Hi! This is my first ever newsletter. So it’s like a letter column but... not. Except for that part where it’s me talking endlessly about ME :)
Thank you for joining us. With Jinxworld opening up a brand new huge chapter with our partnership with Dark horse (and another year going by where shows and appearances are not wise choices for us), I thought this would be a perfect time to say hello and get everybody caught up on everything that’s been going on.
First off, my birthday happened this week and the amount of messages across all the platforms was Intense and amazing. I saw all of your notes. Adult Birthdays are just... weird, right? So thank you for making mine so special.
OK, so, Dark Horse.
We actually go way back.
Dark Horse first came into being when I was discovering all that comics could be. I graduated high school in 1985. That’s a real year. Google it. Dark Horse started in 1986. We met in that happy spot in the late 80s/ early 90s where my brain was on fucking fire just figuring out how to make a comic. Everything they were doing was innovative and next level.
Hellboy. Hard boiled, The Mask. Sin City. Grendel. The one that stood out to me back then was Concrete. No other comic made me feel the way concrete felt and it made me think about all the different ways a story can make you feel And what the creator’s control of that could possibly be.
Then came my decades long friendship with Diana Schutz- one time Executive editor at Dark Horse. Diana and I met at a convention appearance in Australia and New Zealand decades ago and we just hit it off. I was already a huge fan of hers. I knew her name from Cerebus and Grendel. Every good comic I read at the time had her name in it. Diana is truly one of the unsung heroes of the entire industry. If this woman thought I had value as an author... wow. She’s also the reason I am a college professor. She literally pushed me into Portland State University to be a graphic novel writing teacher. She knew it was in me. I’m so grateful because it remains one of the most rewarding parts of my whole career.
(David Walker and I are teaching again this fall and winter.)
I had heard that Dark Horse was interested in publishing me but I had made my bed elsewhere. I had established myself over at Caliber, then Image, and was grateful for it.
Even though I moved to Dark horse’s hometown Portland over 20 years ago it felt inevitable that we would find our way towards each other. Every once in a while I would get a call to come in because they had SOMEthing for me- Stuff I couldn’t legally do because I was working for Marvel. I will discuss these behind-the-scenes bits in upcoming newsletters.
Years ago, Dark horse owner Mike Richardson and I ended up on the same plane together and had the best time. He made it very clear that this day would happen. He’s like that. Also he should have his own podcast.
Dark horse did publish a few smaller things by us over the years. Every time I could squeeze something in for one of Diana’s anthologies I jumped at the chance.
Plus! The most important parts of Jinxworld are Mike Oeming, David Mack and Taki Soma. They had all been comfortably and vibrantly published by Dark horse and I knew it would feel like home. In fact, they would specifically rave about Daniel Chabon’s skills as an editor and now... he is our Jinxworld station chief.
I’m so happy that the stars fiiiiiiinally aligned.
So here’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to be putting out new books through Dark horse over the next few years, at least. We start with the just announced JOY OPERATIONS with cocreator Stephen Byrne. It’s a whole brand new sci-fi extravaganza and I’m dying to show it to you. I’m going to get deep into where Joy came from and why we’re making this in upcoming newsletters and letter columns.
Listen, if you like the world building we did on Powers and the character studies with Jessica Jones and Scarlet, then I think you’ll love this. Pre-order it. Let the stores know this is what you want. Do that with every book you like.
The biggest change we’re going to make from other incarnations of Jinxworld is that we’re going to space the projects out a little bit more. Sometimes, in my genuine enthusiasm to get the material to you, I would put out a little bit too much at once... Which just made it hard for the books to find your attention. So we’re going to give every book we make as much focus and attention publicly as we do privately.
All this while Dark horse will put out brand new collections of our previous material in their amazing, innovative collection formats. This starts with a brand new printing of our last DC publication of the all-new POWERS: THE BEST EVER 20TH ANNIVERSARY graphic novel. Even in pandemic, and in the throes of DC’s distribution changes, the big Powers 20th anniversary graphic novel sold out! We’re so grateful.
We saved this new printing for Dark Horse, officially making Powers one of the few comics in history to be published by EVERY MAJOR PUBLISHER!! Trivia! Someone call Guinness! What? They don’t care? Oh.
