Tag: Brian Michael Bendis

Brainiac On Banjo #058: The Writer That Devoured Cleveland!

“Kick ’em when they’re up / Kick ’em when they’re down / Kick ’em when they’re stiff / Kick ’em all around.”

-Don Henley and Danny Kortchmar, Dirty Laundry

Popular culture is a living thing. It grows like amoebas on Viagra, constantly mutating into new life forms. This gives us an endless supply of new things and new people who create new things. Some of those folks last, others wish they didn’t take out that seven figure mortgage.

Brian Bendis was one of those new forces. He’s defied the odds — to say the least — by being on the comic writer’s A-list for, well, damn, over two decades. That’s quite a feat; but the fact that a dozen newer writers subsequently have joined that same A-list without pushing him off is nothing short of remarkable. He started out with the “independents,” went to Marvel, earned his way into getting screen credit for about a million movies and television shows while creating all sorts of cool characters, and then left the House of Mouse for Kryptonian pastures.

Anybody who can jilt Mickey like that deserves a guest shot on South Park.

I thought he had a slow start on the Man of Steel, but instead of annoying me (which is very easy to do), I was fascinated. He was taking risks and stepping on Superman’s cape — declining to adapt to overworked standards while working with the flow to scrape the barnacles off Superman. Watching that has been an interesting experience. Last week it all come together for this jaded reader.

Action Comics #1016 (whole number, 1016) is all about Superman’s losing his battle with a fairly new villain, the Red Cloud – not to be confused with either of the Red Tornadoes. The Daily Planet’s reporter / gossip columnist Trish Q is on the story, canvassing the neighborhood and interviewing those who saw the conflict. This is and of itself is pretty cool – as far as I can tell, the Daily Planet invented newsroom cutbacks 60 years ago by limiting Perry White’s on-panel staff to Clark Kent, Lois Lane, maybe Jimmy Olsen (who may or may not be the staff photographer who may or may not write stuff), and occasionally Steve Lombard and Cat Grant. Of course, lately Lois has been hiding in a very expensive Chicago hotel, doubtlessly searching for the world’s best Italian beef sammich like the rest of us. Trish is a very interesting character, and I hope she sticks around.

About two-thirds of the story is told through the comments made by Trish’s interview subjects. There’s nothing new about this storytelling technique, and it makes good use of Bendis’s gift for expository dialogue. But it is out-of-the-ordinary to tell the story of Superman’s defeat in battle in such a manner; writers usually focus on the flow of action with dramatic close-ups of the hero’s face being beaten to a pulp. In his “telling-through-interview” style, Brian is showing us the faith the citizenry has in the Man of Steel while avoiding the limp, overworked cliché of the masses turning on their champion for failing to defeat every evil that is foisted upon them.

In other words, this is a story about faith. It’s somewhat subtle, but faith is a subtle thing.

Bendis introduces his creation Naomi to the Justice League, creating another opportunity for him to play a bit with the world’s most psychotic costumed family jewel, the ubiquitous Batman. In the real world, such as it is, Bruce Wayne would be shackled to a wall in Arkham Asylum. In Bendis’s world, Batman is fleshed out a bit around the edges, giving purpose (legitimate or not) to his massive assholery. I’d read the story for this alone.

Much praise has been heaped on Brian Bendis over the past decades, and that, of course, makes him target for terminally obese trolls who dirty their own laundry. That’s how fame works. But if you think this guy didn’t earn his chops or that he’s past his prime, check out Action Comics #1016.

Special thanks to M.G. Krebs for the title to this week’s masterpiece. Brian Michael Bendis, like Jerry Siegel before him, is from Cleveland. To the best of my knowledge, neither are monsters… in the classical sense.

Continued After the Next Page #010: Characters Will Change, Even in the Future. Get Used to It.

Continued After the Next Page #010: Characters Will Change, Even in the Future. Get Used to It.

Despite the traditional theme of this column, we are going to dive into some current events in comics fandom with this installment. There has been quite a bit of moaning and groaning along with some absolute vitriol about some of the creative decisions by prominent publishers regarding character revisions, lately.

Art by Ryan Sook

When I say lately, I am using a wide measuring stick. This has been going on for a while. The volume of the critical voices is amplified in this age of instant access to everyone’s thoughts, AKA Twitter. The pure virulent hate that has been spewed at publishers and any creator even tangentially involved with promoting inclusive and diverse characters has morphed into the hate group #ComicsGate. The most depressing thing about these events is that is ruins my inherit belief that comic readers are proponents of hope and change.  I am probably wrong about that, and that is disappointing.

Let’s take a second to look at some facts. In the past week, DC Comics revealed that two of its long slumbering properties will be revived. The Legion of Super-Heroes will return, starting in September, under the stewardship of Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook. Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #010: Characters Will Change, Even in the Future. Get Used to It.”

With Further Ado #046: The Game’s Afoot – or The Thrill of the Hunt

With Further Ado #046: The Game’s Afoot – or The Thrill of the Hunt

I missed an issue of a comic series I’ve been collecting…and it felt great.

In recent years, I have had the luxury of popping around to several different comic shops during my time in Metro NY and now in the Finger Lakes.  Thus, I don’t ask my favorite retailers to order specific series for me. That does make it that much harder for the retailer, and I know that’s a drag for them.  But somehow, even with reserving copies, I don’t usually miss issues that I’d like to read.

Beyond my favorite comic shops, I’ve also been buying the DC 100-Page Comic Giant! comics (we used to know them as Super Spectaculars) from Wal*Mart.  In an effort to reach new readers, DC has been producing these overstuffed comics as Wal*Mart exclusives. Each one has a short new story and then several recent reprints.

There’s also another benefit – these comics are great to gift to young readers. They are packed with content and I like to think that when you give one to a  kid, they might spend some meaningful time reading (and away from their screens).

I really enjoyed their Detective Comics reprint comic, but I have made it a point to keep up with two series:  Batman Giant and Superman Giant Continue reading “With Further Ado #046: The Game’s Afoot – or The Thrill of the Hunt”

WIth Further Ado #012: 3 Girls – Under Cover

WIth Further Ado #012: 3 Girls – Under Cover

During the Halloween season, I always think of the three witch sisters from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. They were very similar to the Three Fates of classic mythology, those sisters who wove the destinies of every individual. And even if you don’t know anything about either of those sets of sisters, you probably know about TV’s Charmed sisters.  They are in the midst of a reboot that has lead to a backlash.

In my own family, the “three sisters concept” is a big deal. We are blessed with the 3 girls. (We do have one great boy too!)  These girls thoroughly embrace being part of their little sorority of three. So much so that I am always cognizant of a set of three girls and especially dads with three girls.

And that brings us to Brian Bendis and some new comics.  Continue reading “WIth Further Ado #012: 3 Girls – Under Cover”