BEND IT LIKE BENDIS

KC Carlson by Deb Hayden Lockhart

KC Carlson by Deb Hayden Lockhart


A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

Last November (just can’t adjust yet to it being a new year…), writer Brian Michael Bendis announced that he would be working exclusively for DC Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man #1 cover by Joe Quesada

Ultimate Spider-Man #1 cover by Joe Quesada


This was quite a shock to many folks, because Bendis has been such a Marvel Comics mainstay for the last 17 years, beginning with Ultimate Spider-Man in 2000. At first, this title featured an alternate version of the long-running Peter Parker character, as well as his family, friends, and arch-enemies. Later in the series — beginning in 2011 — Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli introduced the character of Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino teenager who witnesses the death of (Ultimate Universe) Peter Parker and is inspired to continue his legacy.

Miles Morales is unmasked as Spider-Man on this variant cover.

Miles Morales is unmasked as Spider-Man on this variant cover.


Following the early history of Miles Morales can be a tough read, due to the then-constantly changing status of Marvel as a company and its many continuity-altering storylines from that era. (Miles also matures pretty rapidly, some of which is off-camera.) But in my opinion, Miles is the key Bendis character of this era, and Ultimate Spider-Man is one of the very few Marvel titles/characters I’ve read every single issue of.

Peter and Miles share the cover of Ultimate Spider-Man #200. Art by Mark Bagley.

Peter and Miles share the cover of Ultimate Spider-Man #200. Art by Mark Bagley.


Bendis also wrote other Ultimate Universe titles, including Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, Ultimate Six, and Ultimate Comics: Doomsday.

Secret Invasion #1

Secret Invasion #1


In the regular Marvel Universe, Bendis is known for long runs on Daredevil, All-New X-MenAvengers/New Avengers, and Mighty Avengers, as well as many other Avengers-related miniseries and projects. Marvel “Events” written by him include Secret War (the one connected to Secret Invasion, which Bendis also wrote), Secret Warriors, Siege, Avengers vs. X-Men, Age of Ultron, Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand, and Ultimate End.

Alias #1 cover by David Mack

Alias #1 cover by David Mack


Other notable Marvel series he’s written include Alias (starring Jessica Jones, whose current series he’s also been writing), The Pulse (again Jessica Jones, but also Luke Cage and members of the Daily Bugle staff), Spider-Woman (including her Origin miniseries), Moon Knight, and Johanna’s favorite: the Castle: Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm graphic novel based on the much-missed TV show. (This is sarcasm. That show wore out its welcome before it left, and the comic was terrible.)

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 cover by Steve McNiven

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 cover by Steve McNiven


Also notably, Bendis had a big hand in the 2015 comic book revival of the Guardians of the Galaxy (first introduced in Avengers Assemble).

That’s just his Marvel work. He had a notable career in indy publishing before he got to Marvel.

AT CALIBER, IMAGE, AND ONI

Jinx

Jinx


Brian Bendis got his start publishing through smaller companies before freelancing for Marvel. In the early 1990s, his work for Caliber Comics included the crime thrillers A.K.A. Goldfish and Jinx. Both of these were drawn by him as well, so they provide examples of his early artistic attempts.

Sam & Twitch #1 cover by Ashley Wood

Sam & Twitch #1 cover by Ashley Wood


This earlier work was collected by Image’s Shadowline in a series of graphic novels around 1996/97. Image founder Todd McFarlane approached Bendis about writing the Spawn spin-off crime series Sam and Twitch. He wrote the first 19 issues (collected in two trade paperbacks). After Bendis left the series, its publication became erratic, taking months between issues, leading to cancellation. Bendis also wrote almost the first ten issues of Hellspawn, a different Spawn spin-off.

As well, Image published Torso, a true crime graphic novel (collecting the six comic issues) by Bendis and Marc Andreyko. Plus, Bendis put out five additional issues of Jinx while at Image.

Fortune and Glory

Fortune and Glory


In 2000, Bendis produced three issues of Fortune and Glory for Oni Comics. The more cartoony style he used here was a good choice for the largely autobiographical story about his trying to get writing work in Hollywood.

AND NOW TO DC COMICS…

There’s been lots of speculation about what exactly Brian Michael Bendis will be doing at DC Comics, once he eventually gets there. Unfortunately, because of his sudden unexpected illnesses last month, he’s behind schedule (probably for the first time ever), and DC is graciously allowing him to finish up his Marvel commitments, even though some of these issues may not see print for up to six months.

It appears (based on his Twitter) that he’s also officially started on some DC Comics work as of January 2. Rumors persist around the internet that at least one of his projects will definitely involve Superman. Our little unofficial discussion group at Westfeid Comics East seems to want to read a Bendis-written Justice League project. One member of that discussion group actually baited me into thinking he was going to take a stab at the (currently dormant) Legion of Super-Heroes… which would be awesome… but I’m not holding my breath… mostly because I’d have to come out of semi-retirement (and move to California), because I’d want to edit that!

Based on recent interviews and other internet discussion, I would not be the least surprised to hear of Bendis branching out into film work as well. The last couple of DC films (Wonder Woman and Justice League) were definite steps in the right direction, but the addition of a laser-focused writer (or producer?) like Bendis would be a huge asset to DC films these days.

Hey, it’s fun to speculate, right? Feel free to comment below! Me, I’m just gonna sit back, be patient, and see what happens next. What’s more fun than that?

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KC CARLSON: Still coming to terms that’s it’s a new year. Hopefully I’ll get it together by August…

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. I kinda miss Guy Lombardo… Instead we watched William Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Foreman, and Terry Bradshaw “act” like idiots in obscure places in Europe. Still a good excuse to get drunk, however…

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