We knew that Brian Michael Bendis, architect of large parts of the modern Marvel Universe, would be kicking off his move to DC Comics with the anniversary issue Action Comics #1000. Now, DC Comics has announced quite a bit more.
Bendis will be taking the reins on not one but two of Superman’s main titles, and bringing about an entirely new era for the Man of Steel in a six-issue miniseries called, what else, Man of Steel.
That 10-page story in Action Comics #1000, an anthology issue that will be released on April 18, isn’t “just some random backup story or flight of fancy,” Bendis told Forbes in an interview. “It is a major chapter in what we’re doing, with some really big bombs we’re dropping in Superman’s life.”
Bendis will also do some scene setting in DC Nation #0, a special anthology issue DC will release on May 3, in the lead up to Free Comic Book day and its three major summer events.
Those two stories will set the stage for Man of Steel, a weekly miniseries that will kick off on May 30. The six issues will be written by Bendis and drawn by some of the biggest talent DC Comics has to offer — Ivan Reis, Evan Shaner, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes and Jason Fabok.
“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 told Forbes. “We’re going to dig in very hard, this is one of my goals, to be [as] additive to Superman as possible.”
While Bendis has big status quo changes in the works, he expressed affection for the current work of Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason on Superman and Action Comics, and promised that he won’t be “throwing anything out.”
Once Man of Steel wraps up, Bendis will take the helm on Superman and Action Comics in July. Superman, drawn by Ivan Reis, will be renumbered, starting over at #1, and will be an action-focused title. Action Comics, beginning with #1001, will be a more character-oriented focus on Clark Kent’s day-to-day at the Daily Planet.
One of Bendis’ goals for Action Comics is to make Metropolis as compelling a setting as Gotham City. He told Forbes he’d like to “turn Metropolis into something as provocative and unique as Gotham City is ... Gotham is one of the most built and best places in all of fictional cities, and Metropolis should follow suit.”
Bendis’ tenure comes at a time of upheaval for DC’s Superman office. Longtime Superman group editor Eddie Berganza was fired in November, after a Buzzfeed article in which multiple women came forward with stories of Berganza’s sexually inappropriate behavior towards them.
DC also announced that the company will be taking charge of publishing Bendis’ creator-owned work (including Powers and Jinx), under the collective title Jinxworld, and that Bendis will be heading up a new imprint under the DC Comics branding sometime in 2018. The imprint will “feature some of Bendis’ all-time favorite characters in very unique and unusual situations, combined with new characters created specifically for this new imprint,” said DC’s press release. Much like Gerard Way’s Young Animal imprint, Bendis will write some of the books in it, and simply oversee others.
“Writing Superman in today’s day and age is a such powerful experience,” Bendis told Forbes. “We live in a world where we’ve heard, ‘Truth, justice, and the American way’ our whole lives, right? But this is the first time those things are really not to be taken for granted. Truth has been revealed to not be as black and white as we thought it was; justice is sadly not always for everybody; and the American Dream, the American way of everybody coming here to pursue the idea that they can live a safe and healthy life — these are ideas we always took for granted, but now we don’t. No matter where you are politically, we just don’t take these things for granted anymore.”
Bendis continued, “And now I think it’s time Superman stand up and give us that hope we always want from him. It’s a great thing to be writing a character who exudes hope at a time when people really, really need it.”