Tuesday, April 23, 2024

What Will Comic Books Look Like In 2018?

Brian Michael Bendis began his career at Marvel in 2000 as one of the chief architects of the Ultimate line of comics they were producing at the time. He helmed the Ultimate Spider-Man title with art by Mark Bagley. The two went on to create issues #1-111 together which is the record for longest continuous run on a Marvel Comic by two people.

Cover art via Marvel

Bendis would go on to create Alias and write for a host of Marvel books such as Avengers, X-Men, Daredevil and Guardians of the Galaxy. He also brought us momentous events including “House of M” and “Siege.” For many comic fans, Bendis defined the 21st century Marvel voice. Speculation arose that he was sure to fill Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief position, and on November 7th Brian Michael Bendis’ name trended on Twitter. He had put those speculations to rest, except it wasn’t exactly what people had expected.

Instead, Bendis had changed teams. He revealed that he had an exclusive contract with DC. This was huge news and I for one can’t wait to see what Bendis does while playing in a whole new toy box.

Days after the announcement that Bendis was leaving, Marvel announced their new Editor-in-Chief would be C.B. Cebulski. This news didn’t come without its scandals as Cebulski was outed days later for writing under the guise of a Japan native named Akira Yoshida. He even created a backstory for the fabricated writer who got gigs from Dreamwave, Dark Horse and later Marvel in the early 2000’s. Cultural appropriation aside, it seems pretty harmless, but Marvel did have rules in place that prevented editors from writing or drawing comics.

So lies begat more lies. He lied to his employers, readers, and the press, but after coming forward Marvel has forgiven Cebulski, who said at the time that he was thinking of leaving Marvel and wanted to start a foundation as a writer and the legend snowballed from there. The wildest part (to me at least) is that editors and Marvel staff who had “met” Akira, had actually met a Japanese translator who visited their offices. One editor even took him out to lunch having mistaken this guy to be the hot shot writer from Japan.

But 2017 was also a year for justice! While their current batch of “Rebirth” comics has been at the top of the sales charts, the powers that be at DC Entertainment have also corrected a wrong that plagued their offices for far too long. Eddie Berganza had previously worked for DC as a writer and editor who worked on many top titles like Superman, Batman and multiple event titles. Throughout his tenure he was also followed by a series of sexual harassment allegations that led to him being demoted from his position of Executive Editor to Group Editor in 2012.

Later in 2016, fans were outraged after a restructuring at DC released the then-Vertigo Executive Editor Shelly Bond. Shelly was beloved in the industry by creators and fans alike and was let go, while Berganza had somehow survived yet another restructuring.

But as the reckoning of sexual harassment scandals in the entertainment industry hit their stride in 2017, Berganza couldn’t escape another year. He was suspended on November 11 and fired two days later. Berganza is joined by a list of executives and celebrities who were brought down for years of sexual misconduct and harassment that had destroyed the lives and careers of multiple brave women and men. These people have come forth and paved a foundation that will create a safer workplace for everyone.

So big changes have gone on behind the scenes at the Big Two, but I think they are all for the best. C.B. Cebulski will hopefully lead Marvel into new directions and Bendis will hopefully revitalize DC like he did Marvel. In 2018 the world of comics is looking brighter than ever!


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