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  1. #1
    Incredible Member kingaliencracker's Avatar
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    Default Why isn't Bendis' run doing better, both critically and commercially?

    On paper, it would seem that DC's coup of Brian Michael Bendis and his subsequent joining of the Superman titles would be an instant hit. He was, after all, one of Marvel's most successful writers in the 18 years prior to joining DC and his taking over Superman seemed like an interesting combination.

    However, his run with the Superman titles thus far can best be described as divisive, and sales have been extraordinarily mundane. Now there's talk that he'll be taking over the Batman book at the end of the year, which would seemingly end his run with Superman (although that last bit is more speculation on my part, as I don't believe DC would have Bendis write both Superman AND Batman at the same time, although I could be wrong).

    So putting aside the "because he sucks, that's why!" business that I'm sure this thread will attract, since regardless of how you feel personally about Bendis the fact remains he has been critically and commercially one of the best writer's in the industry, what exactly has gone wrong with his Superman run?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingaliencracker View Post
    So putting aside the "because he sucks, that's why!"
    That's actually a large part regarding why this has went wrong. The people who have followed his work for years and been burned by it or burnt out on it in all this time geniually do think this and that word of mouth has carried over to where he is now. Bendis acknowledges he has a hatedom all the time, citing the likes of 4chan and other boards in interviews and even his stories (even as recently as this month's issue of Action Comics), so they feel empowered and encouraged

    Bendis is not the same writer he was twenty years ago. He peaked way back in 2009-2010, some thought he wore out his welcome after he started on Avengers. I've been there for the best and worst of him over the years. His Superman work has been him at his best in a long time, but for many he still isn't quite peak Bendis, and his flaws are often placed far above his strengths.

    Bendis is a nice guy who admits he went mad with creative freedom back in his Marvel days and is sorry for it, and I believe him, but some are going to carry that with them forever and inform how they reward his efforts.
    Last edited by Miles To Go; 05-23-2019 at 09:14 AM.

  3. #3
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    perhaps because his Superman isn't striking a chord with readers?(more polite than saying he sucks at writing Superman. )

  4. #4
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    The immediate thought is unfortunately, "he was Marvel's biggest name so what's wrong?" But that hasn't been the case in some time. The Marvel audience wasn't going to be making this jump with him. After his first year, the X titles (with very popular artists) fell from A to B tier sellers, and that was over five years ago. Dimishing returns on his frequent Marvel events for another thing. Basically, while I wouldn't say his voice isn't unique, it hasn't really been that fresh or surprising for the last 15 years. The initial curiosity of how he was going to approach Superman was apparently satisfied before he began with the two teasers. One in a comic that sold an estimated 400k.

    He's a bit gunshy about controversy with Superman, and for one I am thankful. We'll see how this event works, but to move a B tier seller up or down a list you really need more fuel for the fire.
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  5. #5
    Ultimate Member MindofShadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingaliencracker View Post

    However, his run with the Superman titles thus far can best be described as divisive, and sales have been extraordinarily mundane.
    I mean, that is the new Bendis and has been for a long time.

    People think of Bendis glory years... whether that means creatively (DD, USM, Alias Dark Avengers for example) or sales wise (Avengers/New Avengers).

    When really, he is Xmen/Spider-Man/MK/Defenders/CWII/AoU/GoG/IM Bendis. aka flashes of "old" Bendis but largely meandering "shrug" inducing with "solid" sales.
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  6. #6
    Mighty Member Yoda's Avatar
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    The audience for Superman books really seems to be like 40K-50K for Superman and 35K-45K for Action. Events and relaunches move it up or down a bit, but it seems to revert to that mean.

    Bendis is probably selling slightly better than average, and his books are performing pretty well for the market as a whole. Short of like Alan Moore coming on board for a 100 issue opus or Jim Lee taking over regular art duties I don't think the Superbooks get into the Bat-Tier regular monthly sales barring a major shift in the market.

  7. #7
    Fantastic Member Blue22's Avatar
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    Bendis is, by no means, a bad writer. In fact I've always been kinda fond of his writing style even in stuff that I absolutely despise (*cough*HisX-MenRun*cough*). The man's got talent and he's made A LOT of positive contributions to superhero comics...but he also has a knack for coming up with ideas that sound good on paper but then he totally screws up on the execution.

    Shaking up the Superfamily dynamic sounded like a good idea...but the ways he went about doing it... weren't all that great and have pretty much made me go back to not caring about Superman comics. Civil War II sounded like a good idea to coincide with the movie....but it ended up being another conflict that could only exist if both parties acted as dumb and unlikeable as humanly possible (big props for the borderline character assassination of Carol Danvers and the ACTUAL assassination of Rhodey and Bruce Banner). Bringing in younger versions of the original 5 X-Men was a neat idea...but between the awful handling of Iceman's coming out and his Jean Grey being totally unbearable, all he did was bring back five characters who sucked until they were written by people other than him (seriously. Young Jean went from being my least favorite comic character ever to one of my favorites once X-Men Blue started)

    Bendis seems like a great guy who actually does care about the fans, and unlike other people in the industry (*cough"Didio*cough*), I don't get any malicious vibes from the decisions he makes, not even the worst things he does. I just...don't trust him to tackle anything that's not your average, street level hero. He has a niche that he does well in. But when he steps out of it....the results may vary.
    Last edited by Blue22; 05-23-2019 at 09:55 AM.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member DragonsChi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingaliencracker View Post
    On paper, it would seem that DC's coup of Brian Michael Bendis and his subsequent joining of the Superman titles would be an instant hit. He was, after all, one of Marvel's most successful writers in the 18 years prior to joining DC and his taking over Superman seemed like an interesting combination.