Also, Dark Horse will also host the entire digital Jinxworld library going all the way back to our earliest stuff! Torso, Fortune and Glory, Brilliant... all of it.
Also, now I get free Black Hammer hardcovers!!
Ok, so, Q and A
I was asked all of these questions on twitter and Instagram for real but I’m too lazy to go look for them. Enjoy this fake Q&A.
Hey! You mentioned PEARL, COVER, and MURDER INC. Coming to Dark Horse but you’ve been talking about a book with Andre Lima Araujo for a very long time. Both you and Andre seem very excited about it. Will this be coming out from Dark horse?
GREAT question! Before we started talking to Dark horse, Andre and I had been working on a new untitled graphic novel. A completely brilliant new vision by Andre that I cannot wait to show you. Because of the content, we decided to roll the dice and pitch it in the traditional book market. Between the success of my textbook WORDS FOR PICTURES and the genuine runaway success of MILES MORALES, and other titles in the YA book market, we thought it was worth a try.
(The comic book marketplace has shifted dramatically over the last five years. I think you can actually refer to them as three different markets. )
We were very surprised and delighted that the material went up for ‘auction’ which means that we had more than one offer to publish. We ended up with a multi graphic novel deal at one of the big publishers and that announcement will be coming later in the year- sometime during New York comicon is what I hear.
This is very exciting and good scary. Plus, Dark Horse and this other publisher have a very excellent history together and will be working in tandem. Very exciting.
Next question: Brian, are you leaving Superhero Comics? Are you done at DC?
I continue to be the writer of JUSTICE LEAGUE, which now includes the very exciting news of a JUSTICE LEAGUE ANNUAL that will be drawn by the recent Eisner award winning certain someone.
Here’s a sneak taste of Scott Godlewski and Gabe Eltaeb’s upcoming work…
AND the mighty Phil Hester…
I’m also working on Checkmate with Alex maleev
David Walker, Jamal Campbell and I are making Naomi season two as we speak. (The CW pilot is really good, more on that soon)
Plus, ooh, more LEGION OF SUPERHEROES! YES!
I continue to absolutely love writing these amazing franchises but I think you can tell that I am making a personal promise to myself to balance my output far more towards creator owned comics material. I have made this promise to myself in the past. That was actually what I was supposed to do when I came to DC but all the new toys were too exciting to play with.
I have been promising myself for a very long time that I would balance my creative life far more towards creator owned comics (and some other choices for myself that I will get into later.) I am determined to keep this promise to myself this time.
Brian, are you returning to Marvel?
No. It was offered, but no.
More to come on that.
Hey! Did you and David walker just appear at the Apollo theater together?
Why, yes we did!! We just recorded a hell of a panel retrospective on luke cage.
I thought it was called BENDIS: LIVE AT THE APOLLO but I see its:
This HARLEM WEEK virtual panel discussion celebrates the 20th anniversary of Free Comic Book Day, the largest international annual comic book event, with an exploration of Harlem-based superhero, Luke Cage. Learn from comic creators and television producers about his rise from the comic book page to hit Netflix series while tackling the issues of gentrification, policing, and racism.
Panelists include New York Times best-selling author Brian Michael Bendis; Cheo Hodari Coker, creator and former showrunner and executive producer of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix; former Marvel writer and editor Jo Duffy; and award-winning comic book writer, filmmaker, journalist, and educator David F. Walker. Featuring analysis by Professor Jonathan W. Gray whose forthcoming project, Illustrating the Race, investigates the representation of African Americans in comics and moderated by Apollo Community Programs Director and former comic book editor, L. Adé Williams.
All right! I THINK that’s enough for today.
In upcoming newsletters I will be diving into all the behind-the-scenes stuff, I’m going to bring NO LIFE from the Powers letter columns, exclusive art, Hollywood updates (Cover, Naomi, others...), and more genuinely exciting announcements.
(Oh! Dark horse wasn’t the only mic drop!)
Ask questions below. Keep it polite. No messing around. Be kind or be gone.
You can challenge, question and critique me or my work. I welcome it. You just have to be polite to me, other creators and each other. I will do as much question and answering as I possibly can in upcoming newsletters.
In closing, I, again, spent all week and my birthday making up characters and stories for you. For a living! It’s such an honor. It’s such a privilege. On a daily basis. I can’t believe it. Thank you never quite covers it.
But, Thank you.