘Action Comics #1000’, the next Bendis-penned Superman story (penciled by the legendary Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez) will come in ‘DC Nation #0’, which hits shelves on May 2nd. It’s after this “special chapter” as Bendis describes it that things really kick into gear. May 30th will mark the proper beginning of Bendis’s Superman run, with a six-issue weekly miniseries dubbed ‘Man of Steel’. The series, which sets the stage for the monthly books, will feature a murderers row of artists, including Ivan Reis, Jason Fabok, Doc Shaner, Ryan Sook, Adam Hughes, and Kevin Maguire. I’ll let Bendis take it from here:
“They’re telling the giant new story that’s the status quo, what’s going to be going on with Superman and Metropolis and everything around him. Again, it’s following up on the big bombs we drop not only in ‘Action Comics #1000’, but following up all of those beats and digging in even deeper…
“The ‘Man of Steel’ story will debut a huge new villain, a blockbuster villain who connects deeply to Superman’s origin story and to his birthright. We’re going to dig in very hard, this is one of my goals, to be as additive to Superman as possible. The characters we debut right away, including this new villain, will send ripples of horror across the entire Superman family and beyond!”
Once ‘Man of Steel’ is done and dusted, both monthly titles will return to shelves with Bendis at the helm. ‘Superman’ will be relaunched with a new #1 on July 11th, and is being described as a more adventure drive series. Meanwhile, ‘Action Comics #1001’ will arrive on July 25th and will feature more down to earth stories (at least by the standards of a Superman comic), with an emphasis on Clark Kent’s day-to-day life.
Despite teasing ‘Man of Steel’ as featuring “some of the biggest status quo changes to Superman literally since ‘Crisis’,” Bendis is quick to promise that it’s not a reboot, and that his run will follow recent runs by Dan Jurgens and Peter Tomasi, and that rather than “throwing anything out” he’ll be “following what’s going on and taking it to surprising new areas.” So fans can breathe easy on that front.
Of course, while much of the focus has understandably been on Bendis’s upcoming Superman work, there’s also his creator-owned work to consider. And make no mistake, there’s big news on that front as well. Bendis is bringing his entire library of creator-owned material with him, and Jinxworld and DC will be collaborating to rerelease it both digitally and in print. Beyond Jinxworld, he’ll be joining a budding roster of creators that includes Gerard Way in curating a DC imprint of his own. As Bendis explains:
“Two things are happening that are unique to this partnership and to how comics usually work. Number one, DC is going to be hosting Jinxworld as a whole, so everything I’ve ever done in the creator-owned world will be coming to DC. And on top of that, we’ll be debuting brand new material, brand new series that I think will be exciting for the marketplace and for fans, stuff I haven’t tried before and stuff people have been begging us for. We’ll be debuting that this year.
“And number two, separate from Jinxworld, is that I will be hosting and curating an imprint, a custom imprint not unlike what Gerard Way is doing with Young Animal. It’s going to be a select series of special comics, and we’ll debut what those are later in the year. I’ll be writing some of those and curating the others, but they’ll all be under this imprint and add a very special flavor to the DC Universe. I’m happy to say it will star some of my all-time favorite DC characters in unique situations, and that I could not be more excited for.”
So to put it mildly, Bendis’s move to DC is shaping up to be a bigger deal than might normally be expected when a fan-favorite writer switches publishers. Be sure to check back for more news on Brian Michael Bendis’s involvement with DC, including his upcoming Superman run and future creator-owned projects, as it becomes available!