ComicBookResources.com caught up with writer Brian Michael Bendis to talk to him about his upcoming run as the writer of Superman comic books, his plans for Clark Kent, the introduction of a new villain, and the differences between DC Comics and Marvel. Here are a few excerpts from the interview…
You seem to be very enamored with Superman history coming into this. You’ve been talking a lot about great milestone issues of the past, and it’s not lost on people that you’re calling your six-issue series Man of Steel.
We went back and forth on this. Dan DiDio wanted to call it Man of Steel, and I was hesitant. It harkens back to [John Byrne’s famed reinvention in the ’80s], which was it’s own thing. And it’s also the title of a movie that I was very critical of. So I said to Dan, “We have to be aware that I was bummed out by that movie.” I went back and reread everything I wrote. No, I didn’t delete all those comments where I was critical of DC. [Laughs] I knew someone was going to throw it in my face. So I went back and read it, and I felt like it was the impassioned plea of desperate Superman fan. I stand by it. But I was happy that I didn’t go back and read it until I already had a few issues of Man of Steel written. I looked at it then and felt, “Oh! I’m doing what I said!” I’m literally doing the thing I said I wanted to see in Superman. So my subconscious and my conscious mind were working in tandem, which isn’t always the case.
As for the introduction of a new villain in his first story, Bendis said…
No matter what Superman storyline I saw, Lex Luthor was somehow involved. Every single big storyline – even if it was not a Lex storyline – in the second-to-last issue there came Lex Luthor. I just thought, “Let’s do some stories that don’t involve Lex sometimes.” So I’m going to take a break from him.
For those that love Lex Luthor, he’ll be front and center in the Justice League book – you can have your cake and eat it too. But meanwhile, we’re going to challenge Superman in some new ways with some new characters. And eventually, when it’s time to bring Lex back, we’ll bring him back. But sometimes it’s an albatross around writers necks that they feel they have to use him.
I also have this memory of listening to the Howard Stern show like 15 years ago where he was saying, “Why is every Superman movie about Lex Luthor? Every one! Where’s Brainiac?” And that is a very good note! There are more stories to be told. But the mass populace, all they know of Superman is Lex Luthor. So now, between the SyFy show Krypton and what we’re going to do, we’re going to really get a chance to build that up. And from what I’ve gathered from people, this is what they’ve been looking for too.