Star writer leaves Marvel for DC Comics

Brian Michael Bendis - the star writer of such Marvel titles as Ultimate Spider-Man and The Avengers - has leapt to DC.
Brian Michael Bendis - the star writer of such Marvel titles as Ultimate Spider-Man and The Avengers - has leapt to DC.PHOTO: TWITTER / BRIANMBENDIS

(Washington Post, NYTimes) - Well, of course DC Comics is "beyond thrilled". As the publisher announced on Tuesday morning (Nov 7) via a tweet that stunned fans, Brian Michael Bendis - the star writer of such Marvel titles as Ultimate Spider-Man and The Avengers - has leapt to DC.

DC Comics said it had an exclusive "multiyear, multifaceted" deal with Bendis.

In case any True Believers (as Marvel fans are known) were in doubt, the writer's reply confirmed the news: "This is real. I love you all. Change is good. Change is healthy."

Bendis started out as a writer for small press comic book publishers. His early works include the crime noir tales Jinx and A.K.A. Goldfish. In 2000, he began Powers, co-created with artist Michael Avon Oeming and published at Image Comics, about detectives solving crimes in a world of superheroes, which won many industry awards.

He started his tenure at Marvel that same year with Ultimate Spider-Man, which retold the early days of Peter Parker from a fresh perspective, free of decades of continuity. Ultimate Spider-Man led to the creation of Miles Morales, a black Hispanic teenager, who became Spider-Man in 2011.

Bendis also had critically acclaimed runs on Daredevil and Alias, about a flawed private investigator named Jessica Jones, a comic which became the basis for the 2015 Netflix series starring Krysten Ritter.

One of his biggest achievements was his work on The Avengers, which he wrote from 2004 to 2012. He added Spider-Man, Wolverine and Luke Cage to the team and helped make it one of Marvel's most significant franchises.

Bendis was also the writer behind the story of Iceman, from the X-Men, revealing that he is gay, and the introduction of Riri Williams, a black 15-year-old genius who donned the armour of Iron Man, and has become the superhero Ironheart.

On social media, comic-book fans were not shy about their opinions of Bendis' departure. One tweeted: "Finally, Marvel is free of his grasp ugh, a little too late, but I'll take it."

Others compared his departure to DC to that of Jack Kirby, who co-created the X-Men, Thor and other heroes in the 1960s and left for DC in the 1970s when his relationship with Marvel soured.

There's no reason to believe that Bendis was unhappy at Marvel, as he's persistently one of the company's biggest cheerleaders on his Twitter and Tumblr accounts, wrote Abraham Reisman, an editor who covers comics for Vulture.

It is unclear who will take over the Marvel series that Bendis will leave behind at Marvel. They include Spider-Man, Jessica Jones, Defenders and Invincible Iron Man.

Marvel released a statement that read: "Brian is a great partner and has contributed incredible stories and characters to the Marvel Universe over the years. We appreciate his creativity and professionalism, and we wish him the best on his future projects."

During a telephone interview from his home in Portland, Oregon, Bendis made it clear that there is no animosity between him and Marvel. "They're my friends. I'm madly in love with them for their coolness," he said.

The move came, in part, from surveying what he had accomplished there and struggling with thoughts of "Am I repeating myself?", he said.

He grew up in Cleveland, the birthplace of the creators of Superman, and Bendis's love for DC characters has been clear in his postings on social media. It was a deliberate strategy: "I was trying to break down that Marvel vs. DC craziness that some fans have," he said.

When DC reached out about the possibility of his working for them, this time the timing was right. "I thought, let's see what's behind Curtain No. 2."

The excitement about working on DC characters has outweighed any feelings of trepidation. "I know it was the right choice to make. No matter how scared I am, I know it was a good scared."