Full disclosure: I am a Brian Michael Bendis fan; I’m also a True Believer (as fans of Marvel Comics are sometimes called). I like good stories, and I prefer Marvel’s brand of storytelling to DC’s, with some exceptions on both sides, of course, as both companies have had their hits and misses, and their share of successes and failures—and mistakes.
WOW! Where did this come from?!I never thought this would happen! It never even crossed my mind, since Brian Michael Bendis has been firmly ensconced at Marvel for “. . .18 years . . . (Yehl).”
How will this affect Marvel Comics and DC Comics? The wide-ranging effects will probably be felt by both companies. Mr. Bendis has been a staple at Marvel for a long time, and revitalized some of their flagship titles while he was there; his creative influence and input were also felt on Marvel’s live-action movies. Given all that, he will be missed in their Bullpen, which “is the nickname used for the staff and all those who work around the clock at the Marvel Comics offices (ComicVine).”
Marvel’s loss is DC’s gain? I don’t know. That remains to be seen; how much creative control will they give him? Will DC give him free reign to tell any stories that he wants, free of corporate or editorial or company interference and control? (Within reason, of course, as some level of input from the higher-ups at DC is to be expected.) If DC does these things, then chances are good that he’ll do well.
If DC is smart they will include him as a creative consultant on their live-action movies—just as Marvel did (DC’s animated stuff is fine, as it’s done well, and most of which I like a lot and hold in high regard). If he is added to the team of consultants, it might improve the quality of DC’s live-action movies, bolster their popularity with the fans, garner more positive reviews from the critics, make them more successful, and thus, generate more revenue. Here is yet another area where his presence will be missed at Marvel.
Since the announcement, Mr. Bendis has been enthusiastic and has had fun with it, Tweeting out: “This is real. I love you all. Change is good. Change is healthy (Gustines),” and “Now which one is Clark? (Bendis),” both of which are a good sign. When you do what you love, it’s play instead of work. The change seems to have revitalized him (if that’s what he needed), and given him that (creative) spark and fire that he needs in order to go on and continue to create his art.
As for the reason for the change from Marvel to DC, Mr. Bendis said “The move came, in part, from surveying what he had accomplished there and struggling with thoughts of, “Am I repeating myself?” (Yehl).” It sounds like he might need a creative recharge, and wants to advance his artistic horizon’s forward, in terms of creativity, and wants new challenges. A switch to DC fits the bill nicely, then. As an artist, I understand the need to have new creative challenges. Artists must always push the boundaries, evolve as artists (and people, naturally, to continue to inspire and have material to draw from and inspire our art with), work outside their comfort zone and skill level, and expand their art.
Mr. Bendis has written what I consider to be an excellent book on the art and business sides of the comic book industry, entitled Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels—one of the best that I’ve ever read on the subject. It discusses the various skill positions needed to make a comic book (writer, artist, letterer, colorist, inker) and how the writer interacts in a collaborative manner with them (and other professionals in his field too), but the primary focus is on the relationship a comic book writer has with the artist he is working with on his current project.
It is a story of a writing community. I have experienced a similar phenomenon (in its own way) in writing prose and poetry. It’s just my take on it, as I belong to several groups of writers: a prose critique group; I have my poetry workshopped and revised at a poetry group I attend; in these groups (and others I didn’t mention see my author bio. for a full list) we’re all part of a writing community. Even though we are all working on our own independent projects, we are working together, collectively, to strengthen our writing, to make it the best it can be (as the comic book creators do when working on a comic book).
In his book, Mr. Bendis talks about leaving the audience with a sense of wanting more, full of excitement and anticipation, so that the audience wants to turn the page to see what happens, saying “I try to create a mini cliffhanger at the end of every page. EVERY PAGE (197).” I extrapolate this to prose as it’s like the last page of a chapter which makes the reader want to continue reading to see what happens next with our heroes.
In this case, Mr. Bendis has done just that with this announcement—and leaving Marvel for DC. He has made the last panel on this page (and this chapter) of his life a “. . . mini cliffhanger . . . (197).” Which makes me curious, want to turn the page to see what’s next, and see what’s in store for the intrepid Mr. Bendis and the characters he creates and brings to life.
Well done, Mr. Bendis. Well done.
Bendis, Brian Michael. “Now which one is Clark?” 7 November 2017, 2:24 PM. Tweet.
Bendis, Brian Michael. Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels. Watson-Guptill Publications, 2014.
Comicbookman26. “Marvel Bullpen.” ComicVine. CBS. Web. 15 Nov. 2017. https://comicvine.gamespot.com/marvel-bullpen/4060-58234/
Gustines, George Gene. “Brian Michael Bendis Leaves Marvel for DC Comics.” The New York Times. Web. 15 Nov. 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/books/brian-michael-bendis-marvel-dc-comics.html
Yehl, Joshua. “Top Marvel Writer Leaves for DC.” http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/11/07/top-marvel-writer-brian-michael-bendis-leaves-for-dc