Brian Michael Bendis has recovered from his illness and we now know what his assignment with DC Comics will be. Bendis will be taking over writing duties on DC Comics’ monthly Superman and Action Comics titles. In addition, DC will re-release Bendis’ acclaimed creator-owned Jinxworld comics and publish new content from him as well. Before his run on the main Superman titles begins, Bendis also has a major miniseries coming to shake up the status quo for the Kryptonian hero.
“My first appearance in DC Comics will be Action Comics #1000,” Bendis said. “It was a lovely offer from [DC Comics Co-Publisher] Dan DiDio when we were discussing my plans and what I could or couldn’t do. He called me up the next day and he goes, ‘I don’t want to be greedy or rush you, but we happen to have this once in a lifetime Superman situation going on with Action Comics #1000.’ And I’m desperately in love with the DC anniversary editions, I’ve always been in love with them. Superman #400, for example, is one of the best comics ever made, it’s such a celebration of art.”
DiDio’s offer ended up framed in a larger context that sold Bendis on moving faster than expected on this entry into the DC universe. As the writer continued explaining, “Dan goes, ‘There is a possibility we could give you the first shot to write in Action Comics #1000, and make it really a big part of the Superman legacy and our legacy. What if we put our foot down and say this is a big part of the character, where we’re headed is a big thing and we believe in it, so there’s no better place to put it than in Action Comics #1000 with our publisher Jim Lee drawing it.’ And I was like, of course, I’m going to say yes to this!”
“In that first story,” he said, “it’s not just some random backup story 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.”
“Handing in that script was as nerve-racking as anything I’ve ever done,” he admits. “Not only was it my first statement on this universe I’ve just joined, but it’s in the middle of this amazing anniversary filled with not only the greatest comic book creators of all time but literally my heroes. There are people there who I look at in complete awe, and it was an honor just to be asked for those ten pages, let alone the first ten pages of what will hopefully be a long and successful run.”
As for his Man of Steel miniseries, “It’s a big weekly Man of Steel event,” he said, continuing, “It’s six issues, and I’m writing all of them. 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.”
Bendis makes clear. “Every single issue is being drawn by one of the great DC artists working today, who are also some of the greatest DC artists of all time,” he noted. “I’m very honored to be doing my first project with all of these artists I’ve never worked with before, who I think are amazing. The only artist I’ve worked with before in the run is Kevin Macguire, and I wouldn’t do this without him because I think he’s one of the greatest DC artists of all time. But then I get to launch with Ivan Reis, Doc Shaner, Jason Fabok, and others who’ve done amazing runs with the character or who’ve been waiting to do very special thing with the character. I’m very honored they all said yes to this.”
Bendis was willing to give us a little hint about what to expect from the miniseries. “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,” Bendis revealed. “We’re going to dig in very hard, this is one of my goals, to be an 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!”
After Man of Steel’s publication, Bendis will take over writing duties on the monthly titles Superman and Action Comics. The Superman monthly will relaunch with a new issue #1 on July 11, while Action Comics picks up with issue #1001 on July 25, and each will have a different approach and tone. While the main Superman title will be an adventure-driven book, Action Comics will delve into Clark Kent’s daily life.
“The fallout of Man of Steel #6 is enormous,” Bendis insists. “It’s some of the biggest status quo changes to Superman literally since Crisis. So we’ll be launching Superman with a brand new #1, and that’s going to be very Superman-focused and big DC action stories. Action Comics will be launching with #1001, I’m very happy to say, and that will be focused more on Clark and Metropolis and the Daily Planet, and how the world of Superman effects the world of DC.”
“It’s all new toys, all new characters — we’ll be introducing a lot of new characters, both heroes, and villains. DC set up a situation where my partnership with them is so exciting, it inspires me to create as many new things as possible. And Superman is long overdue for it.”
Not a “reboot”: “For those who are worried, they should not be,” assures Bendis. “The last runs on Superman by Dan Jurgens and Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason have been phenomenal runs, and my run will be following their runs. We’re not throwing anything out, we’re not abandoning anything, we’re following what’s been going on and taking it to surprising new areas.”
“I can honestly tell you the choices we’ve made and bring to Superman are deeply connected to his origins. I don’t want to say too much right now, but it’s a reflection of where he came from and the world we live in now.” Interview with Bendis by forbes.com contributor Mark Hughes.