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Saturday, February 03, 2018 

Bendis hints he'll have a negative view of "the American way" coming in his Superman stories

Forbes interviewed that most overrated writer who degraded Marvel with his "crime noir" visions of scriptwriting, and Brian Bendis gave signs his take on the Man of Steel will have bad politics slipped in. First, they say that:
Speaking with me about his new exclusive deal with DC Entertainment, Bendis told me, "I'm very excited about this, it's a very big deal." He continued, "When I was first approached by DC, there was a lot of speculation about what I would do and what characters I’m interested in. But the one at the top of my list — and it surprised some people — but at the top of my list was Superman."
Oh, it doesn't particularly surprise me. If he wanted to write the flagship Spider-Man series when he was at Marvel, I'm sure they'd give it to him without question, and at the same time, no chance Mary Jane Watson would be restored to her rightful position as Spidey's wife (remember, MJ was later shoehorned into Iron Man a few years back). After all, Bendis was part of the brainless-trust that turned out crossover after crossover like Avengers: Disassembled and House of M, along with Civil War. With garbage like that in his portfolio, I don't see this new gig as a big deal at all.
"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 a 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!"
And again, here's another example of DiDio making the offers, not Bob Harras, despite his alleged role as EIC today. As for making Bendis' contribution a part of the Super-legacy, it'll only be in the same sense that his Avengers and X-Men runs are a big part of the Marvel legacy, what with their reliance on trite, juvenile dialogue, among other elements that don't feel like Marvel used to.
But lest you think he's merely talking about a small contribution to a special event issue that won't factor into his later work with the character, Bendis wants you to know that's not the case. "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."
This reeks of the same kind of sensationalistic attitude he took when he wrote for Marvel, and that doesn't inspire much confidence.
Bendis sounds energized as he lays out the extent of his plans, and credits the creative freedom of his deal with DC for helping galvanize his imagination. "It's pretty elaborate plotting and I'm excited about it," he said. "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 thing as possible. And Superman is long overdue for it."
Any creative freedom he receives would be in the same vein as it was at Marvel, and the same as it was for Grant Morrison when he wrote X-Men in the early 2000s, and more recently, Superman during the New52 era. It's mainly because of the visions he brings to the table, and if Marvel favored his views, why shouldn't DC's staff? If he represents their leftist politics, for example, that's why they'd consider him a perfect choice.
That said, it's important to understand this will not be a "reboot" of the character or his world, something that might disturb some fans and purists. "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."
Oh, I wouldn't be too sure of that, if the next paragraph tells something:
Summarizing his feelings about taking over the direction of Superman at DC, Bendis grew philosophical. "Writing Superman in today's day and age is a such powerful experience. 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." Continuing, he noted with regret, "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."
Now here's where it all takes a most eyebrow-raising, fascinating turn. Recalling what Jurgens' recent storytelling involved (and also David Goyer's 7 years ago), why wouldn't it be a surprise if Bendis could offer up more of the same, metaphorically or otherwise? Subtle hints of detesting the Trump administration's policies lurk in Bendis' words, and the chances it'll serve as a platform for more leftist soapboxing are quite likely. Above all, it doesn't sound like he wants to celebrate the American Way, otherwise, he would've either spoken more positively about it, or he'd have ideally refrained from talking about it.
"The big headline here," Bendis asserted, "is this isn't just DC grabbing some of my books and giving me a safe place. They came and offered me a genuine partnership. They've offered creator-owned books before, but what they're doing here is something brand new for them and for comics. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come in the future."
Hopefully not, and I sure won't be putting my money into his pockets. This sounds little different from his time at Marvel. If they took a favoratist approach, why shouldn't DC? It's not even the first time they've ever hired writers selectively, giving them certain freedoms they never would to Chuck Dixon.
So this multi-year deal between Brian Michael Bendis and DC is wide ranging and gives the writer not only a great deal of control over the future of Superman's stories and world within the established DC comic book universe, but also carves out a large corner for Bendis to continue developing his original content while also overseeing a whole line of additional stories and content involving a variety of creators and characters.
Much like his run at Marvel, again. Whether he's got control over the Vertigo imprint, the DCU, or both, it all sounds pretty distasteful, and he doesn't sound sorry for alienating Marvel fans who found his work awful.
For his own part, Bendis revealed a major personal motivation was to challenge and scare himself. "And then I landed into the hands of the best possible partners you could have for such a thing," he said. "When you roll up your sleeves and say, ‘Okay I’m going to scare myself,’ you do want someone to have your back. And DC and Warner Bros, and Diane Nelson and Dan DiDio have been unbelievable partners. They’re very dedicate to really taking a look at the comic book community and market, and making it special."

Bendis' enthusiasm for the partnership isn't merely rhetoric -- in an era where mass media and mobile platforms offer more constant entertainment options and artistic content than ever before in human history, Bendis feels he's part of a new dynamic that will reinvigorate the comic market and remind the world where the biggest movie and TV genres got their start. "What people who make comics do is as unique, as special, as anything that goes on in any part of the culture," Bendis insists. "We’re all dedicated to making sure people understand that comics are where it all starts, and comics are still the most exciting place to read about these characters and hear about these characters."
Gee, I don't think his books were selling particularly high by the time he left Marvel, so I don't see what they're getting at here. And Nelson/DiDio did not succeed in boosting sales over the past decade, or reaching out to fans. After what DiDio shepherded in, it's no shock no one would trust him. He was the one who wanted to get rid of Dixon's creation of Spoiler/Stephanie Brown in the mid-2000s, after all, and never showed much remorse even after reversing her death a few years later.
Bendis concluded his thoughts by saying, "What’s going on at DC and Marvel couldn’t be more exciting right now, and by summertime I think comic book stores are going to be the most exciting places in our culture. I hope people get a sense of all of this, and go into a comic book store and see if there’s something for them."
Whatever they're doing that's exciting, it doesn't involve him. And unless Marvel's finally willing to let go of their anti-Mary Jane Watson mandate - along with many more mandates that are destroying their brand - they won't recover. No thanks to Bendis, of course; he was part and parcel at the time he worked at Marvel, after all. This is just more of his sleazy boasting, and anybody who supports his Superman stories along with his past Marvel work has got to be out of their minds.

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For someone who envisions himself as a "conservative-style version of Clark Kent," you sure play fast and loose with the facts as presented. Bendis doesn't say anything that suggests a "negative view" of "the American way," only that the concept, like truth and justice, can no longer be taken for granted -- "no matter where you are politically." The changing notions of themes so entwined with the Man of Steel would seem pretty appealing territory for any writer new to Superman.

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