The world of comic books was rocked by some very big news this morning. In a tweet, DC Entertainment revealed that they had signed writer Brian Michael Bendis to an exclusive, multi-year, “multi-faceted” deal. Comic creators move between different publishers all the time — for example, current Batman and Mister Miracle writer Tom King was writing Marvel’s Vision just last year. But Bendis is a special case. He had written for Marvel for 17 years, and in that time had created or revitalized several characters who have gone on to play big parts onscreen.
“We are beyond thrilled to welcome Brian Michael Bendis exclusively to the DC family with a multiyear, multi-faceted deal. He’s one of the premier writers in the industry, having created so many unforgettable stories wherever he’s been and we can’t wait to see what he has planned for the DC universe,” DC said in their statement on Twitter.
In a statement to EW, a Marvel spokesperson said, “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.”
In his own tweet, Bendis wrote, “this is real. I love you all. Change is good. Change is healthy. I am bursting with ideas and inspiration. Details to come! Stay tuned!
Bendis’ resume includes creating the sardonic, superstrong private detective Jessica Jones and revitalizing the indestructible Luke Cage, both of whom have gone on to dominate Marvel’s Netflix shows. Bendis also contributed heavily to Marvel’s recent efforts to diversify their core characters. In 2011 he introduced Miles Morales, a black-Latino high school student, as the replacement title character for Ultimate Spider-Man. Though Peter Parker is still the only version of the wall-crawler to appear on the big screen, the Spider-Man: Homecoming supporting cast has more in common with Miles’ friends than Peter’s, and the tone of the film has a lot in common with Ultimate Spider-Man, both pre- and post-Miles. More recently, Bendis also introduced the young African-American character Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart, as a replacement for Iron Man after Tony Stark went into a coma.
This is not even to mention Secret Invasion, House of M, Civil War II, and the bevy of other big Marvel comics Bendis has written over the years. There are, perhaps, too many Bendis comics and accomplishments to list here. As a creator so strongly identified with Marvel moving exclusively to the publisher’s top competitor, the closest parallel to this Bendis move is Jack Kirby himself. After working with Stan Lee in the ’60s to create most of Marvel’s most iconic heroes, Kirby jumped ship to DC in the ’70s, where he created Mister Miracle and the rest of the “Fourth World” universe of comics.
It remains to be seen what Bendis will be writing for DC, and who will be taking over his Marvel creations like Jessica Jones and Miles Morales.