    However, his run with the Superman titles thus far can best be described as divisive, and sales have been extraordinarily mundane. Now there's talk that he'll be taking over the Batman book at the end of the year, which would seemingly end his run with Superman (although that last bit is more speculation on my part, as I don't believe DC would have Bendis write both Superman AND Batman at the same time, although I could be wrong).

    So putting aside the "because he sucks, that's why!" business that I'm sure this thread will attract, since regardless of how you feel personally about Bendis the fact remains he has been critically and commercially one of the best writer's in the industry, what exactly has gone wrong with his Superman run?
    This is probably not what you are looking for but... if you take a hard look at Bendis career most of the properties that " critically acclaimed" are ones driven on almost entirely on "clout chasing" or almost completely tearing down what was firmly established about a franchise.

    I personally feel outside of breaking Lois and Clark up or screwing with Jon there isn't much else DC will allow him to do to Superman. The character is past an Icon at this point and the typical tricks Bendis would/could pull with the character are locked in a dead stop. (THANK GOODNESS) A big example of a similar case of this would be his Guardians of the Galaxy run. No one talks about how mediocre those stories where because he was locked in the same set of circumstances. The movie held the book to certain standards not to ruin the brand and the characters there in didn't have much to lend itself to his more ...destructive mode of story telling.

    Ergo if Bendis can't wreck or chase popular but controversial trends with a character his true creativity (writing chops) shine through.
    Last edited by DragonsChi; 05-23-2019 at 10:02 AM.
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  9. #9
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    surprisingly it's Snyder who is writing Lois( albeit a alternative version) in a controversial scarlet witch like vein with her being driven to join up with the world forger due to what happened to John.

  10. #10
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoda View Post
    The audience for Superman books really seems to be like 40K-50K for Superman and 35K-45K for Action. Events and relaunches move it up or down a bit, but it seems to revert to that mean.

    Bendis is probably selling slightly better than average, and his books are performing pretty well for the market as a whole. Short of like Alan Moore coming on board for a 100 issue opus or Jim Lee taking over regular art duties I don't think the Superbooks get into the Bat-Tier regular monthly sales barring a major shift in the market.
    This. This is just the reality. I don't know what or whom it would take at this point to make the character and his books break that ceiling in the longterm. Quite possibly nothing.
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  11. #11
    Incredible Member kingaliencracker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacred Knight View Post
    This. This is just the reality. I don't know what or whom it would take at this point to make the character and his books break that ceiling in the longterm. Quite possibly nothing.
    I don't believe that one bit.

    If Hulk can beat Batman in overall sales because of the amazing writing going on in that book, there's no reason the same can't apply to Superman.

  12. #12
    Mighty Member Yoda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingaliencracker View Post
    I don't believe that one bit.

    If Hulk can beat Batman in overall sales because of the amazing writing going on in that book, there's no reason the same can't apply to Superman.
    Hulk beat Batman because of speculation. Immoral Hulk is the speculator dream book at the moment. It's great, but it's not going to consistently beat Batman.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member DragonsChi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingaliencracker View Post
    I don't believe that one bit.

    If Hulk can beat Batman in overall sales because of the amazing writing going on in that book, there's no reason the same can't apply to Superman.
    I agree with you. There is no excuses, rhyme, or reason preventing a book to move past "normal" means of sale.

    If you expect or shoot for average results that is all you will ever amount to.
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  14. #14
    Astonishing Member Vordan's Avatar
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    1. Bendis has not been the guy who wrote the acclaimed USM or Daredevil storyline sin a long time. His star power towards the end of his career was clearly on a downward trend, his books were solidly in the “mediocre” category, and even Miles fans have said the character needed fresh blood
    2. While I never really loved Jurgens Action, and Tomasi shot himself in the foot with the summer of filler, people generally didn’t hate the Rebirth Superbooks, so there wasn’t a huge push to shake things up from readers
    3. Aging up Jon was stupid and hasn’t really proven to be very interesting
    4. Rogal is boring (although I love Red Cloud and the Invisible Mafia)
    5. Bendis’ decompression coupled with the books no longer double shipping has a tendency to drag stuff out (this is mostly for Superman, Action has been fine imo)
    6. Some of Bendis’ dialogue is bad and there have been a couple continuity errors editorial really should’ve caught
    And like Sacred said, the Superman franchise has been rather weak for a while now. The post-Morrison New 52 Superbooks sucked and the Superbooks right before Morrison Action Comics generally sucked (except for Cornell Action) after New Krypton imploded.
    Quote Originally Posted by kingaliencracker View Post
    I don't believe that one bit.

    If Hulk can beat Batman in overall sales because of the amazing writing going on in that book, there's no reason the same can't apply to Superman.
    Hulk was killed off, stayed dead for a couple years, and then his resurrection helped create interest. He came back in a relatively good Marvel event, Ewing shook up the book and character in a positive way, and Hulk was in a wildly successful movie that creates interest in him.

    Superman was in the generally awful Snyder films which did nothing to endear him to the general public, Bendis is not as good a writer as Ewing and is far more controversial, and the reception to the Bendis shakeups has been mixed. I’d frankly let Bendis keep Action and put Loveness, Yang, Priest, or Seeley on the main Superman book. Someone DC wants to help push as their next big star like Ewing is right now for Marvel, because DC really needs to start cultivating some new star talent. Marvel has Cates, Ewing, Thompson, and Eve Ewing while DC has just ticked off their golden boy King, Snyder is planning on focusing more on creator work, Morrison and Johns are on the periphery, and they need to start building up their next gen.

  15. #15
    Mighty Member Yoda's Avatar
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    And no one's saying you can't get sales above those numbers for a bit. It's been done several times in the last decade. But it reverts down. When Immortal Hulk post-Ewing consistently beats Batman that's a long term shift

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