brian michael bendis

Back in November, Brian Michael Bendis sent shockwaves through the comic book industry when he announced that he would be leaving Marvel Comics (where he has been a massively influential presence for nearly two decades) for a stint at DC. Ever since, fans and comics press alike have been wondering just what the writer would bring to the Distinguished Competition. Now that Bendis has officially left Marvel (as of January 1st), we have our first sense of what his future holds, as we’ve now learned what his first DC work will be.

Bendis, it seems, made the jump to DC just in time, as the publisher has announced that his first work under their auspices will be a backup story in ‘Action Comics #1000’. The landmark issue, which is due to arrive in April, marks the thousandth issue (obviously) of the title that introduced the world to Superman and in doing so, changed comics forever. It’s also perhaps the most anticipated part of DC’s celebration of the Man of Steel’s 80th birthday.

That Bendis would make his DC debut in the pages of ‘Action Comics #1000’ isn’t entirely surprising. Not only is he among the highest profile creators in the business (and thus a natural fit for a landmark anniversary issue), but it was reported in the wake of the announcement that Bendis’s move to DC was motivated in part by a visit to the Superman exhibit at the Cleveland Library. As the man himself explained:

“I was in town for my brother’s wedding and I went to the library, which was so important to me growing up, and I saw the Superman display. It was a flood of impressions and Cleveland connections. While looking at the Superman artifacts, I realized that I had not climbed the DC mountain and I needed to.”

DC plans to release two versions of ‘Action Comics #1000’. The first will be a standard oversized comic, featuring a lead story by Dan Jurgens and Peter Tomasi and an array of backup stories by what DC is describing as “an all-star talent lineup). The confirmed backups include Bendis’s (with art by Jim Lee), another penned by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, and even an unpublished tale by Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster that dates to the 1940s. The other version will be a hardcover volume that includes all the material from the standard issue, along with reprints of ‘Action Comics #1’ and a selection of other stories from Superman’s eighty year history.

Expect more details, including a complete list contributors to arrive when the issue is solicited next month.